www.androidpolice.com How to use Repainter to improve Android 12's Material You themes on Pixel and Galaxy phones

www.androidpolice.com How to use Repainter to improve Android 12's Material You themes on Pixel and Galaxy phones

Android 12 introduced an excellent new system-wide theme engine that works in real-time across all supported apps. Many Google apps already use the new theme design, but we're still getting a slow trickle of third-party developers joining in. Much like what Google did with Android 10 and dark mode, the bigger picture does take some time to truly realize. The default Android 12 custom color options may be somewhat limited for now; however, there's a way to create your own unique user-defined themes with a little extra effort.

What is Repainter & how to download

Repainter allows you to create custom themes for your phone that works with Google's Material You design from Android 12. This app may not be free (it costs $4.99 USD), but it's worth the price for the serious themers out there. And if you're still on the fence about the premium purchase, just check out the sections below to view more in-depth coverage.

ANDROIDPOLICE VIDEO OF THE DAY Repainter Developer: kdrag0nPrice: 4.993.8Download

How to set up Repainter with root access

This is the easiest and most reliable method for using Repainter to create custom Android 12 themes. At the same time, not everyone is comfortable when it comes to rooting Android devices. For those already familiar with the rooting scene, your setup is a lot faster than the non-root method.

  1. Open the Repainter app, then tap Start.
  2. Select the Root option as the mode to use when creating custom themes.
  3. In the Superuser Request popup, choose Grant to enable root access.
  4. Hit Next to continue to the main Repainter screen.
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How to set up Repainter without root access

If you don't have root access or don't know what that means, this is the choice for you, as it can be done on just about any Android device. The non-root method for custom Android 12 themes in the Repainter app has a few extra steps, but it's really not too bad once you know what to do.

Download the Shizuku app

Shizuku is a powerful tool that uses ADB commands to mod certain aspects of Android without having full root access. Typically, ADB-related things require a computer to work, but you can now do that on-device using the wireless ADB feature starting with Android 11. This is how Shizuku will communicate with the Repainter app to create your own custom theme colors.

Shizuku Developer: Xingchen & RikkaPrice: Free4.2Download

Enable developer options

This location may vary slightly per device, but you can go to Settings → About phone on Pixel phones. From there, tap the build number 7 times, followed by entering your PIN or password. Doing so will now enable developer options on your device.

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You can then find the main developer options page for future reference by going to Settings → System → Developer options.

Enable wireless debugging

  1. Open the Shizuku app, then scroll down to the Start via Wireless debugging section.
  2. Tap Pairing, and press the Developer Options button.
  3. Scroll down to find the Wireless debugging option, then tap it once to move onto the next screen.
  4. Press the Use wireless debugging button to enable the feature.
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Pair your device to work with Shizuku

  1. Tap Pair device with pairing code.
  2. Enter your Wi-Fi pairing code into the Shizuku notification exactly as it appears, then press the send icon on the right to pair your device.
  3. Once your device is successfully paired, tap the back button a few times until you return to the Shizuku main screen.
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The successful pairing code popup may prevent you from using the back button/gesture. If that happens to you, just swipe the notification away, and then you can return to the Shizuku main screen.

Start the Shizuku system service

  1. Under the same Start via Wireless debugging section, tap Start to enable the Shizuku service.
  2. If you scroll back to the top of the Shizuku app, you should see the service running and what version/method is active.
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If you get stuck at "Searching for wireless debugging service" when starting Shizuku, there's an easy fix for that. Go back to developer options, then disable and enable "Wireless debugging." Once you return to Shizuku, it should start working right away.

Enable Shizuku in the Repainter app

  1. Open the Repainter app, then press the Start button to begin the setup.
  2. Tap the Shizuku method if needed, and hit Next to continue.
  3. Press Allow all the time to grant the proper Shizuku permissions for Repainter.
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Setting up your first Repainter theme

  1. You can pick the system theme color from your current wallpaper or tap the Custom tab to choose your own color.
  2. Once you've found a color that fits your style, hit Done to finish up here.
  3. The Overview screen will pop up and show you your active theme and the colors it uses.
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Going to See all colors will bring up a new screen that shows you every color used in your theme. If you want to use a specific color later, tapping one will copy its code to your clipboard. You can take that and paste it into the custom color picker as needed.

On the "Colors" tab, tap the three-dot menu in the upper right, then go to Advanced to manually override your secondary theme color if you want.

Setting up more advanced color theme options

If you tap the Settings tab at the bottom, you can access some advanced color control features for your current theme. Make sure you hit the checkbox at the bottom of the screen whenever your color settings change to save them. We'll go over each section and show you what they offer below:


Accurate shades

As the in-app description states, keeping this setting enabled will produce a theme color with better contrast and depth. That means some UI elements (such as Quick tile settings) resemble the default Android 12 theme look. If you want the stock and muted pastel colors, this setting should stay on; however, turn it off if you're trying to make bright and saturated theme colors that pop.

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The second screenshot has accurate shades enabled, while the third one has it disabled.


The best way to think of this setting is how saturated or punchy you want your theme colors to be. You can dial it all the way up for more vibrant colors or lower it to create a duller look. You might have to play around with this setting to find your perfect balance, but you can always adjust it later as needed.

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This setting directly affects background colors (and other UI elements) that support the Android 12 dynamic system theme settings. Increasing this slider will make app backgrounds and other background elements brighter, while lowering it turns them darker just the same.

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Tint background

Enabling this setting will give your app backgrounds and other UI elements a splash of your current theme color for an added effect. This gives you even more unique theme options and possibilities to try out. It also applies to specific text colors and icons, which helps match them with your theme. And if you crank up the colorfulness and brightness sliders, this tint background effect will get even more noticeable as well.

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Pure black background

What's known by many as "AMOLED black," enabling this setting will change all supported app backgrounds to a true black color. Many of the Google apps we tested applied this setting correctly in dark mode, which was to be expected. And not all third-party apps support the feature, but the newer or recently updated ones should likely work.

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The Colorfulness behavior and Color targets directly impact how the theme's colors are applied and react across the system. You can leave them at their default settings to ensure the best compatibility, or you can adjust them however you want. In most cases, leaving them as is should allow you to create a custom theme that fits your specific needs.

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A live wallpaper means it moves and has animations, which could cause issues with a custom theme. When Delay live wallpaper changes is enabled, it'll wait until you turn off your screen to apply the live wallpaper colors. If you like to pull theme colors from your wallpaper and are looking for more vibrancy, make sure to enable Ignore muted colors as well.

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Enabling Per-widget colors will ignore the Repainter wallpaper theme color for your widgets. Instead, it uses the background color underneath it, so it's best to leave this off if you want everything to match your custom theme settings.

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Pixel devices are very limited when using Shizuku with Repainter as they can only create custom theme colors. They can't use all the advanced color options without full root access, such as colorfulness or brightness settings. Samsung devices running One UI 4 have better compatibility when using Shizuku, with more on that below.

Repainter on Samsung One UI 4

Repainter has a key advantage on Samsung devices over anything else — full functionality using Shizuku. The developer doesn't clarify why this is only the case for Samsung phones, but considering One UI has worked with Play Store theming apps in the past, it isn't too surprising. Both the ADB and wireless debugging Shizuku methods are compatible here, and the bug when starting the wireless debugging service can be fixed in the same way. While the app works fully with One UI 4, it's important to note some differences in the resulting theme compared to a rooted Pixel.

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Like the Pixel, your theme will apply to the system, Samsung's built-in apps, and any widget that supports Material You. Google apps are more hit and miss, with Gmail staying default blue in the screenshot above. During the One UI 4 betas, all Google apps correctly followed the Palette theme my Galaxy S21 created. Shortly after, apps like Gmail, Keep, and Photos received updates on the Play Store that stopped this, and now those apps stay blue no matter what color theme I have applied. It's unclear why this is happening, but I suspect it's down to Google keeping the Monet API to itself until Android 12L. If you hoped Repainter would fix this issue, you would be disappointed. We'll need to wait for Google or Samsung to rectify the issue.

Creating and applying themes in One UI 4 is the same as the Pixel. The only downside of using Shizuku over root is that you'll need to reboot to apply the theme and then redo the ADB or wireless debug steps to get Shizuku working again. I think that's less hassle than rooting my phone, but you may disagree and want to go down that route. Repainter is an excellent edition to Samsung phones, giving complete control over what colors are used and letting you move away from the bland pastels Google and Samsung limit you to. It's well worth the price of admission, and I look forward to seeing where it goes next.

Now that you've seen what Repainter can do for your Android 12 themes, you get to experiment with all the color settings and find what works best for you. The version of Repainter mentioned in this guide is only the initial release, so you can likely expect even more color features with future app updates.

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Read NextShareTweetEmailRelated TopicsAbout The AuthorStephen Perkins(9 Articles Published)

Stephen is a freelance writer for Android Police who writes general guides and how-tos. He previously worked at Gadget Hacks, writing how-to articles for the Android rooting and modding section. As a power user, he enjoys tweaking his Android devices to fit his specific needs.

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