Android's navigation soft keys have proven to be a hit with many users, despite the fact that some manufacturers refuse to utilize them. As nifty as they may be, however, they get kind of boring to look at after a while. And, of course, most Android users love to tinker with things to make them look however they want. Up until now, though, there hasn't been an easy way to add a little flare to them.

Say hello to SoftKeyZ – an app that makes swapping out the nav bar keys super simple.

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Basically, so long as you have root and busybox is installed, all your bases are covered – just install the app and fire it up. You'll be presented with a short, one-screen how-to on using SoftKeyZ (it's pretty self explanatory, really). The main interface of the app is but one screen, which contains roughly 150 different buttons (more should be on the way, according to the developer). The buttons are pre-mapped to their respective keys, so you don't have to worry about applying a "back" button to the "home" key – it's all quite simple. And If you're not a fan of any of the pre-included keys, there's also an option to import your own.

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After all is said and done, if you'd like to go back to the way Google intended it to look, just hit the "Apply Backup" button to make it happen. It's all really straightforward.

Overall, this is a fantastically simple app that adds a whole lot of customizability to your handset. It's well worth the $1.99 asking price.

Thanks, Heinz!

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Morrissex

    Those are the apps that make me want to have a credit card! D:

  • QwietStorm

    Are you able to save multiple backups/profiles like with a launcher?

  • Jr

    I don't like on screen buttons. But brilhant app btw!

  • JonJJon

    One though I had a little while back was that the three navigation buttons don't completely match as it were. The tasking and home buttons are all straight lines but the back button is a curve, Wonder why they decided not to go with the back arrow you see at the top of the screen in the holo interface " < " sort of style. Not complaining just curious as it looks fine as it is, was just a thought on design consistency I guess.

    • Hothfox

      I think the RAZR softkeys are nicer than stock/AOSP, actually. I was using those for a while, but switched to the Facebook / HTC First style softkeys when those first showed up.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

    No XDA thread with/or a trial version?

    • SetiroN

      There are both.

      • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

        Ok... but there are no links provided in the article. AP normally does provide these.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fordreynaldo Reynaldo Ford

    Please please tell me this works on touchwiz for tablets!

    • http://twitter.com/psych2L Joseph Lee

      and this folks is why we Nexus lol

      • Yannick Binnenweg

        Hahaha Micheal Bolton!

  • James Miller

    Or, just run AOKP and change the buttons to whatever you want. You also can make the buttons do whatever you want, and have long press options for your buttons.

    • fixxmyhead

      or how about some people just want to stay on stock rom and not deal with buggy custom roms and please dont tell me build X is "super stable"

      • http://twitter.com/bat0nas Tomas Misevičius

        Very well said!

      • PhillipCun

        THIS! esp AOKP.

    • QwietStorm

      Options. They're beautiful aren't they?

  • Michael B

    What? No "shuffle-back" button?

  • Kcls

    Can anyone comment on how it works with Paranoid Android and Per App Color?

    • Janis E. developer of SoftKeyZ

      The colors will work as they always do.

      • Kcls

        Awesome! I was concerned it would work like some themes where the buttons become big blocks of color. Thanks for the reply!

  • Hothfox

    Nice! I've been using Zip Themer to change mine, but the $2 might be worth the saved effort of having to find the theme I want to use, uploading it to my device, opening it in Zip Themer, rebooting into recovery, and then flashing it.

  • David Abramovich
  • umataro42

    Nice idea, I'm all for developers who help automate things for the rest of us (like the toolkits for unlock and root). I'd probably get this if I hadn't already used zip themer to change the softkeys on my GNex and N7, or if I wasn't very happy with them.

  • Matthew Fry

    Can I get Tablet UI this way?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      I think that would be out of the scope of the app. Use Paranoid Android and a custom launcher such as Apex if you really want the tablet UI.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

    Yay, HTC First buttons. XD

  • http://twitter.com/lukamlinar Luka Mlinar

    Finally Samsung users can use their phones with one hand :D

    • Rudolf mit roten nase


  • cas_e

    Wow. Well I thought this looked great so I bought it. It didn't work on my galaxy nexus and messed up my phone (no status bar or soft keys after reboot). Left a comment saying it didn't work and I was getting a refund, and the developer replied to the review calling me a retard. Steer clear of this app, if not for the fact that it's buggy, then at least because the developer is a w**ker.

    • Brian Slighly

      Mine did the same (no status bar or soft keys after reboot). How did you fix??

  • Slambam

    Great, it reset my wallpaper.

  • jd

    can it work with the motorola atrix hd