How to Theme your Android Device With Substratum

The ability to completely customise one’s device to their preferences is one of the characteristics of Android, the most popular operating system in the world, that distinguishes it from other operating systems. The customizability of Android has always been a path taken by Google as well as other outside developers. Theming is critical to this particular aspect. Substratum, a popular theming option for Android devices of the present, is what we’re introducing to you today. Let’s first discuss what Substratum is in reality.

What is Substratum?

As you may be aware, Sony has always offered excellent theming options in their Xperia line of smartphones. Runtime Resource Overlay, a Sony-developed framework, was in charge of carrying out this theming (RRO). Sony gave Google its code in the summer of 2014 so that it could be incorporated into Stock Android. Layers was created to use this framework. With its own set of limitations, Layers was essentially a straightforward tool for managing the fundamental RRO framework and assisting users in customising their devices. In the interim, Sony continued to work on OMS (Overlay Manager Service). Overlay management software (OMS) is a client that enables providers to dynamically manage priorities and enable/disable overlays. Although Layers was a manager in and of itself, OMS proved to be much more effective. Finally, Layers was declared obsolete, and Substratum, a complete OMS, was created.

In essence, Substratum combines the OMS’s powerful capabilities with the Layers manager’s straightforward usability. In contrast to the older Layers, overlays are now installed to the/data/apppartition as regular programmes, and the theming process is entirely dynamic.

Substratum Modes

As previously indicated, Google’s Android OS with Marshmallow did incorporate the fundamental RRO foundation. Despite this, OMS has never been formally merged with Android. On the other hand, programmers who have been creating their own custom ROMs have taken the liberty of incorporating the entire OMS into their ROMs. Substratum has two working modes: Legacy and Full.

Similar to what Google provides as part of AOSP, Legacy mode merges the source code of only RRO. In Full mode, Substratum’s OMS’s whole code is incorporated into the OS’s base code, giving the user greater scalability.

How to install Substratum and Theme Android?


  • Android Marshmallow or higher (6.0+)
  • Root Access

Installing the Substratum Theme Engine Root (Free) from the Play Store is the first step, just as with any other software.

2. The following action is to launch the application and provide it root access and all other required permissions. A warning about limited support will appear if Substratum is operating in Legacy mode.

3. Return to the Play Store and download your preferred Substratum theme. The Greyce theme, which can be found here, will be used in this tutorial. Other excellent themes include Compound, Default Dark, and Pitch Black. You will receive a notification from the Substratum app stating “Theme successfully installed” after the theme has been installed successfully.

4. You must set up every overlay after installing a theme. Go to the Substratum app, choose the Greyce theme, and then pick the overlays of your preference. Overlay elements include things like Android Settings, the Android UI, the UI of different apps, and more that you want to theme on your device. Once chosen, select Install Selected by tapping the brush symbol in the bottom right corner. Your chosen overlays will now start to be installed by Substratum.

5. You will receive a notification for the overlays after they have been applied successfully.

Rebooting your device is necessary to effect the modifications if Substratum is running in Legacy mode.

6. Your theme has now been applied, and your device should now reflect the modifications. Additionally, you may utilise Substratum to instal font packs, modify your device’s boot animations, audio, and wallpaper.

How to Uninstall Selected Overlays?

If you want to go back to the default theme, just select Advanced Manager or Overlay List from the hamburger menu on the left (depending upon your Substratum mode). To remove a selection of overlays, simply pick them, then click the brush symbol in the bottom right corner and select Uninstall Selected. The chosen overlays will now be eliminated by Substratum. You might need to restart your device once more, depending on your mode.

How Substratum Theme Engine is different from CyanogenMod s Theme Engine?

Users who have used Cyanogen Mod ROMs should be familiar with CMTE, the company’s proprietary theming engine. While CMTE flourished as a fantastic theming choice for many years (perhaps because it was the only service of its sort accessible), CMTE has fallen from its throne ever since the launch of Substratum.

Contrary to Substratum, which essentially adds an overlay to the app, CMTE concentrates on totally changing the resource’s source code. As a result, Substratum is substantially quicker, simpler to operate, and far safer than CMTE. Additionally, employing full Substratum mode allows one to dynamically theme their device without having to reboot, in contrast to CMTE, which required the user to do so. Additionally, since Android Nougat, CMTE as a project has been neglected as Substratum’s development has accelerated.

SEE ALSO: 10 Amazingly Beautiful Cool Nova Launcher Themes

Theme Android using Substratum Theme Engine

The sophisticated foundation Substratum alone enables users to dynamically theme and customise their device. The user’s theming options are essentially expanded by the fact that it can theme 3rd party apps as well as System resources. CMTE development has also been halted by CyanogenMod after the release of Android Nougat. Furthermore, it appears that Substratum is here to stay in light of Cyanogen’s demise and LineageOS’s outright admission that they have no plans to create a CMTE substitute.

Please share your thoughts on the Substratum Theme Manager as well as your preferred device setup and themes with us. Since Substratum is available, the only restriction on customization in Android is the user’s creativity. Post your comments in the space provided below.