Android themes are in a transitional period. In the old days, you basically had to root your phone if you wanted to change things like your settings menu colors or make the Google Play Store dark. Today, many OEMs support system-wide theming with dedicated theme stores or, at the very least, dark modes that affect every possible app on your phone contingent on whether the app developer allows it.
However, a lot of the old ways still work today, including icon packs, third-party Android launchers, various wallpaper apps, and even some more hardcore stuff like widget and live wallpaper creators. There are a ton of things you can do and, honestly, it requires several app lists to name them all. In this one, we’ll talk about the best Android themes from a customization standpoint. We have other app lists linked up below for even more theming ideas.
Finally, Google is bringing native theming to Android 12. We expect that to really lift the customization capabilities of Android moving forward.
The best Android themes and customizations
Price: Free / Up to $12.00
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Action Launcher is a great place to start for theming. It comes with some basic theming elements. It can auto-customize the colors of the launcher from the colors on your wallpaper. Additionally, it has a variety of customization options to make everything look pretty much how you want. That includes Android 7.1 style app shortcuts, a quick bar, smart-sized icons, and elements from the Google Pixel Launcher. It’s also a rock-solid launcher app. You can do all kinds of fun Android themes with this one and a little elbow grease. Evie Launcher is another excellent launcher with a lot of individual customization options.
Energy Bar (or Energy Ring) is a series of apps that let you do fun stuff with your screen. The original Energy Bar puts a battery meter along the top border of your screen. It goes down as your battery goes does. The notch and pinhole cameras complicated things a bit, but the developer has the Energy Ring series of apps for those obstacles. The apps work on any phone with a flat upper screen, most devices with a pinhole, and about half a dozen devices with a notch. You’ll have to check out the developer’s page to find the one that works best for you, but it’s a neat way to accentuate the top of your phone.
Facer and WatchMaker
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Wear OS has an extensive theming system. Facer and WatchMaker are probably the pinnacles of that. Both of them allow you to custom make watch faces for your Android Wear device. You can also find thousands of watch faces from other people. You can upload your designs and contribute to that number as well. Facer also supports Gear S2 and S3 devices. Those with Wear OS can use theming apps like these to make their watches look just as awesome as their phones with a little bit of work.
Gboard and SwiftKey are two of the most popular Android keyboards. They’re both excellent for theming as well. SwiftKey has more unique themes along with seasonal themes and things like that. Gboard’s theming is a little more basic. However, both keyboards have custom theming available on top of the preset stuff. There are other keyboards with this functionality. Gboard and SwiftKey are simply the two best ones in terms of actual usability as well as theming. Plus, they’re both free with no in-app purchases or ads. Thank you Google and Microsoft!
KWGT and KLWP are two of the most popular theming apps out there right now. KWGT is a custom widget maker. It features a ton of various features to make the widgets that you want. The app has support for Google Fit, most sensor data, weather, and even stuff like custom-made countdown timers. It also has Tasker support for even more functionality. KLWP is a live wallpaper maker. It features a WYSIWYG editor that lets you create as you see fit. It also shares many features with KWGT. These are excellent for Android themes. There is also KLCK Kustom Lock Screen if you want to go even further and add a lock screen into the mix.
Price: Free / $4.99
Nova Launcher is probably the best launcher app out there. It’s also excellent for Android themes. It has a ton of customization options. You can make it look pretty much however you want. It supports icon packs, sub-grid positioning, color controls, a scrollable dock, and more. There are also Nova Launcher themes in Google Play that add a bit more to the mix. The paid version adds some extra features. You can also get a plug-in that adds notification badges on apps. This is a good place to start.
Reddit is an excellent place for themes. It’s not an app that gives you themes, but you can find a lot of ideas in the right subreddits. We recommend starting in AndroidThemes and working your way out. People post their home screen layouts and then (usually) all of the apps they needed to get there. You’ll find icon packs, wallpapers, KWGT and KWLP themes to import, and all kinds of other stuff. Here is an excellent example of what we mean. In any case, Reddit is free to use or you can pay monthly to remove ads and get a few extra features.
There are a variety of wallpaper apps with some really cool stuff. Tapet isn’t one of those apps. Instead, this app randomly generates wallpapers with one of its many patterns. There are nearly 100 patterns to choose from and the colors are 100% customizable. Everything is generated on your device so it also works offline. This one has a bit of a learning curve. The controls aren’t exactly easy when you’re used to how other apps work. However, that’s a very minor and temporary nitpick. You can find some seriously cool, one-of-a-kind stuff with this one. The free version gives you access to some patterns. The premium version unlocks all of the patterns. Some other excellent apps in this space include Minima, and Vectorify da Home.
UCCW is one of the most popular custom widget apps. It has a WYSIWYG editor. That way you can see what your widget looks like as you make it. You can add all kinds of functionality, including calendar events, weather, battery, missed calls, various notifications, location, and more. It also has support for Tasker. You can download additional skin packs as apps in Google Play. You can also import widgets made by other people. It has a few bugs here and there. There is also a bit of a learning curve. Aside from that, it’s good.
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Walli is an above-average wallpaper app. It has a bunch of random images and artwork from a bunch of random artists. This is kind of like Etsy but for your wallpapers. You can find a ton of unique stuff here that you generally can’t find anywhere else. Walli also does the right thing by giving its artists some of the earnings from the app itself. It rounds out the experience with a usable UI and a neat playlist feature to help you discover new wallpapers. We also like Google Wallpapers, Abstruct, and WallPix for wallpapers as well.
Bonus: OEM themes
Price: Free / Varies
Android doesn’t have native theming. That’s part of what makes Android themes so difficult. However, many OEMs have theming in their skins. Samsung, HTC, Huawei, MIUI, and others do have theme engines. You’ll have to do into your settings menu or the individual OEM app store in order to find them. These can change the color and theme of your icons, background, quick settings, settings menu, and other elements that normal theming methods can’t get to normally. They’re not overly diverse and some of them cost money. However, it’s a good place to start, especially if you have Samsung since you probably have access to Good Lock.
Bonus: Root theming options
Rooted devices have a lot more theming options than non-rooted devices. Those who dare break the warranty and go rogue have a ton of options, including Xposed Framework for various UI tweaks, Substratum and Synergy for overlay themes, and some custom ROMs allow for various theming elements as well. This is one of the few good reasons left to root your device because it lets you dig into the system instead of being locked out like a normal, non-rooted device. We have Substratum linked up, but you may have to do some digging to find all of the various options for a rooted device.
See also: The best root apps for Android
If we missed any great Android themes, tell us about them in the comments. Also, if you’re a bit new at this, you can find a plethora of tutorials on Reddit and XDA-Developers. Both sites have some pretty hardcore theming threads. You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists.
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