Android phones are about to get a whole lot more personal

Google's testing a way to completely customise your interface – even if your apps don't want you to

Google Android 13 Themes
(Image credit: Google)

One of my favourite things about Android 13 is the extensive customisation it offers, and it seems it's about to get even better. According to new reports, Google is testing a new feature that'll enable you to override app icons to make sure everything fits your chosen theme. 

The feature is in Android 13 QPR2 beta 2, and it's a flag with the name of "ENABLE_FORCED_MONO_ICON". As you've probably guessed, this flag enables you to force app icons into mono – something you can't currently do.

No colours? No problem

At the moment, if you choose a monochrome colour theme for your Android phone it's up to the app developers whether they'll allow you to override their colour choice – so if you want something in nice soothing shades of grey you can't necessarily override an app's vivid red, blue or green. But if Google brings this feature across to the final stable release, you'll be able to make all your icons and Home Screen shortcuts conform to your own colour choices.

It's a little thing, I know, but when you consider how many times you'll see those icons and shortcuts in a typical day that's quite a lot of irritation. And it's part of a wider interface revamp in Android 13 that Google's doing, with particular focus on the Android experience on tablets. Interface improvements might not be must-haves, but they're definitely nice-to-haves.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (