With the introduction of Material Design in Android Lollipop, a consistency in app design was received quite well by the user community. However, most of these apps are showing their Material designs only when the Android version is 5.x. Is there any way to make these display the same way in Android 2.x to 4.x?

I mean, can't the design libraries be backported to older Android devices by embedding them in-app, so that the consistency is maintained across all Android versions?

I have heard about apps or more specifically, Xposed modules like Monster UI which theme your device to look like so, but System Apps aren't affected. Can't such libraries be included in pre-packaged System Apps?

For example, a normal app uses the Holo theme in Android versions 4.x, and the Material theme in 5.x. Can't it be made to use the Material theme in older devices?

  • 1
    You are free to use AppCompat v21 (android-developers.blogspot.de/2014/10/…) to backport Material Design to pre-lollipop devices, but keep in mind that certain system-dependant features like tinted navigation bar are not available on pre-lollipop devices.
    – GiantTree
    Apr 21, 2015 at 16:49
  • @GiantTree , Tinted Status Bar and Nav Bar can be achieved through Xposed. I'm looking for things which can be included into pre-packaged apps ...
    – rjt.rockx
    Apr 23, 2015 at 4:49
  • Well, you need to change integral parts of the Android UI. It's not like changing an app, you need to change the system itself. Those features are implemented at a very low level and a simple library in your app can't change them.
    – GiantTree
    Apr 23, 2015 at 5:17

1 Answer 1


You can do that at your on risk! You must modify the the build.prop file (if you have rooted phone) on these values:

  1. ro.build.version.sdk=21
  2. ro.build.version.codename=REL
  3. ro.build.version.release=5.0.1

You must have Android 4.4 to do all these! Note: Tinted Status Bar is not supported! And then, by downloading the Google Now app from playstore (And google of course) and after rebooting your phone you can get the material design.

This is what I did thought.. Hope it helps!!

  • 2
    Only do this with a very high chance of bricking your phone!
    – Thomas Vos
    Apr 22, 2015 at 7:23
  • Or maybe not. I have done this in the past months nothing went wrong Thomas. Maybe, its better for you to take a closer look to build.prop variables.
    – Kanellis
    Apr 22, 2015 at 18:20
  • There seems to be nothing wrong in defending your answer but I suggest You can do that at your on risk! making it more strong. You must be aware that build.prop is critical for system and if its gets messed up, then SuperThomasLab will hail here. :-)
    – Firelord
    Apr 22, 2015 at 20:01
  • I'm on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and rooted already, running on a custom ROM that is based on an AOSP port. I don't care about bricking, since I have recovered my phone MANY times from such things. Moreover, Tinted Status Bar works for me using the Xposed module of the same name.
    – rjt.rockx
    Apr 23, 2015 at 4:42
  • 1
    But, will the system apps, like Settings, Default Launcher, Dialer, Contacts, Messages, etc. adapt to Material design ? I mean, I have got to know how to include the Ripple effect, the new Checkboxes and all that, but I'm looking for actual inclusion, not theming. Not making those apps look like having Material design, but making those apps HAVE Material design. Like, my ROM has the Holo Dark theme applied by default to all apps, I want to change that to Material design.
    – rjt.rockx
    Apr 23, 2015 at 4:45

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