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Interface transformation: Here's how to make your Android phone look like a Google Pixel

Posted: , by Peter K.

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Interface transformation: Here's how to make your Android phone look like a Google Pixel
Although stockish interfaces like the one found on Google's Pixel phones and previously on the Nexus lineup can easily be deemed boring, there's no denying that many adept users tend to stay away from overly-customized interfaces and strive to get the signature "stock Android" look on their phones. 

Thanks to the customizability and flexibility of Android, one can easily, hmm, "pixelize" the interface looks of their handset! Way to go! 

That's just what we will be doing this week - we'll help you turn your phone's interface as close to the one on the Google Pixel and Pixel XL as possible. Why? Well, because why not! Granted, we won't be able to emulate the interface as best as possible without root, but we'll try our best anyway!

Okay, let's jump right into it!

Step #1

Emulating the Pixel launcher

There's no second way around it - you will need Nova Launcher, the Prime version at that. This one's arguably the best custom launcher out there and has the perfect set of tools to emulate the stock Pixel launchers on any compatible Android device. Have in mind that the regular free version of Nova Launcher won't allow you to make use of certain features, with chief among these being icon scaling. 

Download Nova Launcher Prime here


Nova Launcher Prime lets you easily emulate the stock Pixel launcher
Nova Launcher Prime lets you easily emulate the stock Pixel launcher
Nova Launcher Prime lets you easily emulate the stock Pixel launcher

Nova Launcher Prime lets you easily emulate the stock Pixel launcher


Step #2

Set it up 

Okay, since one has to change a lot of settings in Nova Launcher in order to make it look anything like the stock Pixel launcher, we've compiled a backup that you simply need to import into the app. We can go on and list all the changes we've made, but we won't for the sake of brevity. Just grab the backup, save it in your phone, and import it in the Backup & Import settings. 

Download our settings backup here


Step #3

The icons

At the moment, the stock iconography on the Pixel and the Pixel XL is employing a neat circular shape. While we can't technically grab the original icons, we can head straight to the Play Store and grab a fitting Pixel-like icon pack. Thankfully, there are plenty of free and paid ones that fit the bill. If you want to get as close as possible to the Pixel look, try Ciao Studio's Pixel Icon Pack which will set you back $0.99. If you don't feel like shedding one buck for some icons, you can try Saurabh Gupta's Pixel Icon Pack, which is pretty similar but some of the icons on board slightly differ from their real counterparts.

Download a Pixel icon pack of your choice



Step #4

Don't forget the navigation bar!

Although we can't get the same navigation bar without root, we can somewhat achieve similar results with an app from the Play Store. However, the first prerequisite to emulating the Pixel's navigation bar is to have a device that either has or at least allows you to enable a software navigation bar on your phone. Duh! In case you meet that requirement, you only need to download axndx's Pixel Navigation Bar, which will add some white color to your software buttons so that they closely resemble the ones on the Pixel and the Pixel XL. That app is quite straightforward - just install it, open it, and enable it.  Easy peasy.

A little downside is that you won't have the neat home button animation on long-press when launching Google Assistant/Google Now on Tap, but one can't have it all!

Download Pixel Navigation Bar here


Here's how the navigation bar looks without Pixel NavBar enabled
Here's how the navigation bar looks with Pixel NavBar enabled

Here's how the navigation bar looks without Pixel NavBar enabled

Here's how the navigation bar looks with Pixel NavBar enabled


Step #5

Wallpaper magic

This one is rather easy - many of the wallpapers found on the Pixel and the Pixel XL including the live ones can be found inside Google's own Wallpapers app. 

Download it right here



Step #6 (Optional)

The Google Assistant

Initially a Pixel exclusive, the Google Assistant is now available for way more devices and having this one is an integral part of your phone's transformation towards its Pixel-y goal. In case Google has not enabled the Assistant for you yet, there's little you can do. In case you do but have willfully disabled the Assistant by changing your language to another English locale, make sure to change it back to US English and bring back the assistant.

And that's about it! If you follow these instructions closely, your home screen interface should resemble the one on the Pixel. Here's a comparison between a device that we modified and a real Pixel:

'Pixel-ized' Nougat device
Regular Google Pixel

'Pixel-ized' Nougat device

Regular Google Pixel

18 Comments
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posted on 16 Mar 2017, 04:24 1

1. Bankz (Posts: 1227; Member since: 08 Apr 2016)


Touchwiz > all android ux well except the oneplus because it has an option for a black backround which is honestly dope. Otherwise touchwiz >>> everyother android ux and its not even close (including the afformentioned oneplus)

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 04:59

2. androiduser (Posts: 165; Member since: 18 Jun 2014)


How so

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 05:56 2

4. lmao2016 (Posts: 31; Member since: 17 Mar 2016)


TouchWiz is lame...Bye now.

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 06:40

7. amasog (Posts: 420; Member since: 22 Aug 2013)


So? Are you stockholder of samsung?

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 07:08

8. joeytaylor (Posts: 843; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


I have a black background on my S7..... through the theme store

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 09:20

15. danny_a2005 (Posts: 214; Member since: 06 Oct 2011)


Bankz is blind, loool, pixel is the best UI. If I had to chose other, I'd choose sense or sony's UI.

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 11:51

17. tommy_vercetti (Posts: 22; Member since: 10 Oct 2016)


i guess you never used miui

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 05:55 2

3. ibend (Posts: 6313; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


"Be Together, Not The Same"
- google

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 06:04

5. madbmd (Posts: 36; Member since: 26 Mar 2014)


Stock Android = Ugly UI

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 06:35

6. sachouba (Posts: 204; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)


http://oi65.tinypic.com/ynd05.jpg
You are welcome.

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 07:50

9. trojan_horse (Posts: 3686; Member since: 06 May 2016)


Apex Launcher over Nova Launcher, any day.

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 08:09

10. medtxa (Posts: 1284; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)


lol, same. I never liked nova launcher(maybe because I hate the name 'nova' it's silly)

posted on 17 Mar 2017, 11:48

18. PHYCLOPSH (Posts: 460; Member since: 28 Jun 2014)


Nova launcher is the best piece of (non root) software made for Android, period.
Nova literally means "no go" in Spanish. Hence, the Chevrolet Nova sold very poorly in Latin-speaking countries. Ultimately, it was discontinued in those markets.
Say, you wouldn't happen to be of Latin descent, would you?

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 08:13

11. libra89 (Posts: 757; Member since: 15 Apr 2016)


Weird that Action Launcher is not mentioned at all, considering that it takes one click to make it look like the Pixel!

Just one.

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 08:21

12. medtxa (Posts: 1284; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)


Evie launcher which is almost similar to pixel launcher but personally I think it looks better.

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 08:32

13. libra89 (Posts: 757; Member since: 15 Apr 2016)


I just tried that out and I'm liking it a lot. It does look better.

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 08:38 1

14. medtxa (Posts: 1284; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)


Yeah, it's simple and you don't have to deal with OCD like with over-customize launcher.

posted on 16 Mar 2017, 11:06

16. SleeperOne (Posts: 370; Member since: 25 Feb 2017)


I use SquareHome 2 with a very minimalist configuration. I don't need an overabundance of icons or 'bouncy things'

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