In 2024, Android phones are more customizable than ever before. With the right tools and knowledge, you can truly make your Android device your own with custom icon packs, widgets, launchers and more. In this in-depth guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to customize your Android smartphone like a pro.
Android has always been known for its high degree of customizability compared to iOS. However, over the years stock Android has become more refined and consistent across devices, limiting some of the freedom Android users previously enjoyed. Thankfully, Android still allows you to customize your phone’s look and feel dramatically using third party apps and tweaks.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to take full control over the look and functionality of your Android device. We’ll recommend the best apps and tools for customizing your launcher, icons, widgets, wallpapers and more. We’ll also provide detailed walkthroughs to help you recreate some beautiful, professionally designed home screen setups.
So if you’re ready to make your Android phone truly your own, keep reading to master Android customization in 2024.
Why Customize Your Android Phone?
Here are some of the key benefits of customizing your Android phone:
- Make it your own – Your home screen is the first thing you see whenever you use your phone. Customizing it makes your device feel more personal.
- Improved aesthetics – The default look of your home screen can be a bit boring. Customizing it makes it more visually appealing.
- Enhanced functionality – Custom launchers, icon packs and widgets can add useful functionality not found in the stock Android experience.
- Creativity and fun – Part of the joy of customizing your home screen is expressing your creativity and designing something unique.
- Show off your style – A customized home screen shows off your personal style and design skills.
So if you want your Android phone to better reflect your personality, customizing it is a great way to accomplish that. Plus, it’s fun to tinker with your device and make it look exactly how you want.
Step 1: Get Customization Apps and Assets
The first step towards customizing your Android phone is downloading apps that enable enhanced customization capabilities. Here are the key apps we recommend:
The launcher app controls the look, feel and functionality of your Android home screen. Switching to a third party launcher opens up extensive customization options.
Our top pick is Nova Launcher. Nova has been the go-to custom launcher for years and has an overwhelming amount of customization possibilities.
Other great launchers include:
To use a custom launcher:
- Download and install the launcher app
- Go to Settings > Apps > Default apps > Home app
- Select your desired launcher app
Icon packs let you drastically change the look of your app icons. There are thousands of icon packs to choose from with different styles.
Some of the most popular icon packs include:
To apply an icon pack:
- Download and install the icon pack app
- Long press on your home screen > Tap Styles & wallpapers > Tap Icons > Select your icon pack
Widgets let you add extra functionality to your home screen beyond just app shortcuts. There are widgets for weather, music, calendar, reminders, photos and so much more.
Some top widget apps include:
- KWGT – Extremely powerful and customizable widget engine.
- Minimalist KWGT – Beautiful minimal widgets.
- Another Widget – Large collection of widget designs.
To add widgets:
- Long press on your home screen
- Tap Widgets
- Select your desired widget
Wallpaper apps provide access to thousands of high quality wallpapers to match any home screen design.
Bonus: Styling Apps
Step 2: Find Home Screen Inspiration
Once you have the core customization apps installed, it’s time to find inspiration for your perfect home screen setup.
Here are some great sources of inspiration:
- Palette – My own app featuring thousands of beautiful, fully customizable home screen setups. All assets and links provided.
- Setapp – Showcases creative Android setups.
- Niagara Launcher Community – Setups for Niagara Launcher.
- Pinterest – Search “Android homescreen” for tons of eye catching setups.
- Instagram – Follow hashtags like #androidsetups and #homescreen to find creative designs.
- Twitter – Search hashtags like #androidthemes and #androidhomescreen.
- Reddit – Subreddits like r/androidthemes and r/NiagaraLauncher.
Watch YouTube videos showcasing beautiful, customized Android home screens. Some channels to follow include:
Spend time browsing these sources to find Android home screen designs that inspire you. Save photos of your favorite setups.
Step 3: Set Up Your Launcher
Once you have a vision in mind for your ideal home screen, it’s time to set up your launcher to match it.
If you want to fully recreate a specific setup, download any provided launcher backup files or templates. Otherwise, follow these general steps:
Pick Your Launcher
Choose which third party launcher you want as your default. We recommend Nova Launcher or Lawnchair.
Customize the Dock
The dock is the row of app shortcuts at the bottom. To edit:
- Long press on the dock
- Tap Edit dock
- Add/remove apps
- Change order
- Adjust icon size
Only keep your most used apps. Keep it clean.
Use App Drawer Customization Options
- Hide apps
- Icon customization
- Change number of columns
- Adjust icon size
- Background/style changes
Tweak to your preference.
Adjust Grid Size
Increase the grid size to allow more space between icons.
Found under Home screen settings.
Switch to a layout better suited to your widgets/icons. Common options:
- Vertical scroll
- Left/right swipe
Add Extra Home Screens
Add more screens for more space and organization.
Long press on a page > Edit pages.
Clean Up Home Screens
Remove unused apps and widgets. Only keep essentials on your home screen pages. Use the app drawer for the rest.
Set Up Search Bar
Customize or remove the Google search bar if needed.
Change icon styles and labels, folder styles, backgrounds and more via the launcher settings or themes.
Set up gestures like swipe up for app drawer to maximize efficiency.
With your launcher fully customized, you’ll have the perfect foundation for your home screen setup.
Step 4: Design Your Home Screens
Now for the fun part – designing your actual home screen pages! Follow these tips:
Pick Your Wallpaper
Choose a wallpaper that sets the overall visual tone. Check out wallpaper apps for tons of options.
Layout Your Apps
Arrange your apps cleanly and visually. Use alignment, symmetry and spacing intentionally.
Take advantage of widgets to add function alongside form. Check out KWGT and Another Widget.
Find Complementary Icons
Install an icon pack that matches your wallpaper. Use vibrant colors that pop.
Only Keep Essentials
Remove any unnecessary apps and widgets that clutter your layout. Keep it clean.
Maintain a consistent style across your home screen pages for a cohesive feel.
Step 5: Set Up Gestures and Shortcuts
Once your home screen layout is complete, set up gestures and shortcuts to maximize efficiency.
Configure custom swipe gestures in your launcher settings. Examples:
- Swipe up – Open app drawer
- Swipe down – Notification panel
- Double tap – Lock device
- Pinch in/out – Expand/shrink widgets
Use shortcuts to quickly open frequent apps and actions:
- Long press on home screen
- Select Shortcuts
- Configure as needed
Long press on app icons to configure shortcuts for common actions within apps.
If using full screen gestures, enable “Back gesture haptic feedback” under System settings for a smoother experience.
Customize your Quick Settings panel with toggles for frequently used features like WiFi, Bluetooth, Auto-Rotate etc.
Step 6: Advanced Customization (Optional)
For those who want to take Android customization to the max, here are some advanced techniques worth exploring.
Icon Pack Studio
Use Icon Pack Studio to create your own custom icon packs or remix existing packs.
Lets you customize at the individual icon level.
Leverage the full power of KWGT to create your own widgets or heavily modify existing ones.
Options like custom touch actions, animations etc.
KLWP Live Wallpapers
Design complex, interactive live wallpapers with KLWP. Animate wallpapers, add touch actions and create visual themes.
Significant learning curve but unmatched possibilities.
Root your Android device to enable complete system-level customization via apps like Substratum.
Warning: Rooting can brick your device if done improperly!
Install custom system firmware like LineageOS for a new Android experience.
For advanced users only. Also risks bricking device if done incorrectly.
Recreate Beautiful Home Screen Setups
The best way to master Android customization is by recreating beautiful home screen setups from scratch.
We’ll walk through how to set up two stunning designs:
Setup 1: Amoled Ocean
- Set Nova Launcher as default home screen
- Import Nova backup file for layout structure
- Install Stealth icon pack
- Set “Amoled Ocean” wallpaper from WallpapersCentral app
- Add “Nebbia 042” KWGT widget
- Size and position widget to fit top of screen
- Customize widget colors to #183877 and transparency to 60%
And that’s it! A beautiful, professional home screen in minutes.
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Setup 2: Purple Haze
- Set Lawnchair as default launcher
- Import Lawnchair backup for layout
- Install Polygon icon pack
- Set “Purple Haze” wallpaper from Papyrus app
- Add “Lime 015” KWGT widget
- Resize and position to bottom left
- Customize widget colors to match purple wallpaper
- Add “Photo Frame” and “Analog Clock” widgets
- Position widgets to complete layout
After following these steps, you’ll have a stunning, professionally designed home screen in very little time!
Top Android Home Screen Setups
For even more inspiration, here are some of the best Android home screen setups currently:
Recreates the clean, minimalist aesthetic of Google’s Pixel launcher.
Fun, nostalgic video game themed layout.
Optimized for efficiency with top apps easily accessible.
Deep dark wallpaper with vibrant neon icons. Stunning on OLED displays.
Beautiful fine art wallpaper combined with elegant widgets.
Hopefully this guide provided everything you need to know to deeply customize your Android phone in 2024 and beyond.
The key takeaways are:
- Android offers unmatched customization options
- Apps like launchers, icon packs and KWGT empower custom designs
- Finding inspiration online helps spark ideas
- Launchers provide the framework for your layout
- Wallpapers, widgets and icons let you express your style
- Shortcuts and gestures maximize efficiency
- Recreating professional setups improves skills
What are you waiting for? Go customize your Android phone like never before! Let us know your favorite customization tips in the comments.