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I personally love Samsung's One UI, but not everybody wants their Samsung smartphone to feel quite so Samsung. Getting your phone to feel a little more Google and a little less Galaxy is fortunately quite straightforward, both thanks to Android itself and some of the inherent customization features found in One UI. In this guide, we'll show you how to make your Galaxy phone look and feel a bit more Pixel-y. I'll be using my S21 Ultra for this demonstration, but these steps can be used on any Samsung device running One UI 3.0.
Left: Hex main menu, Center/Right: Theme applied.
Hex Installer is one of the best tools for customizing One UI. It allows you to make a custom theme with custom accent colors and you can make UI elements less rounded, matching the Note series. The themes you create are recognized by the built-in themes app, so applying them doesn't require modifying your phone in any way. The app uses plugins, modules that can be downloaded through the Play Store to apply specific styles to your theme. In this example, we'll be using the AOSP R Day/Night plugin to achieve a stock appearance.
Once both apps are installed, head into Hex and press edit. From there, enter the plugins menu and choose AOSP R, then go through the various menus and tweak things to your liking. There's a lot that can be changed, and we don't have time to delve into everything today. If you want a basic AOSP look, just leave everything as it is once the plugin is selected, press the install button, and follow the instructions provided by the app. Hex will set you back $2, which is more than reasonable for an app this powerful.
Left: Another Widget settings, Right: Ruthless Launcher
If you want the true Pixel experience for your homescreen, then Ruthless Launcher should be your first port of call. Based on the Pixel Launcher, it offers that Pixel feel with plenty of extra options to enjoy. It isn't quite as flexible as something like Lawnchair, but it's considerably more stable and is my launcher of choice.
For your icons, you'll want to head into the launcher settings and change the adaptive icon size to round. You can leave things there if you wish, but I like to use a Pixel-style icon pack too. My favorite is Pixel Icons, which is regularly updated and boasts more than 3,000 icons.
Finally, you'll want an At A Glance widget to complete your homescreen. Ruthless has its own built-in, but it insists on showing notification content and can't be customized. Switching it off is easy, and Google has helpfully made the official widget available through the Google app. If you'd like to customize things, I recommend downloading Another Widget. It faithfully replicates the At A Glance experience while adding many options, like weather icon packs and custom fonts.
To complete the homescreen, you'll want a nice wallpaper to finish things off. STOKiE is one of my favorite apps, featuring thousands of wallpapers from hundreds of devices, including Pixels. Open the app, choose Google from the list of manufactures, and select a Pixel. All of the wallpapers from your chosen generation of Pixel will be there to choose from.
Follow these steps and your Samsung phone will look and feel more like a Pixel, if that's your thing. Although I usually prefer to keep things as Samsung intended, the nice thing about Android is that you don't have to agree with me. It only takes a few taps to change the experience to your liking.