The best theming widgets for Android
Finding widgets that work with one theme can be hard. Finding widgets that work with them all is next to impossible.
Android has hundreds of thousands of widgets out there for you to try out, to say nothing of all the widgets you can make yourself through customization apps. But more than looking nice, widgets need to work. They have to earn their keep on my home screen, or they’ll be deleted and replaced with something I actually use. Now, not all apps have customizable widgets, and no matter how good some of those widgets are (like Google Keep), if they don’t play well with themes, then I can’t count on them when it come time to dress up my home screen.
And if you have widgets that are team players when you theme, sing out in the comments below! We’re always on the lookout for a few good widgets.
1Weather is a beautiful weather app with an equally beautiful selection of widgets. Big, small, simple or detailed, 1Weather has a weather widget for your theme. What makes these widgets even more handy for the themer is that these widgets have customizable color schemes.
You can have a completely transparent background for the widget, or set a variable tint of white/black for the background. Besides choosing white/black text, we also have our pick of over a dozen accent colors for your widget. The accent color means that rather than having just another monotone widget, that pop of color can help the widget mesh better with your theme’s color scheme.
1Weather (Free, $1.99)
Jack’s Music Widget
I’ve been singing the praises of Jack’s Music Widget for quite a while, and for a few very good reasons, the first of them being that it’s damn good widget on a functional level. Jack’s will not only give you music control in your preferred music app (well, most of them, anyway) through its notification, but it’ll also give playback controls while casting video from apps like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, which is excellent for heavy Chromecast users (like me). You can also set a default music player to hop into when you tap the widget, but if you switch between your favorites like I do, you can leave it at None and have music controls without the app shortcut.
Jack’s true talent comes from its ability to blend in with almost any theme I throw at it. Jack’s features five different styles for it’s themes, including the ability to determine the widget style based off the album art it pulls in. Clear and Translucent are the styles I gravitate towards in my theming, but backing Dark and Light available can help in a pinch with especially busy wallpapers. You can also change the text size, though not the color, so that the song info looks natural in the widget.
Download Jack’s Music Widget (Free, $1.99)
If you’re going to be building complex themes, pre-made widgets likely won’t cut it. Thankfully, we can make our own with a small class of widget apps known as what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) widget editors. And while Kustom’s live wallpaper maker is more powerful that its widget maker, KWGT is without a doubt one of the best widget-making apps out there right now.
Read more: KWGT, explained
KWGT allows you to build apps from scratch, import them from other users, or buy templates off the Play Store and play with them to our heart’s content. What sets KWGT apart from similar apps like Zooper are Globals and Komponents. Globals allow you to change one variable and have it reflected across several items in your widget, such as changing your font once for a dozen different text layers, or changing one color Global for several different shapes.
Komponents are like miniature widgets that you can build and then export to be used in other widgets. Komponents can be packaged and sold on the Google Play Store, like this beautiful Material Music Komponent, a music player widget that you can add to a blank widget, change your colors, and set without having to futz with the individual control icons. Komponents can be a little difficult to grasp at first, but luckily, KWGT has a vibrant community and a very active dev ready to help new users.
Download KWGT (Free, $.299)
Twitter clients are a dime a dozen, but twitter clients with sweet widgets are a bit more rare, as I found out while looking for a Twitter widget that wouldn’t just clash with every theme I threw it into. I found my answer in Talon, which has become my main Twitter app now. Talon is a twitter app that’s all about customization, and that extends to its widgets. You’re given four styles for Talon’s widgets to use, solid light and dark themes as well as transparent light and dark themes. Dark transparent plays well with a great many other widgets, making it a welcome addition to my home screen and my theming arsenal.
Talon for Twitter ($3.99)
I don’t always have toggle widgets on my home screen, but when I do, I use HD Widgets. HD Widgets are a great widget tool, especially for users who may not be used to more robust widget-making apps like KWGT. You select the size, style and colors for your widget through a wonderfully simple selection process, and you have a wide variety of setting toggles and clock styles to choose from.
Toggle widgets aren’t as necessary as they were in past years due to the Quick Settings tray above notification on more devices, especially stock devices, but if you want one handy on the home screen, HD Widgets works well. On a small note, HD Widgets hasn’t been updated in over a year, so while things are working well now, it’s unclear how quickly any future bugs or issues will be fixed.
HD Widgets ($0.99)
Zooper, like KWGT, is an app where you can build your own app or play with someone else’s. Some people find Zooper’s interface easier to deal with than KWGT, and to be sure they both have their strengths and weaknesses, but Zooper ranks below KWGT in my book for a big reason: it does not appear to be in active development. Zooper hasn’t seen an update in almost a year, and while nothing’s broken (yet) and a great many themers are still actively using and sharing their Zooper Widgets with the world, it’s still a red flag to see an app go this long without attention, especially as this app hasn’t been updated to bring it in line with Marshmallow’s permissions or with Doze.
Zooper’s a good widget app, and if KWGT just isn’t your speed, it may be perfect for you, but keep in mind that if something breaks in the app, it may be a while before it’s fixed.
Download Zooper Widget (Free, $2.99)
Action Launcher’s Quickbar
Action Launcher as a theming launcher is quite good, and one of the best things it offers for me is the Quickbar. Because of Quicktheme, you can tint your Quickbar to match your theme, giving it a quick and usually painless way to get a Google Search bar that matches your theme.
Even better, the Quickbar can be tailored to your unique interests. Want shortcuts to your social media apps? Knock yourself out. Want your sports apps in there instead? Go ahead. The Quickbar does mean you’re giving up the top of your screen to it, and of course means that you’re using Action Launcher, but if you’re gonna use a search widget, Quickbar is one of the easiest to theme out there.
Download Action Launcher (Free, $4.99)