Android 12 could get a lot more colorful with an upgraded theming system

Pixel 4a 5G display
Pixel 4a 5G display (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Android 12 could get a native theming system with more robust UI coloring.
  • The color system could even be applied to third-party applications for a more uniform look.
  • Rough mockups of the theming system give an idea of what this could look like.

Android has always been a fairly customizable operating system, allowing users to change how certain aspects of their UI look such as the shape of the apps or how certain UI elements appear. When it comes to color, Android has not really allowed users to change that, beyond accent colors on Pixel phones. But according to information obtained by 9to5Google, we could get a more robust theming system with deep color integration in Android 12.

Apparently, the system is going to be more than just the standard light and dark mode than Android users have now and will go deeper than the accent colors available on Pixels. With Android 12, users will have the opportunity to select both a primary and accent color for the system, which would be applied throughout the UI. 9to5Google created a mockup of how this would appear:

Android 12 Color Theme Mockup

Source: 9to5Google (Image credit: Source: 9to5Google)

One of the benefits of having a system-level color scheme is that your phone can potentially suggest different themes based on your wallpaper to match the color palette. Google is also apparently making it easier to apply a selected theme color to third-party apps, a level of integration that, 9to5Google notes, has only been achieved with rooted devices and with theming engines like Substranum (opens in new tab). This means developers won't have to design different color schemes, as they can automatically be applied.

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Since Android 12 is still very much in development, it's possible that these plans can change, which is something that oft happens with exciting new features. Google waited until Android 11 to introduce Chat Bubbles after teasing the feature for Android 10. It's likely that Google will start its Android 12 Developer Preview next month, so we could have more information about the feature then.

For now, you'll just have to stick to choosing the color of your smartphone or case. Like the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S21, for example, which comes in a number of different regular and custom colors, and we can help you decide what color Samsung Galaxy S21 you should buy.

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Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

  • "Android has always been a fairly customizable operating system"... In terms of choices about which launcher to use, sure, but I'm kind of shocked by how obstructive is the Pixel Launcher. I can't remove the Google bar on the Home screen, which I have never used and will never use. I can't remove the Home date and time strip to replace it with a different widget, or even swap it for a different Pixel one since there are no options. When I came to Pixel, I thought I'd be happy with the system-wide design coherence and never need Nova again, but every day brings me closer to cracking on that front.
  • Hahaha, design coherence from a Google product... Good one.
  • Well, it is. I don't think I've ever seen a phone OS that wasn't coherent, simply because they'll be designed by a house team, and Google is no different. What I'm talking about is the mismatch when you get into customisation via launcher; inevitably, the parts you could redesign will be markedly different to whatever non-customisable parts of the phone's UI remain. That's the incoherence I'm talking about, versus the coherence of leaving your phone's original UI intact.
  • Yeah going by Google we might have this by Android 14 or 15. Big part of why I begrudgingly switched to Samsung.
  • Let us change the bloody font Google. Forget colour accents.