Install Custom Themes on Android Oreo Without Root Access

Edited by Jay, Maria

Android has always offered more in the area of customization when compared to iOS. Rooted devices have the potential for a massive variety of tweaks and hacks, everything from overclocking, right through to theme and layout appearance. Not having root access, however, has its limitations, when it comes to personalization, especially in the theme department. That is of course, until recently. With the anticipated release of the Andromeda add-on for Substratum, rootless devices can have fully customized theme support.

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Substratum, which is a theme engine that uses the Overlay Management Service or OMS, was only useful to rooted devices. Since the Andromeda add-on, however, not having access to root is no longer an issue for most devices running Android 8. The great thing about using Substratum along with the Andromeda add-on is that you don't have to worry about running command line prompts or any code.

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The focus of this tutorial is getting both Substratum and the Andromeda add-on up and running on a device (Google Pixel) running Android Oreo. Although the Andromeda desktop client is available on Mac and Linux, we'll be using a Windows machine for this tutorial. We'll provide links to the Mac and Linux desktop clients, so if you're not a Windows user, don't fret.

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**Please Note**

Substratum is a free application, but the Andromeda add-on cost $1.99 (USD). We'd also like to mention that Andromeda is an unreleased app and it may be unstable, but it has been reported to work with; Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Google Pixel and Pixel XL. If you're running Android Oreo, your device should work fine.'

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Install Substratum

  1. 1
    On the home screen, tap the triangle or swipe up to get into your app drawer.
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  2. 2
    From the app drawer, tap the "Play Store" icon.
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  3. 3
    Once inside the Play Store, search for; "substratum theme engine". When the results populate, tap the first link [projekt.].
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  4. 4
    When you get to Substratum's app page, tap the green "INSTALL" button.
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Install Andromeda Add-on (Rootless backend)

  1. 1
    Go back to your app drawer and tap the "Play Store" shortcut once again.
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  2. 2
    From inside the Play Store, type; "andromeda substratum" into the search box
    .
    When the search results populate, tap the "andromeda ★ substratum stock rootless backend" link.
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  3. 3
    On the Andromeda app info page, tap the green button with the price ($2.39 for us as we purchased from Canada). If you have an active payment method in place, tap the green "BUY" button to continue. If you haven't purchased from the Play Store before, check out our article on adding and editing payments methods for Google Play.
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  4. 4
    Depending on your purchase history and Play Store settings; you may have to enter the password for your main Android account
    .
    if prompted, enter your password and tap "CONFIRM". You can choose never to be prompted for your password again for future purchases via the Play Store.
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  5. 5
    Once the payment goes through, tap "CONTINUE" proceed with the installation.
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Download the Andromeda Desktop Client (Windows)

  1. 1
    Visit the following link and click on green download button. If you're not running a Windows machine, download one of the other available clients, from the links below.
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  1. 1
    After clicking the download button you'll be presented with a few mirror links
    .
    Click the first one (green button) to download the archive. If you have any issues with the first link, try one of the other mirrors.
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  2. 2
    If you see the following window, select Save file, then click "OK".
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  3. 3
    Once the zip file has downloaded, open the folder that stores your browser's downloads
    .
    Copy the zip file to a folder somewhere on your PC. For this tutorial; we created a folder directly on the desktop.
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  4. 4
    Once the zip file is pasted to a folder, right-click the archive and select, "Extract Here".
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Enable USB Debugging

You'll need to have both Developer Options, and USB Debugging enabled to use Substratum.

  1. 1
    Swipe up or tap the arrow on the home screen to access your app tray.
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  2. 2
    From the app tray, tap the "Settings" icon.
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  3. 3
    On the Settings' screen, tap "System".
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  4. 4
    From System, tap "About phone".
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  5. 5
    On the About phone screen, tap "Build number" seven times
    .
    After the seventh tap, a message will appear saying; "You are now a developer!".
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  6. 6
    Head back to the System screen, then tap "Developer options".
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  7. 7
    From Developer options, scroll to and toggle the switch next to, "USB Debugging"
    .
    When the pop-up box appears asking if you want to "Allow USB Debugging", tap "OK".
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Setup the Andromeda Desktop Client

  1. 1
    From your home screen or app drawer, tap the "Andromeda" app to open it.
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  2. 2
    You will see a red pop-up box with the connections status as "Disconnected"
    .
    Close the app and connect your device to your computer with the appropriate USB cable.
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  3. 3
    Next, go the folder where you extracted the Andromeda desktop client contents
    .
    Open the file named; "start_andromeda.bat".
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  4. 4
    You may be prompted with a security warning or asked to grant Administrator rights
    .
    Click "Run" or grant Administrator rights.
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  5. 5
    Next, a command prompt window will open, hit the "Enter" key to continue.
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  6. 6
    You'll see a bunch of commands running in the command prompt window, once the script is finished, hit the "Enter" key again. The command prompt window will automatically close once you hit Enter.
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  7. 7
    If everything went correctly, the Substratum app would immediately open on your device.
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  8. 8
    To confirm that everything is running properly, tap the "Andromeda" shortcut on your device.
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  9. 9
    You'll now see that the connection status has changed to; "Connected" and the pop-up is a green box.
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Congratulations! You can now run custom themes on a rootless device with the Substratum theme engine. For a more detailed guide to using Substratum, please check out our usage tutorial.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Software | Use Google Pixel and Pixel XL | Use Android Oreo

Recent edits by: Jay

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