I use these three apps to make my Android home screen stand out, and you should too


I’ve seen a lot of people rightfully complain about the way some device manufacturers tweak the stock version of Android to be different. While some manufacturers like Motorola and, more recently, Nothing are pursuing the UI game by offering a good level of customization with minimal tweaks, there are still plenty of big players pushing apps and services heavily through their UI. But you don’t have to accept the look of your phone manufacturer’s Android version.


One of the best things about Android is how flexible it is, and it all starts with the ability to customize your home screen settings. It takes a bit of work, but you can end up with a completely unique look that will make your phone stand out. Personally, I install several customization apps on all the Android phones I use as part of my job to make sure I always have unique and fresh-looking phones at hand. Three of those applications in particular are installed on all my phones, and I think you should get them too.


Backgrounds

Samsung Galaxy S22

It might seem weird to have an entire app dedicated to doing a basic task like choosing your home screen wallpaper, but it’s an important one to start the process. That’s because the wallpaper will be the background behind your widgets and icons, and will be the first thing that catches your eye. You also want the wallpaper to match the overall style or theme you’re going for with your customization, so you don’t want to sleep on it.

You can always search for wallpapers online or get them from Google, but I like having a dedicated application on my phone whenever I want a new setup. Wallpapers is a free application that gives you access to an extensive image library. One of the best things about this particular application is that you can browse wallpapers based on category or even tags. You can even search for wallpaper by name, so if you know the name of a particular wallpaper from someone, you can easily find it. Wallpapers also give you the option to save the wallpaper to your phone for later or use it directly from the app.

The free version of the app offers pretty much everything you need, provided you don’t mind a few ads every now and then.

An image of a person holding the Google Pixel 7 with the screen on and a Macbook in the background.

KWGT Kustom Widget Maker allows you to create stunning homescreen widgets, and you may have heard of it. KWGT has been around for as long as I can remember, but it still works. Contrary to what the name of this particular app might suggest, you can also use it to load pre-made widgets on your smartphone. KWGT also continues to have a great community with millions of users creating and sharing their custom widgets. You can also find many great KWGT widget packs in the Google Play Store.

I’ve used widgets from different widget packs like Juno, Koda, and Fusion, but you can always find the ones you like and work best for your setup. One of the best things about KWGT is that you can pick up elements from different widgets and create a custom widget. You can even tweak those preset widgets and customize them to your liking. The app also lets you save your custom widgets so you can always go back later.

KWGT is a free application, but you have to pay for the Pro Key to access some useful customization options. It’s a one-time fee, well worth the money as it offers so much value.

Palette: home screen settings

An image of a person holding a Google Pixel 7 with the Palette app open.

So you’ve selected a wallpaper and chosen the right widgets… now what? Well, you want to put them together in a way that looks and feels good. You will have to put on your creative hat to really customize them and make them really unique. I used to spend a lot of time tweaking different elements repeatedly to get the right look, but now I turn to Android’s huge customization and theme community for help and inspiration. And that’s where Palette comes in.

Palette is your one-stop hub for finding custom home screen settings. Not only can you use this particular application for inspiration, but you can also find all the information you need about a particular setup, including the wallpaper, icon pack, and widgets used. You will find the direct links to every item used in a particular setup, or even a full backup file in case you need to replicate a setup on your phone. It’s like browsing r/androidthemes on Reddit, except you can access all items with the tap of a button on Palette instead of having to dig deep into a thread.

Palette is free to download, but you have to pay a one-time fee to access some of the premium features, including the option to download the backup files of setups shown in the app.

Here’s a quick look at a few images where you can see some of the home screen settings I’ve been able to put together on my Google Pixel 7 and the Galaxy S22:


That’s a wrap, folks! There are of course other ways to customize your home screen on Android phones. There are so many other tools like icon packs, launchers and more that you can experiment with to get the look you want. Android has evolved a lot over the years and there are more ways than ever to customize your home screen settings. So go ahead and start creating a new home screen configuration on your Android phone.

Let us know some of your favorite apps and ways to customize the home screen on Android. Feel free to drop them in the comments below!