How to Make the Huawei P20 Look Like Stock Android

There is no doubt, that the Huawei P20 and the Huawei P20 Pro have some of the best hardware out there. EMUI on the other hand, well, isn’t the most sought-after software on a mobile device.

It runs well, keeps the phone faster longer and is great with the battery life frankly, but the look? The look seems a bit cartoony for more western tastes at least. While Huawei has definitely toned down EMUI with the latest versions, a lot of you have been asking me for how to make the Huawei P20 look like stock Android instead.

Now, by stock Android nowadays, we mean as close to what the Pixel devices come with generally–since that’s not considered stock Android by most. And I totally get it. It’s clean, material design (the name for the design language Google uses) uses some of the more popular UI design elements like flat icons, more minimalistic transitions, etc.

So, if you maybe want all the crazy hardware of the P20 and P20 Pro (like the crazy camera I just did a comparison on), but the smoothness, and cleaner UI of stock Android, here’s how to get stock Android on the Huawei P20.

Stock Launcher (Using Nova Launcher)


Firstly, we need to change the launcher. If you’re not familiar, the launcher is basically the app that you use as your home screen. By changing it to another one (and there are a lot in the Play Store), you’ll make the biggest impact on getting the Huawei P20 to a stock Android look.

To make sure it works, we’re going to use Nova launcher and customize it to look like stock Android (I tried the actual Pixel launcher and it kept crashing so this is probably the best option.

  1. Head to the Play Store, search for and install Nova Launcher.
    Download Nova Launcher
  2. After it installs, hit the home button and select Nova Launcher. This will also make it the new default launcher so anytime you hit the home button, you’ll end up with it.
    Nova Launcher Home Screen

Customize Nova to Have the Stock Look

Next, we need to adjust some settings to make it look like stock Android.

  1. Tap and hold on the background and then tap on Settings.
    Tap on Nova Settings
  2. Tap on App & Widget Drawers and turning on Swipe to Open.
    Turn on Swipe to Open
  3. Then going to Dock and tapping search bar in the dock and selecting under the dock.
    Tap on Below
  4. Then go to Desktop in settings and tap on search bar style and select the rounded one and the colored G logo to match the Pixel 2’s.Tap on Multicolored G
  5. Also, we can go to Look and Feel and turn on Adaptive icons and tap on adaptive icon style and set them to rounded and reshape legacy icons.
    Choose Rounded Icons and Old Icons
  6. After that, we can go to the home screen and remove the app drawer icon and the search bar widget and we’re pretty good to go.
    Stock Android Dock

Messaging App

Android Messages

Next, let’s get the stock messaging app. Besides the swiping away of messages that this app provides (that my OCD loves), this is as stock of a look as you can get for the messaging app, and it’s available in the Play Store so installation is super easy.

  1. Head to the Play Store and search for Android Messages and install it (you’ll know it’s the right one because it’ll be from Google, Inc. as the developer).
    Download Android Messages
  2. Open the app and follow the instructions for it to make itself the default messaging app.
    Android Messages


Google Keyboard

Now, let’s get the stock Google Keyboard to go with the messaging app.

  1. Go to the Play Store and search for GBoard and install it.
    Download Google Keyboard
  2. Open the app and follow the prompts for setting it as the default app
    Setup Google Keyboard

Dialer and Contacts

So there is no stock dialer and contacts app in the Play Store or on the web (that I could find, at least), but there is a pretty good clone in the Play Store called ExDialer.

  1. Head to the Play Store again and search for and install exDialer.
    Download ExDialer
  2. Once installed, head to Settings > Apps > Default apps.
    Tap on Default Apps
  3. Then tap on Phone and select exDialer.
    Select ExDialer


Let’s use the Google Calendar instead of Huawei’s.

  1. Head to the Play Store, search for and install Google Calendar then tap on it to open it and set it up.
    Download Google Calendar
  2. Once set up, head to Settings > Apps > tap on the calendar with the red icon then tap Open by default > Clear Defaults.
    Clear Huawei Calendar Defaults
  3. Then also tap back, tap on Notifications and turn those off so you don’t get double notifications from events.
    Turn off Huawei Calendar Notifications

Calendar Widget

We can also grab the calendar widget from the Pixel 2 to complete the home screen look.

  1. Simply head to the Play Store, search for and install Another Widget.
    Download Another Widget
  2. Once installed, head to the home page, tap and hold on the background, tap widgets and select the new Another Widget calendar widget and place it on the home screen. It’ll then bring you to a setup page.
    Tap Add Widget
  3. In there, leave the default options but go to the bottom and tap the calendar option to give it access to your events and then the weather option to add that as well.

Living Universe Wallpapers

Now, one of the more subtle but cool things I like about the Pixel devices is the living universe wallpapers. These are the wallpapers that move slightly in the background and are not supposed to work on any other devices, but…

  1. Head to the Play Store and download the Google Wallpapers app.
    Download Google Wallpapers
  2. Now, these won’t be available in it by default but we need it installed to then get the living universe wallpapers to show up in it after the next step.
    Nova Launcher Home Screen
  3. Head to this link here on XDA on your phone’s browser and download the APK file (do this on the phone to save an additional step of transferring it to your phone after you download it to your computer).
    Download Living Universe APK
  4. Once, downloaded you can tap it and tap install.Install Living Universe APK

After that, head to the Google Wallpapers app and you’ll see a section for Live Wallpapers. Tap that and you’ll see the new living universe ones in there. Tap one and tap set to set it as your home screen, lock screen or both.

Select The Wallpaper


You should be looking pretty darn stock at this point, but let me know in the comments below if you have other apps that might help complete the look–I’m sure others would appreciate it.

Otherwise, enjoy and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for behind the scenes of tech events in my Stories and photos of the latest tech I find in the feed. Thanks for reading!

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9 thoughts on “How to Make the Huawei P20 Look Like Stock Android”

  1. Ramy ahmed (ramyski)

    there’s a stock dialer and contacts app (named Google Phone & Google Contacts) one is the on the internet on xda and the other is on the play store and u could have used modded pixel launcher as the stock launcher and u could have install an aosp theme while in the emui launcher it won’t change even if u change launchers

  2. How would you stack the P20 hardware – excluding camera – against what the pixel3 is offering? on paper, even. i just want a really fast android stock handset that wont die like this iphone has after eighteen months. i’m not bothered with photography, just hardware clout.

    1. Well the P20 has the same generation of hardware, mostly the same, but different manufacturers; Pixel3 has the US/Taiwan Snapdragon while the P20 has the Chinese HiSilicon.

      A bit more RAM on the P20.
      Camera is better in case you will ever use it.

      Battery is MUCH larger than the Pixel 3.

      1. Thanks. At these price points, i’m inclined to try the P20 and just strip out as much non-vanilla android as i can. I didn’t foresee the large model coming so far over £700 for some reason.

    1. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t. Eventually the original launcher stops running in the background and the new one takes it’s place so it’s a bit of a trade.

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