[Let's Talk] How do you customize your device for perfect form and function?

  1. Ruby G.
    NA Community Manager Apr 23, 2018

    Ruby G. , Apr 23, 2018 :
    Congratulations! You've stumbled upon one of our stickied question forum posts. Take a look at the question below and write a response if it interests you. Feel free to post your response on this thread or start a new thread if your response is over 500 words (be sure to copy & paste the question into a new thread and tag me so I notice).

    How do you customize your device for perfect form and function?

    Posts of 300 – 1000 words will be automatically entered in to our ongoing rewards program and potentially be chosen to move to the next level. Have fun, debate with each other, and let the knowledge flow!

  2. Shivang Joshi
    Starting Point Expert Community Expert Apr 23, 2018

    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018

  3. BobbyV8_
    The Showcase Reviewer Apr 23, 2018

    BobbyV8_ , Apr 23, 2018 :
    Customise in two steps - Give hardware little care and tweak software.

    It's too mainstream to use a mobile stock. A device needs protection and style that meets our personality.

    Apply a skin for a new style. This is a challenge, and I took advantage of dbrand's pricing and product policies and purchased 3 sets to refresh the look after a few days. Here's set for my 3T
    Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 17.36.32.png Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 17.37.45.png Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 11.20.29.png

    This can get funkier.
    Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 11.21.26.png Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 11.21.47.png Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 11.22.18.png Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 11.23.00.png Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 11.24.22.png

    Skins protects the original body from little scratches and dust residue. May use a themed back case instead of a skin, but that won't stop dust from sticking to the device.

    Using a skin doesn't mean the device is safe. So I'll let it wear a transparent case with thick sides and dust plugs.
    1.jpg 2.jpg

    Make it mine:
    Looks are to spot it but the way I theme and tweak OS is what makes the mobile unique. Placement of the icons, status bar items, icon packs, overlays changes and so my emphasis is on this.

    Root and debloat the device in step one. Magisk is really magic to beautify the performance. Xposed used to be of higher preference until I needed to pass the safetynet for banking apps.
    I prefer to use Josefin Sans as a system-wide font. TypeFace does the job for me.

    Nova Prime, FunKong combo suits my needs and has been my go-to choice for a long time. Place highly used apps on the home screen, dock and hide the junk / least ones from the app drawer. All icons are not the best provided by default, so change them to taste.
    unnamed-7.png unnamed-5.png unnamed.jpg

    Keep the base dark, tried a few of my favourite themes being star wars theme with red accents to be inline with the red dragon, Razer theme with all greens for the carbon green back or a golden yellow pirate treasure for the gold metallic.

    Substratum is a gift for a complete makeover. Ozone comes handy to theme basic components of OOS and pitch black and swift black for gapps along with a few other apps, Rounded UI, Transparent for transparent notification bar. I prefer rounded recents, having eight QS.
    unnamed-2.png unnamed-3.png unnamed-4.png unnamed.png

    Match wallpaper and accent with outer shell to keep them in sync.

    Standard display size is a little large for me so move ahead and set dpi to 520 under developer settings.

    The desktop & lock screen needs to be super clean except for the KWGT customised widgets for the clock, weather, and calendar. For the status bar, centre clock, signal bar on the left, and notifications on the right is my choice.

    Gesture support makes it easier to access functions. Double tap home to sleep, back for camera, recents for split screen. Toggle the default off-screen gestures for music, flashlight, camera, double tap screen to wake, three finger swipe for screenshot.

    Same way goes to custom ROMs however most of the job gets done in the baked in kitchen. Not to mention the Security settings as I consider them Setting up device rather than customising it.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018

  4. GopalB.
    Nougat Apr 23, 2018

    GopalB. , Apr 23, 2018 :
    I mostly keep it simple...
    So now I'll try to make is as simple as possible...

    Lets start with Settings:
    1. Scanning always available for WiFi and Bluetooth: Turned Off (Location->Top Right->Scanning->Turn both off)
    2. Theme: Dark (I like it, and its good for OLED displays)
    3. Font size: Small (More text in same window)
    4. Display size: Small (Same reason)
    5. Scheduled power on/off: Enabled (So that the device gets its usual refresh on daily basis)
    Extra: Reduce Animation Scale under developer options (Can make it look like the phone is fast)
    Others would be:
    1. Using dark wallpapers (because OLED and I love dark wallpapers)
    2. Using Substratum (To get Pitch black theme and Red accent color mainly)
    3. Using Launchers like Nova Prime (Coz tones of customization)
    For Wallpapers, I like any wallpaper app with tones of dark wallpapers, and then using app like Smart Wallpaper to enable auto-switching of these beautiful wallpapers...

    Substratum, Well... I use it to get better looking apps and pitch black theme with red accent color... So I'm using Pitch Black Theme...

    Nova Prime, Well I have 3 home pages, Main screen containing Pixel 1 kind of search bar on top, Analog clock in the center and Google Fit steps counter in the bottom.
    Second screen is weather widget, Calendar events, Media widgets and apps in the bottom.
    And last screen is just games apps icons.
    Now nova settings time:
    1. Desktop/App Drawer Grid size: 6x5 (As it doesn't look that clumsy and confusing and at the same time, the spacing between the icons remain optimum in this grid)
    2. Dock contains 7 icons (Only the Important Icons like Phone, messaging app, Instagram, Chrome, Camera, Community and WhatsApp)
    3. For Dock I'm using Whicons Icon pack (As the wallpaper is kinda black, white icons looks cool on them)
    4. For Desktop/App Drawer, I'm using a mix of Built-in, Circlet, DmonD, Flix, Polycon, Talitha Square Icon packs
    So this is how I keep it clean and simple... ;)
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018

  5. theshinybeast
    Marshmallow Apr 23, 2018

    theshinybeast , Apr 23, 2018 :
    @Ruby G.

    When it comes to Customization everybody has their own, very personal, tastes. Some like blingy, colourful cases while others prefer the more reserved look for example. This also goes for layout of our home screens, the amount of apps we have and even the OS we use. Everything goes when it comes to customization of your device and nothing is wrong with anyone's choices, precisely because it's so personal.

    The Outside

    Myself, I go for a more reserved look. It the past I've tried skins, cases various etc but as time has gone on I've settled on a simple, matte black TPU case a look that won't change. After using tempered glass screen protectors for years I've realised that, as I never drop my phone, I just don't need one. My Spidgen covers all my needs.

    The Inside
    While my tastes are frugal when it comes to that exterior look, things get, well, complicated, when we're talking about the software.
    From apps to the actual OS I have tinkered with all over the years and now I'm what you might call, picky.

    The Apps
    Google's Gmail, Photos, Keep , Play Music and Drive are my staple apps. These I keep up to date and well organized as I use them all continuously, on a daily basis.

    Nova Prime is also always there. After initially trying a lot of different launchers years ago I've found Nova to be just perfect for my needs. Substratum is almost like a companion app for Nova. With both I can quickly change the look of my UI from gestures, layout, colour, wallpapers to practically anything I wish.

    Root explorer is another must. A powerful, functional file manager, of special interest for tinkerers like myself who need root access.

    WhatsApp and Telegram are also both to be found on my device, the former for family and friends while the latter more for keeping up to date with the dev world of ROMs, kernels etc. Finally, Twitter and Podbean make an appearance here, to keep me informed of what's going on in the world and to fill my podcast needs respectively.There are more of course, but I could live without them. The less clutter, the better.

    And now we come to the more serious side of my customization. That is the world of bootloaders, TWRP, ROMs,Kernels et al. This started with my OPO, legendary for the endless support it has, even now, from the dev community. It was in those years that I honed my skills, my ability to not brick my phone and if needed, how to save it.

    Around 2014/2015. I noticed their was a lot of talk in the forums about ROMs, CyanogenMod, Resurrection Remix and a very long etc. I was hooked. During this time there was a veritable frenzy of ROM flashing going on in the forum and many very knowledgeable folk to help an eager noob like me . I dived in head first and haven't looked back since.


    In the beginning I just wanted to try them all, the more features and customization, the better. But as I've learned more, my tastes have mellowed. I like clean, almost pure Android. I say almost because pure Android is really quite dull but it's efficient and does exactly what its supposed to.

    So I enjoy AOSP ROMs more than anything. Gone are the days of customization overkill with the customization beast that is Ressurection Remix. At the moment I've been favouring AOSiP, clean, simple but with just enough extra tweaks to do me. In reality I like stock OOS a lot, possibly the best OEM ROM at the minute but that's not really the point. The point is I love playing around trying to find that perfect ROM, which, by the way, does not and will not exist.
    With custom Kernels I find it's a different matter, not just the enjoyment but practicality also comes into play.
    With kernels I can actually get a "real" benefit. From better battery life to better performance , smoother animations to general smoothness of the whole UI. It does require some basic knowledge if you start playing around with CPU frequencies, governers etc and you do need to read up on it but real gains can be achieved and there are some kernels which truly are flash and forget, like Caesium, my kernel of choice right now. I'm not going into too much detail on this even though it is, undoubtedly, the most important part of my setup. The reason for this is that I'm a strong believer that if anyone is remotely serious about ROMs 'n' Kernels, they have a personal obligation to read up on it themselves.

    On that note I've leave you with this little poem which sums my idea of customization to a tee.

    The Flashaholics Friend
    When your stock OS goes wrong and will not come right,
    Though you do the best you can,
    When your phone looks blank as a foggy night
    Flashing a new ROM is your only man.

    When performance is tight and hard to get
    And you're just not using all that RAM
    When all you have is a heap of bugs -
    Flashing a new ROM is your only man.

    When battery is bad and your settings feel strange,
    And your customization is pale and wan,
    When fellow flashaholics say you need a change,
    Flashing a new ROM is your only man.

    When tweaks are scarce and your status bar bare
    And no Substratum brightens your screen,
    When boredom grows as your themes are rare -
    Flashing a new ROM is your only man.

    In time of trouble and lousey strife,
    You have still got a darling plan
    You still can turn to a brighter life -
    Flashing a new ROM is your only man.

    My current setup:
    Rom: AOSiP
    Kernel: Caesium
    Substratum theme: Edge
    Iconpack: GlimDark
    Nova launcher

    Wallpaper: Random photo I found of Charles Mingus.

    Screenshot_Settings_20180424-140145.png Screenshot_Nova_Launcher_20180424-140114.png Screenshot_Settings_20180424-140129.png
    Last edited: May 2, 2018

  6. MrTalon
    Ice Cream Sandwich Apr 23, 2018

    IraJW, Ravi BINAVAT and viking_vp3 like this.
  7. Dresa91
    User of the Year 2016 Apr 23, 2018

    Dresa91 , Apr 23, 2018 :
    How do you customize your device for perfect form and function?

    Well, that's actually quite simple.
    I refer the question "How do you customize your device for perfect form and function?" to my currently used smartphone: the OnePlus 3.

    What distinguishes the OnePlus 3 at that time (and of course also today) is its slim construction and fit. Accordingly I have and never set value on destroying this narrow form with an all too thick shell. Because with a slim and thin cover I get the elegance that the OnePlus 3 suggests to me as a user. With the slim case I can also put the smartphone into my trouser pockets quickly, although I prefer to put the phone in my jacket pocket or in a backpack due to the size of the device. This also protects me, I use a protective film for the display. This means that the film and cover are not applied thickly.

    With the slim form of the smartphone I also suggest a fast and well tuned OS for me. So I do without too many apps on the software level, which might be installed unnecessarily. I keep the device clean (delete things I haven't used for a long time -> save to PC) and always up-to-date.
    I avoid large data collections. So the smartphone lives (survives) for a long time.
    With it I have adapted my smartphone to my needs and I can do everything I want with it.
    Because for super great photos I take my SLR camera, I don't have to install 10 additional apps and fill up my smartphone ;-).
    The same with social media. Why install a battery-eating and performance-influencing Facebook app when I can do it just as well with the browser app? Sometimes you have to start in your head and think about it beforehand, so you can put on your smartphone in a super and perfect way.

    So I not only have a thin device visually, it is also fast in terms of performance.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018

  8. viking_vp3
    Gingerbread Apr 23, 2018

    viking_vp3 , Apr 23, 2018 :
    First of all, I root the device. I am almost addicted to backing up my apps and data and what is better than a Titanium back up app and its’ Glory?! Amazing app with features which is back up almost everything.

    Then I delete extra third party apps and fortunately there are almost non on Oxygen ROMs.

    I am sensitive about sound quality both on headphones and speaker so Viper4ndroid is necessity on my devices and sometimes I test things like dolby atoms but always I will be back to good old Viper with its’ Glory. Or even for non-stereo devices you can flash dual speaker mod which are out there for many devices such as OnePlus 5 or Galaxy S7.

    Then here it comes camera app, nowadays ported GCams are magnificent on most devices and if you want a good experience with them rooted device is a must in this case. And also there mods to improve native camera app and if you have the time you can test and enjoy them.

    Then if I have time I start to test custom roms and custom kernels. There are many many roms and kernels for devices like OnePlus. Each one with its own taste and features. And you and only you can choose the best one after the tests or even return to stock ROM! For my current device I am on a custom rom that is almost a stock rom with some extra features.

    And then kernel. The brain of the phone. It can give you a huge different in consumption or performance if you find a good one with good setting and fortunately there are many talented Developers on XDA website with great kernels for OnePlus devices.

    What else? I like to change wallpapers a lot, I have many on my device and I use Zedge app to change them automatically for me. And gosh subruthem is out there and it themes and colors and layers and fonts it is a whole world for itself.

    Sometimes I even change the boot logo animation for fun but eventually I will return to stock one which is faster and cleaner.

    And sometimes I flash mods for missing features like recording call.

    That’s my procedure with my devices. What are yours ?!

  9. NeVeR_SeTTLe
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Apr 23, 2018

    NeVeR_SeTTLe , Apr 23, 2018 :
    @Ruby G. Perfect form and function doesn't exist. It is really dependent on the user’s preference ;)

    When I get a device, the first thing I do is activate the “Developer Options”. The Developer Options are intended for Developers and are hidden from the normal users. To enable Developer Options, head over to Settings --> About Phone --> Tap 8 times on Build Number. These options are useful for me because I can control some of the core things in my Android System. I have three things I do in the Developer Options menu.

    The first thing I do is disable animations. Why you may ask? It helps me to have a faster system when I am switching between applications and it increases the fluidity of the system. In the Developer Options, go to Drawing section and there will be three things of concern to you – 1. Window Animation Scale, 2. Transition Animation Scale, 3. Animator Duration Scale. Set all these three anywhere from None to 0.5x. You will notice the speed right away!

    The second thing I do is I improve my image quality when I game. As I love games and especially 3D games ;) In the Developer Options, go to the Hardware Accelerated Rendering and enable the Force 4X MSAA. When you are enabling this option, it forces the Android System to use 4 times anti-aliasing in OpenGL which in turn improves the image quality. There is a downside to this as it consumes a little bit more power so your battery life will suck more juice. For me, it is worth it.

    The last thing I do is set my background process limit. This option lets me control the number of background processes that can be allowed to run anytime. I like to control this as if there are many background processes running, then I feel as the OS is running sluggish. I set it to 4. You can experiment for what is right for you ;)

    After I am done configuring Developer Options, I go into Settings and tweak it to my liking. The first things I tweak is the OS’s theme. I see if there is a black theme. If yes, I enable that. If there isn’t, then I just leave it be. Next, I setup my Security (fingerprint + pin). After that, I go and pick out my favorite black AMOLED wallpaper and set it. Black theme and black wallpaper = battery saver & reduces burn-in. The last thing I do is pick out my favorite icon pack.

    When I am done with tweaking my Settings, the last thing I do is install the apps and games I need to function on a regular basis. That’s pretty much it. :D
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018

  10. Silvrash
    Gingerbread Apr 23, 2018

    Silvrash , Apr 23, 2018 :
    well detailed

    Ravi BINAVAT and GopalB. like this.
  11. zheyong
    Froyo Apr 23, 2018

    Ravi BINAVAT likes this.
  12. GopalB.
    Nougat Apr 23, 2018

    Ravi BINAVAT likes this.
  13. dsmonteiro
    Community Consultant Staff Member Apr 23, 2018

    dsmonteiro , Apr 23, 2018 :
    Customizing your device is a very personal thing and as such there really isn't a one size fits all solution. While some prefer to keep the phone as close to stock as possible, others prefer to resort to kernels, mods and ROMs to squeeze as much power as they can from the device. Still, I'd like to share with all of you some tips that might help you achieve that perfect look!

    For structuring sake, I divided this guide in three different categories and I've tried to link to as many guides as I could. So, if you want to know about a specific topic, feel free to follow the provided links.

    (steps that don't require more than installing an app and have no risk of something going horribly wrong)
    0. Optimizing the use of your Google Account
    This is something I highly recommend you doing if you haven't already. A Google account is so much than just an email address. With it, you can automatically backup contacts and photos and even restore the phone log and SMS.

    1. Exploring the Settings
    Every time I get a new device, this is the first thing I do. Going from top to bottom, I explore each Settings menu in order to tweak the device to my liking. You'll find those small things that improve your experience, like changing the buttons that show up on quick settings, how the screen looks or even some more advanced options like OnePlus' Gaming and Reading modes.

    2. Decluttering
    After the initial setup but before I start installing new apps, I go through app drawer and check the ones I don't need or want. This is not so much a matter of saving storage but rather avoiding unwanted apps running in the background (thus wasting battery life) and getting a more streamlined experience. While you can only disable system apps, OnePlus was kind enough to keep their own apps as uninstallable. If you by any chance find that you're missing that one app you got rid off, you can always find it in APK Mirror and install it manually.

    3. Setting a wallpaper

    4. Installing a custom Launcher

    5. Changing your icons

    6. Customizing your home screen

    7. Setting a custom ringtone

    8. Making a backup

    (steps that still don't require you to unlock the bootloader but have some risk of going wrong)

    9. Getting comfortable with Substratum

    (tips that require you to unlock the bootloader and/or rooting your device, with a slightly higher risk for something going wrong)

    10. Unlocking the bootloader

    11. Flashing a Custom Kernel

    12. Magisk-ing like a boss

    13. The Custom ROM nirvana


  14. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Apr 23, 2018

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan , Apr 23, 2018 :
    Over the years, I realised the best way to customise and manage your work, gadgets, or anything in life is to keep it as simple and minimalist, as possible.

    I'm currently having about 105 apps installed (as seen on my app drawer, although Google Play Store shows only 72 installed) and I usually prefer to have 100 apps as a thumb rule. Because I keep trying a few apps every now and then, the number can exceed 100.

    How do you customize your device for perfect form and function?

    When setting up a device, I prefer starting from scratch as much as possible, because even though it may be a little more time consuming compared to restoring it from a backup, I believe it is a much better option because restoring from a backup will restore any associated junk too, which may hinder performance, battery life, etc.

    While I would use my examples using Android, they apply equally to iOS, Windows, and others. I will start with some general ways to customize your device since every individual has a different set of preferences.


    After turning on the device, I go through each option under settings and choose the option that is best to my liking. While every individual is different and will have his/ her own preference, here are some ‘principles’ I follow:

    1. Let the smartphone remain ‘smart’. This is why we bought a smartphone. I don’t see a logic in disabling/ turning off useful features for the sake of prolonging battery life (which is usually the case), unless under specific circumstances. The setup should be such that it achieves the best balance of smartness, performance and battery life.

    2. Disable options that are not necessary. These are options that are useful, but only in rare circumstances. For example, WiFi and Bluetooth scanning under Settings/ Location (look under overflow menu).

    3. In my case, because I have a stable WiFi & Mobile Data connection, I really don’t need to enable Smart WiFi switcher or Scanning always available option under Settings/ WiFi/ WiFi preferences. Some options are best enabled manually, when required.

    4. Display Timeout – I always prefer to keep it at 30 seconds.

    5. Automation - I use Macrodroid and Tasker to automate a few things for me. These are:
    • Turning off Bluetooth when device is not connected to any Bluetooth device and screen turns off.
    • Turning off Mobile data when connected to a WiFi network.
    • Enable DND mode based on time of day.
    • Enable DND and silence notifications (turn off heads up notifications globally) when certain apps (like Camera, YouTube, Video Players, etc.) are in the foreground.

    6. Ambient Display – because Android phones have a notification LED (which is usually customisable with a different colour per app), I prefer keeping it turned off. If I receive any notification, I am notified by LED and/ or Sound, which is enough for me. Anything of a private/ sensitive nature, like emails, chats, sms, etc., are configured to hide the content from lock screen in my case, and I don’t want my screen to light up for every notification and drain battery.

    7. Notifications – While I leave it at default (show all) settings, I choose ‘hide sensitive content’ option for notifications from apps like email, chat, sms, and a few others. My privacy is important for me.

    8. App Permissions – I go through the permissions for each app under the following two categories:

    • Settings/ Apps/ App Permissions – I check under each category, what apps are listed and if an app shouldn’t need a certain permission, I disable the permission for that app.
    • Settings/ Apps/ Application List
      • I check for each app what permissions it has and disable the ones it shouldn’t require (this is actually taken care of in the above point, so this acts like a check for me).
      • I disable data usage (Background activity, WiFi, Mobile Data) for apps that don’t need it for core functionality. What this also means is no ads shown by the app. So to support development, I purchase the paid version of most apps I have, where available.

    9. Security & Privacy – The most important setting.
    • I keep unknown sources OFF for every app under Settings/ Apps/ Application List/ Special Access/ Install unknown apps.
    • I use either Pattern/ Pin to secure my device and I have enabled both fingerprint and face unlock for my device. I always hated keying in pin/ pattern because there is always the possibility of someone snooping and knowing what it is. With fingerprint and face unlock, that issue is addressed.
    • I always enable Google Play Protect under Settings/ Google/ Security and enable the following two options too:
      • Scan device for security threats
      • Improve harmful app detection
    • Depending on the ROM, if Privacy Guard feature is available, I enable it for most apps that shouldn’t break into my privacy.
    • Depending on the ROM, if Start at Background feature is available, I disable it for most apps that need not start at boot.
    10. Developer Options - I enable this by tapping Build Number 7 times under Settings/ About Phone. Once enabled, it appears under Settings towards the bottom. Inside here, I enable Advanced Reboot and reduce the animation speeds of all three options to 0.5x as below:


    Anything lower, and you tend to miss some useful animations. As I have rooted my device, I also enable USB Debugging.

    11. Gestures - I use the 3 fingers screenshot feature (on OOS) and double tap to wake gestures. In addition to these, I also use all the gestures provided by my launcher.


    Tips I follow and recommend for choosing apps:

    1. Cross-platform support (Windows, iOS, Android) – This is the most important criteria for me. Firstly, this helps me from being tied to an ‘ecosystem’ as the app is available on all platforms. In this regard, I prefer apps from Google & Microsoft. They are my first preference. The other advantage is the ability to sync and 'continue' where we left off using another device.

    2. Number of downloads and tech/ user reviews. While they are not necessarily an indication of how good the app is, but they serve as a good starting point. For example, one of the worst apps on Google Play Store is Clean Master. It has over 500 million downloads with an average user rating of 4.7. It is too easy to get fooled by these numbers and persuaded to install this app. Far from doing good to your phone, this junk app will keep bombarding you with unnecessary notifications, keep running in the background occupying RAM, using CPU cycles, draining battery and continuously lie to you that it ‘cleaned’ your phone, ‘secured’ your phone, ‘increased’ your battery life, etc., all while doing just the opposite as cleaning temporary files like cache hinders performance, drains battery as cache has to be rebuilt, increase data usage (for example, Google Photos will redownload thumbnails from your Google account, increasing your data usage) and eventually cause lags on your device.

    3. Active Status – look for apps that are actively in development. This will ensure that apps are well optimised for your system and don’t waste system resources.

    4. Lightweight – look for apps that do just what it is downloaded for. For example, a file manager should only enable you to do file operations (copy, move, delete, extract, etc), access files over a network/ cloud, and as bonus be able to read files like documents, pictures, videos, music, etc. But file managers have no business boosting your memory, saving your battery, cooling your CPU, or do any function that is outside the purview of what its name indicates.

    5. Permissions – look for the permissions that each app requests. It if often quite easy to understand if a permission is necessary. For example, a calculator app has no business accessing your contacts, storage, etc. If it does, either look for an alternative, or disable the permissions.

    6. Side-loading apps – be careful about what apps you install and where you get them from. Downloading APKs from random sites should be avoided. Install an app from other sources only if it is absolutely necessary and there are no alternatives available on Google Play Store.

    7. Junk Apps – these are mostly apps that actually claim to remove junk from your phone or improve your phone performance. Stay away from any app that has the following (or similar) terms in its description:
    • Memory Booster
    • RAM cleaner
    • CPU cooler
    • Battery Saver
    • Junk Cleaner

    Personally, I don’t want to loose out on the opportunities provided by improvements in Technology. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and other technologies used by tech giants like Google, Apple, Microsoft and a few reputed others, make our lives easier and I believe in making maximum use of it and be benefitted from it. Of course, this is only possible if you give them access to your data. It ain’t magic. So depending on your comfort levels, you can choose what kind of access you want to give and expect corresponding benefits in line with how much data you share with these companies.


    My files are important to me. An incident taught me the importance of having a solid backup plan in place. To this end, this is how I keep my files backed up:

    1. Camera Roll – Google Photos

    2. Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Downloads, etc – Resilio Sync. I use Resilio Sync to automatically backup all my selected folders to my laptop whenever my devices are connected to the same network. Here is a guide on how to use it:

    3. SMS & Call Logs - I backup using SMS Backup and Restore.

    4. Contacts - always save to Google account.


    I'm a 'function over form' person. While presentation is an important aspect, I always prioritize 'value' or 'utility' over 'presentation'.

    Because I use an iPhone for work and financial transactions, I have rooted my Android device and keep all sensitive work away from it. I may be over cautious, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

    Wallpaper - Having an app just for changing my wallpaper is not something I personally prefer. I either use a static wallpaper or use the wallpaper changing feature of my launcher, currently Microsoft Launcher whose Bing images has some incredible pictures. While Nova Launcher is great and probably the most customizable, my current favourite is Microsoft Launcher as it keeps my information in the cloud, is sufficiently and impressively customisable, and has some specific advantages like 'Continue on PC'.

    Root Apps
    – I install a few apps with root permissions and here they are:
    1. Adaway - blocks ads systemwide.
    2. AFWall+ - allows per app control of network access for each of LAN, WiFi, Mobile Data, Roaming, and VPN.
    3. Titanium Backup - freeze/ disable/ remove apps (including system apps) and for backup/ restore of apps.
    4. SD Maid - I run SD Maid automatically on a daily schedule to delete all duplicate files on my system and to delete any leftover files from uninstalled apps.
    5. EX Kernel Manager - I like bright, vivid colours because they make my display very vibrant. None of the stock screen calibration profiles are satisfactory to my taste as they are either too warm or too dull to my liking. So installed EX Kernel from XDA and I use it only to tweak my screen calibration. Nothing else.
    6. JOnePlus Tools - for material design Quick Settings:



    7. Substratum Theme Engine – I’m currently using Flux White Theme just to theme my Settings app, which looks like this:


    Apps without root – I have a special attachment to Browsers, File managers & Media players. So I always have 3 to 5 apps in those categories. While I would like to list all my apps, I won't because it will make this already long post even longer. Here are some of my favourite apps:


    Home-screen – I have only 3 Home pages (5 columns and 7 rows) with default page at the centre and 1 dock, with a 5 icon width, where I have organised frequently used apps in folders. The home screen to the left of my default page has some widgets like Calendar, To Do, WhatsApp, etc. The one to the right has the Microsoft Launcher News widget. Here is my current home-screen:


    Icon Pack – Not using any icon pack. I usually like the default icons more.

    Lock-screen – My lock screen is very simple, but functional (with optimism). My optimism is that should I lose my phone and someone finds it, he can easily contact me and give it back. Here is how it looks:


    That is it for now.

    @Ruby G. Thank you.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018

  15. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Apr 23, 2018

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan , Apr 23, 2018 :
    Sorry for going off-topic, but do you somehow get the question paper in advance? :)

    EDIT: Sorry again. I thought yours was again the 1st post.

  16. RogerF81
    Honeycomb Apr 23, 2018

    RogerF81 , Apr 23, 2018 :
    Finally a really interesting question in round 2 :D So, let's start the fun!

    Ok, I would say, one has to take 2 approaches, from software side and from hardware side. Let's start with

    The hardware side:
    This is quite easy I would say. I always use a case for my phone. For my OnePlus 5, I have even 3 cases: The Sandstone and the Karbon Protective Case and the Karbon Bumper Case. So I can use what I want respectively it depends on the situation. On top, I always use a screen protector. I already tried the Ultimate Shield Glass Protector and the Ultimate Shield Plastic Screen Protector and the Plastic Screen Protector by Skinomi, which I just applied today. Furthermore, of course, one can also use dbrand skins or something similar to customize the phone even more, but I don't have a dbrand skin right now for my OnePlus 5. So, let's continue with

    The software side:
    This is even more fun! Before you turn the phone on for the first time, you can decide if you want to unlock your bootloader or not, which I did right away. Once this is done, you can install TWRP and flash Roms, kernels etc. I'm still thinking to jump over to an AOSP Rom, but for now, I stay on OOS, as it is the most stable choice. As this decision is done, you can choose a kernel. I flashed Flash Kernel, as this is the most stable one as well for me. To have root access, I also flash Magisk, of course. I also use a Debloater to get rid of this whole Google garbage, which I don't use anyways. I also made a flashable zip for sounds, which adds some more custom ringtones, notification sounds etc. I also use my own Pixel Wifi Mod, which replaces a single file and improves stability of the Wifi connection. I don't use any soundmods anymore, as they don't have any effect for me, but make things worse, so they are not worth it in my opinion. Additionally, I flash the Vanced version of Youtube, which lets you customize Youtube a bit, which is really helpful. I use a Google-Pixel-experience flashable zip, which adds the Google bootanimation + the Product Sans font by Google, which looks awesome! Some other Magisk modules are left to flash: The Busybox module by osm0sis, the Sysconfig patcher by VR25, the Systemless_TZdata and my very own build.prop additions module. So, flashing done, let's start and boot the phone. Once boot is completed (which doesn't take that long anyways :p ), let's go to the settings app. In Wifi, turn off Scanning always available and Smart WiFi Switcher, nobody needs that. In the screen settings, I turn on night mode for certain times, and I switch to the black theme plus I change the screen calibration to DCI-3, as this is the most balanced one in my opinion. I configure the notification slider as well as the gestures, for example I activate double tap to wake and drawing a V for turning on the flashlight. In accounts, I turn off the synchronization (turn it on only when you really need it). In the menu point Google, I go into ads and turn off the personal ads/data and the scanning for malicious apps (do this only if you know what you're doing). In battery, I leave the normal app cleaning turned on and not the deeper cleaning, as I presume, apps would be closed even earlier in this case. I also enable developer options, and there the USB debugging and the WLAN Multi/Broadcasting Filter. I also turn off every animations, as I don't like animations at all and furthermore, without any animations, the phone is even faster :p
    So, these are my settings. I also configure the QS tiles to my needs. Besides, I'm using Nova Launcher instead of the stock launcher (I have been doing this on every phone I owned before as well). Last but not least, I don't use Substratum, as it is not fully stable on OOS. For even better battery life, I'm using the app HelixEngine by my fellow teammate ZeroInfinity, which uses interactive governor tweaks and more with values by Mostafa Wael and me.

    I guess, so far, this is it, I hope I haven't forgot anything, and if, I can add some more things. Cheers! :)

  17. NeVeR_SeTTLe
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Apr 23, 2018

    NeVeR_SeTTLe , Apr 23, 2018 :
    LoL!!!!! My friend, I wish I got this question in advance :p Unfortunately, nope :p

  18. iCamps
    Eclair Apr 23, 2018

    iCamps , Apr 23, 2018 :
    I think that you have to play a lot with the phone to get a (almost)perfect customizations. Right now, I am learning with this post!

    One think I really don't like: the development team change Android settings removing or capping them.

    Ravi BINAVAT likes this.
  19. geo07
    Ice Cream Sandwich Apr 23, 2018

    geo07 , Apr 23, 2018 :
    One of the reasons I like OnePlus phones is because I really like the stock oxygen os feeling so my changes are just few, usually on icon packs and wallpapers that I really like to change often!

    Ravi BINAVAT likes this.
  20. elanglois
    Lollipop Apr 24, 2018

    elanglois , Apr 24, 2018 :
    Let's Talk about Device Customization
    I have to agree with a lot of the people here. This is a very personal issue. The good news, is we are on Android. Better yet, we have OnePlus phones. Unlike the fruity manufacturer, Android brings about a lot of customization. Oneplus gives us even more options than most with custom themes, stock support for icon packs, and even a (narrow) selection of fonts. Further, Oneplus doesn't void the warranty when you unlock the bootloader. This means you can write whatever you want to any part of the device from a custom recovery. The most reason to unlock the bootloader is "rooting", which allow Android apps to access this privilege.

    My phone actually does have a customization that will likely void your warranty. Check this ... https://forums.oneplus.com/threads/now-available-in-purple.562141/

    Now that the hardware is the right color, I unlock the bootloader and flash a custom ROM (or sometimes the latest OOS Beta). Right now I'm back to Vertex/Nougat with the wonderful EAS support. Vertex is pretty slimmed down AOSP ROM with very few features. However, it does have built-in OMS support, pocket mode, ambient display, and a couple more that just have to be baked-in. First add-on is Gapps, then Magisk for root and modules, and then OmniSwitch. For Omniswitch, I add a button remapper app so that the default Recent's button pulls up Omniswitch. I have it set to only show apps that are actually running, not "recents".


    Once the ROM is up, unlock developer mode to drop the animation speed to 1/2 (twice as fast), and install a custom launcher, either Lawnchair or Evie (using Evie now). KWGT gives me my custom widgets and then we're off for Magisk modules. I used to use Viper, but JamesDSP has caught my attention as an upcoming rival and completely open-source. Paired with Sauron (universal audio-sweetener), it's a very nice but unobtrusive add-on. JamesDSP let's you use the same convolvers as Viper ... I swear by the JoeMeeks compressor! And JamesDSP resamples it to 48K for fewer glitches. Audio is rounded out by the PowerAmp media player (the Beta) and VLC for video.

    For Camera, the Snapdragon camera was the usual go-to, but the Google Camera is the new king. Install it and the front cam fix ia Magisk and love it. Done! In addition, we have the YouTube Vanced, black-themed version, Videoder, and Terrarium. Done with video, and off to themes. Here's my Magisk Modules ...


    Swift Black does the blacked-out basics and all the apps (using Amber for the accent since everyone else uses red), then System Emoji Changer, Typeface (with Glacial Indifference Font), and Xettings (for 4 QS tiles wide and centered clock). The KWGT custom widgets do weather, signal strength, calendar, media player controls, and other system monitoring functions. For SMS, I use Pulse so that I can send/receive texts from my PC or back-up phone (a OnePlus One). Greenify actually saves some juice, but you have to give it root permissions and use shallow hibernation for best effect. File Manager is FX and Gallery is from SimpleMobile Tools. The browser is just Chrome, but with the URL bar dropped to the bottom.

    My capacitive buttons are customized so that a double-tap switches to the last used app instantly, and I like having my button backlights come on when I touch the screen, so a custom script does this (via Magisk). You can get more info on that here https://forums.oneplus.com/threads/keep-button-backlights-on-root.508092/ The same script also takes care of turning on the High Brightness Mode in direct sunlight. Icon pack is "Simplicon"


    And then I have my own backup solution and tunable ad-blocker, a web-based remote for the house media-center, the old OnePlus One is a security camera when its not testing ideas, and another custom app turns my 128GB of storage into a CD/DVD-ROM drive by tapping an ISO (allows me to boot PC-recovery systems with my phone).

    Is that customized enough? I'm sure you'd hate how I have my phone set up, but the beauty of Android and OnePlus's permissive root policy mean that you can set it up however YOU want it. As you can see, there are no limits!