Sunday, March 16, 2014

How I Made TouchWiz Look & Feel Cool!

Touchwiz and Nova Launcher

For the past 35 weeks (~9 months), i have been using Nova Launcher as my main launcher on my phone. This week, i decided to go back to TouchWiz mainly because i wanted to know what is the performance and customizability difference between the two launchers. One of the main reasons why i went over to nova launcher is because i felt that TouchWiz was really lacking in some customizing opportunities compare to nova launcher which is deemed the most versatile third-party launcher available to date.

In addition to that, i was pretty much running out of ideas on how to customize TouchWiz for the ‘Weekly Homescreen’ segment (check out my weekly homscreen at our social media pages every sunday night). Well, since the very first week that i used Nova Launcher i already had the mindset that TouchWiz sucks is no match for Nova Launcher.

Goolors Elipse icon pack
Galaxy Note GT-N7000 Android 4.1.2Before i switched back to TouchWiz, i first did a full factory reset to avoid any problems and to return back the system’s responsiveness. The very first thing which i did was delete the widgets and excess pages because my homescreen(s) are usually filled with icons and a few widgets of choice.

Soon after that i began arranging the applications in the app drawer because there were literally 2 pages full of stock applications which i rarely touched. Its a good thing that there is an option to hide the applications (well you might be thinking why didn’t i install the applications first after i factory reset the device? I actually did a backup of the apps via helium and just restored the apps after i flipped on the device).

After about 10 minutes i was done with the customizations and soon after that (5 minutes later) i was fed up with the looks of things. I really did not take much time to think and i just started installing a couple of root apps which helped me modify how my phone looked like (i stayed on with the barren TouchWiz for less than half an hour and i didn’t even manage to take a screenshot of the homescreen at that time, the image on the left here is from google…). I started off first by changing the stock icons because i’m not used to see inconsistency ( what i’m trying to say is that i don’t like seeing irregular icons which comes in a bevy of shapes).
‘there isn’t much to tweak on touchwiz’
Samsung Touchwiz Android 4.1.2
To change the icons systemwide i am using an app called Unicon which does require root access to work, but there is a way to make it work if you don’t have root access; That method is a bit more lengthy compared to the root method (most of the tweaks i’m using requires root, so…). The icon pack which i am using for this article is Goolors Elipse but this app will apply any icon pack you can find on the play store.

After applying the icon pack this is what i am left with. Just a simple change of the icons and wallpaper can drastically change how my phone looks. Another thing which i changed is the font which at stock is Samsung’s default font which looks a lot like your normal ‘Arial’ font. The app which i used to change the system font is HiFont, this app has a ton of custom fonts and works pretty well with Samsung devices.

I changed the stock font to my “current” favourite which is Roboto (looks familiar eh? cause the text you are reading now is using the roboto font). I chose to use the roboto font because it is condensed and narrow so that the text will look much more compact and i won’t be needing to scroll a little more.

Android 4.4.2 status bar
Galaxy S5 status barBoth the changing of the system icons and font has dramatically changed how my phone looks and sometimes after changing either the icon pack or font i feel that i am using a new phone. Those two tweaks alone plus changing a wallpaper can give a whole different look to your phone.

The final two tweaks which i made is not something necessary but for me its a big deal. If you have not noticed, Pre-Android 4.3 TouchWiz ROMs actually have a grey statusbar which to me is a negative because it doesn’t look stylish in today’s standard. To modify the color of the statusbar, i used an Xposed module called tinted status bar.

With this module i can not only change the statusbar system-wide, but i can also change the status bar of individual apps so they status bar will blend in with the header of the app (like in iOS 7). The next tweak which i made to make my setup even better is to change the icons of my statusbar.

For this tweak, i am using yet another Xposed module by the name of XTheme Engine. This module is a theme switcher and it does not only modify your statusbar, but it also changes other system UI(s). But that is also dependent on the theme you are using. For this article, i’m using an Android 4.4 Kitkat inspired theme which includes original icons form stock KitKat. This theme in particular not only changes the statusbar icon, but it also changes certain system UI(s) to give it that KitKat look and feel.

Samsung Touchwiz Android 4.3

Well, that is how i made TouchWiz a little bit more prettier and stylish. Anyways, do tell me in the comments section below what you think of my setup here yay? or nay? I am currently working on a full review of Nova Launcher and that article is scheduled to go up about next week, so stay posted for that article. Also, do follow us on our social media pages so you can see my weekly homescreen setups which is posted every Sunday night.

UPDATE 30/3/2015: Altered the formatting of the article for a more comfortable viewing expereince

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