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Create permanent app and widget overlays

Implement overlays on your homescreens for quick access

The customisable nature of our smartphones means there are plenty of options for those who want to personalise it. One of the best ways of doing this is to add a variety of widgets and app shortcuts to your homescreens for quick access; however, with the Overlays app you can take this a step further.

Through this app it’s possible to create permanent overlays that can be implemented onto any number of screens on your device. What makes them different is that overlays can be as personalised as you want to make them. As well as working alongside a plethora of apps and widgets, the app itself provides a variety of phone features in the form of widgets. There’s some great choices and only add to what’s already a fantastic app.

For more expert tutorials, make sure to check out the latest issue of Android Magazine.

  1. step1

    Create a profile

    When you first open up the app, you’ll be greeted with a small tutorial on how the process of Overlays works – make sure you read it. From the homescreen, press on the Create your first Global Profile option. The profile is where you’ll save all of your overlays going forward.

  2. step2

    Add details and edit

    Add a name and select how often you want the overlays to appear on the drop-down menu. Once saved you’ll be taken to the Profile screen. To start adding new overlays to the profile, press on the menu icon and select the Overlays option from the provided list.

  3. step3

    Select an overlay

    The app splits various overlays into different sections for you to explore. Take a look at the Widget section first and make any selections you want. You’ll find that the widgets come in all shapes and sizes, but can be resized later on before you save it.

  4. step4

    Feature shortcuts

    Once you’ve added a widget, press on the + symbol at the top of the app again and now select the Free Overlays tab from the menu. Here you’ll find the various phone features that can be turned into an overlay. We recommend the Battery and Unread Messages overlays.

  5. step5

    App shortcuts

    You’ll find that app overlays work in the same way as the standard app shortcuts you can use on any Android smartphone. However, these overlays can then be resized and grouped together to make more use of the precious space on your homescreen.

  6. step6

    Correct layout

    Once you’ve made all your choices, you can now start to get a layout sorted. Long-press on any of the overlays you’ve created and drag them around the screen to place them. Use the arrow keys at the bottom-right of the overlay to resize them.

  7. step7

    Make further edits

    If you aren’t happy with the way a certain overlay looks on your homescreen then long press on it and select the settings icon that appears. On this screen you can now make some tweaks to it, including the visibility of it, as well as the overlay’s border thickness.

  8. step8

    Background clashes

    A great tip before saving your changes is to avoid clashes with your device’s wallpaper. Open the Background Colour option from the list and use the intuitive picker to select a colour. This can be used to avoid the overlay being lost against a busy wallpaper

  9. step9

    Take a look

    After making the edits, press the save icon at the top of the app. You’ll also need to press the save icon on the overlay page too. Now back out of the application and wait for the overlays to appear. When you then scroll from page-to-page, the overlays will follow.