We’ve talked before about the new Freestyle Layout feature included in the most recent version of Sense and HTC Themes (which is available for all HTC phones running Android 4.4 or above!). Freestyle Layouts give you even more opportunity to customize your phone by removing the icon grid we’re so used to seeing on smartphone interfaces and building app buttons into the imagery of a theme itself.
Without visuals and a bit of a walk-through, though, Freestyle Layout might seem too abstract to truly understand and see the potential in. So we’re going to fix that! Let’s take a look at how Freestyle Layout works.
Freestyle Layout is a type of theme within HTC Themes. There are a few key differences between the regular themes you’re used to seeing and Freestyle Layout themes:
- Multiple-panel image that flows across panes when scrolling
- No icon grid
- Individual elements within the theme design (called “Stickers”) act as app launchers
- Stickers can be moved around anywhere
- More Stickers can be added
To find Freestyle Layouts, open your Themes app and scroll down until you see the Freestyle Layout Themes category. Tap the three vertical dots on the right-hand side to see more options. If you don’t see the Freestyle Layout category on the homescreen of Themes, tap the three horizontal lines at the top left-hand side of the screen to open up a side panel that will list Freestyle Layout Themes in the Store section.
To get a Freestyle Layout theme, tap on the theme you want and then tap the Download button. Once the theme is downloaded, you’ll see an Apply button appear in place of Download. Tap Apply to apply the theme to your phone. When you go to apply a theme you will be given the option to keep the sound profile you’re already using, so your ringtone, notifications, and other sounds will remain the same.
The fun starts after you’ve applied your desired Freestyle Layout Theme. When the theme is applied certain apps will already be linked to the various Stickers that are part of that theme. You can easily change which apps are linked to which Stickers by holding your finger down on a Sticker until you see three options appear at the top of your screen: Hide Label, Relink, and Remove. If a Sticker is not already linked to an app the Relink option will appear as Link.
When you see these options appear, just drag the Sticker up to Relink until you see it turn red. When you remove your finger from the screen, your apps panel will appear for you to select the app you’d like to relink that particular Sticker to.
In addition to linking and relinking Stickers and apps, you can move Stickers around wherever you’d like. Again, just tap a Sticker and hold it, then drag it around the screen once you see that it’s free to be moved.
If you feel like you need a few more Stickers, just press and hold your finger on your screen’s background and you’ll get a pop-up menu with the option to add more.
Freestyle Layout themes are a fun and unique way to spruce up your phone’s user interface and make it your own. And there are plenty of new themes being made by HTC and by our great HTC Themes community members. Try downloading a few and don’t be surprised if Freestyle Layout becomes one of your favorite things about our phones.