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Best Android customization projects of 2015
Did you get the chance to look at rooting your device last week? We are excited to get around to root apps, tools, tips and tricks moving forward on our Android customization series. But first, we’ll take some time to celebrate the holidays.
It’s Christmas Eve, whether you celebrate this holiday or not, it is still a time that most can get together with family and friends to enjoy some time off of work or school. Many of you will be receiving a new Android device as a present – whether you are setting up a new device, or just spending some time with your existing one, I hope you get some time to customize your device to get the most out of it. We’re here to help.
Join us as we recap our best Android customization projects of 2015.
Before we begin
Unlike all of our previous Android customization posts, you will need nothing more than your Android device to get started today. Each of the following tutorials will include the details of the additional apps or accessories you will require to follow along, but I’ll tell you now, Tasker was big players in our series.
Five best Android customization projects of 2015
With a new post on Thursday of each week, there were a few great projects to choose from this year. Rest assured, this is not my list of my favorite projects, these are the ones that you, the readers, viewed the most in 2015. Let’s take a look at our top 5 posts and an honorable mention. As a point of interest, #1 below has more views than #2 through #4 combined, it must be important. Enjoy!
#5 – Modify or disable auto-correct on your Android keyboard
A few of these tutorials on the list are what we might call “beginner’s tutorials.” Don’t let that scare you off, you may know the basics, and even some of the advanced stuff, but I try to always add a unique perspective or at least a trick that is not usually so well known.
In the case of our quick tutorial to disable auto-correct, we also explored changing theme color, long press delay timing and more.
Check it out: Modify or disable auto-correct on your Android keyboard
#4 – Customize your mobile experience with Chrome Flags
As many are certain to point out, Google’s software is mostly in a state of beta in one way or another. This remains true of the Chrome web browser as well. Google offers up a hidden menu of beta options called Flags, which are available in Chrome on your PC and Android device alike.
Most Chrome Flags activate pretty geeky features and all are subject to removal at any time. Some graduate to full fledged features, so be sure to try them out now as a means to vote them up. My favorite is the #max-tiles-for-interest-area flag, that allows you to tone down Chrome’s RAM usage a little.
Check it out: Customize your mobile experience with Chrome Flags
#3 – Send SMS through your PC or WiFi tablet
Released in the early days of Hangouts handling SMS messages for Google Voice users, a few of the apps on our list have since been discontinued, and apparently Hangouts is following suit. The concept is simple, you want to send an SMS from your computer or WiFi only tablet, these apps and services can make it happen.
We focused on services that send SMS on behalf of your connected Android phone, either through built-in SMS tools in Android or by essentially remotely controlling your phone. Check out Airdoid, Pushbullet and more to see what the fuss is all about.
Check it out: Send SMS through your PC or WiFi tablet
#2 – Lock screen Widgets on Android Lollipop
Google made some significant changes to the lock screen on Android 5.0 Lollipop. Having previously launched native widgets on the lock screen after years of requiring alternate apps to make it possible, many were very upset to see them quickly removed. We actually covered this topic a number of times, with the runner up fix done using one of our all time favorite customization apps, Tasker.
Our #2 top customization project in 2015 used an app called Notifidgets. It is a simple app, in concept, simply build a template using existing widgets, which then displays as a constant notification. As you are aware by now, enable Android to show notifications on the lock screen and you are set. You see why we used Tasker to do the same, but Notifidgets also allowed us to use another favorite, Zooper Widget.
Check it out: Lock screen widgets on Android Lollipop
#1 – How to regain storage space by cleaning the cache on your Android device
Another of those “beginner’s tutorials,” we went a little beyond just simply pushing the basic clear cache button on this one. The thing is, even with modern devices reaching 128GB of internal storage space, the average device is still barely more than 16GB. Compounded by the removal of microSD slots on many devices, storage space is truly at a premium.
Keeping your device clear of junk files is one of the easiest ways to get the most out of your device, and clearing cache is really pretty simple.
Don’t forget, we have more than one trick tucked away in the tutorial, not just your normal everyday storage cleanup. Check it out and be sure to join the conversation, add your best storage management tips and tricks.
Honorable mention: Improve battery life on your Android device
I hope it is absolutely no wonder that battery management tutorials were popular with you this past year. New devices are shipping with ever better charging technology, but fewer are shipping with improved life and removable batteries. It seems that in all regards 2015 was about fine-tuning our Android devices, which makes perfect sense to me.
Our top battery life story walked through most all of the built-in vanilla Android features and tools to view battery consumption. The idea was simple, by keeping tabs on what apps are up and running, when they’re running and for how long they run, we can reasonably assume what apps are trouble.
Of course, the on-device Android battery tools are not all that great if you really need to get down and dirty, so we took it to the next level, we used ADB, we built alarms with Tasker and more. Hope you enjoy.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this Android customization post. I admit that you learned nothing new here today, and I imagine next week will be fairly similar to this one, being New Year’s Eve and all. Be sure to stay tuned in the new year though, we rooted our Nexus 7 and we’re itching to show you some cool tools.
Once again, we wish you all the very best for the season. Happy Holidays to all, Merry Christmas to those that celebrate it.
What was your favorite Android customization project this past year? It doesn’t have to be one of our projects, just looking to share the best cool stuff that Android has to offer.