Build your own detailed custom themes for your device using Theme DIY
While there are lots of themes on the Google Play store and the internet in general, at some point you may want to create your own themes so that your Android device looks exactly how you want. With the help of theme-editing apps, it is possible to create themes in just a matter of minutes.
Theme DIY is an app that you can use to create themes – as long as your device is running Android .50 Lollipop and the CyanogenMod 12 theme engine. Using Theme DIY, you can customise your device in impressive detail, right down to the colour of the text that appears on your device’s different notifications and buttons. You can also add custom fonts, wallpapers, backgrounds and boot animations.
Before you start creating a theme, you should gather any additional resources that you want to incorporate into your theme. This includes any images you plan to use as wallpapers or backgrounds for your lock screen or notification header. You should also download any boot animations that you want to use, as well as any TTF fonts. The XDA Developers forum is a good source of boot animations, and you will find lots of free TTF fonts on websites such as Font Squirrel, for example.
Get Nexus 6 notification system and sounds on your Nexus 5 with Ambient Display ZIP, xTraSmooth and Gravity Screen hacks
Ambient Display is a new notification display setting exclusive to the Nexus 6. When Ambient Display is enabled, the device shows a slick black-and-white lock screen whenever a new notification comes through to your device.
If you want to take a closer look at a notification, you can just tap the screen to launch the full colour version of the lock screen. From here, you can jump straight to the app or screen that a particular notification relates to simply by double-tapping that notification. Ambient Display notifications also appear automatically when you pick the device up, thanks to the Nexus 6’s nifty ‘lift to wake’ functionality.
Although the Lollipop update brought many new features for Nexus 5 users, it didn’t include Ambient Display. However, it is possible to get Ambient Display on your Nexus 5, either by flashing a custom ROM with support for the feature or by flashing an Ambient Display ZIP, both of which work well. But neither of these mods replicate the stylish ‘lift to wake’ feature, but we will show you how can still add this to your Nexus 5 by installing the Gravity Screen On/Off app.
Get a better viewing experience by tweaking how apps display on your screen using an Xposed Module
One thing that a lot of people count against Android is the almost limitless number of screen sizes that support the OS. It’s a by-product of the open source nature of Google’s operating system and means some apps look better on your tablet than they do on your phone.
However, if you’ve got a rooted device and you’re not averse to a little bit of tinkering, you can fool apps into thinking that they’re running on a tablet rather than a phone. It takes a bit of faffing around to actually get it to work, but if you’re willing to persevere, you can set any app you’d like to run in its native tablet version on your phone. You’ll need a rooted device and you will need to download and install the Xposed Framework Installer too.
Other than that, you’ll just need ten or so minutes to get things up and running, as there are a few reboots and other tweaks that you need to perform to set up the required module. Essentially, you’re playing around with the inner workings of the apps on your phone to tell them to run at a different DPI, conning them into revealing all the info they show on a tablet on your smaller screened device. It’s not too tricky and once you’ve figured it out, you’ll be able to alter apps in a few taps.
The contacts list has long been a tired and dreary place, a database of names and numbers.
However, Contacts Plus is attempting to change all that with a fresh new take on the contacts book. It features a photo orientated phone book in which you can quickly identify your friends and family with the best (or worst!) photo you have of them. It also allows you to sync all your e-mail and telephone contacts in one app so you don’t have to hop between lists. It’s not just an elaborate phone book either. The app also provides a messaging service and the ability to call back after a missed call, packaging pretty much all your communication needs into one app. We’ve identified the most important features of Contacts Plus to show you how to get the most out of this attractive, multi-purpose address book.
1. Add your contacts
It’s a good bet that if you’re reading this magazine you’ve got more than one Android device.
You might have a phone and a tablet, a work phone and a play phone, or any number of combinations, but sometimes it can be a bit of a faff keeping track of the battery levels of those devices.
That’s where Potential comes in. Not only does it keep you abreast of the power levels of multiple devices, it also lets you toggle the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections on and off with a simple tap. It doesn’t run through your Google account either, so you’re not sharing your sign-in information.
Best of all, you don’t need a rooted device to make it work – you simply download the standard Potential app from the Google Play Store to your devices. All you’ll need to get it up and running are your Android devices and an internet connection. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes, either.
How to stop that irritating moment when an email goes to one of your old accounts
Many of us have more than one email account, often with different service providers, for specific purposes such as work and home. While this helps us to keep the different parts of our lives separate, it does mean that we have to use a variety of different apps or log in to a range of websites to keep up to date with all our correspondence.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. The Gmail app lets us import mail from other accounts so everything appears in the one place. Not only that but you can also reply to messages – irrespective of which account they were addressed to – in just the same way as you’d reply to a Gmail message.
Here we show how to configure the Gmail app so it becomes a central location for all your email accounts. We’ll also see how to import address books from other accounts so all your contacts are accessible in Gmail.