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 second post of a recurring series about making your Android device yours. Today I’m going to cover a trending theme in icon packs of late, the long shadow. 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.
Now, to take advantage of these fantastic icon packs, you will probably need to be running a custom launcher, such as one of the ones we talked about in this post. If you pick up these icon pack themes from the Google Play store, most of them help you out with applying them. Or, inside the custom launcher, you should be able to find the option to apply a theme. It should be pretty straight forward. Each launcher is a little different, so I won’t give specific instructions on how to apply the icon theme. Most apps will be automatically themed on your homescreen when applied. Then, if you want to further theme your apps you can generally long press an app on the homescreen and change the icon from there. Be sure to ask the community any questions you have regarding applying a theme.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the long shadow craze seemed to be kicked off by themer Dave Kover in August with Nox. This Nexus 5 set up I have here is using the Nox icon theme. It’s a colorful boxy setup. If you’re into a softer color scheme setup, kovdev just released a new long shadow pack a couple of weeks ago, Lumos. Definitely worth a look.
I do enjoy the long shadow theme, but one of my biggest beefs with it is the lack of widgets to go along with it. If my apps have shadows, other things on my homescreen should have shadows, too. In the Nexus 5 render I’m using the Long Shadows Clock – UCCW Skin. Also, Rohit Singh is working on a cool widget that I hope becomes available some day. I think it would look rad with Ryan M Kelly’s Umbra, as long as the shadows fell in the same direction.
Next, I’ve included some other packs that I thought looked nice. If square doesn’t suit your fancy, Shaded Icons is a circular option. If you’re in to vibrant colors and rounded corners, maybe iNex is your thing.
If you’re into the minimal movement I have two other suggestions for you. First I’ll direct you to Minimal Flat. I like how the number of colors are kept to a minimum and would be very easy to plug into monochromatic wallpapers.
Last, one to keep your eye out for is A Random Package’s Influx coming out on February 12. The feature image in this post is a sample of the pack. Some have criticized it saying it looks too much like kovdev’s Lumos, but kovdev is even posting Influx on his G+ feed in support of the great pack. I’ve loved A Random Package’s work in the past and would definitely keep this pack on your radar. There will be a demo pack available to try out for free and a full pack available for $1.99.
So, are you stoked on long shadow icons? Which ones are you sporting on your device? There are probably many others that are great, as well. If I’ve left out a killer long shadow pack 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 icon packs in the future. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget let us know what topic you’d like to see covered in an upcoming edition of “Make your Android device yours.”