‘Repainter’ gives you control over Android 12 colors

Google’s Dynamic Colors in Android 12 allows the system to theme your phone and compatible apps with just your wallpaper, but controls over the system are relatively limited. Now, though, a clever app called “Repainter” will give you full control over Material You’s colors on Android 12.

By default, Android 12 on Pixel phones will pull a collection of accent colors from your wallpaper(s). Generally, you’ll get three to four options with a primary accent along with some other, muted options. These colors are usually pastel in nature, meaning they’re a bit muted. You can still create some stunning looks, but there’s an inherent lack of control with this system in its default state.

“Repainter” looks to give users full control over Material You’s colors in Android 12 on Pixel phones, from picking colors outside of your wallpaper down to making the colors more vivid. The app is being developed by kdrag0n, a respected member of the Android community who is responsible for working on the ProtonAOSP custom ROM among other projects.

The app defaults to what Android 12 already picks out, but you can easily change it to any custom color palette — there’s even a HEX color picker!

As useful as that is already, the thing that really got me excited about Repainter was its ability to tweak the intensity of Android 12’s colors. You can force colors to be more vivid, swap gray backgrounds for pure black, which looks fantastic on OLED displays, and toggle the color tints on background surfaces. You can even tweak color changes so that live wallpapers won’t change the color theme while you’re actively using the device, something that can cause apps to close/crash unexpectedly.

I was able to give this a shot on my unrooted Pixel 6 Pro, and the results are absolutely stunning. I love Material You’s colors in their stock form, but this app really lets this system shine.

What’s the catch? Originally, there wasn’t one. Repainter didn’t require root, just the use of another tool known as “Shizuku,” which is available in the Play Store and allows apps to run ADB commands locally on the device. Once that app was set up, Repainter worked pretty easily.

Unfortunately, though, the method this app uses to adjust Android 12’s colors without root has been broken with the January 2022 security patch. An alternative method is in development right now, but it will leave non-rooted users unable to use Repainter’s best features including more control over the colors. The new method will only enable picking custom colors. For the foreseeable future, Repainter’s best features will be limited to rooted users.


Update 1/6: The latest beta update of Repainter, live now in the Play Store, fixes the app’s compatibility on the January 2022 security patch. As previously mentioned, it still lacks support for more advanced theming features if you’re not rooted, but it will still allow for custom colors. The update also adds support for One UI 4.

Changes:

  • Added support for custom color picker on unrooted Android 12L and 12 with January update (advanced customization is no longer possible)
  • Added full support for theming system UI and Samsung apps on One UI 4
  • Automatically restore stock theme when app is uninstalled
  • Material You switch UI in settings
  • Fixed potential stability issues

Repainter is now available on the Play Store in beta and costs $4.99, and it’ll work just fine if your Pixel is on older updates — such as Pixel 6 owners who won’t get the January update for a few more weeks. At this point, the app is only designed with Pixels in mind, but support for One UI 4 is coming in future updates.

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