The HTC One M9 is a great phone, with a great selection of tools, apps, and ROMs that let you customize it to match your personality and actually meet your needs. So, while there is a lot out there for the M9, what can you do to make use of it? To make sure your HTC One M9 feels and looks unique, I’ve put together some easy ways to add some personal touches.
Whether you’re new to Android, new to the M9, or an already experienced user, you’ll find an excellent way to change your phone for the better.
1. Install a New Theme or Create Your Own
Installing different themes or launchers on Android isn’t uncommon, but on the HTC One M9, it’s possible to make your own with ease. All you need is a picture you want to use, a little time on your hands, an HTC account, and then the M9 and HTC’s Theme Maker website will take care of the rest.
If you don’t have a picture or set of pictures you want to use for a theme, don’t worry, there’s still an option to use other user created themes. Not all of these are free, but each theme customizes your lock screen, home screen, icons, app drawer, messenger, and more with just a few taps.
Your Theme options don’t stop there either, if you visit the Google Play Store, there are many launchers available for free, and for a fee.
One launcher we’ve talked about extensively before is Nova Launcher Prime. It’s a launcher that makes customization easy, even with an almost overwhelming amount of options. If you’re very specific about the style and size of everything on every screen, Nova Launcher Prime works well for the price.
If you’re interested, you can get the Prime version here:
Nova Launcher Prime Download ($4.99)
The free version is available here, but has a few more limits and restrictions:
Nova Launcher Download (Free)
On the other end of the customization spectrum, I like launchers that are very light, and minimalistic in design. So, if you’re like me and prefer something a little lighter on your M9, here’s two more launchers to try.
First up is Nano Launcher, a minimalistic launcher that still offers plenty of customization options:
Nano Launcher Download (Free)
After that is Evie Launcher, which is fast, light, and puts everything within a swipe’s reach while remaining clean and minimal:
Evie Launcher Download (Free)
Give either of these launchers a try if you want something light, quick, and most importantly of all, minimal.
2. Take Full Advantage of Sense 7 or Swap the System for Custom ROMs
Sense 7 is the seventh iteration of the HTC Sense system, which is almost like HTC’s version of the Android OS, but with some tweaks here and there. It’s easy to abandon the system altogether and use a different launcher, but before you do, give it a chance to show you what it can accomplish.
The themes I mentioned before are a part of the Sense 7 system, and another option I’ll mention later about nav buttons are the same way. If you decide to use a custom ROM and lose Sense 7, you do miss out on customization options included in the stock HTC One M9 experience.
In return, you get a brand new experience that gives you a brand new sea of customization options to dive into. There are some fantastic ROMs just waiting to be used, but the only catch is your M9 needs to be rooted first. It’s a small price to pay, but one with inherent risks and troubleshooting.
Before you decide to install a ROM, or even root the HTC One M9, take a minute and explore what HTC Sense has to offer for you and your phone.
3. Fine Tune Your BoomSound Experience
The HTC One M9 is packing two front facing, 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound speakers, running off of the BoomSound system. BoomSound is what replaced Beats for the sound system tucked inside of the HTC One series, and they pack a hefty punch for phone speakers.
However, good speakers are only as good as their user treats them. Anytime you play music, or a video, you get a BoomSound notification that lets you tweak your speakers for a home theater setup, or for music listening. BoomSound doesn’t stop working once you’ve plugged in a nice pair of headphones either.
In your BoomSound settings, your headphones are detected, and manageable using BoomSound features as long as you’re using a wired pair. Unfortunately, Bluetooth headphones won’t work with BoomSound, but it’s nevertheless another option to play with.
4. Expand and Improve Your App Catalogue
Every phone comes loaded with stock apps. Some of them are nothing but bloatware and just take up space, and others are apps that are alright on their own but could be much better. If you haven’t upgraded or replaced any of your stock apps that you use regularly, it’s time to upgrade to something new, and better.
Are you still using your default messenger? What about your keyboard or your camera app? These are just three examples, but take the time to look at each app you use on your HTC One M9 and think if there’s any way you can customize them, and make them better.
Just as an example, what about your keyboard? There are plenty of keyboard apps out there, some better than others, but are there any you think are better than your current one? It takes some time to learn a new keyboard, but if you’re adventurous enough to try it, try GO Keyboard and see if it changes how you type for the better.
GO Keyboard Pro Download (Free)
5. Change Your Navigation Buttons
Look at the Nav bar of almost any Android phone, and you’ll see that they’re all the same, and function the same way. On the HTC One M9, it’s the same too unless you decide to customize it. To start with, first:
- Open your Settings
- Go to Personalize
- Then select Change navigation buttons
From here you have more than a few options to add a fourth navigation button to your Nav bar. This new button has five options: Auto-rotate the screen, turn off the screen, hid the Nav bar, open Quick Settings, and open Notifications.
In addition to all of this, you can move your existing Nav bar buttons around to change the placement. This is an extra level of customization that you don’t normally receive in a stock version of a phone but is a great addition to the HTC One M9.
6. Use Smart Lock for Trusted Locations
Smart Lock is a customization feature prominent in most newer Android phones. It keeps your phone unlocked during set conditions, so you don’t have to fiddle with passcodes or patterns while you’re at home, or somewhere else your phone is safe. On the HTC One M9, the Smart Lock feature has improved facial recognition.
This means it’s possible to select certain facial features or differences as your unlock condition. For example, I can set my Smart Lock to unlock my phone automatically only if the camera sees me wearing a hat. You don’t just need to use facial recognition either; you can even use GPS and Bluetooth.
To start using Smart Lock, go to:
- Smart Lock
This only works after you’ve setup a lock screen in the first place, so please set one beforehand. Once you’re on the Smart Lock menu, set your parameters for unlocking, the amount of time your phone needs to be idle before relocking, and then confirm it.
7. Choose a Power Mode Right for You
The HTC One M9 has a Power Saving mode just like any other Android phone, but in addition to that, it has an Extreme Power Saver. The Extreme Power Saver strips your phone down to its most basic functions and heavily limits data transferal. It’s as extreme as its name claims, but it gets the job done.
If you don’t want to send your phone back to the stone age to save a few percent of battery, there are features on the M9 that are taxing on the battery and have toggle switches. All of these are a tap away in your battery settings, and HTC’s website has, even more, battery saving information.
8. Root Your HTC One M9
Last but certainly not least, there’s the biggest customization tool for any Android phone, rooting. I’ve explained before that rooting has its difficulties, but for every problem, there’s a solution. Rooting is by no means necessary to customize the HTC One M9, but it’s the only way to personalize almost every aspect of your device.
The HTC One M9 is highly customizable, even without additional downloads, or rooting. The navigation button system alone is enough to show that and is a feature that’s sorely missing from most Android devices. If you want total control over your phone, the One M9 gladly gives you that option.
Did you have any problems trying any of these custom options? Leave any questions down below, and we’ll help you as soon as we can.
If you need help with your One M9 in general, please read this: 9 Problems with the HTC One M9 and Troubleshooting Techniques