How to Install a Substratum Theme on the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T

OnePlus 3 Install Substratum Theme

Some Substratum themes are compatible with the OnePlus 3 and the OnePlus 3T, but you’ll have to follow the steps outlined below to get them working.

The Substratum Theme Engine is the evolution of what used to be called the Layers Theme Engine. Both were created by Sony and have been approved by Google to be used in the core AOSP code base. You may have used themes before with CyanogenMod’s Theme Engine, but Substratum is generally better since it is compatible with so many devices. There are a number of devices that break this baked in theme engine though, but thankfully the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T isn’t one of them.

The guide below will walk you through how to install one specific Substratum theme on the device that is running OxygenOS 4.0.2. Future updates could break compatibiltiy of the theme engine but that seems unlikely. There are some themes that simply will not work with the OnePlus 3 or the OnePlus 3T, and the example below even needs to be installed a certain way in order to work properly. As always, be sure you create a Nandroid backup of the OnePlus 3 or OnePlus 3T so you can always restore in case something goes wrong.

In order to install a Substratum theme on the OnePlus 3 or OnePlus 3T, you’ll need to unlock the bootloader of the OnePlus 3, and have root access to the OnePlus 3 or the OnePlus 3T.

OnePlus 3 Install Substratum Theme

  1. Download and install the Substratum Theme Engine application
  2. Download and install a Substratum theme (like Swift Dark)
  3. Launch the Substratum Theme Engine application
  4. Grant the Substratum Theme Engine application root access
  5. Go through the intro
  6. Tap on the Accept button for the Permissions Overview pop-up
  7. Grant both Storage and Contacts permission
  8. Tap on the OK button for the Warning pop-up
  9. Tap on the Do Not Show Again button for the second Warning pop-up
  10. Tap on the Substratum theme you want to install
  11. Wait for the Substratum Theme Engine to build the cache for it
  12. Tap the drop down menu to pick the version of Android you’re using
  13. Tap on the OxygenOS_4 option
  14. Tap the toggle to the right of the drop down menu
  15. Scroll down and uncheck the Settings application (and any other apps you don’t want themed)
  16. Tap on the Paint Brush FAB button at the bottom right
  17. Tap on the Install Selected option
  18. Wait for the Substratum theme to be installed
  19. Tap on the OK button in the Reboot Required pop-up
  20. Wait for the OnePlus 3 or OnePlus 3T to boot back into Android

Explanation


Naturally, you’re going to need to download the Substratum Theme Engine and a Substratum theme onto your OnePlus 3 or OnePlus 3T ahead of time. The example above walks you through the process of how to install the Swift Dark theme onto the OnePlus 3. The steps will be the same for the Swift Dark theme on the OnePlus 3T as well. However, other themes could be different. You could need to uncheck the Android System option along with Settings option before applying the theme.

Just be sure you have a recently created Nandroid backup (or you’re prepared to flash the emergency .ZIP file that Substratum includes) just in case the theme ends up causing a bootloop of your device. I’ll go over these options tomorrow just so you know what it’s doing and how it works. So once you have the app and the theme installed, go ahead and launch the Substratum Theme Engine application up and grant it root access. You’ll also want to allow it access to certain permissions too.

OnePlus 3 Install Substratum Theme Version

Since there’s an option specifically for OxygenOS 4.0.x, we want to choose that one.

Once you get through the intro and warning screens (which you should definitely read!), you’ll be greeted with a page that lists all of the Substratum themes you have installed. As shown in the video above, that is just the one since I only installed one theme. This could be different for you depending on how many themes you have installed. Go ahead and tap on a theme you have installed and it will start to build the cache for it. After that, you should see a drop down menu that asks which version of Android you’re running.

Granted, this option might not be there for other Substratum themes though (so be aware of that). Unless you want to manually install a single theme at a time, you can then tap on the toggle that is directly to the right of the drop down menu. This will toggle all of the applications below to on. Meaning, the Substratum theme will be installed on all of those apps. However, depending on what Substratum theme you’re installing, you may need to go through and uncheck some of these.

OnePlus 3 Install Substratum Theme Apply

Once ready, tap on the FAB button and then choose the Install Selected option to install your Substratum theme.

For example, with the Swift Dark theme you need to uncheck the Settings application in the list. Other themes may require you uncheck the Settings application and the Android System framework application. Failing to do this will cause your phone to go into a bootloop after you reboot it to apply the theme. This is just the way OxygenOS 4.0 interacts with Substratum themes at this time. In any case, once you have the applications checked and ready to be installed, tap on the FAB button you see at the bottom right of the screen.

You should see a Install Selected option here and tapping it will start installing the Substratum theme onto the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. This can take a minute or three depending on how many applications it needs to theme. The number of apps it can theme will depend entirely on how many the developer has chosen to support. Once it completes, you’ll be asked to reboot the device so you can see the changes the theme has made to your apps.

Once the device boots back up, check out some of the supported apps and see if you like the theme you just applied. You can always go back into the Substratum Theme Engine application to uninstall a theme if you don’t like it. Also, be sure to check out this XDA thread for suggestions on other themes that work with the OnePlus 3/3T.

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About the author

Doug

I'm working to create an organized and easy to follow central repository of Android tips, tutorials, guides and everything you need to know. With a focus on device specific tutorials now, my goal is to branch out and do more universal tips and tricks that will work on all Android devices.