One of the nicest things about CyanogenMod (from a cosmetic perspective, anyway) is support for hundreds and hundreds of community-baked themes on the Play Store and elsewhere. As opposed to a launcher theme or icon set, these themes are system-wide, and they can completely change the look of your phone or tablet in a few seconds. Custom ROMs often bake in a compatible theme system (see AOKP), and now the popular Paranoid Android family has done so as well.


Support for the current CyanogenMod 11 theme engine was put in place for Paranoid Android 4.4 Beta 1, currently running on AOSP 4.4.2 code. 4.4.3 should be ready by the next beta release. It's not perfect yet - according to the PA blog post, themed virtual nav buttons may not be applied without killing the SystemUI process (or just rebooting). The Hover notification system we highlighted before is now in a stable form, and the pop-up, edge-activated PIE controls can now be enabled only when Android goes into immersive mode if you wish. This setting can be toggled in the quick settings bar.

Paranoid Android ROMs are available for most Nexus devices going back to the Galaxy Nexus. You can download a build for your device here. Here's the link for the Gapps file for Paranoid Android 4.4.2. Happy flashing.

Source: Paranoid Android blog

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Tijmen

    I never understood theming, it's such a ridiculous time-sink, both for the devs and the users, to me.

    • Marcell Lévai

      So you can make your device look more the way you like it. To make it reflect what you like. Also: the same interface gets boring after years of use. And: you don't have to understand it, just accept that there are people who like it. Since it's completely optional, I don't see why this would be a problem to anyone.

      • Android Developer

        Also some people don't like the one they have built in, so they wish to find something that does fit to their likings.

      • qn

        I don't see where he said he had a problem. Just accept that there are people who don't like it.

        • Marcell Lévai

          I don't see where I said he had a problem. Go away, troll.

    • Kylecore
      • Android Developer

        How come I can't see the screenshots?

        • Kylecore

          Hit the donate link to go to the playstore listing and see screenshots

  • roberto

    @Tijmen: Agreed!

  • jg

    Is there a port for hover yet?

    • Kylecore

      Yeah, it's a standalone app in the play store.

      • Raphael

        No, that's peek. Hover source hasn't been released yet, but since it's stable now it will probably happen in the next few days.

        • Kylecore

          So it is, my apologies! :)

      • Dani R.

        Sorry my friend, that's peek

    • ihancioglu

      as far as I remember "Metro Notifications" is very similar

  • Saša Drmić

    What about open sourcing hover?

    • grumpyfuzz

      they plan to later this week.

  • GuilhermeMendes

    i just wanted to get rid of all the blue left in KK, can someone point me to a good theme or method for doing so?

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    I flashed PA on my GNex yesterday and I am unimpressed. I don't get why it has such a fan following. Their customization options are so decentralized that you have to hunt for them.

    • APOI

      Try Resurrection Remix they are much better then PA (IMHO)

      • Android Developer

        For me, RR was really great, but it's also very unstable (running on I9300) .
        It has so many features.
        Same goes to Pac-rom. plenty of features but too unstable.

        Will try out RR again. Hope it got better since last time I tried it.

        • APOI

          Yap it certainly is quite stable then earlier. RR is the reason that my SGS2 is still alive :) when did you use it last time ?

          • Android Developer

            SGS2 is much more popular with RR than SGS3, I think.
            I tried it about 2 weeks ago, and even though I liked it, I decided to try others, just because it was too unstable.
            Now that I've flashed it, do you know perhaps how to make it a bit more native? For example customize the background of apps in it to be gradient (it has stripes) and how to change the color of switches to blue (it is gray).

    • Evan Anderson

      The point is not that you should hunt for them, but that you should just use your device normally and the system will ask you about your preference when needed. For example, when you first open recents you get a popup that asks if you want the recents button to become clear all or if you just want to keep stock behavior. Everything placed in the settings app is logically placed in the stock android category that they most fit.

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        What happens if I've selected to stay stock when the prompt first appeared, but later decided that I want the "recents" button to change to "Clear all"? I have no idea where I can find the setting. This is just one example.

        • Evan Anderson

          Settings -> backup and reset -> reset preferences. Choose the one you want to reset and it will prompt you again next time. In the future animated gifs will be replacing the static drawables so that users will be able to make a more informed decision the first time.

          • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

            And how is that intuitive? I want to set an action to a button. I am supposed to go to settings -> Backup for that? That's why all customization options need to be in a separate module like AOKP does it. Of course, that's just my opinion.

          • Evan Anderson

            The thought is once users have set their settings, they won't need to change them. If we make a settings module, it will quickly become cluttered with options and your typical user will become confused and always be asking where to find this or that. I've seen it happen in the 3.x releases. Now that we've switched to contextual on-the-spot preferences, I haven't seen any posts asking where to change this or that.

          • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

            "once users have set their settings, they won't need to change them."

            Uh-oh. Well, that doesn't really work for me. I dunno if I'm in the minority in this context.

          • grumpyfuzz

            Putting it in backup and reset and clearing that preference is as easy as changing a setting in any other custom rom.

    • JLM

      Which ROM do you like and why? I currently use PA, but it would be good to try one that is known for better than average battery life. Speed and customization options aren't high on my list of requirements, because I do like what they are trying to do with add-on features that PA has, like Peek, Hover and Pie and on the spot editing of Quick Settings. They are trying to make it so you don't need to go into settings to change anything, but I do think it lacks the option to change some things in settings if you wanted to.

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        On my Nexus 5, I'm running stock with XPosed. But on my Galaxy Nexus, before flashing PA, I was using AOKP nightly. It has s#!tload of customization options and every such option is in a centralized module. I need not hunt it all over the settings page.

        I did like the on the spot editing of quick settings - only after I understood how it works. For one hour straight, I was wrecking my brain trying to understand what is going on when I tap the four-square icon. Plus, I get very limited number of tiles there. Plus, long pressing user icon at the top left opens sync menu...!! Who came up with that...?

        • grumpyfuzz

          did you try pressing the little squares in the top of the tiles? It brings up more settings.

          • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

            Yes, I did. I knew of that feature (and Peek and Hover. That's why I wiped AOKP and flashed PA in the first place). But all those secondary settings are related to the first settings of that tile. e.g. wifi tile's alternate is wifi AP, Sound profile tile's alternate is volume, Location tile's alternate is GPS etc. And I don't use any of those alternates.

            These are of course a useful feature for those who use/like them.You are getting two tiles in space of one. But then again, it requires one extra tap, that too, a very precise tap.

  • Golden Eagle

    I thought themes could be applied anyway or was it something the devs were adding on their own on top of PA I assume?