Everyone wants to be an individual, but how do you express yourself when everyone else’s hot new phone looks like yours? You theme it.
You might already use one of the many third-party launchers available in the Google Play Store to customize your device’s interface, but if you have an One M9, you can do it more easily with HTC’s new built-in Themes app. It’s easier to use than most of the other skinning applications out there, and it lets you customize your wallpaper, icons, sounds, fonts, and interface trimmings. The Themes application is a pretty powerful tool, and though getting started with it might seem a bit daunting at first, the payoff is worth it—especially if customizing your phone is already a hobby of yours.
The HTC Themes search engine functions a lot like the Google Play Store: you search for a keyword or phrase and then peruse through the results. If you like something, you download it and then apply it. It is all pretty self-explanatory.
Themes—and other elements of themes, like wallpapers and icon packs—are divvied up by several categories. Each Theme also features its own landing page with information about its designer and how many people have downloaded it.
Keep in mind that Theme packages differ and not all come ready with notifications sounds, accent colors, and icons. Fortunately, any piece of any theme you download can be used interchangeably with other theme packs.
Customizing a theme and making it your own
You don’t have to like everything about the theme pack you chose—in fact, it almost seems like HTC encourages you to go your own way with all the customization options it offers.
In the Themes app, tap on My Themes, and then My current theme to view the individual elements of the theme in use.
From here, you can see what the Lock screen and Home screen wallpapers look like, which icon pack is in use, and whether there are custom notification sounds.
Tap on the element you want to change. Tapping My Fonts, for instance, will let you choose a different font for Sense 7 based, selecting from any of the fonts from the theme packs you’ve already downloaded. When you’re ready, tap Apply, and voila!
Creating your own theme
The HTC Themes app can conjure up a custom theme based on a wallpaper of your choosing. It’s like magic!
To begin, tap the Plus icon at the top of the Themes app, then select a wallpaper from your Gallery or snap a picture with the camera. I used a wallpaper from the Lumos icon pack. Then, you can filter the photo and crop it to make it appear the way you want as a background. When you’re ready, tap Done, which will take you back to the initial customization screen. Tap Next to move on.
From here, HTC will present several different styles it figured would match your new wallpaper. Scroll down to see your options. After you choose one, you can customize each individual element to your liking before tapping Next.
When you’re all finished, you can name your theme something special—I named mine, “Flo’s dream world of exploding pink things.” After you save it, the theme will be automatically applied to the interface.
Setting up your profile page
You can express yourself with your own HTC Themes profile. In the Themes app, under My profile, you can set up your own profile page complete with a photo and a small biography. Eventually, your profile will tally up any themes you’ve submitted to the store and any designers you follow.
Using the web to create your theme
Don’t want to bother with the Themes app on your phone? You can use HTC’s online themes maker to go through the app’s customization process on your browser. The online themes engine actually offers a little more control over things like the color palette and which wallpapers appear in the application drawer and on the Lock screen. You can also preview more parts of the interface online, and choose header images for various screens.
When you’re finished creating a theme with the online wizard, you can publish it to share with others. Give it a name, a short description, and some keywords to describe it all. When it’s published, it’ll show up in your profile as a theme you designed.
Bookmarking a theme for later
Maybe you don’t want to switch to a new theme just yet but you want to bookmark one for later—you can do that! The Themes app lets you bookmark themes, icons, sound profiles, and anything else in the store so you can get back to it later.