Odds are, unless you’ve got a Google Nexus device, you’ll be running either Gingerbread, Android 2.3 or Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0 on your Android smartphone. Sadly, the fact is both of these are out of date versions of Google’s operating system. Today it’s all about Jelly Bean, or Android 4.1. While we can’t promise you Jelly Bean by the end of this post, we can promise you four downloads to make your phone look and feel like it’s running Jelly Bean. All these can be found in the Google Play Store with no rooting or hacking necessary and at the end of the guide is quick set of instructions to undo and uninstall the apps if they’re not to your taste.
Step 1 – The Launcher
For starters, it’s about the look and feel. This will require something called a launcher. A launcher changes the bulk of an Android Phone’s user interface (UI), and sits on top of the pre-installed UI. The Jelly Bean Launcher in the Google Play store is called Holo Launcher and can be found here, or by searching the Google Play Store. Once downloaded, your home button will give you an option to either open your default home screen or Holo. Select Holo, check the “Set to default” box or whatever option your phone gives you and you’re one step closer to a Jelly Bean flavoured Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich.
Step 2 – The Lock Screen
What would Jelly Bean be without its lock screen? A lot less charming, that’s what. To remedy this absence, simply jump into the market, search for Holo Locker, download, install and before you know it you’re lock screen has changed. Now, a polka dot transparent circle and camera shortcut is the name of the game and your phone is just a couple simple step away from true Jelly Bean splendor.
Step 3 – The Keyboard
The penultimate app installation is a keyboard, specifically, a free Jelly Bean Keyboard acting as the text entry compononent of the Jelly Bean puzzle. To activate it, find it in the Google Play Store, once installed, open the application and follow the instructions, setting it as your default input method.
Step 4 – The Wallpaper
Finally, change your wallpaper. While this won’t change the functionality of the phone, it will make everything we’ve done thus far come to life. Rather than simply downloading an image and make it your wallpaper, there’s a Jelly Bean Wallpaper app in the Play Store that does some of the work for you. install it, open it and in no time flat, you’ll have access to all the Jelly Bean wallpapers.
Step 5 – Tweaks
There are a couple of other settings you can tweak to make sure your phone runs as smoothly as possible and emulates the stock experience even more closely. First, jump into your apps drawer, press menu and select hide apps. You can choose which apps to hide and clean up your apps drawer so only the stock applications show. Next, go home, press menu and select ‘Launcher Settings’. Select ‘Drawer Settings’, scroll down and find ‘Tab Settings’. Check the boxes next to ‘Hide recent tab’ and ‘Hide favourite tab’ for an even cleaner apps drawer.
Finally you’ll want to stop your phone rotating in the lock screen and home screen. To do this, open the Holo Locker settings by tapping the app icon. Scroll down to ‘Screen Orientation’ and select ‘Portrait’. Next, do the same in the launcher settings, which can be accessed as before by tapping menu while on the home screen, selecting ‘Launcher Settings’, clicking ‘General Settings’ and setting the screen orientation to ‘Portrait’.
And we’re done – a simple way of making your Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich Android device look and feel like stock Jelly Bean. If you want to uninstall anything, you can simply do so in your settings by finding the application and pressing uninstall as you would a standard app. If you have any questions or thoughts about this guide, fire us a comment below and keep an eye on our update list to see if and when your Android will be getting the real Jelly Bean.