Twelve ways to customize your Android device

From setting a ringtone, setting a live wallpaper to setting the audio quality on your device; Android devices allow for a great deal of customization. Here's 12 ways to customize your device today.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Customizing your smartphone, or any device for that matter, is a rite of passage for all of us. By customizing, you turn a standard looking device that millions of users may be carrying around, into something that is truly ours. It goes from a slab of plastic and rare metals, to something that is very personal.

Android users and abusers know very well how customizable their beloved devices are. We rounded up 12 ways for you to customize your Android device; whether you're a seasoned Android vet or an Android noob, you'll want to take a look.

The basics

Change your wallpaper: Setting your own wallpaper, be it a photo you took or one you found online, is a great way to personalize the general look and feel of your device.

Customize your Android's wallpaper (screenshots)

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Create and assign custom ringtones: Ringtones are one of the first things people customize when they get a new phone, no matter the device. Here are a couple of options for making or downloading your own ringtones.

Create custom ringtones on an Android phone (screenshots)

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Spruce up your contact list: Your contact list holds a lot of vital information. Make your contacts list more fun and easy to navigate quickly by adding custom photos and personalized ringtones. Here's how to do it using the People app in Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.

Customize your Android contact list (screenshots)

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Customize notifications: Notifications are key to staying on top of what's happening without having to obsessively check your phone every few minutes. Here are a few ways to customize your notifications to make them more useful and personal.

Customizing your Android notifications (screenshots)

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Functional tweaks

Decline incoming calls with a text message: Never feel rude after declining a call by sending a text message to explain why, all with just a few taps.

Decline incoming calls with a text message on Android 4.0 (screenshots)

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Improve your battery indicator: This great tip gives you a better visual of your battery's current level.

How to customize your Android's battery indicator (screenshots)

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Change your Gmail signature: Don't look foolish with those extra long -- and often pointless -- default e-mail signatures. Make your Gmail signature a bit more personal and effective.

Customize your Gmail signature on Android (screenshots)

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Choose your browser: Be it the default Android browser or a third-party browser, you can customize your browsing experience to fit your needs.

Customize your browsing experience (screenshots)

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Turn your Android device into your wallet: The push for your smartphone to replace your wallet is on. Here's how you can get a jumpstart on the process.

Turn your Android device into your wallet (screenshots)

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Customize audio settings and improve audio quality: Not a fan of the way your Android's music player sounds? Use this app to take customize the sound quality.

Customize your Android's audio (screenshots)

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Android and accessibility options: Customize the accessibility options of your Android device, making it easier for disabled users to get the most from their smartphone.

TalkBack accessibility options on Android (screenshots)

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Geek out

Turn yourself into an Android robot with Androidify: Admit it, you've always wanted to become a robot. Well, with this app, you can at least see what you'd look like as an Android robot.

Turn yourself into an Android robot with Androidify (screenshots)

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Of course, there are plenty more ways to customize your Android device. Feel free to share your favorite app or method below in the comments.