How to customise your Android smartphone

Turn your smartphone into the snazziest, sexiest handset on the block

Ask an Android fanboy why they prefer their handset to an iPhone, and their eyes will glaze over as they wistfully stare off into the distance.

“I used to have an iPhone”, they’ll say. “It was great, but one day I woke up, and looked around. Apples. Apples everywhere. I was just another clone, another cog in the wheel. I tried to make things more personal. I wanted widgets, keyboards, themes - hell, even an easy way to change my own ringtone, but I just didn’t have that freedom”.

“But now? Now I have everything. Check out my Hello Kitty time/weather clock. Isn’t it beautiful? Look - all of my icons are different species of Pokémon. And see this? If I tap this three times and swipe upwards, it’ll open up a list of my all-time favourite Lord of the Rings swords”.

“Wait, where are you going? Don’t you want to see my music player widget?”

If you want to take advantage of Android’s powerful customisation options, then read on, but try to keep things at least a little classy, okay?

We’ll kick things off with outside beauty, then move onto software customisation, if that’s alright with you:

Skindred Spirits

Beauty may only be skin deep, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wrap your beloved handset in a snazzy layer of protective vinyl, does it? dbrand’s precision-cut skins not only offer dent and scratch protection, but you can mix and match different styles and textures to create a look that screams ‘you’.

They’re easily removable too, and won’t leave any sticky residue behind - perfect for new fashion trends and/or a mid-life crisis. If you’re after protection without a bulky case (and want something that’ll match your coloured faux crocodile leather waistcoat), look no further. 

Case closed

Google’s Live Cases service doesn't look like it'll be coming to this part of the world anytime soon but there are other options available. Casetify is one such option, offering a selection of different cases for various Android and Apple smartphones, along with the ability to customise the design, while adding your own photos.

You can plug in your Instagram or Facebook account in seconds, letting you plaster your smartphone’s booty with artistic cat shots or duck-face selfies, depending on your level of narcissism. Adding text is another possibility, so feel free to throw in a #YOLO or hilarious meme if you fancy it.

DIY route

If you really, really want to make your smartphone your own, then you’ve always got the ‘what-could-possibly-go-wrong’ DIY route, which can involve tools, masking tape, spray paint, and a very brave soul. Android handsets will be far easier to customise than Apple’s near-impenetrable aluminium slabs, but when there’s a will, there’s always a way.

Take the speaker grills on a Nexus 5X for example. Prise off the front cover, mask off sensitive areas, spray on some paint, and reassemble. Warning: we won’t be held responsible for dead and/or maimed handsets. Proceed at your own risk. 

Now that the the outside of your handset is all dolled up, it’s time to polish up the software:

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