One of the things that makes Android a truly beautiful platform is customization. I’m not talking about custom ROMs or root mods; I’m talking about how no other major mobile platform out there lets you customize your device the way Android does. There may be some caveats, but you have the ability to make your Android device completely unique. My wife hates using my Nexus 5 because it’s so different than her Galaxy S4. Maybe that’s a bad thing, I’m not sure. But what I do know is that I have my Nexus 5 set up exactly the way I want it and I love it. I think my home screen looks awesome, and not only is it super functional, it’s also fun to use. The beauty is that I can change it tomorrow if I get a new idea. My home screen isn’t going to look like everyone else’s iPhone (although I could make it look like iOS if I wanted) or Windows Phone; my device looks like no one else’s because it’s Android.
This is the third post of a recurring series about making your Android device yours. Today I’m going to cover some of my personal secrets in regards to finding killer wallpapers. My goal here is to offer customization ideas that will work for all Android devices, whether you’re still running Gingerbread or you’re on the latest version of Android, Kit Kat. You don’t need to be rooted. You don’t need to be running a custom ROM. All you need is a little bit of time and an itch to change things up a bit. If that sounds like you, read on my friend. We’re going to have fun diving into the world of customization and making your device truly unique.
Last week we covered some really cool custom icon packs. Wallpapers are a very important complement to icon packs, and for me, they have a large effect on how my homescreen is organized. I think wallpapers are an easy way to put your personality/interests/nerdiness on display, and it’s really fun to have some good resources for finding the right one. So without further ado, here are my wallpaper finding pro tips:
This may be an obvious answer, but sometimes obvious answers are the best. Also, there are so many dang apps out there (I’m not complaining) that sometimes it’s hard to find the really good and useful ones. One of my personal favorites is 500 Firepaper by the world famous Android developer chainfire. 500 Firepaper allows you to automatically rotate through popular images from 500px right on your homescreen, You have tons of control regarding what kinds of images you can get on your homescreen and how often. You can get some beautiful images on there, and it’s always changing which is super fun.
A similar brand new app that will rotate classic art on your homescreen is Muzei. Other honorable mentions are Minimal Wallpapers (which has tons of walls from simpledesktops.com), Fuzz, Zedge and Wallbase. I’m sure there are a ton more, so be sure to let us know what wallpaper apps you’re using if I didn’t mention yours.
2) Icon packs
The themers out there that are hooking us up with beautiful icon packs do us a huge favor and typically combine wallpapers along with their icon packs. I’d say the majority of the wallpapers I end up using on my devices are from icon packs. Most of the time they’re very simple and complement the themer’s beautiful icon theming work. With their powers combined your homescreen can look awesome. For example, Stark by kovdev has some of my favorite wallpapers that I use all the time.
3) Google image search
Using Google image search is a great way to get wallpapers tailor made for your device. You don’t *need* to have images that are the exact resolution of your display, but if you want to guarantee that the whole image will fit well on your homescreen, this is a great way to do it. Look up your device’s screen resolution (The Nexus 5′s is 1920 x 1080), go to Google’s image search, click on Search Tools > Size > Exactly… > and enter your resolution. Then, search whatever you’re interested in like flowers, androids, cars, dinosaurs, whatever. You can find walls that look and fit great on your device.
4) Google+ communities
Google+ communities like Android Wallpapers are an awesome way to find and share great wallpapers. I don’t have much else to add regarding this wall finding method. It’s a community. We work together to make our Android devices awesome. You can join and contribute and make the Android community more awesome.
5) Take awesome pics
Last, this isn’t really a method to find wallpapers, but to create them. Take lots of pictures and/or follow people who take awesome pictures. It’s the best way to get original and meaningful content on your homescreen. If you don’t think you can take your own pretty pictures, follow someone like Romain Guy.
So, where do you get your wallpapers? Which ones are you sporting on your device? There are probably lots of other great ways or apps to find wallpapers. If I’ve left out something that you feel is worth mentioning, please comment below and let us know what you’re using and why you think it’s awesome. You can also use the HTML <img> tag and show us your homescreen. We’ll continue to share other wallpapers in the future. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to let us know what topic you’d like to see covered in an upcoming edition of “Make your Android device yours.”