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How to Customize Your Android 13 Pixel Color Palette

One of the new features introduced in Android 12 — if you have a Pixel phone — is automatically matching your phone’s color palette to your wallpaper, as well as what Google calls themed icons — icons that, instead of using their own colors, take the color palette you’ve chosen as a theme.

Until then, you can only use theme icons provided by Google Apps. So, for example, when I tried it on a Pixel 3 using Android 12 beta, some but not all of the icons on my home page changed to black designs against a colored background. (To be honest, I thought the simple colorful icons were much better.) Third-party icons, like Slack’s, are the same.

In Android 13, the ability for your icons to follow a color palette is extended to more icons — as long as developers adjust their coding to allow it. When I turned on themed icons on my current Pixel 6, Bitwarden was the only app I could immediately find among the many apps on my phone that followed the new theme (and it wasn’t a Google app). (9to5Google (Contains a list of third-party apps that can adopt Google’s theme.)

Still, it’s nice to play up the look of your home page. Want to try it yourself? easy

Choose your wallpaper

Let’s start by choosing a wallpaper.

  • Long press on an empty part of your homescreen until you see a pop-up menu.
  • choose Wallpaper & Style.
  • Click on Change the wallpaper Link below two representations of your current wallpaper (home and lock screens).

Popup menu on home page

Long press for a pop-up menu.

Wallpaper & Style Page

choose Change the wallpaper.

  • Tap on one of the categories displayed on the wallpaper screen, then select a specific image. Tap on the top button called or My photos To choose one of your own photos.
  • After you select your image, you’ll be shown a preview of how it will look on your homescreen and lock screen. (The two buttons below the preview image let you toggle between the two.) If you’re satisfied, tap the check mark in the lower-right corner.
  • A pop-up menu gives you the option to use the wallpaper on the homescreen, your lock screen, or both. And you’re done! You’ll find yourself back on your home page — with your new wallpaper.

Wallpaper page

Choose a supplied wallpaper image or use your own photo.

Wallpaper preview screen

You can see how it looks on the homescreen and lock screen.

Customize your theme

If you want to try themed icons, go back Wallpaper & Style Page and toggle on background icons. The screenshots here show what my current wallpaper looks like with normal app icons and background icons turned on. Right now, of all my many apps, only the folks at Bitwarden seem to have set up the ability to use Android themes with its icon; It will be interesting to see how many more follow in the coming weeks.

Home screen

Homescreen with simple app icons.

Home screen with theme

The Bitwarden icon has changed to a theme, but the Slack icon has not.

The Wallpaper & Style Page lets you toggle the dark theme on and off and change the app grid so you get less large icons on each home page (which might be useful for those whose current icons are too small).

Change the color combinations

You can also choose a different color combination for your theme depending on your wallpaper photo.

  • On Wallpaper & Style Page, select Wallpaper colors And choose one of the color combinations shown. You can also press Primary colors If you want something, well, basic.

Wallpaper colors

You can choose different palettes based on your wallpaper.

Wallpaper & style toggles

Besides background icons, you can also turn on the dark theme and change your app grid.

While these style combinations don’t affect your phone’s capabilities or performance, the idea that you can adjust the look of your screen to suit your taste or your mood is great.

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