Poll: Android customization – how far do you go?

Poll: Android customization – how far do you go?
"Beauty of Android" – if there's one phrase the Android faithful among our readers are fond of, it is that one. And it usually follows a piece or a confirmation of the operating system's open-ended nature that allows its users to pretty much do as they please – at least so long as they're ready to roll up their sleeves and do the work. 

But not everybody is as waist-deep as some of us when it comes to making Android look and feel exactly like we want it. Some, for example, are content with just having the option to occasionally spice things up by switching their wallpaper and ringtone, while others opt for a third-party launcher that does that and much more without requiring much manual work. The last group includes the heavyweights in personalization among us – those who like having control over as many elements of the UI as possible and do not shy away from modding their devices to get what they want.

Which group do you feel you belong to? 

Poll: Android customization – how far do you go?

A wallpaper switch here, a ringtone substitution there, but no further
As far as my fancy, third-party launcher would allow me
Icon packs, walls, ringtones, fonts, lockscreen replacement apps – the whole shebang



1. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

#! Any good Chrismas theme?

2. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

How far do I go? My Nexus 4 has TWRP and rooted LiquidSmooth 4.4.4KK. I'm using HellsCore custom kernel which gives great performance with good (well..good for a Nexus 4) battery life as well as double-tap-to-wake. I've applied the LTE modem hack, updated the Adreno drivers, and I use Xposed, Nova Launcher, and LS settings to customize appearance and functionality. I use Wifi Tether Router to use my T-Mobile unlimited highspeed plan's data as a wifi hotspot without going against my 5gb tether allotment. And of course, AdAway to block ads. If I get bored with LiquidSmooth, I can easily try a different ROM (including a bunch of Lollipop ROMs), flash an overclocking kernel, etc..all without losing my data by simply doing a Titanium batch backup. On my Samsung Galaxy Light I also have TWRP and root, use Xposed to clean up TouchWiz's excessive crap, as well as debloating a bunch of T-Mobile and Samsung garbage. Apart from the ROM being stock Samsung, I've the same interface and appearance tweaks. There's a couple devs working on Cyangonmod, so hopefully I can completely ditch TouchWiz soon. It took me hours and of monkeying around, but I finally got Wifi Tether Router to work on this phone too. If Icon packs, walls, ringtones, fonts, lockscreen replacement apps counts as "the whole shebang", then what does this count as? The whole shethermonuclearexplosion?

10. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

showoff :P

11. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

If only I knew how to code and create (or at least modify) things myself. I can only use what others much smarter than I have created.

39. shayan

Posts: 159; Member since: Sep 09, 2010

Try android kitchen for start. you can cook your own roms based on others sources. But as far az customization goes, I flashed a prerooted rom with a nice kernel and I am using gmd gestures a lot which changed the whole experience. My friend took it another level with "only" using gestures. He flashed a MIUI rom on his galaxy S3 to make it possible ( the phone is dying, I don't think any other rom could handle his model of using his phone) and made his launcher a 1 page launcher, deleted all of it's icons, made the status bar disappear, and defined a whole bunch of gesture to fire up all sort of apps and settings. Now, no one else can use his phone but himself.

25. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

lolololololololololololololololol You want the ULTIMATE in Android customization????? Try root! I can do what Planterz can but I take it further... I change animations & even the list view animations with Xposed Framework modules. I have been enjoying Android 5.0 Lollipop style animations since my Samsung Galaxy Nexus days. I have insanely better animations than anything Android 5.0 Lollipop can ever offer. Those list view animations are bananas! My phone is one of a kind. No one has my set-up. I can guarantee this. Thanks to root. Anyone who sees my Note 3 in action is blown away. "Wait... What did your phone just do? Holy crap that's awesome. How did you do that? What do you mean root?" I get that all the time, especially from the Apple crowd... lol I have converted some to Android because of it... +1

26. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

They will never understand unless they take the plunge and do it themselves. Ive been running stock on my Note 4 just to get a feel for it. Probably gonna go nuts with it this week since there's some really solid work out there for it.

29. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Personally I think it's worth rooting if only to install an ad blocker. It's so nice to not see (and accidentally tap) in-app ads in free apps that don't give you the option for a paid ad-free version or via IAP. Plus it makes viewing websites like PA tolerable (and faster to load!). It's also great that I can do backups and restores between devices for games that don't store progress online and make batch backups to share between devices and ROMs. Although it took me a few days to nail down a persistent System UI crashing problem on my Galaxy Light. Turns out on my Nexus 4, I had XBlastTools nav bar options enabled, and the Galaxy Light, having no nav bar, wasn't compatible.

28. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

SuperAndroidEvo, what module(s) do you use to play around with animations? I haven't played around with animations yet, but it sounds like fun.

31. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Xuimod has the list view animations, system animations, & keyboard animations. You are going to go crazy with them. They just add some awesome flair to the overall experience since we all constantly scroll though menus & text messages... There are lost of other animations you can get on XDA. Check this video out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QLF_BLEYnQ

32. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011


33. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Derp, I already have Xuimod on my phones, I'm just not using it for anything. I was using it for some status bar mods, but I'm using different modules (or just built-in settings with LS on my Nexus 4), so I haven't even looked at or updated it in a while.

35. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Wow it was really right under your nose... Wait until you unleash the animations beast. +1

38. TreyTreyTaylor

Posts: 728; Member since: Dec 21, 2010

AMEN lol.

30. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I forgot about sideloading Flash so I can watch videos on websites that don't use HTML5 yet. Can't do that on an iPhone or Windows Phone.

3. Loubielou

Posts: 603; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

After Switching from Symbian to Android,its so easy to Customize your own phone,with loads of Launchers,Icons,Themes and Widgets,but you also have to keep close eye on which Applications and a Running and Draining the Battery,Dodol Launcher i use after Go Launcher drains the battery to much,Stamped Black,Blue or White icons are Very Good,icon Changer is Good to Use to Change the icons,Real Colours for Grid Wallpapers,ClockQ Premium the Best Clock were you can Show the Batterylife and Set when to Turn Wi-Fi on or Off ,Android is easier the Best to Use and Customize

20. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Its true. Need to be savvy otherwise just use the default with used third parties apps disabled.

4. iluvsonynokia

Posts: 161; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

thanks to xda

5. Mfa901

Posts: 291; Member since: Jul 14, 2012

A modified system UI., Unicon icon themer, and a custom rom

6. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

What ROM(s) do you like? I like LiquidSmooth the best, but I'm also a fan of Carbon, Omni, Slim, Mahdi, and Dirty Unicorns. Of course, you can't go wrong with CyanogenMod, but for me, CM was like the Vicodin that was the gateway the black tar heroin that is the world of custom ROMs.

7. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

There was time my phone didn't look like Android at all, I changed whole SystemUI, played with Xposed, with everything, but later I realised how much it made my phone lag, so now I have everything stock.

8. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

It's easy to go overboard with Xposed. Each module takes little RAM/processing power, but if you run a bunch of them all at once, it can indeed bog things down. I think I've found a good balance on my Galaxy Light, and with my Nexus 4, far less is needed with Xposed so it's not an issue on that phone at all.

9. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

The real "danger" with Xposed is that you can have several modules running at the same time that are doing or trying to do the same thing. It's tedious (countless reboots), but make one change at a time. If you change several settings at once, you won't know what might be causing conflicts or lag. And yes, I speak from experience.

12. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Nova Launcher, Black Background and true black icons

18. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Amoled display?

21. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

True Black is a battery saver for OLED display. AMOLED is as good as Retina trademark. Lucky for me I do like black background.

27. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

I like black/dark backgrounds and cyan fonts/widgets. Old school yet cool.

13. Nimay_7

Posts: 26; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

Well i am voting for only first option as custom rom option aint provided, i am using CM 12 Unofficial 5.0 for my XT910. But ya i just change wallpapers and ringtones.

14. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Using Nova launcher on rooted stock Lollipop, 1 homescreen with my own Zooper widgets, Popup widgets and Tasker. Android L icons

15. leonmbj

Posts: 45; Member since: Jun 05, 2014

Custom ROM + ROOT + Xposed Framework

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.