How to achieve stock Android on any smartphone or tablet [2015]

Samsung-Galaxy-S5-Note-4-Android-5.0-Lollipop-b

There are all sorts of user interfaces out there — TouchWiz, ZenUI, Sense, and Optimus UI are just some of them. These different UI’s tend to come packaged with all sorts of bloatware such as theme stores, digital assistants, and popop tips. In addition to that, there’s usually a bevy of carrier apps packaged into your phone, as well. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a way to get rid of all of that junk aside from disabling them, but there is at least a way we can make any smartphone take on the look of pure Android.

We’ll do this without achieving root or flashing your device, making this process fool-proof. Let’s get started!

Launchers

In a recent guide, we explained what launchers are and what they do, so we’ll be getting straight to the point in this guide. For achieving stock Android, you have two popular and quality options: Nova Launcher or Action Launcher 3. Either one of these will replace your home screen UI with stock Android.

Stock-Android-Nova-Launcher-TA(1)

In this case, I am using Nova Launcher, but Action Launcher 3 will work just as well, if that’s your preference. Head on over to the Play Store and download Nova Launcher for free. Once it’s finished, tap on the app icon in your app drawer. You should now have the stock Android UI on your home screen. Congratulations!

There’s one more step we need to take in order to make this a bit more of a permanent solution now. Tap the home button and a prompt should appear asking if you want your launcher to be the default solution that came with the device or our newly installed launcher, Nova. Select Nova Launcher, and then OK. Now, the only time you should see your old home screen again is when you reboot the device, but it should quickly revert back to your default settings.

The Lock Screen

Unfortunately, Nova Launcher doesn’t come with a built-in lockscreen, so you’re going to need to grab one from the Google Play Store yourself. I found that the Lollipop Lock Screen 5.0 app and the Material Design Lock Screen both worked excellent. You can download one of these, tap one of the apps when it’s finished, and simply enable it.

Now, you should officially have your stock Android-themed UI!

Further Customization

You may not want to keep the entire look of stock Android, though. One of the benefits of launchers is that they have tons of customization options, especially when it comes to Action Launcher 3 or Nova Launcher. I’d encourage you to go through the settings of whichever launcher you chose, play around with it, and choose the customizations that work for you. There’s a lot of stuff you can do to make the device unique for you, especially when you start getting into the Pro versions.

And hey, if you want to take customization even further, you can actually replace all of the icons on your device without achieving root or flashing a ROM.

All in all, there are some excellent solutions to keep your device’s software looking fresh without getting into a lot of technical details!

Closing

There are plenty of ways to use launchers to achieve different looks for your device’s software. Stock Android’s look is just one of our favorites. You can do a lot with launchers, and everyone customizes their own in a different way.

That said, what’s your favorite way to customize your home screen? Do you like stock Android or do you have another custom look you’re rocking? Let us know in the comments!


About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.


  • rbfx4x

    I just use Google now launcher on my galaxy tab s. It makes touchwiz almost usable ;)

  • My Galaxy Prime

    “Be Different. Not The Same” – Android

  • M42

    Been using Apex Launcher with Lollipop theme and it’s a whole lot cleaner and nicer looking than the HTC Sense bloat that came on the phone.

  • Cheri Lanzisera

    I loved S Launcher, use it on my Galaxy Mini, still, but my tablet, after an update from lollipop, and S Launcher, began behaving quirky. Most obvious was, several of my icons, after carefully sorting them in their appropriate locations, would be in a different folder, only a short while, again. I searched every inch of Android for a setting to stop it. After a couple days, i changed the names of my folders to funny names related to their apps, but unrecognizable to Android, Launcher, Lollipop? I would come back a while later, S Launcher had created a whole new set of folders, and had began moving my apps 1 x 1, so ditched S Launcher, and i really liked it. I have about 30 game apps on my ext-SD card, and i’m an “app whore.” love to install, check it out, keep it, or kick it. Tried 4 launchers over 4 days. 1.)Apex-Froze my tablet right up, when it came to accessing my games, can’t tell you why, uninstall. 2.) GO Launcher, liked the set up, but it didn’t love my busy, app hog self, my games would freeze within 1-2 mins, uninstall. 3.) Nova Launcher, my brain couldn’t wrap around the set up. Icons squishing in the middle of the page, bogged my games and apps, i know it’s very popular, but i just hated it, uninstall 4.) Solo Launcher, set up in 10 minutes, logged onto DML, collected all my fight tokens i couldn’t retrieve the past 3 days. Took my Luxx icons, applied no problem. Stays.
    This was just my experience, i read up on the top 5/10 Android Launchers, each time between installing the next Launcher. I am advising, if the first one you install, isn’t easy for “you” to use, try another Launcher or two. Just like apps some folks process info different than others, if it doesn’t “feel” easy to you, there is one out there that is. Woot!

  • Joe R

    But what about Kindle Fire? Nova Launcher and Action Launcher 3 aren’t even available on the Amazon app store.

    • Brad

      Kindle Fire is pretty hopeless in this regard–can’t do much without rooting and flashing due to how locked down Amazon has it.

      • Joe R

        As I suspected. Thanks for confirming!

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  • Getulio

    I really would like to have a pure Android 5.1, without any of those useless built-in apps that manufacturers love to force us to use.

  • Kevin Clark

    My device is pure Android 5.0 Lollipop. It is the Tango 2 by iDROID USA which has a great camera for awesome photography to capture your ever lasting moments. It has a 5″ Gorilla glass screen which is tough and highly responsive. The fact that it is unlocked means it works with the carrier of your choice.