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If you are using an Android device like HTC, Samsung, LG, etc. then you must have thought about having stock Android on your device. While Android skins like TouchWiz, Sense, etc. provide a lot of functionality, they feel heavy at times. Apart from this, there are many reasons why we find stock Android attractive. Stock Android or pure Android, as some of us like to call it, has always been loved for its smooth, bloat-free experience. Also, unlike the old days of Android, stock Android looks beautiful and integrated, thanks to the Material Design UI language.
So it’s no wonder you want the standard Android experience on your device. While you can always install custom ROMs to get the standard Android experience, it’s a step that not everyone is willing to take. However, these are the steps you can take to get the Android look and feel on your Android device.
Google’s Pixel devices are the best pure Android phones out there. But you can get that standard Android experience on any phone without rooting it. Essentially, you need to download an Android launcher and some apps that give Android a vanilla touch. It’s really simple, which means that anyone can do it without a lot of technical knowledge. We will tell you what to do.
Get stock Android experience on any phone
Install a stock Android launcher
Certainly the launcher is something you interact with the most on your smartphone. So the first thing you need to do is download and install an Android-based launcher from the Google Play Store.
Now, there are many launchers available in the market out of which, Google Now Launcher and CPL (Customized Pixel Launcher) are the ones we suggest to get for the stock experience. Both launchers provide a Pixel-like home screen interface and app drawer, with the latter offering a ton of additional features.
Regardless, if you want more customization while still keeping the vanilla experience, you can try apps like Nova Launcher and Action Launcher Pixel Edition. Also, you can install the Google Feed plugin for the respective launchers to get the personalized Pixel-like feed of news articles, nearby recommendations, and other content based on your search history and device usage, right on your home screen.
Switch to a material-based theme
If your phone runs on EMUI, MIUI, ColorOS, etc., chances are you already have a theme engine built into your phone with which you can download themes from the manufacturer’s store and install them on your device.
These themes are generally used throughout the interface, including system applications, notification panel, navigation bar icons, application icons, and more. Among the available themes, Material themes are the ones made for Android lovers. So you can install a suitable one from the store to get a close to stock Android environment on your entire phone.
For example, Huawei and Honor users can install Dark Material Design 2, MaterialUi, and G Pix themes from the Play Store and upload them using the device’s theme app. Whereas, Xiaomi users can try themes like Android One, Android Origin, Oxygen 999 and AOSP Extended (we are not talking about AOSP Extended ROM here).
Use icon packs
Now that you’re done with an action-based launcher and material theme, it’s time to try out some icon packs that can help disguise your phone’s inner crocodile even more. So, head over to the Google Play Store, search for “stock icon packs” or “pixel icons” and install whatever you want.
The ones we liked the most are the Pixel Icons, MoonShine, and Revolution icon packs. Also, you can also try Splendid Icon Pack to get a minimal but completely different look. Note that installing custom icon packs requires a third-party launcher like Nova and Apex, as most phones don’t allow fiddling with icon modifying through the native launcher app.
Install messaging apps and Google contacts
The next step is to replace your phone’s native Contacts and Messages apps with Google Contacts and Google Messages. The Google Contacts app offers a material layout with Google sync, contact backup, and caller ID feature. The Google Messages app, on the other hand, allows you to send images, videos, audio, emoji, and more. In addition, it also offers the ability to block numbers and send and read messages directly on your computer.
Once installed, grant all necessary permissions and set them as default phone and messaging apps in Android settings. That’s it; You now have two of the simplest yet essential Android apps.
Install Google keyboard
While most phones rely on the Google keyboard, some manufacturers go too far on customization by using proprietary keyboards or third-party apps like SwiftKey. But there’s no point in having something else when Google’s GBoard has more than enough to offer, right?
Well, you can still install Google Keyboard on your device from Google Play Store. After installation, set it as the default keyboard app in the language and input settings, and you’re good to go. Similarly, you can install other Google apps like Google Drive, Gmail, Google Play Music, Keep, and more directly from the store.
Uninstall / Disable additional applications
Now that you have installed the Google replacement for manufacturer provided apps, you can disable / uninstall all other additional apps from your phone settings. System apps and bloatware that cannot be disabled from settings can be removed using ADB commands.
Needless to say, you can also hide all other useless apps from your app drawer in your launcher settings. Most third-party launchers, like Nova, offer the feature of hiding apps that you don’t want to see on the apps screen.
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