How to set up and customize your Android phone’s Material You theme

Introduced with Android 12 as a reboot of Material Design, Material You was further refined with Android 13. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it encompasses a range of personalization features in Android, from dynamic color palettes to themed icons. It’s a convenient way to customize your phone with a few taps. It’s available on all Android phones running Android 12 and up, including the budget-friendly Pixel 6a and the newly announced Google Pixel 7.


Material You helps your smartphone feel unique through mostly automated methods. Thanks to Monet’s theme engine, you don’t have to worry about color clashes. However, you do have significant control over how your material is used. This guide will show you how to customize Material You on Android 12 and 13.

How to choose a background image

Material You work by creating custom themes based on your home screen background colors. So, before doing anything, choose the wallpaper you want. It doesn’t matter what type of wallpaper you choose, but those with bright colors create the most interesting effects.

To change your wallpaper, long press on your home screen and tap on it wallpaper & style. Don’t leave this screen as this is where you will be adjusting your Material You colors. You can also access this menu via settings > wallpaper & style.

Material You don’t use your lock screen wallpaper to influence its themes. However, items that appear on your lock screen (e.g. your clock) still use Material You’s themes. This can create interesting combinations, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

After setting a wallpaper, you can customize Material You. This process is slightly different depending on your Android version and smartphone. If you have a Google Pixel 6, follow the steps for Android 12: If you have a Pixel 7 or Google Pixel 7 Pro, follow the steps for Android 13.

How to customize Material You on Android 12

Most Android phones are still waiting for Android 13. If you’re excited for Material You but wondering when your phone will get the Android 13 update, don’t worry. There are still many customization options available to you.

Of the wallpaper & style Tap in the menu wallpaper colors Button. This gives you access to four color options. Each circle represents a different color scheme that Android 12 pulled from your current home screen wallpaper. Tap on one of these to apply it to your phone. You’ll also see a preview of how the theme will look on your phone. close wallpaper & style App to see your new design in action.

If you are unhappy with your options, try a new wallpaper. You can also toggle Dark Theme change because some themes fit better.

If you don’t want to use a dynamic theme, the primary colors The button on this screen allows you to choose from one of four default theme options: Blue, Green, Purple, or Orange. While you can’t choose a custom color, you have more control.

Implementation is limited in Android 12, but you can switch Thematic icons to enable dynamic app icon themes. This is limited to a few Google apps in Android 12, but it’s still a nice way to further customize Material You. Theme icons do not apply to your app drawer.

How to customize Material You on Android 13

Android 13 came with many new Material You features, including new color options and dynamic themed icons.

Of the wallpaper & style Tap in the menu wallpaper colors Button. You have access to 16 color options, but you have to swipe to see them all. Once you’ve decided on a theme, tap the circle to apply it to your phone. You’ll also see a preview of your design in action at the top.

Beat primary colors to select a single theme color and toggle Dark Theme Switch to activate the dark theme. This won’t affect your colors and may look better depending on your preferences.

While adoption was slow, Android 13 allowed third-party apps to use dynamic-themed icons. Turn the Themed icons button to activate this function. It applies one of your theme’s accent colors to your apps, creating a consistent look and feel. Theme icons do not apply to your app drawer.

Pixel phones get exclusive updates via Google’s Pixel Feature Drop. They were the first to see Material You in action and all subsequent updates. If you own a new Pixel 7, you’ll have instant access to the latest iteration of Material You.

Samsung Galaxy One user interface

Samsung’s One UI 4 is based on the Android 12 operating system. As Samsung phones haven’t received Android 13 yet, they are subject to the same Material You restrictions as Android 12.

However, if you want to explore the features introduced by Android 13, you can install the One UI 5 beta. This brings many refinements along with the changes to Material You.

Material You is the most significant change to Android’s user interface in years

And there you have it. While Material You tends to choose relatively muted hues, the difference is noticeable, changing the color of things like your quick settings buttons, widgets, and some apps’ themes.

Now you can express your creativity with your wallpapers and themes to make your smartphone unique. However, if customization isn’t enough for you, try one of the best third-party launchers for Android.

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