Ideas for Customizing Your Gadgets

If you're like most users, your mobile gadget represents a lifeline to the rest of the world. You use it to connect to your network of contacts, keep track of your busy schedule, review your social networks and surf the Web. It's your gaming console, your tip calculator and your digital camera. Any device that plays such a massive role in your everyday life deserves to be customized to reflect your personality.

Personalize the Home Screen

Using your mobile device's main display options, you can select from a variety of home screen customizations. Change the theme and color scheme or select a new font and increase its size. Add one of the built-in widgets or try out others in the app market and set a personal photo as wallpaper. To change the default look and feel of the home screen entirely, install a launcher app. These tools―which don't require root access―offer alternate home screen designs that override the device's standard offerings.

Configure Sounds

While a custom ringtone identifies your mobile device from afar, it also says a lot about your personality. You're not restricted to a single ringtone for all incoming calls, so use a variety of your favorite sounds. Select an audio file―like an MP3 song or a voice recording―for your work contacts and another for your spouse, friends and parents. Do the same for notifications so you have an easier time differentiating between a new email and a new text message. You can also assign sounds for your alarms, phone keypad and touch-screen gestures.

App It Up

Mobile devices typically come with standard apps, like an email reader, a Web browser and an alarm clock. There's a massive catalog of apps available in the market that make the gadget even more entertaining, effective and efficient. Sync your to-do lists to the cloud with a note-taking app, listen to the radio with an AM/FM widget or manage your connections with a social networking app. Consider every element of your life―your work life, your hobbies, your community or your television-watching habits―and then select apps that best help you manage them.

Skins and Cases

A skin adheres to the gadget like a sticker whereas a case clips on, but both offer varying degrees of protection and make the gadget easier to identify. "Skins are about five millimeters thick and protect from minor scratching," says Melissa Huempfner, an adviser for custom skin and case manufacturer DecalGirl, "but a case offers more impact protection." She points to a line of lightweight cases that "are only twice the thickness of a skin and don't add much more bulk." Stronger models, like those with rubber bumpers or waterproofing, are also available if additional protection is needed.

Security Mods

After everything you've done to modify the system settings, configure apps and dress up the outside, it's wise to protect your device from unwanted access or further changes. This type of customization adds protection instead of personality and is set using the system's security options. A swipe or wake-up command, for example, prevents accidental pocket dialing but provides quick touch-screen access when you need it. A pattern or PIN code takes security a step further, preventing unauthorized access to your apps, email and other private data.

Photo Credits: Anne Dale/Demand Media

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