I’m that obnoxious “techie”, as they say, that has bounced back and forth between iPhone and Android countless times. I’ve had a good deal of experience playing with both iOS and Android, running on multiple pieces of hardware. To me, the number one feature that Android beats iOS with every time is customizability.

Android is perfect for those who want to have the freedom to tinker around with every setting, design and function on their phone.  Where as iOS looks and works great out of the box, but you really can’t change much of anything.  This freedom in Android is great, at least if you actually take the time to customize your phone.

I recently picked up a used Samsung S4, and had a chance to play around it with it.  Here are some quick changes that I made using various Apps and Widgets from the Google Play Store.

Slider Screen:

Default Lock Screen     New Slider

One of the hardest parts for me of picking up a new Android is having to see the “busy” lock screen that the manufacturers use by default.  The left screen capture above is Samsung’s default lock screen and background picture.  On the right is my current lock screen.  Here are the various apps/widgets I used:

WidgetLocker Lockscreen – This is a great tool that provides a platform to add custom widgets to your lock screen.  Once installed, you can add new widgets, custom sliders, custom gestures and more  to your lock screen.

Minimalistic Text – This app allows you to create text widgets.  It uses your phone’s clock and calendar to pull new data.  This text can be edited to change size, color, orientation, etc.

 

Home Screen:

Default Home Screen   New Home Screen

Samsung Androids typically, as my S4 had, come using the TouchWiz interface by default.  I actually don’t mind the interface all that much, however I still decided to change up the interface a bit.  Here is what I used:

Nova Launcher – Before you can change much on the home screen on Android phones, you need to download a new launcher interface.  I chose Nova because it seemed to have pretty good reviews on the Google Play store.  Nova Launcher allows you to install custom icons (see below), change screen pagination behavior and more.

Minimal UI Theme – This a cool icon theme that I chose to apply to my phone.  Once downloaded and installed, it can be selected in the Nova Launcher settings.

 

Customize to Your Liking

In the likely case that you don’t have the same creative taste as me, there are plenty of custom interfaces available for Android phones.  I recommend looking through the Google Play store and reading the reviews on some of them.  Most are available for free, and the ones that need to be purchased are often inexpensive.