How to "Gingerbread-ify" a modern phone


Extreme Android User
Jun 17, 2011
Owensboro, KY
I know about launchers and icon packs, but there never seems to be a way to completely get the look right. For example, there's no way I know of to get the Lock screen from Gingerbread (Android 2.3) on a modern device, and there's no way to get the icons for Walmart, Dollar General, or YouTube Music apps (three which didn't exist then) to look correct, and replacing certain apps (Gallery, Music, Browser, Camera) with Gingerbread APKs results in a clash of whatever remains of the system apps and the replacements, which looks a lot worse.

What I'm asking is if there's some method that doesn't requrie root that can bring more of Android 2.3's UX back to a modern phone (in this case a Samsung A-series) because apparently everyone still does flat UI design more than a decade later, and just from seeing the UI of various phones on Mr. Mobile's "when phones were fun" series makes me wish to have the depth back in UI. I can't go back to old phones today due to VoLTE mandates.

I'd love to at least get the Android 2.3 AOSP launcher and lock screen, those two elude me as the launcher is on Play Store, installs, but I think Samsung blocks it by saying 'Android 2.3 Home keeps stopping' (I don't think it's crashing it's just not allowing it) and I don't know how to get the lock screen.

FYI Android 2.3 was my favorite Android version, and IMO the last that felt like 'true' Android.
I go some progress, with Nova Launcher Prime, XLocker (had to sideload that one, as stupid Play Store hid it from me), Jellybean HD Icon pack and Galaxy S4 Icon Pack (again, Play Store blocking me from seeing them, not even listing them, had to sideload APKs. Any wonder why I hate app stores?)

Also got the SIII lockscreen for Xlocker (another APK sideload) and Sense V2 Weather Widget (which Play Store did let me get) and AOSP Music+ (also Play Store cooperated with), Gallery ICS (listed on Play Store, why is it hiding some things that are definitely compatible from me though like Xlocker?)

Wasn't able to get the modded S-Memo APK to work (funny, it did work on my Nexus 6!, but on A14 5G it just ends 'app not installed' (no answer as to why)). That APK should work as it's modded to not depend on TouchWiz. Oh well, maybe Samsung Notes interferes with it? A shame as it'd have the UI.

Found some scaled updated versions of TouchWiz Wallpapers and some widgets, so I'm getting there. Wish I could find a third-party lockscreen similar to XLocker that imitated the original AOSP Gingerbread one though. Keyboard from Android 2.3 APK also works. Looks nice so far. I can't upload pics though since stupid Type-C won't cooperate with Windows 7. Windows just thinks its a camera and all of DCIM is empty (doesn't show screenshots subfolder).

Can't fix some issues. One UI 5 blocks third-party apps like some File Explorers from allowing user to pick notification sounds from sites like Zedge, but ringtones work. Can't find an app that allows a custom charging sound (so I can use the naturey TouchWiz charging cable connected sound vs. the more spacey one that One UI uses). The only app that does was an old Cheetah Mobile app that I refuse to risk using.

So I cannot use the Whistle sound for my texts, or replace the charging sound, or add in the 'bwop bwop' touch sound. There used to be a launcher called Galaxy Launcher (which was a modded Nova that resembled the Galaxy S4 out the gate) that did at least have that touch sound for the home screen (but not inside apps) but it's been hidden from access from the Play Store like the above, and isn't available via F-Droid or Aptoide or a search of APKs. Sadly didn't back that one up. Paid for the damn thing too.

Had to sideload Aldiko Classic as even it was hidden from me on Play Store. Starting to really hate you Google.

At least I'm making some progress. I'd like to find older usable (for the retro UI) texting app, email app but Handcent's old versions (which looked like iOS 6) seem to read texts fine, but won't send (they just vanish into the ether). Learned that from the Nexus 6 and used Assistant to work around sending them, but since it has issues with longer texts, and certain words (it cannot dictate words such as 'doe' 'deer' or Farscape curses such as 'Frell' or 'Fahrbot') so it wouldn't have been a 100% solution. I don't know of any third-party Android 2.3 email apps, and the AOSP APK fails to install like S-Memo.
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