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Best Android apps for personalizing and customizing your phone

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Best Android apps for personalizing and customizing your phone

by Alvin Ybañez on Jul 13, 2012 with 6 Comments

One of the advantages of owning an Android phone is that it is customizable. You may have the same phone as other people but you may have different launchers, SMS apps, ringtones, and so on. Advanced Android developers tend to customize their phones by making their own custom ROM. They enhance existing software, add some apps, tweak its performance, and provide an edge that stock ROMs fails to offer.

But, for a newbie Android phone user, you won’t need to study developer stuff and take note of confusing developer jargon just to customize your Android phone. You can easily customize your phone by installing apps from the Google Play Store. There is a vast selection of apps that allow you to customize your smartphone. Below are some of the best Android apps that allow you to customize and personalize your Android phone.


Each Android phone has its own skin. You may be using the simple Samsung TouchWiz or the rich and vibrant colors of HTC Sense. If you want to try out a new Android skin on your phone, you can do so by installing launchers such as ADW.Launcher on your mobile phone.

This launcher looks like the pure Gingerbread skin. There is also a dock below where you can access your call logs, app drawer, and browser. You can always adjust the number of docks and customize the shortcuts sitting on them. The launcher also includes options that will allow you to customize your home screen. You can hide the notification bar on top to widen your home screen, adjust the columns and rows, adjust scrolling speed, customize screen transition, and much more.

Aside from adjusting the home screen, you can also customize your phone’s app drawers. What I liked best is the option to change the background color of your app drawer and adjust its transparency. I also liked the the feature that allows you to scroll the app drawer vertically or horizontally. The launcher can also support landscape orientation.

You can use the ADW.Launcher to enjoy the features that you cannot find with your phone’s stock Android skin. To fully customize the launcher, you can also download and install themes. What’s more is that you can enjoy this launcher absolutely free from the Google Play Store.

Customize your Android phone’s skin with the ADW.Launcher.

ADW.Launcher for Android on AppBrain

Launcher 7

One of the advantages of owning an Android phone is that it can be customized to the point that you can transform your Android phone into another phone. The Launcher 7 app brings the Windows Phone 7 skin to your Android phone. If you want to try something new on your Android phone, try Launcher 7 from the Google Play Store.

Launching the app for the first time will require you to identify an app for a specific tile. You will be required to identify an app for the phone, messages, contacts, browser, video player, app market, and music tiles. Once you have selected the apps, you will be directed to your Windows 7 home screen. The main home screen consists of tiles. Tapping a tile will bring you to the app you have associated with it. To access your app drawer, tap the arrow icon at the upper-right portion of the screen.

You can also customize the launcher by going to the settings menu. There you can change the animations, add your personal background, change your status bar into a Windows 7 stock status bar, and much more. You can also swipe the settings menu left and right to view more options. You will also be amazed at the magazine-like interface of the launcher’s settings menu.

To fully enjoy this launcher, I suggest downloading the paid version. The free version lets you use the launcher with ads, which you most likely will find annoying.

Launcher 7 for Android on AppBrain

SPB Shell 3D

If you like an animated home screen with lots of amazing effects, try the SPB Shell 3D on your Android phone. This launcher features some goodies such as panels, 3D widgets, smart folders, and tons of cool animations.

Each home screen page is categorized into panels. Each panel offers apps and widgets according to the function specified for that panel. For instance, the People panel groups your favorite contacts in one convenient place. You can also find the birthday widget in that panel. The weather panel features an animated weather forecast of the day. The launcher features a variety of panels such as news, contacts, picture of the day, deals, calendar, and much more.

For grouping apps, the launcher allows you to group your apps inside a folder. The app can also analyze its content and automatically name your folders. You can also arrange the apps inside a folder. Just tap, hold an app, and move it to its designated place. The apps will also move around to make space as you move your apps. The same goes when moving widgets around the home screen.

The best part of this launcher is its 3D widgets. Just tap a widget and it will pop out a 3D interactive widget. You can view the different times of the world, a 3D view of the moon, view your messages, view bar graphs, and much more. You can also view your panels on the home screen in 3D by tapping the button at the center of its dock.

Use a 3D Android skin with the SPB Shell 3D launcher.

SPB Shell 3D for Android on AppBrain

GO Launcher EX

If you want to give your Android phone a total makeover, download and install the GO Launcher EX app. This launcher allows you to fully customize your Android skin. You can customize the app drawer, home screen transition, set gesture functions, add themes, install customized widgets, and a lot more.

At first glance, the launcher reminds me of the MIUI ROM, a popular custom ROM. With all the rectangular and colorful app icons, this launcher almost represents the MIUI ROM. Like the previous launchers we have tackled, GO Launcher EX allows you to customize your Android skin. You can change the home screen dock, change page transition, change the font, add animations, and a lot more.

The launcher also supports gesture functions. You can open an app by just double-tapping on the screen or open the menu by swiping the screen upward. You can also customize your homescreen by tapping and holding down on any vacant part of the home screen. You can instantly add widgets, folders, wallpaper, themes, and effects by just tapping on your home screen.

I also find it convenient to find the app store integrated within the launcher. You can download and install customized widgets and plug-ins from the launcher. The Go Store also features a lot of stuff that lets you customize your phone. You can install customized locker themes, customized apps, homescreen plug-ins, and a lot more. You can also choose from a variety of themes that will instantly transform your phone’s homescreen.

Customize your Android phone without limits with the GO Launcher EX app.

GO Launcher EX for Android on AppBrain


Looking for an app that can help you customize your phone’s ringtones? Look no more for the Myxer app is here to help. This app helps you customize your ringtones by playing a favorite part of your song. Instead of playing the whole song as ringtone, this app can help you select a specific part of a song and use it as your ringtone.

The app will use the saved songs on your phone. You will need to select a song that you want to customize. After selecting a song, select a specific part of the song to use as a ringtone. You can either select it manually or select the numbered selections grouped by the app. After customizing your ringtone, tap the Save button and use it as your phone’s ringtone. You can also record your own singing and use it as your personal ringtone.

The app allows you to download customized songs from other users. You can also share songs with social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Customize your phone’s ringtones with the Myxer app on your Android phone.

Myxer for Android on AppBrain

Backgrounds HD Wallpapers

Who can live without backgrounds on their phone’s home screen? Backgrounds are some of the most important elements for customizing your phone. If your phone is capable of high-definition display, use the Backgrounds HD Wallpapers app to browse wallpapers for your home screen.

The app’s main interface consists of three tabs: Popular, Recent, and Categories. Tap Popular to view the most popular HD wallpapers. You can also view the most recent wallpapers in the Recent tab. To search an image within a specific category, you can go to the Category tab and select a specific category. You can select from a wide variety of categories such as nature, pets, colors, shapes, technology, patterns, abstract art, and many more.

Aside from downloading wallpapers, you can also use this app to download picture frames. To switch into frames, just tap the button below, in between the left and right buttons. Select a variety of frames and add them to your photos. You can also add your picture with your selected frames directly within the app. Once done, you can save your photo or set it as your phone’s wallpaper.

Customize your phone’s background with the Backgrounds HD Wallpapers app.

Backgrounds HD Wallpapers for Android on AppBrain

Handcent SMS

Your Android phone has a default SMS/MMS application that lets you view, send, and receive messages from your contacts. If you want to fully customize your phone, the Google Play Store also offers a plethora of third-party SMS apps such as the Handcent SMS. Just like your default SMS app, the Handcent SMS will allow you to receive, send, and view your messages. The best part is that you can customize your SMS app the way you like it.

This app offers a lot of options that allows you to customize your SMS/MSM app. One of the best features I found is that it allows you to choose your conversation style. You can stick to the default Handcent SMS theme, or make your SMS conversations look like those on an iPhone, Motorola phone, HTC phone, and many more.

Handcent SMS includes additional plugins for you to choose from. Install the font plugin and enjoy new font styles on your SMS app. The Handcent Emoji Plugin allows you to use additional emoticons in your messages. You can also use the Contact locator plugin to instantly look for your friends using GPS.

The app also allows you to set a message bubble on your home screen. Whenever you receive a message, a message bubble will appear on your home screen. You can compose and send your reply within the message bubble. You can customize and add your personal touch to your message bubble, too.

Customize your SMS/MMS experience with the Handcent SMS app.

Handcent SMS for Android on AppBrain


Just like the Handcent SMS app, the GO SMS Pro app lets you customize the SMS/MMS app on your mobile phone. You can change the background, font, animations, and a lot more. The app also includes a variety of themes that will instantly transform your phone’s SMS app.

GO SMS Pro comes with plugins that allow you to enjoy extended features. One plugin, for example, that caught my attention is the Theme Maker Plugin. This plugin will allow you to make and design your own themes, making it possible to fully customize your SMS app.

Another neat feature is that it features a 3D block effect when scrolling the app’s page left and right. You can view more options, view your contacts, check what apps you have installed, and many more by just scrolling the screen. The app also integrates its own app market so you can instantly install additional features within the app.

The GO SMS Pro app also allows you to send free messages with its GO Chat feature. You will need an Internet connection to send free messages to your friends using the same app. The app also supports Facebook chat, allowing you to chat with your Facebook friends within the app.

GO SMS Pro for Android on AppBrain


If you are looking for a customization hub for your Android phone, try using the Zedge app on your Android phone. This app lets you find and download wallpapers, live wallpapers, ringtones, notification sounds, and games. What’s best is that you can download all this stuff for free.

Just simply launch the app and choose the item that you want to download. If you want to download a wallpaper, just tap on the Wallpaper button and the app will direct you to a list of wallpapers from its database. You can also simplify the list by tapping which categories to include on the list. You can also do the same for live wallpapers, ringtones, notification sounds, and games. You will never run out of good stuff to download from this app.

If you find a wallpaper or a ringtone to add on your phone, just tap the arrow button to download and install it. You may even add it to your favorites or share it via Gmail or through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Take note that the app will require an active Internet connection for it to connect to its database.

Customize your wallpapers, ringtone, notifications alerts, and games with the Zedge app on your Android phone.

Zedge for Android on AppBrain

Beautiful Widgets

We have been talking about wallpapers, launchers, customized ringtones, and SMS apps for customizing your phone. To make the list complete, we should not forget customized widgets on your Android home screen. The Beautiful Widgets app is your personal buddy in customizing your Android widgets.

The app comes with a wide variety of widgets — from the simplest widgets of TouchWiz to the animated and colorful widgets of HTC Sense. You will be amazed at how this app transforms your home screen. Each widget can also be customized through themes.

The Beautiful Widgets app gives you the power to personalize the content on your widgets. You may want to add the battery level on your widgets or add the weather forecast for the day. What’s more is that you can even enjoy animated weather on your widgets by installing the BW Animation Package. You can even make the weather your live wallpaper with the Beautiful Live Weather addon.

Customize your widgets to the next level with the Beautiful Widgets on your Android phone.

Beautiful Widgets for Android on AppBrain

With these apps, you will never get bored with your Android skin. These apps will offer you lots of customization choices and lets you inject your personal touch into your Android phone. What Android apps are you using to customize and personalize your Android phone? Share them in a comment below.

TAGS Android AppsCustom RingtonesCustomizationLaunchersLive WallpapersPersonal RingtonesPersonalizationSkinsWallpapersWidgets

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Alvin Ybañez

Author FeedAuthor GooglePlus

Android is arguably the most flexible mobile operating system. Period. I'm extremely passionate about discovering and reporting on new methods to help all Android owners of the world get the most out of their Android devices by creating comprehensive rooting and modding guides.

  • Jeroen Heijster

    Hmm it is a shame you include adw while it hasn’t had an update in ages but you leave out apex and nova which are both in active development.

    • Justin Ridgeway

      Yet those launchers are for ICS, which only about 7% of all android phones have, while adw is available to those still running Froyo and Gingerbread. Very few people would be able to use Nova and Apex, even though they are great launchers.

      • Fabien Morvan

        Are you going to do the same thing for ICS after ? (And I think ICS is at 11% of all android now)

        If not, what launcher do you advise when you have ICS ? (Go Launcher? Apex, Nova, Holo, Trebuchet, …)

        Personnaly, I have a GS3 with touchwizz but I prefer a lot the look&feel of cyanogen9 on a GS2 for example, but I don’t know wich one to choose…


  • AndroidBrian

    I use to love go launcher. Since I got my Nexus I use Apex.

  • Scott Riggall

    Where’s sslauncher? I have tried all of the above and sslauncher is hands down better than ADW, Launcher Pro, Go and Launcher 7 which I still have on my phone. sslauncher’s unbelievable range of options, screaming fast speed and buttery smooth response puts it in a category all by itself. Hell I bought Launcher Pro and then uninstalled it cause I knew I would never use it again.

  • Nikhil Pujari

    Nice list of Apps to customize our Android Smartphone.
    i have tried all of them.
    i have been using Launcher Pro but i permanently switched to Holo Launcher and using ClockQ widget.
    Best Regards

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