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Smartphones & gadgets

3 great hacks for your Android device

Do you remember back in the 1980s, when everyone seemed to look the same? If you were a young-urban-professional (Yuppy), you wore bright-colored clothes with your shirt collar turned up. You drove around in a boxy sedan and went home to a Colonial-style house.

It got boring real fast. Everyone seemed to aspire be the same person. No personality!

These days, the same can be said of our electronic gadgets. Sure, there are different color smartphones and tablets, and screen sizes are also a bit different. But, look around. We’re all staring at similar, shiny devices with large touchscreens.

But there’s no reason to follow the crowd, especially if you use an Android phone. Now, you can put your own personality onto your phone, then share it on messages and social media. Yours could be a big, bright and splashy personality with loud sounds. Or it could have subtle hues and barely audible ringtones.

Here are three ways to put your mark on your Android phone that give it a lot of personality. Don’t skip No. 3. It’s a back-to-basics way to turn your phone into your own, unique device.

Are you ready to get started? If so, think “Androidify.”

Androidify Your Smartphone

You’re familiar with Android’s green mascot. He’s the oblong-ish character with round, white disks for eyes, a detached head and limbs, and two little space-alien antennae on his head. (We think it’s a he.)

Now, you can create your own Android avatar (see photo below). You can access the Androidify website,, or get the app for free on the Google Play Store.

Androidify is really cool. It’s a lot of fun and it’s super easy to use. You start with an Android mascot and then use its templates to add your personality to it. There are loads of options to choose from.

You can choose from hairstyles, clothes, shoes – from sensible to beyond impractical, but fun. You can add glasses, shirts, pants, flags, boas and a lot more.

It’s all about you choosing items that reflect your personality. Plus, you can add your own distinct dance moves. Are you the type of person who does the robot, either to make your family laugh or because you’re thinking you’re killing it on the dance floor? Add that move or many others.

Then, the idea is to share your persona with your friends. You can add your image or GIF with your text messages, your chats and your social media posts. Give it a shot. It’s really fun.

Bonus: Are you an Android power user?

Wallpaper Your Phone

If you’re like many people, you need a smartphone to stay in touch. You call your kids, text your friends and post pictures and videos on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

That’s perfectly fine. Yet, if you haven’t done anything to the look of your smartphone since you took it out of the box, you’re missing out on a way to show the world what you’re all about. What makes you smile? What issue do you care about? Which of your hobbies sums up your personality in a few words – cat lady, nerd, sports nut?

Whatever your personality is, you can show it off on your phone. Look at your smartphone now. What do you see? If it’s the same screen you’ve been looking at for years, it’s time for a change.

Note: Many manufacturers make Android smartphones and tablets. The instructions below may work on your Android. If not, it’s likely your phone will work in a similar way.

To add wallpaper to your Android’s screen: Apps >> Settings >> Home Screen >> Wallpaper >> choose from a gallery

To change the look of your Lockscreen: Apps >> Settings >> Home Screen >> Theme >> choose the design you like

Bonus: If you want more design options, look for sites like Muzei, DeviantArt, and many others.


Ringtones were all the rage a few years back. Everyone seemed to be choosing different options from a selection that came pre-installed on your phone or from ringtone websites.

Now, your ringtone is just the beginning of sounds that reflect your personality. You can start by choosing a ringtone that says something about you. It could be Vintage Telephone, which sounds like the old landlines you may have used. Ring, ring, ring.

Your ringtone could be the sound of video games, a piano, a ukulele, a single “dong” or something like Sunshine. Search around your phone and find the ringtone that best reflects you.

Here’s how: Apps >> Settings >> Sound >> Phone Ringtone >> choose a tone

But don’t stop there. Your smartphone makes so many different noises so often that you may not even notice it anymore. You have little dings when an email comes in. You may have a chirp when a text comes in, and so on.

Try this: Apps >> Settings >> Sound >> Notification Sound

And speak of phone hacks, here’s how to unlock Android’s secret menu

Did you know that Android has a secret menu for customizing your phone’s system user interface? You can use it to customize your gadget’s status bar, clock and app notification settings. This helpful tip will show you how to access this menu you didn’t know about.

Click here for step-by-step instructions and screenshots.

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