Earlier today we reported that Google’s Android M preview supports theming — sort of. While certainly not a marquee feature of M, it is technically possible to install Runtime Resource Overlay (RRO) themes in stock Android M with the aid of root and an app like Layers Manager. While we are still playing around with RRO themes and Android M, we wanted to post a few screenshots that show it is very much working.
For those wanting to try this out for themselves, we did put together a quick root guide for those that need a little help.
Want to dive even deeper? Check out our full “Diving into M” series by clicking here.
As you can see in the screenshots above, themes do work and can add a little extra something to the look and feel of stock Android. That said, I did run into a few issues. First, I can’t seem to get the RRO layers to delete through the Layers app. Now I’ll admit I am sort of a newbie to RRO themes so it might just be me. Second, after all my messing around I ran into an issue where some of the text in settings and a few other places no longer show up.
Again, both problems could just be caused by my inexperience with RRO layers and fixing the issue probably won’t be too hard. I’ll be sure to update if/when I figure out what mistake I made along the way or why I can’t get layers to delete.
Regardless, the big story here is that Google appears to be making it easier to take the blank slate that is stock Android and transform it into an experience that is exactly how we want it. While not everyone loves stock, that’s one of the reasons I am a fan (though I often run devices with OEM skinned builds too): it is clean, unbloated and I can then add the apps, customizations, launchers and other tweaks needed to make my phone uniquely mine.
It remains unseen whether or not the final Android M still contains the ability to install RRO themes through root, though we certainly hope so. Going beyond this, perhaps Google may eventually bill theming as an actual feature (no root needed), though we don’t expect this anytime soon.
What do you think of the new RRO layer support in stock Android? For those that prefer skinned Android or custom ROMs, does the ability to do more customization with root in M make stock any more appealing to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.