I’ve always had a fascination with personalizing my phone to really make it mine. Even before smartphones existed, there were a number of ways that one could customize their phone to stand out in a crowd, typically through cases, phone charms, ringtones, and wallpapers. Aside from phone charms, those are all still popular ways to make your phone unique. However, smartphones allow for customization that’s more than skin-deep; with smartphones, UI customization is another big part of making your phone fit your personal style.
My first smartphone in the modern sense was an Android. I was floored by the number of customizations I could make with my phone right out of the box. As a prior Windows Mobile user, I was used to having to root, flash ROMs, and jump through hoops to customize my phone, but Android didn’t require that. I could change the wallpaper, ringtone, fonts, launcher, and icons without so much as a fuss. I was in love.
Despite users being able to customize much of their Android device through apps, rooting and flashing still provided a deeper level of customization. There is a flourishing developer community committed to that same profound customization experience in Android as well. I took to rooting and flashing ROMs on many of my Android devices, oftentimes spending hours trying different combinations of settings to make my phone perform and look exactly the way I wanted it to.
I was exclusively an Android user for a couple of years before eventually switching to iOS for the first time. Despite the fact that I couldn’t customize the iPhone as much as an Android device, I was still happy because the performance of the iPhone was far greater than any Android device I had ever owned at the time. Plus, it wasn’t like the iPhone couldn’t be customized; software-wise it was stunted in comparison to Android (even with a jailbreak), but accessory-wise there was a seemingly endless amount to choose from.
Since then, I’ve flip-flopped between iOS and Android fairly often. I am not as concerned about customization these days as I used to be. The last time I rooted an Android device was a little over 3 years ago with my HTC One M7, and I only ever an iPhone one time. I’ve considered starting up again for old time’s sake, but find that I’m perfectly happy with both the performance and design of Android and iOS devices. It’s gotten to the point where I’ll get the device, slap on a case that I like (I never use my phone without a case, no matter how pretty it is without it), spend an hour or two at most arranging the apps or UI how I like and that’s that. I won’t mess with it again unless it’s to fit in a new app or widget somewhere, and occasionally to change the wallpaper as I typically have something that represents the season.
Sometimes I yearn for the days where I would tinker with customizations for hours. On the other hand, I value the free time that comes with having great performance out of the box and a customization routine that I’m happy with.
What about you, readers? Do you spend a lot of time customizing your phones to your liking? Let us know in the comments below!