How to get the best features of KitKat on your older phone without voiding your warranty

Every time a new version of Android comes out it’s only natural that people will want to run it on their Android-powered device — even if it’s not a Nexus. Nexus devices usually get the latest version of Android faster than their OEM counterparts, but there are still some things that you can do to get a KitKat experience on your non-KitKat device today!

First of all you’ll need a smartphone or tablet running Android 4.0 or higher. The phone I’ll show you in the video isn’t exactly “old” (it’s a Sprint HTC One Max), but the same process should work for you, as long as you’re running 4.0+.

Next, head to the Play Store and update your Google Apps, and make sure you’ve got Google Search installed. These form the framework around which many of the “KitKat” features are built, so installing them on your non-KitKat device will help bring you closer to that experience.

The real magic happens when you install the Google Experience Launcher and set it as the default. Once this is done (and Google Now is configured), you’ll have a hard time telling your non-KitKat device apart from the real deal.

Want to see how it’s all done? Hit play and I’ll walk you through the steps.


This obviously is not the same thing as installing KitKat on your phone, you’ll still be running whatever version of Android your phone was running previously. Since this isn’t “real KitKat” you won’t have the benefits and advantages of KitKat, such as its “smaller-memory-footprint”.

On the other hand, this process doesn’t require that you root your phone, void your warranty, flash a custom ROM, or anything else like that. All you’re doing is installing a few APKs. If you don’t like it, simply uninstall those apps, and you’re back to where you started!

Download links

Ready to take the leap? Here are the links to the apps that I referred to in the video! Have fun!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.