I am expecting a little bundle of joy in January 2017, but as anyone who’s been pregnant knows, it isn’t all easy. So why don’t people just reproduce by splitting in two, like amoebas do? Wouldn’t that be far easier and less risky for our species? One of our main advantages is the way we reproduce promotes variety.
We aren’t all clones of one another. So why would we all want to get the same iPhone, with apps that look the same as everyone else’s, uniform clocks and calendars, no customized widgets or shortcuts, the same launcher, etc.?
On Android, your imagination is the limit, not what some executive at Apple tells you it is. And what better place to start making your Android your own than the home screen?
1. Setting the Background
Sure, you can change the wallpaper on iPhones, too. But this is just the first step in making the home screen our own. Did you know there are a ton of apps out there that will allow you to make your own wallpaper, themes, and launchers? Take for instance Go DIY Themer (Beta).
Download: Go DIY Themer (Beta)
GO DIY Yourself Themer was created for those who are tired of having the same themes and launchers as everyone else. Some say it should have more options, and hopefully it will soon since it’s in beta, but this is still a nice start. If you are looking for something more lively, check out Video Live Wallpaper. This app allows you to set your own videos as your wallpaper.
Download: Video Live Wallpaper
Live Wallpaper Maker Lite also gives you the power to use video clips, images, GIFs, beautiful objects, and words as your background. Now you can put animated images of celebrities, cat videos, or whatever you want on your background.
Download: Live Wallpaper Maker Lite
app worth mentioning is KLWP Live Wallpaper Maker, which still lets you use animations, but also provides an editor to create your own designs, clocks, display data, live maps, patterns, weather, widgets, and more. If none of the apps are exactly what you had in mind for creating your background, there are plenty more on Google Play that can be found by searching for Make your own wallpaper.
Download: KLWP Live Wallpaper Maker
Still feel like you could use a little more guidance in this area, maybe even a template? Mycolorscreen.com has tutorials to walk you through. It will help you find the right combination of launchers, wallpapers, and widgets that go together to achieve the overall theme you desire. It’s more of a packaged deal than a la carte.
2. Personalized Launchers
Many custom launchers include the ability to create your own Android home screen layout with custom widgets. For instance, Nova Launcher Prime lets you specify the number of panels, icons per panel, replace icons, sort your app drawer, and gives you more say in scrolling effects, while keeping it close to the stock Android launcher experience.
Download: Nova Launcher Prime
Other launchers, like Go Launcher – Theme, Wallpaper allow you to throw conventional themes, effects, and widgets to the wind. The launcher offers 10,000 plus themes, 25 screen animation effects, gestures, 15 widgets, and a new DIY themer that allows you to use your own wallpapers and icons.
Download: Go Launcher – Theme, Wallpaper
Smart Launcher Pro 3 provides up to nine screens, gestures, widget-to-icon assignment, categorization of apps, more control over your category list, more drawer animations, a search option with apps, contacts, and more. If you are looking for simple, functional, and flexible, this is a great launcher to try.
Download: Smart Launcher Pro 3
If, instead, you want to try out other phones’ user interfaces, apps like Launcher 8 WP Style allow you to test them out and personalize.
Download: Launcher 8 WP Style
If you are a Minecraft fan, there are tons of these launchers on Google Play, such as Master for Minecraft – Launcher. Go to Google Play and you are bound to find a launcher that will let you customize to your heart’s desire, experiment, get more of what you are into, and create your own themes and icons.
Download: Master for Minecraft – Launcher
You can try out different launchers, but you may not have to go anywhere to download anything in order to customize your Android launcher. The default launcher has vastly improved simpler customization options, especially on certain devices and more recent versions. Lots of devices will now permit the editing of themes, widgets, the size of the grid screen, create folders, show news updates or social media info, and much more. Custom launchers do make it easier and faster to completely change the appearance of your home screen, though.
3. Customized Widgets
There are built-in widgets on Android that give you quick access to information, but shouldn’t you also have a say as to what that widget data should be and how it should appear? With these widgets, you can. Zooper Widget gives you a starting point with free templates of designs, but are still free to customize. You can make your clock, date, and battery status look like a grand movie marquee. Tweak the appearance of missed calls and messages; create widgets to monitor and display system settings.
Download: Zooper Widget
Amber Weather widget offers options as variable as the weather in the Midwest. Choose from 90 plus customizable widgets in 30 different languages. You can set it to send you weather advice when you wake up or before you go to sleep. You can also get your weather—plus a clock, numerous toggles, flip animations, and track your battery on the Beautiful Widgets app. It’s an older app, but they have done some updates, especially if you go for the paid version.
Download: Amber Weather – Local Forecast
So far we’ve discussed options for clocks, notifications, weather, etc., but what about calendars?
Calendar Widget provides numerous widget theme options to customize your calendar. If you need reminders or to be able to take a lot of notes, Sticky Notes is intended to help you do just that. And we can’t move on without mentioning UCCW – Ultimate Custom Widget (Where did that second C come from?). The editor lets you tailor layouts, images, fonts, shapes, and more. It is one of the most commonly used apps to create your own Android home screen with custom widgets.
Download: Beautiful Widgets Pro
Download: Calendar Widget: Month
Download: Sticky Notes + Widget
Download: UCCW – Ultimate Custom Widget
4. For Inspiration
If you are like me, when it comes to designing and decorating my home or home screen, I enjoy and gain much inspiration seeing how others have done it. Sometimes this turns into a hodgepodge of different ideas, but I find a way to tie it together, make it work, and most importantly—make it my own. Deviant Art’s website has many examples to admire, and like a recipe, many of these also tell you what ROM, launcher, lockscreen, widgets, icons, and home and lock screen walls they used.
Mycolorscreen.com that was mentioned earlier does this for you as well. You don’t have to follow them exactly if you don’t want to; feel free to add or subtract what you wish. Reddit is another haven for discovering and sharing ideas. You’ll also find new themes from Android users like yourself on Google+.
You might not have time to really sit down and compose all of the elements of your home screen. You might be looking for a one-click solution, and some of these themes and launchers can provide that for you. But there is something very satisfying about creating everything yourself, maybe not exactly from scratch, but in a way that is no one else’s. Your home screen should also function the way you need it to.
Many people also customize their lock screens as well, since these can also furnish information and sport their own design. And of course, you can change the lock method to one you better prefer. Some apps put more emphasis on security, while others function more as widgets. If you root your phone, there’s nothing stopping you from changing almost anything and everything on a phone but there can be risks.
How did you make your home screen unique? Is it gorgeous, functional, or both? Send us your thoughts.