Twelve ways to customize your Android device | How To – CNET

(Credit: Jason Cipriani/CNET)

Customizing your smartphone, or any device for that matter, is a right of passage for all of us. By customizing, you turn a standard looking device that millions of users may be carrying around, into something that is truly ours. It goes from a slab of plastic and rare metals, to something that is very personal.

Android users and abusers know very well how customizable their beloved devices are. We rounded up 12 ways for you to customize your Android device, whether you’re a seasoned Android vet, or an Android noob, you’ll want to take a look.

The basics

Change your wallpaper: Setting your own wallpaper, be it a photo you took or one you found online, is a great way to personalize the general look and feel of your device.

Customize your Android’s wallpaper (screenshots)

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Create and assign custom ringtones: Ringtones are one of the first things people customize when they get a new phone, no matter the device. Here are a couple of options for making or downloading your own ringtones.

Spruce up your contact list: Your contact list holds a lot of vital information. Make your contacts list more fun and easy to navigate quickly by adding custom photos and personalized ringtones. Here’s how to do it using the People app in Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.

Customize your Android contact list (screenshots)

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Customize notifications: Notifications are key to staying on top of what’s happening without having to obsessively check your phone every few minutes. Here are a few ways to customize your notifications to make them more useful and personal.

Customizing your Android notifications (screenshots)

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Functional tweaks

Decline incoming calls with a text message: Never feel rude after declining a call by sending a text message to explain why, all with just a few taps.

Improve your battery indicator: This great tip gives you a better visual of your battery’s current level.

Change your Gmail signature: Don’t look foolish with those extra long — and often pointless — default e-mail signatures. Make your Gmail signature a bit more personal and effective.

Choose your browser: Be it the default Android browser or a third-party browser, you can customize your browsing experience to fit your needs.

Customize your browsing experience (screenshots)

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Turn your Android device into your wallet: The push for your smartphone to replace your wallet is on. Here’s how you can get a jumpstart on the process.

Customize audio settings and improve audio quality: Not a fan of the way your Android’s music player sounds? Use this app to take customize the sound quality.

Customize your Android’s audio (screenshots)

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Android and accessibility options: Customize the accessibility options of your Android device, making it easier for disabled users to get the most from their smartphone.

Accessibility options on Android (screenshots)

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Geek out

Turn yourself into an Android robot with Androidify: Admit it, you’ve always wanted to become a robot. Well, with this app, you can at least see what you’d look like as an Android robot.

Of course, there are plenty more ways to customize your Android device. Feel free to share your favorite app or method below in the comments.


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