Say what you will about Samsung's software — and I can say plenty — it's a very distinctive look.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is here, and with it comes another update of Samsung's software UI. This year, we're seeing more of an overhaul than the usual spit-and-polish Samsung gives its flagship's UI, from the nifty new animated wallpapers to the wireframe nav buttons and system icons to a new color scheme that ditches that long-stale blue from previous versions.

Even if you pre-ordered a Galaxy S8, it's not showing up for three weeks, meaning you've got a while to wait. While you're waiting, why not get some of that modern sleekness on your own phone with our very own Samsung-inspired theme?

Launcher magic

Nova can dance to TouchWiz as well.

Now, we can't get the Samsung launcher on non-Samsung phones the way that we can get the BlackBerry Launcher or the ZenUI Launcher from ASUS, but that doesn't mean we can't get what we desire from other, more customization-friendly launchers. There are a few things we're looking for here.

GesturesPage indicator Gesture controls, Page indicator styles, and Icon layout settings in Nova Launcher

  • Swipe for app drawer: The Samsung Galaxy S8 ditches that hideous nine-dot app drawer icon for a swipe gesture, just as the Google Pixel did last fall. Rather than having it be a dock gesture, though, Samsung lets you open the app drawer by swiping up or down anywhere on the home screen itself. Gesture commands are available in several launchers, and for Nova Launcher Prime, you can find them in Nova Settings > Gestures. In Action Launcher, they're in Action 3 Settings > Shortcuts.
  • Page indicator style: The number of home screens on Samsung launcher are indicated by dots between the main screen and the dock. The default screen is indicated by a tiny, tiny house icon, and the rest of the pages are marked by white dots next to that home icon. You can find page indicators in Nova Launcher under Nova Settings > Desktop > Page indicator > Small dots. In Action Launcher, they'll be in Action 3 Settings > Dock > Dock separator > Style > Dots.
  • App labels: Samsung keeps apps labeled on both the home screen and dock. To turn that on in Nova Launcher, you'll turn on home screen labels under Nova Settings > Desktop > Icon layout > Label. You can turn on dock labels under Nova Settings > Dock > Icon layout > Label. In Action Launcher, you can turn it on for the home screen under Action 3 Settings > Desktop > Text Labels. You cannot turn on app labels for the dock in Action Launcher 3 at this time.

The other launcher requirement we have is that it supports third-party icon packs so we get some lover squircles on our home screens.


No one icon pack quite gets down the S8's blend of squircles and wireframe icons, so I am going to offer you a few options and let you decide which one is the most Samsung-like in your eyes.

Grace UXLines Grace UX Icon Pack, left, and Lines Icon Pack, right

  • Grace UX Icon Pack ($1.49) is a pack based on the ill-fated Note 7. While the device may not have lasted, these icon sure have, and they're pastel, flat, and quite frankly beautiful. If you absolutely must have Samsung-inspired squircles, this is the pack for you. This developer also sports icon packs based on older versions of TouchWiz, too, if you're looking for a more nostalgic take on Samsung's UI, and has just published a beta pack based on the Galaxy S8, but there aren't too many icons in the pack yet that use the wireframe so it's a bit inconsistent.
  • Lines Icon Pack (Free, $1.99) is a wireframe icon pack that keeps things simple, elegant, and allows the true beauty of your wallpaper to shine through. It's a pack I've employed many times before because it is consistently beautiful and consistently plays well with modern and abstract wallpapers.


So pretty. And so unattainable

The Samsung Galaxy S8 now boasts some awesome animated wallpapers that take on different angles and layers between the various stages of waking and unlocking your phones. While there are a lot of cool, fun, and even functional live wallpapers in Google Play, that kind of co-ordination and wallpaper wizardry can only be done by the manufacturer itself.

That said, this doesn't mean we can't get some of that magic on our home screen with some Samsung-esque wallpapers.

I present new wallpapers weekly to our readers so that you can replace that boring, old, basic wallpaper with something that speaks to you and shows your style.

But if you are dead set on having that Samsung sparkle on your phone, there are a few things you can do:

Tint is simple and awesome

  • DroidViews put out a couple of the stock wallpapers before the Unpacked event, but they're not quite those awesome star fields or gradient glories that we've seen on the actual devices. If you like the ones offered here, great. If not, keep reading.
  • Tint Make Gradient Wallpaper lets you make a simple two-color gradient wallpaper with whatever colors you damn well feel like using, allowing you to customize your gradient to match your case, icons, wardrobe, team colors, or whatever other hues you'd like you use. It's a simple app, and you can save gradients you like and come back to them over and over again.
  • It's not quite the pitch nothingness of Samsung's star field always-on wallpaper, but we've got some out-of-this-world wallpapers that are out of this world and might encourage you to reach for the stars.


There's a new version of Samsung's Over the Horizon ringtone out with the Galaxy S8. As in previous years, Samsung has partnered with a top-notch artist to redo the ditty, and this year it's Jacob Collier, who has done just a bang-up job with the tone.

Stock ringtones tend to get confusing in the office if everyone's using them, so you might want to grab the new ringtone now and switch to it before any of your friends get their S8s in a few weeks. Make it yours.