I would like to create a whole new theme for Android jelly bean but not sure where to start. I have rooted my phone and have poked around the file system a little but haven't really seen all that much that would help.

I would like to completely change the LockScreen, Homescreen(s) the menu layout, icons, wallpaper, etc. It's not going to be just a launcher theme but a whole UI theme. I have spent a while searching for a solution (links, articles, any resources) but have not found anything that would be of much help.

If you know how to do this, or know of any resources at all that would help I'd be extremely grateful.


  • 1
    Since this is more of a development question in which Android Enthusiasts consider out of scope, this question is more likely to be migrated to our sister site Stack Overflow. You would get better answers there. After some googling I came across some good tutorials in Android Developer site and in XDA
    – Sid
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 0:57
  • Thanks @Sid, I will head on over there and ask a new question.
    – jay_t55
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 3:39
  • 1
    I don't see a development question here. Just a user who wants to create a theme. I think this question is fine here.
    – Flow
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 6:58
  • I agree that this isn't necessarily a dev question, but if development can be involved (which shold mean greater options) then I'd prefer that. But if this question can remain here, I sure would love to see some answers. :)
    – jay_t55
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 7:24
  • 2
    I was just saying. AFAIK when you are creating a phone theme, you have to do some coding, in which the folks from Stack Overflow are more interested. Just wanted to support the OP. You can start your work with the links I have added. At some point I have to agree with @Dan Hulme though. Good luck OP! (sorry. I can't type his name correctly). Let us know in Android Enthusiasts Chat when your theme is ready!! Cheers!!
    – Sid
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 8:29

1 Answer 1


Themes on Android are internal to apps: they're not user-accessible things. Replacing the theme of every app on your phone entails building a new custom ROM with your changes, and may cause some apps to behave oddly or appear wrong, because they're relying on details of the Holo themes. These days, even phone manufacturers can't replace the themes of third-party apps, because the Android conformance tests verify that the Holo theme has not been modified. That's why, if you buy (say) a Samsung phone with a blue theme, only the built-in apps use that blue theme: third-party apps use the unmodified Holo theme.

Replacing the theme of an individual app is more feasible, but without the sources it requires decompiling and replacing the app's APK file, essentially making a new app. This kind of reverse-engineering may be illegal where you are, even if you don't intend to distribute your themed app; either way, your new app would not have access to the original app's data, and will fail any licensing or anti-piracy check the app performs.

  • This really pisses me off (customization becoming so limited these days). Btw, I'm not really trying to change the appearance of apps themselves, but mainly just the overall system UI. (for example, background color of menus - I want it to be white, not black) :)
    – jay_t55
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 9:08

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