August 17, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Much of the joy of owning an Android device comes from being able to customize and modify the OS as we see fit. While the most impactful device modifications undoubtedly involve changing elements of the Android OS such as the kernel, ROM, and so on, a large part of the user experience can be improved by simply adding a theme. Because of this, Android theming has become quite common in the forums.
Although there are thousands of themes available for various devices in the XDA forums, there are many reasons why one would wish to create his or her own theme. After all, everyone’s own personal taste is different. If you’re a theming newbie with a Sony Xperia Device running either Android 4.1.x or 4.2.x and you’d like to easily create a Sony Xperia compatible theme for your device, XDA Senior Member abo hani has the perfect guide for you.
In order to follow the guide, you’ll need APKTool and Notepad++ (or equivalent). Luckily, links to both are provided in the thread. Abo hani’s guide covers every step, from start to finish, in great detail. There are pictures and a sample theme to build your own theme from. Unfortunately, this guide only works with Sony devices running Android 4.1 or 4.2, as the theming engine was changed in 4.3 and beyond.
If you own a Sony Xperia device that runs Android 4.1 or 4.2, simply head over to the Sony Xperia Jelly Bean theme creation guide to learn more.
August 3, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Seeing a theme covered here on XDA portal isn’t too common. We don’t often like to play favorites and feature a particular piece of creative work, as creating a good theme requires lots of time and skills. But sometimes we make exceptions, especially when the project that we want to present to you is different from most available on XDA.
For a few years now, the XDA-Developers forum has offered a default color scheme that has come to represent “home” to many users. This is of course the chocolate-like brown that we see in the forums and here on the XDA Portal. Using this as inspiration, XDA Recognized Contributor EnricoD created a theme that changes the look of your OS into… XDA! As described by the author himself:
XDAdev’s caramel lovingly dipped in either white or dark/milky hearty chocolate finished with Swappa’s pistachio
It’s really hard to find a better description for the color scheme used in this theme. Practically every UI element is designed to match the XDA style.
The theme will work only on ROMs with native theme support (e.g. CyanogenMod, ParanoidAndroid, AOKP, and so on). If this theme doesn’t work, you will have to look into finding a compatible ROM.
This theme is perfect for every XDA addict. It’s unique because of its color scheme, and a must-have for many addicted users of our forum. If you are looking for download, the ChocoUI theme thread is the best place to get started.
July 28, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
In addition the obvious proficiency with graphics, creating a good Android theme requires certain knowledge about exactly one must do. Even the default theme engine used many ROMs requires theme files to have a compatible structure, otherwise your newly created themes will not work or will be incomplete.
Sony devices have a quite unique UI, which many people fancy. Unfortunately, like most of stock ROMs, it’s bloated and full of commercial content. Because of this, quite a few XDA folks decide to venture over to AOSP-derived ROMs in their many flavors. If you ever wondered how to make an AOSP ROM to look like an Xperia device, XDA Senior Member gamzekal has the answer to this question. Gamzekal wrote a guide about porting Xperia Themes to CyanogenMod 11. The whole trick is to use Ambor Theme Engine by XDA Senior Member Ambor and change a few files. The guide explains which files should be changed and what code should be replaced in order to get a theme working on CM.
You’ll need a few minutes of free time and the themer’s best friend, APKTool. To learn how to theme your CM ROM to look like an Xperia ROM, visit the Xperia to CM Theme guide thread to get started.
July 3, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Unquestionably, many have grown to like Android L since its official unveiling. Since then, we’ve seen users come up with random application ports, ringtones, and other goodies from Google’s latest work in progress OS. We are all waiting for the official release, so why not give our current OS builds some of L’s graphical style?
Not too long ago, we talked about a theme that changes your UI to look like that in Android L. Unfortunately, however, this only works on ROMs with CyanogenMod’s new theme engine installed. Now, everyone can try Android L’s look on their devices.
XDA Forum Member Adhi1419 made this possible using Xposed Framework. The module themes pretty much everything, including statusbar icons, settings, calculator, ringtones, and so on. Some users reported issues with non-CyanogenMod ROMs, but hopefully they will be fixed soon.
Are you tired of your current Jelly Bean or KitKat look? If so, visit the original thread to change your theme right away.
June 29, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
This past week was quite a frenzy for Android fans, with Google I/O bringing a number of announcements regarding Android and its expansion to our wrists, cars, and living rooms. Perhaps the most significant was Google’s unveiling of Android L. The L release is slated to bring a rather significant departure in the Android UI, taking us from transitioning from Holo (first seen in Android 3.0 Honeycomb) to the new Material Design.
The Android L Developer Preview was launched for the Nexus 5 or a Nexus 7 (2013) last week. But while the rest of us twiddle our thumbs in anticipation of its launch in the Fall, there are some things we can do to give our device the L look, such as installing the apps extracted from the L system dump.
If that isn’t enough, XDA Member PixCM has gone ahead and assembled an Android L theme. This theme, which is compatible with the CM11 Theme engine, completes the Android L look with the new boot animation, font, wallpapers, system bars, ringtones, icons and lots more.
Team Win Recovery Project, or TWRP for short, is one of the most popular custom recovery options available. It offers support for a wide variety of devices both new and old. It has all the features that you would expect to find in a recovery, as well as a whole lot more. One such not necessarily essential, but nonetheless welcome feature is support for custom themes. While a recovery might not be the first thing on everyone’s list of things to theme, I suspect that a few of you out there spend just as much time looking at recovery as you do actually using your device.
For those of you who do theme your TWRP, XDA Senior Member ScumpinatoS created an application that might be of interest. It’s called simply, TWRP Theme Manager, and in case you haven’t already guessed, it will allow you to download, install, and manage themes for your recovery. You can browse available themes and download them via the app or import your existing themes from SD card to make dressing up TWRP just that little bit easier.
The application does not require root and is compatible with devices running Android 4.0 or above. Please note that the version 2.7 of TWRP is the only version compatible with TWRP Theme Manager. Check out the application thread for more information.
When Google released Android 4.4 KitKat back in October of last year, they changed quite a bit under the hood to improve the OS’s performance. But in addition to cleaning up various bits and pieces of code to make things more efficient as part of Project Svelte, Google also got rid of the dynamic status bar indicators that would change colors to indicate network connectivity.
In doing so, Google replaced the dynamic blue and white signal and connectivity indicators in the Android status bar with static white icons. Not only did this improve UI performance by reducing rendering overhead and UI overdraw, but it also cleaned up the overall look of Android’s UI. Unfortunately though, there are still quite a few places in Android where you can still find the Tron-esque Holo Blue. But now thanks to XDA Recognized Themer rush25, you can finish what Google started.
Rush25’s theme subtly transforms quite few common Google applications to the KitKat-friendly white UI. The themed applications include the Dialer, messaging app, Calendar, Desk Clock, Gallery, Camera, Settings, Google Ears, Gmail, and more. The theme was built following a previously covered guide by XDA Senior Member enricocid, and I installs through the popular T-Mobile/CyanogenMod Theme Engine. And those running other ROMs can get in on the action using XDA Senior Member hdbk1986‘s HKThemeManager Xposed Module.
To get started, simply head over to the original thread.
[Thanks to enricocid for the tip!]
April 13, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Theming is an art. As such, making a beautiful theme is an extremely time consuming and challenging task. Preparing resources requires countless hours spent in a graphics editor app. Putting everything together into an application isn’t easy, but within XDA you’ll find a long list of guides and tutorials that help you understand the Android ecosystem better.
If you have some ideas regarding theming and don’t know where to start, you should read a guide written by XDA Senior Member SArnab©®. This guide explains how to create a theme in Eclipse for Xperia devices in step-by-step detail. The guide should work with Xperia phones running Android 4.3.
Every step is explained with screenshots and commentary, so you most likely won’t get lost while making your own theme. The guide author was also kind enough to provide all the necessary files and source code for the Xperia Pink Theme, which can be used for reference. And with a few relatively minor modifications, you can make a generic theme that works with every device—not just those by Sony.
This guide is a great starter for those looking to begin a journey in theming. So if you are planning to modify the look of your device, head over to the original thread and study it carefully. We wish you all good luck and no build errors!
March 23, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
In addition to rooting, modifying, and otherwise hacking our mobile devices, many take to modifying the visuals as well. This can range from installing various themes to playing around with various launchers and more.
There is an almost endless supply of available themes in our Android Themes forum, and then there’s the whole awesomeness of Themer. But not every theme that you could possibly want has been neatly packaged for ease of installation. And if you’ve ever manually installed an icon pack, you know how much of a pain this can be.
XDA Senior Member Blaze wanted to do something about this. To that end, he created a template icon pack to help themers easily package up their icon packs for easy end-user installation. Blaze’s template icon pack works with all the popular launchers (Go, Aviate, Nova, Apex, ADW, Holo, and more), and it supports Android 2-3 through 4.4.2. Blaze also shows you how to get your icons integrated into the template icon pack in just a few steps.
If you’re a themer and you want to make it easy for your users to install your icon packs, head over to the original thread and give this a try!
March 17, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
We’ve all added superfluous swag items to our home screens from time to time just because they look cool. Be it a clock widget when you have a perfectly functional clock indicator in your status bar or a battery widget, these bits of flair are the digital equivalents of large and unnecessary car spoilers. Looking at the large clock widget on my main home screen, I can admit that I’m certainly guilty of this, as I’m sure you have been at some point as well. So why not embrace it?
XDA Senior Member OlliG recently released a beta version of his upcoming Battery Wallpaper live wallpaper app. As its title states, Battery Wallpaper displays your current battery level front and center as your live wallpaper. So why is this noteworthy? Because Battery Wallpaper does this in a very aesthetically appealing way.
Battery Wallpaper allows you to select one of seven different battery styles to show in its battery gauge. And in addition to simply showing you your battery level in gauge form, Battery Wallpaper also changes its colors based on your current battery level. The colors that it uses can be customized, and the app can even use a gradient of the selected colors to show an in between state. Battery Wallpaper also allows you to define your own custom background image, if you’d rather personalize your home screen with your own images.
Yes, a battery wallpaper offers no “real” functionality over, let’s say, a status bar battery icon. But that’s not the point. Battery Wallpaper looks nice, and it puts this information smack dab in the middle of our screens. Head over to the application thread to get started.
Theming can involve a number of long and tedious activities. Applying the same theme to dozens, even hundreds of icons. even more tedious is taking those icons and putting them back into the apk files they came from.
For users of the HTC Rezound, there’s one less step from concept to completion. XDA Senior Member MrSmith317 has created a .bat script that automatically switches out the icons in the com.htc.resources.apk, framework-res.apk and SystemUI.apk for your themed ones. As with any new software, there are a few peculiarities that people who want to try it and some potential improvements that could be added in future releases. As MrSmith317 explains:
Only gotcha is that it is case sensitive providing the APK name. I’d love to hear feedback if you give it a try. I’ll revise this again in a bit after I get some feedback. If there’s interest I’ll build one that allows XML swaps as well.
The instructions are very easy to follow so there’s virtually no learning curve for those who are still new to the theming world. Just drop the icons into the appropriate folder and run the script.
For those themers out there who want to check it out, you can find the script download, the instructions and discussion about it in the tool’s thread.
Are you a WidgetLocker fan? If so, you may have noticed several themes for the popular lock screen replacement floating around XDA. However with so many themes to choose from, finding and getting a quick look at all of the available options has become quite difficult.
Luckily XDA forum member zHk3R has stepped in to create a screenshot-laden theme index! With over 100 indexed themes to choose from we recommend all WidgetLocker users head over to the original thread ASAP!
August 15, 2011 By: Ben Elliott
It goes without saying that Samsung’s Galaxy S II is a very handsome device. However, sometimes the aesthetics of available custom ROMs aren’t to everyone’s taste. To remedy this, XDA member doctorcete has released regularly updated ports of the Lucid Hyperdroid theme for the newest versions of VillainROM and Cognition for the Galaxy S II, a theme which has already become a popular alternative look amongst owners of other devices.
Using these all-in-one flashable zips means you don’t have to worry about applying any smaller aspects of the theme yourself, and gives you confidence that everything that could be themed has been – the most staple, go-to apps have been themed along with the framework and TouchWiz.
If you’d like to make your newly bought Galaxy S II look that bit more elegant, the theme ports are available in the development thread, where you’ll also find more screenshots, installation instructions and a quick guide to porting the theme to unsupported ROMs.