It’s getting harder and harder to root the more popular Android devices. I personally love rooting my phone and removing whatever crap bloatware the carrier or manufacturer put on their as well as flashing a custom ROM to get a stock version of Android that is way snappier and, frankly, better looking in most cases.
But, since that’s not quite an option for the S8 (and frankly, Samsung has dialed down the S8’s TouchWiz to a point I don’t mind it as much as usual, but you can read about that in my review), we have to resort to methods that don’t require root. Thankfully, Android has one of the most customizable OSes around. Don’t like the messaging app? Change it. Don’t like the camera? Change that. Want a totally different home screen and launcher? Sure, why not.
So for any other Android purists out there that might have grabbed an S8 because of it’s sexy hardware and design, here’s how you can get the Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus to look and feel like stock Android, no root required.
Stock Launcher (Pixel Launcher)
First up, let’s start with the thing that will probably make the biggest difference in your day to day use: the launcher.
Now, if we’re going for the launcher that would come on a Pixel, that would be the aptly named Pixel launcher. And while the launcher is available in the Play store, you’ll get a warning saying it’s not compatible with your version of Android (lies). So to install it we need to do the following instead:
- Go to Settings > Security > Turn on Unknown Sources.
- After that, we can grab the latest APK file from here by viewing this page on your phone and tapping the link below to start the download and save it to your device.
- Once that downloads, you can pull down the notification (or go to the MyFiles app on the phone) and tap the APK then tap install.
- After it installs, hit the home button and select the Pixel Launcher. This will also make it the new default launcher so anytime you hit the home button, you’ll end up with it.
Not gonna lie, looks pretty slick on the infinity display.
Next up is the messaging app. This is pretty simple, we’ll just head to the Play Store and Google has their stock messaging app there (which I prefer thanks to it’s ability to archive messages and cleaner look).
- Head to the Play Store and search for Android Messages.
- Install it (you’ll know it’s the right one because it’ll be from Google, Inc. as the developer.
- Open the app and follow the prompts for it to make itself your new default messaging app.
And to compliment that new messaging app why not the stock Android keyboard?
- Go to the Play Store and search for GBoard.
- Install it.
- Open the app and follow the prompts for setting it as the default app.
So. Much. Better.
So this one is a bit more obvious as Chrome is already installed, but we can make it the default browser to make sure it opens everytime we open a link instead of the “Internet” app Samsung gives us.
- Your S8 or S8 Plus should already have Chrome on it, but if it didn’t for some reason, head to the Play Store, search for and install Chrome.
- Once it’s on your phone, head to Settings > Apps and tap the three dots in the top right corner and select Default Apps.
- Then tap on Browser app and select Chrome.
Dialer and Contacts
The closest thing to the stock dialer and contact app (since the APKs for the real stock ones don’t seem to work) is an app in the Play Store called exDialer.
- Head to the Play Store again and search for and install exDialer.
- Once installed, head to Settings > Apps and tap the three dots in the top right corner and select Default Apps.
- Then tap on Calling app and select exDialer.
Next, let’s have it use the stock Google Calendar app instead of Samsung’s, shall we?
- Again, this should already be on your S8 or S8 Plus, but if for some reason it isn’t, head to the Play Store and install Google Calendar.
- Tap on it to open it and set it up.
- Once set up, head to Settings > Apps > tap on the Samsung Calendar (called Calendar but has the green icon compared to the blue one of Google Calendar).
- Tap Clear Defaults. This will remove the Samsung calendar as the app to handle events and next time something requires an event it’ll ask you which calendar to use, make sure to select the Google Calendar and that will then set that as the new default.
- Then also tap on More Options and turn off Notifications so you don’t get double notifications from events.
For the final touch, how about a Nougat wallpaper?
- You can head to this collection here.
- Tap on the one you want to use then tap and hold on it once it’s enlarged and tap Download Image.
- Tap and hold on the home screen background and tap Wallpapers.
- Tap My Photos and select the wallpaper you downloaded and tap Set Wallpaper.
So there might be more things you can change, but that should get you pretty darn close. Feel free to leave more options for replacements for others in the comments below and let me know what you thought of this tutorial, always love hearing from you guys. Follow me on social and chat with me there. And thanks for reading!