October 6, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
One of the main reasons why many of us choose to use Android rather than a more locked down mobile OS is customization. Simply stated, Android allows us to tailor our devices to our own needs and tastes, in order to make them truly our own.
By virtue of its supremely modular nature and fantastic intent system, Android allows you to select default apps for pretty much anything. But what if instead of changing your default applications, you’d rather change the way things look? XDA Senior Member Snndev presents XThemer to help accomplish most theming-related tasks on Sony Xperia devices.
XThemer isn’t exactly new. In fact, the first version appeared a little over a year ago. However, two days ago, XThemer was given a massive overhaul to version 4, featuring a new interface that brings much easier theming. XThemer’s new interface allows users to create custom recovery-flashable themes to personalize exactly how the device’s UI looks and feels. And just as before, it is compatible with a wide range of Sony Xperia devices.
Make your way over to the original thread to get started with the customization fun.
So much of our Android experience is dependent on modifying various APKs. Modding, theming, ROM and app developing in one way or another often require some sort of tweaking, modifying, or refashioning of an APK. So XDA Senior Member XperienceD has decided to create a ‘Definite APK Modding and Theming’ thread intended for everything to do with modding and theming.
XperienceD starts this thread off with a thorough, ‘all-in-one’ guide on APK decompiling and recompiling, signing and zipaligning, .9PNGs, and flashable CWM zip files. Categorized into these respective sections, the guide comprehensively covers every tool, step, and code with sufficient detail and covered minutiae needed. He does so in such a way that any novice or aspiring developer without an engineering or computer science degree can follow. XperienceD eases the process with asides of advice, links to other guides, external resources and sites, and the inclusion of numerous helpful visuals and videos.
XperienceD’s guide is most definitely one of the more thorough and comprehensive guides that I’ve come across. Not only is it a great starting point for the beginner, but even the experienced folks may find the guide worth a read and a bookmark. So if this has gotten you curious, make sure to check out the original thread for more information.
June 23, 2013 By: Samantha
One of the first steps to theming brilliance for any aspiring themer is the changing of application icons, a skill that any experienced themer will undoubtedly need in their endeavors. And the great thing is, the process of doing so is not that difficult. Because of this, any novice can have a crack at it without the risks of the more complex activities.
Written by XDA Senior Member Rajeev, this simple and straight forward guide breaks down the process of changing app icons into ‘bite-size’ steps that are easily comprehensible and followed. Using the default phone book app as an example to demonstrate the procedure, the tutorial guides you through navigating the chosen APK with 7zip File Manager, finding where the right image files are located, and replacing them with custom icons of your choosing. The process is also illustrated visually with accompanying screenshots of the various steps. Of course, keep in mind that updating the app through the Play store will reverse this modification.
Changing icons of applications this way is usually recommended over using third party apps such as Desktop Visualizer since the changes will be consistent throughout your device rather than being limited to the home screen. So if you would like to give this a go, be sure to visit the original thread for more information.
[Screenshot courtesy of neizel]
Icons are some of the most commonly themed elements of the Android UI, and there is certainly no shortage of great looking icon packs available for download. The downside, however, is that some of these packs are designed to be used with specific launchers. And if you are anything like I am, quite attached to your launcher of choice and unwilling to switch, this can be frustrating. While there are ways of making use of any icons on any launcher, they can often be tedious if the compatibility isn’t there to begin with. With a little help from the Xposed Framework though, that process can be simplified considerably.
XDA Senior Member ruqqq developed Icon Themer, an Xposed module that allows you to use icon packs designed for specific launchers on a variety of other popular launchers quickly and easily. The module also offers a more consistent theming experience than other methods, as the icons are applied system-wide instead of simply on your home screen. The mod supports both paid and free icon packs available via the Play Store, and it will work on both odexed and deodexed ROMs. You need to be running Android 4.0+ with root access and of course have the Xposed Framework installed. After that, you can simply download the icon pack of your choice and apply it through Icon Themer.
Check out the modification thread for more information.
June 18, 2013 By: Samantha
There are still quite a few of folks who run Gingerbread on their devices—either because their devices have started to age a little bit, or the stability of ports of later versions is just not cutting it. However this doesn’t mean that they should be left out in the cold in terms of new functions and features, as XDA Recognized Themer and Contributor SpaceCaker has created a guide to get the Samsung Android 4.2.2 status bar and toggles on your Samsung device running Android 2.3.
SpaceCaker guides you through the necessary steps to successfully edit the .xml and .smali files within your SystemUI.apk clearly and logically, with accompanying examples of code to aid you through the way. Extra files are also needed, and these are conveniently provided by SpaceCaker in a downloadable zip file from the original post. The end result is the familiar tabbed settings and contact information in addition to the notification area with a row of quick settings lined up on the top. The settings are themed based on Samsung’s distinct lime-green UI design, although I suspect that the colors can be changed according to your own tastes with a couple simple changes of Hex values.
Third party status bar apps that essentially provide the same end result are often buggy and incompatible with earlier versions of Android. This guide offers a reliable alternative that’s also a great exercise for those who are into theming.
If you would like to give this a go, make sure to visit the original thread for more information.
Just recently, we featured a guide on how to decompile, recompile and sign APKs that has been of appreciable help to many Android users. However, if you’re stuck and don’t know how to put this into practice, and you’ve always wanted to either change the icons or names of apps on your Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, look no further than XDA Recognized Developer M_J_Nazari‘s guide on how to do such simple modifications.
What M_J_Nazari has written is a straightforward, step-by-step guide on how to easily change the icon and/or name of the chosen app with your hand-picked custom icon or name. The method requires you to download the attached APK provided in the forum post called CSCAppResource.apk, decompile it with the help of tools such as APKTool and guides such as the one previously mentioned, replacing icons with those hand picked yourself, and creating and editing .xml files found in the APK. M_J_Nazari gets some bonus kudos for also provided accompanying examples of code with each creation and edit of .xml files necessary for a successful modification of the APK.
This guide has been confirmed to work with multiple Samsung models including the Galaxy S3, S3 Mini, and Note 2, and has an active discussion regarding user questions and successes. So if you take a fancy to APK modifications or phone customization the old fashioned way without third party apps, most definitely check out the guide at its original thread.
[Screenshot of a Sense 5-themed Galaxy Note 2 courtesy of wildstang83]