Custom User Interfaces or Custom UI, as we term it, have always been one of the most arguable things about smartphones. While a few of us swear by the awesome features that come pre-loaded, others like to have a more minimalist approach when it comes to handling the phone.
In fact, the love for the stock experience is so much that some users prefer rooting their phone. Well, that was in the heydays of Android. Now, we have a plethora of apps on Google Play Store that lends the stock experience to your phone without the need to root.
In this article, we will give a detailed view on how to give your Android a near-stock experience using various third-party apps and settings.
Note: You will not get the complete AOSP experience as that would require rooting and flashing of custom ROM.
1. Get the Google Phone App
Let's start with the dialer. It goes without saying that apart from the social media apps, the dialer is the most frequented app among all other. So, it's imperative that this is one of the first apps to get a makeover.
The Google Phone dialer isn't present in the Apple App Store, hence, you'd have to sideload it using this mirror link. If you have sideloaded apps before, then you must be knowing that it requires you to enable the Unknown sources settings. Head over to Settings>Security to enable it.
Once done, all you have to do is install the .apk file and enjoy the first step towards a stock Android experience.
I am currently using the Samsung Galaxy Note8 and I'm irked by its constant reminders to go through unread messages. Of course, I can just go and turn the feature off but the default app still wouldn't reduce my love for the Android Messages app.
To use it, all you have to do is download the app and set it as the default messenger. While you are at it, don’t forget to replace the shortcut on your home screen.
3. Get a Material Design Inspired Notification Shade
Just the other day, I was using the Honor 9i and though I found the built-in EMUI to be a handy interface, I couldn't help but miss the standard notification drawer with its 3x3 Quick Setting menu.
The solution is in the form of the Material Notification Shade, which not only brings the stock Android experience back but also gives you the option to change the background or foreground color.
The default setting is inspired by Android Oreo with a white background and a black foreground.
Once installed, you can swipe the notification panel down to see the changes.
4. Disable the Unnecessary Bloatware
Having a custom UI on your phone also means that you get a regular share of bloatware. While you may use some of them, most bloatware just sit there occupying space and RAM.
While we can't do much about the storage, as a few UIs don't let you uninstall these apps, you can still go ahead and disable them. Disabling these apps will rob them of the chance to update, run in the background or hog on data and battery.
All you have to do is go to the App Settings, select the specific apps and tap on Disable.
Now that the phone has almost been set up according to stock Android experience, let's get a new launcher. One of the best ways to google-ify your launcher is to get one from Google. The best option is either to sideload the Pixel Launcher by XDA user paphonb.
The good thing about icon packs and wallpapers is that they can be changed as and when it pleases your mind.
The best thing about the above launchers is that they come with their own icon shapes. Still, if you want to go for the latest trend in the market — the teardrop shape icons, here's a quick guide on how to get them.
As far as wallpapers are concerned, the Wallpapers app has a decent collection of extraordinary images.
This is how you can get a make-shift stock Android experience on your device with the help of a few third-party apps. The best thing about these apps is that they work perfectly without the need to root.
Is there any other app that you like? Do drop us a line or two in the comments below.