Android Nougat Navbar & More: Try These RRO Layers Themes

Christian Cawley 19-07-2016

The preview of Android 7.0 Nougat, expected for release in Fall 2016, features a new navigation bar that fills in the triangle, circle, and square, while also adding Google colors around the circle.


It’s a minor change, but one that no doubt encourages the dual feature of the Home button as a means to get access to Google via Now on Tap This Home Button Trick Will Make You Want Android 6.0 Android Marshmallow has lots of cool new features, but the best one might be the way that it utilizes the home button. Read More .

But you don’t have to wait for Android 7.0 Nougat Everything You Need to Know About Android N Want to install Android N or just learn about the next Android version? We've got your back. Read More to get a flavor of the new navbar — thanks to a little-known feature on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, you can install it today. Plus, you can install all kinds of other cool themes.

To find out more, let’s take a look at RRO Layers.

What Is RRO Layers?

Runtime Resource Overlay (RRO) is a Sony-developed facility that provides the basis for custom theming on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and as long as your device is rooted What Is Rooting? What Are Custom ROMs? Learn Android Lingo Ever had a question about your Android device, but the answer had a bunch of words in it that you didn't understand? Let us break down the confusing Android lingo for you. Read More and you have an app like Layers Manager installed, you can apply some customizations to make Marshmallow look exactly how you want it.



As an example of how good it can be, Sony uses RRO Layers to theme the user interface on its Xperia handsets. In fact, RRO Layers looks as though it was adopted by Google to assist device manufacturers who would previously create their own versions of Android, like Samsung’s Touchwiz and HTC’s Sense Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More .

Pushing updates through manufacturers Why Hasn't My Android Phone Updated Yet? The Android update process is long and complicated; let's examine it to find out exactly why your Android phone takes so long to update. Read More , though, has led to painfully slow updates for most users. So if manufacturers can be encouraged to use RRO Layers instead, then it seems there is a good chance that updates to Android — particularly critical ones — can be expedited.

Install Layers Manager to Get Started

To enable access to RRO, you’ll need a rooted Android device running an AOSP-based custom ROM 12 Reasons to Install a Custom Android ROM Think you don't need a custom Android ROM anymore? Here are several reasons to install a custom Android ROM. Read More , and you’ll need to install Layers Manager from the Play Store.

(If you have a phone or tablet running CyanogenMod How To Install CyanogenMod On Your Android Device A lot of people can agree that the Android operating system is pretty awesome. Not only is it great to use, but it's also free as in open source, so that it can be modified... Read More  or a CM-based ROM, you can’t use Layers; instead, try out the CM Theme Engine More Of The Best Free CyanogenMod Themes Looking for a quick, easy, and free way to customize your Android device? Check out these themes! Read More .)


After launching and granting superuser permissions, browse to the Layers Showcase option. Click the menu button and check the Free Layers and Paid Layers lists, where you’ll find a nice selection of themes. Installing one of these is relatively simple. Find the one you want, check the gallery of screenshots to double check, then Get Layer to install it from the Play Store.


Once installed, you’ll need to activate the theme in Layers Manager. This will undoubtedly involve enabling some plugins (see below), which will be listed individually, although you can install them in bulk by flicking the switch. Hit the paint roller button when you’re ready to Install Overlays and apply the theme, tapping Reboot when instructed to restart your phone, or use the Soft Reboot option in your power menu. Once this is done, perform a full reboot, and the theme should be applied.

Run into problems? If you’re getting an error downloading themes or plugins, it could be because your Android system partition is full. In this situation, try cleaning out some of your unused files or apps 5 Android Apps That Really Clean Up Your Device (No Placebos!) These phone cleaner apps for Android help you clear out junk files taking up space on your device. Read More .


Three Options You Should Try

A brief browse should reveal a whole host of themes to choose from, but which ones should you consider installing? It’s really up to you, but the following trio of themes will give you a good look at how the overlay software can instantly re-theme your Android device.

Note that plugins are required to help some of these themes work properly. You should check each theme as you install it for any required plugins that will enable it to work as required.

Azure Free

As you might have guessed from the name, this theme adds a beautiful new blue theme to Android, with enough plugin overlays included to theme all of the usual AOSP apps.



I quite like the look of this, so I’ve kept it as the theme on my Nexus 5 (our review Google Nexus 5 Review and Giveaway Approximately a year after Google released the Nexus 4, the company behind Android has come out with its successor -- the Nexus 5. Read More ).

Grounge – Layers Theme

This paid theme ($0.99) brings in a whole new bunch of styles. That’s right: a theme that comes with its own themes included! Whatever your color, there should be an option for you here, and you’ll find that all of the usual AOSP apps are given a new look, along with the notification area, settings menu, even Google Now.

Nougat Navbar

We shouldn’t ignore the Android Nougat-inspired navbar, which isn’t a full “theme”, but it works just the same. To get started, download this plug-in from Google Play: N Navbar – Layers/RRO.

(Note that the Android Nougat navbar overlay won’t work with CyanogenMod. Instead, use NNav Bar CM12/13.)

Now, in your Layers Manager app, open the menu and select Install Overlays and look for NNavbar — select it to open. Check the screenshots and look at the options (you can choose Classic, Original, Original Transparent, and White), then confirm the choice by tapping the paint roller button, and reboot your phone when instructed.


When the phone restarts, the Android Nougat-style navbar should be enabled! If you prefer a wider selection of navbar themes, meanwhile, take a look at Navigate – Layers Theme, but note that you’ll also need Busybox installed.

Can You Make Your Own Themes?

If all this talk of changing your Android theme has got you thinking about making your own, you have several options. For CyanogenMod users, we suggest taking a look at our guide for creating an Android theme with the ThemeDIY app How to Make Your Own Custom CyanogenMod Themes Easily CyanogenMod's theme engine is great for customizing your device, but what if you can't find that perfect theme? Easy, just make it yourself. Read More .

Meanwhile, if you want to make your own theme for non-CM devices, you’ll need Android Studio How to Emulate Android and Run Android Apps on Your PC It's actually pretty easy to get Android apps running on your desktop or laptop! Here, we step you through the best methods. Read More and a couple of other apps — this online tutorial should point you in the right direction.

What do you think of the Nougat navbar? Have you found any particularly awesome themes in Layers Manager? Run into any problems? Tell us about it in the comments.

Related topics: Android Customization, Android Marshmallow, Android Nougat, Android Theme.

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