6 Widgets to Customize Android the Way iOS Users Only Dream Of

Many people do not realize how customizable Android really is. Most of the features it comes with are simply defaults that can be changed to alternatives without any rooting involved. Some of those can be applied to an iOS device that has been jailbroken, but some are just not possible.

You can replace just about anything that comes with the Android OS.

1. Change the keyboard

You can install a keyboard from third-party developers without having to root the device. You simply change it in the Language and input from in the settings.

This also lets developers try new things and various keyboards that work better for different people’s needs. A popular keyboard alternative is Swype, which is a default option in some devices. SwiftKey is another alternative that is on Google Play for just $4. It focuses on natural language processing and guesses what you’re trying to type.

2. Switch home screen launchers

The home screen that you see is also an app that is replaceable. If you are tired of the same look or need more options, there are a lot to choose from. One popular launcher is GO Launcher EX which includes various widgets, skins, and various configuration options too. If you use the older Android versions but enjoy the look of Android 4.0 and up, check out the Holo Launcher for a similar appearance.

To choose your default launcher, simply tap on the home button once the launcher is installed. You will then be prompted to choose the launcher you prefer.

3. Customize the lock screen

The lock screen can get old to look at after a while, and it can also be changed. There are lock screens that provide various themes and other functions. For instance, WidgetLocker gives you the ability to add widgets on the lock screen to create your own look.

4. Install a different browser

Another thing that Android allows users to do is install other browsers like Firefox and Opera. Once you install a new browser of your choice, you will be prompted to choose the default browser.

To make it better, Google has not limited developers to the same restrictions that Microsoft and Apple have done with third-party browsers. For instance, Firefox for Android has the same rendering engine that is used with its desktop version.

5. Change your email client

You are able to install various email clients with Android and choose to use them as the default email app. Although, third-party email apps are not very popular, and the built-in Gmail app is a good client by itself. However, Yahoo and Microsoft created apps of their own for Yahoo!Mail and Outlook, which you can set as the default.

6. Change the operating system

With Android being an open source OS, the community is able to create source code of its own and develop modified versions that have other features. These are also called ROMs. CyanogenMod is the most popular of these, which can be used to switch the default Android operating system on various devices.

Thanks to Android’s open code policy, the users can change its appearance and features endlessly. The list doesn’t end with launchers, lock screens and email clients though. There are many other features and widgets available on Google Play that you can install to modify your Android phone even further.

Are you using any of the mentioned apps?