How to Customize Your Samsung Home Screen

Add widgets, try a new launcher or download wallpaper

The Samsung home screen is one of the most customizable elements of your smartphone. You can customize your entire layout, from choosing a wallpaper or lock screen image to placing widgets and swapping out icon themes.

Samsung Galaxy devices also have an added layer of personalization thanks to the Galaxy Store. It’s Samsung’s proprietary app marketplace––separate from Google Play––where you can find visual themes, icon packs, custom always-on-displays and more.

What Is Samsung One UI Home?

The stock launcher on Samsung devices is called One UI Home. If you’re not already familiar, a launcher essentially serves as the graphical interface on mobile devices. By installing various launchers you can change the way your entire phone, including the home screen, lock screen, and always-on-display, looks and behaves.

Samsung smartphone home screen icons
 Getty Images News / Peter Macdiarmid

Customize the Samsung Home and Lock Screen Wallpaper

You can set a wallpaper a couple of ways. You can do it directly from the home screen or you can do it from the settings menu while browsing your photos gallery.

From the Home Screen

  1. Tap and hold on an empty area of the home screen.

  2. From the menu that appears choose Wallpapers (you can also apply widgets and themes this way).

  3. You will now see the Galaxy Store. You can choose to download one of the wallpapers available in the store or, if you wish to set a wallpaper using a custom image, select Gallery at the top under the My Wallpapers section.

  4. Select the image you want to use and a menu will appear. Choose Home screen or Lock screen respectively. You can also choose to apply the image to both.

    Customizing the Samsung Home Screen wallpaper menus

While Viewing an Image

  1. With the image open, tap the screen to bring up the menu and select the three dot menu.

  2. In the options that appear choose Set as wallpaper to apply the image as a wallpaper on one of your screens. You can also select Set as Always on Display Image if you want to apply the image to the AOD screen.

  3. A menu will appear. Choose Home screen or Lock screen respectively. You can also choose to apply the image to both.

    You can use this method to apply a custom home screen or lock screen while viewing any image. If someone sends you a photo via text, for example, you can apply that image. You may also download images from the web and apply them using this method.

    Adding a wallpaper via the Gallery.

How to Customize Home Screen Settings

Aside from choosing a wallpaper, you may also configure home screen options like how many app icons are shown or whether to lock and unlock the home screen layout.

To change home screen settings, tap and hold on an empty area of the home screen and then, from the list that appears, choose Home Screen Settings. You may also navigate there by going to the Samsung Settings > Display > Home Screen.

How to Set a Theme Using the Samsung Galaxy Store

You may prefer to apply a theme, instead. Themes don’t just change the wallpaper, they also change icons, AODs, fonts, and menu colors.

When you install an official software update on your Samsung device it may reset any home screen layouts and themes that you have applied. If that happens, just reapply the theme using the above method.

  1. Open and log into the Samsung Galaxy Store app.

  2. Select the 3 vertical lines on the top left corner.

  3. Tap My apps.

    Navigating to Apps in Galaxy Store.
  4. Tap Themes.

  5. Under the Themes page, browse for a theme you wish to apply. Keep in mind some themes cost money and some are free.

  6. When you find a theme you want, click Download for free themes, or Buy for paid themes (which will show the price). You may also try a premium theme by selecting Download Trial.

    Downloading a theme in Galaxy Store.
  7. After the theme downloads to your device, you must select Apply on the Galaxy Store page to set the theme as active.

    Alternatively, you can long-press on an empty area of the home screen and choose Themes from the menu that appears and then select the theme from those listed as available.

How to Add a Widget to Your Home Screen

A widget is a smaller or live version of an app. You can place widgets on any of your home screens, resize them and sometimes you can customize what information they show.

To place a widget on your home screen:

  1. Long press on an empty area of the home screen. Choose Widgets from the menu that appears.

  2. Scroll through the list of available widgets until you find one you want to use.

  3. Tap and hold the widget you want. If there are multiple sizes and types available you will be able to select them before placing the widget.

    Adding a widget.
  4. While holding still, you will see your home screen. Place the widget wherever you want on the screen. If you want it on another home screen slide your finger to the edge of the display.

  5. Once the widget has been placed you may tap and hold on the window to resize the widget. Keep in mind some widgets cannot be resized.

    Most apps you download will come with a widget. Therefore, if you want more widgets simply download more apps.

How to Apply a Custom Launcher

Most custom launchers will be applied after you download and install them. However, that doesn’t mean Android will use the launcher as the default. You may run into a situation where you have two launchers active at a time, both the custom one and the Samsung launcher. To overcome that, you just need to set the custom launcher as the default.

Set a Custom Launcher

  1. Open the Settings, either from the app drawer or by swiping from the top of the screen down and tapping the Gear icon in the top right of the notifications tray.

  2. Select Apps from the Settings menu.

  3. Select the launcher you wish to use from the list that appears.

  4. Scroll down to Home screen and tap it.

    Setting up an alternate launcher.
  5. Under the Default home app section, make sure the launcher you wish to use is listed. If not, select it under App Links.

Disable the Stock Launcher

To prevent the stock launcher from causing issues you may want to disable it.

  1. Open the Settings, either from the app drawer or by swiping from the top of the screen down and tapping the Gear icon in the top right of the notifications tray.

  2. Select Apps from the Settings menu.

  3. Tap the three dot menu in the top right and select Show System Apps.

  4. When the apps list repopulates, find and tap One UI Home.

    Disabling the default launcher.
  5. If you have a custom launcher set as the default, you should be able to select the Disable option. If you cannot select it then it’s not possible to disable the launcher.

How to Apply a Custom Icon Pack

If you’re not using the Galaxy Store to apply a theme, you can go to the Google Play Store to customize the icons by installing an icon pack on your Samsung phone.

Simply find the icon pack you wish to use on Google Play, and then download and install it to your device. The app should ask you after install to apply the icon pack. If you’re using a custom launcher you’ll need to select the icons manually.