The home screen is one of the most critical aspects of your smartphone experience. It’s where you launch apps, perform web searches, check widgets, and much more.
Android allows you to personalize that experience however you want. The Google Play Store is full of excellent home screen customization apps. Here are some great apps you should install to customize your Android home screen like a pro.
Muzei is a live wallpaper app that refreshes your home screen background every day with new artwork. Double-tapping the backdrop when Muzei is enabled also lets you learn more about the artist and their work.
In addition, Muzei even allows you to integrate other wallpaper apps and channels. So for instance, if you prefer earth views instead of artworks, you can install an app called Muzei Earth View and Muzei will shuffle backgrounds from it once everything’s configured.
Download: Muzei (Free)
2. Contextual App Folder
Not every app deserves a place on your home screen. Some of them you probably only open once in a while, perhaps when you visit a particular location or connect an accessory. For those scenarios, we recommend an app called Contextual App Folder.
Contextual App Folder, as its name suggests, can dynamically update a folder on your home screen based on a trigger. For example, it can show all your music apps as soon as you connect a pair of headphones, or your grocery list app when you’re near a store.
The app has a wide range of triggers, such as while you’re on a call or when the phone is charging. If you pay for the premium version, you can even combine two triggers.
Download: Contextual App Folder (Free, premium version available)
Whether you’re unsatisfied with your phone’s stock launcher or just want to try something new out of boredom, take a trip down the Play Store’s many available launchers. You’ll find a wide variety of third-party options.
4. Icon Packs
Another quick way to spice up your home screen is to install a new icon pack. These replace your existing icons with new ones, giving everything a fresh look.
We’ve covered some of the icons packs available in the Play Store, but there are hundreds more (both free and paid). You’ll need a new launcher to take advantage of them, as most stock launchers don’t let you apply different icons.
5. Zooper Widget
Zooper Widget lets you craft a home screen widget pretty much any way you like. It works and looks precisely how you want through several extensions, plugins, and a ton of settings. This lets it show nearly every type of information, including the weather, battery stats, missed notifications, and more.
The app comes with a ton of templates to help you get started.
Download: Zooper Widget (Free) | Zooper Widget Pro ($3) [No Longer Available]
6. Custom Search Bar Widget
Custom Search Bar Widget is a handy widget app that brings a more versatile search bar to your home screen. It lets you instantly execute a query on nearly every search engine including DuckDuckGo, Facebook, and more. Switching between them is easy.
In addition, CSBW can also perform searches on Google apps like Drive, Maps, and Photos from a single location. There are even options to pin web links, actions like pasting from the clipboard, and app shortcuts to the widget.
Download: Custom Search Bar Widget (Free, premium version available)
Want even more widget options for your home screen? Check these cool, free Android clock widgets.
7. Smart Drawer
Smart Drawer is for users who don’t want to go through the learning curve of a new launcher but still want an app drawer handy. It smartly sorts all your apps into various categories like games, media, and settings. The experience is responsive enough that it doesn’t feel like a separate app.
It works with any launcher, and you can launch Smart Drawer with a gesture. Plus, it’s capable of hiding or locking apps with your fingerprint or a PIN.
Download: Smart Drawer (Free, premium version available)
WallMag is one of the most interesting apps on this list; it turns your home screen background into a magazine. It does so by setting the latest news image as your phone’s wallpaper. When you tap the floating WallMag button, the app will pull up the story.
Of course, you can configure the sources per your preferences and what topics you’re interested in. Double-tapping the wallpaper lets you instantly switch to another one.
Download: WallMag (Free)
Searching for a new and unique wallpaper can become a rather time-consuming process. So why not let an app cycle wallpapers for you?
Tapet is a nifty app that automatically produces new wallpaper patterns for your home screen. You can have it do so once every day, or even hourly. What’s more, Tapet does this on your device and doesn’t require an internet connection. If you like, Tapet is even compatible with Muzei.
Download: Tapet (Free, premium version available)
Android Personalization Made Easy
Don’t settle for the generic options that came with your phone. These apps lets you set up your home screen in any way you desire, helping you stand out. Plus, you can tweak your home screen to help you build better smartphone habits.
If you’re interested in more customization, you should next move to the notification shade. We’ve shown some tips and tricks for the notification panel and checked out apps that let you customize the notification shade.