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.
November 11, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Many may question the need to theme their Android recovery. After all, recovery partitions are strictly utilitarian by nature. But as recoveries are becoming user friendly, the overall look of the UI should be brought up to par as well. And if you’ve been earning your Frequent Flasher miles, you might as well make the experience even more pleasurable when trying out those latest kernel updates and nightly ROM builds.
Not too long ago, we talked about a rather unique set of TWRP recovery themes for 720p devices created by XDA Senior Member Primokorn. At the time, one in particular caught our eye. That was, of course, the unofficial XDA theme.
Unfortunately, these recovery themes were only compatible with 720p devices. And since most new flagships now ship with 1080p screens, many on modern devices were left out cold. Now, Primokorn has also created 1080p TWRP themes. And yes, our favorite unofficial XDA TWRP theme is there as well.
The ability to make your mobile experience truly your own is what sets Android apart from other mobile OSes. This is why we flock to things like Themer, as well as other pre-made themes. Another avenue to take, however, is to get into the nitty gritty and do it all yourself.
The XThemeEngine by XDA Senior Member ruqqq is a great delivery method for user-created themes. Similar to the TMobile Theme engine of yore, the engine allows you to install a theme apk and activate it from the app’s menu. In other words, no flashing zips, and no metamorph. Instead, all you need is to have installed is Recognized Developer rovo89‘s powerful Xposed Framework (thread).
What if instead of using pre-existing themes, you’d rather make your own? Luckily, Recognized Contributor saqib nazm has written an incredibly thorough guide to theme creation with XThemeEngine. He even includes directions on how to port existing themes that were originally intended for the TMobile/CM theme engine. To get started, you’ll obviously need Xposed and XThemeEngine. Then, you’ll need something to work with the base APK, such as Virtuous Ten Studio, as well as a visual editing software package like Paint.NET.
Head over to the guide thread and get to some serious customization.
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.
If you like to theme or otherwise modify your mobile apps, you have surely had to sign a fair number of APKs in order to then install them to your device. Unfortunately, though, this typically means having to use your PC. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but if you wish to do a bit of app modification on the fly and away from home, this could present a little bit of an issue.
Thankfully, XDA Senior Member thewarlord briefly outlined the incredibly simple steps required to sign both an APK and a flashable update.zip from the comfort of your mobile device. The guide is split into two parts: one for APK signing and one for update.zip signing. The process for either involves using the freely available ZipSigner app, and selecting the proper options. And if you also need to decompile and recompile your app on the fly, you are instructed to use the open source APKTool for Android.
Road warriors should head over to the mini-guide thread to get started
September 30, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’ve been following the rumor mill surrounding Android 4.4 KitKat, you’ve surely seen the unverified leaked images of the new status bar. Rather than being a static shade, many think that the next revision of the OS will feature a dynamically colored status bar that changes depending on the app currently in view. This isn’t a new feature, however.
We’ve seen options to allow for this implemented by the Paranoid Android team for quite some time. However, it would be nice to see this in first party form, as well as being made accessible to all users on the latest OS. Until then, XDA Senior Member MohammadAG has us covered with an Xposed module aimed at doing exactly that.
Since this module uses app-specific colors and naturally not every app has been added to the database, there will be a bit of tweaking required for less common applications. So far, there are 9 apps added with default colors across 13 activities, but if you’d like to see more, you can add them in through the developer’s Google Drive. However, future apps can be written to make use of MohammadAG’s status bar module by using a special intent that allows status bar and icon color to be specified.
Make your way over to the module thread to get started.
Sometimes, it’s those little tweaks that fill us with the most joy inside—you know, little goodies like boot animations, themed icons, and the like. After all, our mobile devices are growing so incredibly powerful that not even manufacturer-supplied bloatware can hold them back from delivering acceptable levels of performance. Because of this, many have taken to creating and applying themes all throughout their OS in the form of themed apps, launchers, and icons.
Not too long ago when we were talking about TWRP2, we mentioned that it had recently acquired theme support. At the time, we laughed, wondering why anyone would actually want to actually theme their recovery. Again, though, it’s those little things that seem to matter most.
XDA Senior Member Primokorn created a set of beautiful TWRP themes compatible with 720p devices. One in particular caught our eye, and you can see it in the image to your right… Need I say more?