How To Install Themes on your Pre | webOS Nation

How To Install Themes on your Pre

by Dieter Bohn Fri, 16 Oct 2009 2:49 pm EDT

Now that our Theme Gallery is live, we thought we might show you how to install the suckers. We'll start with some disclaimers - installing themes will replace some system files (images) on your Pre, so we strongly recommend you uninstall them before an update. You're going to be going through a very similar process to the one we described when we told you How To Install Homebrew Apps on your Pre, including putting your Pre into developer mode.

If that doesn't scare you off, here's your how-to!

Step 1: Check your Java

Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed onto your PC. By going to the Java Verification Page, you can test your system. If you aren't up to date, download the latest version available and then proceed to step 2.

Step 2: WebOS Quick Install

You need to download the WebOS Quick Install program by Jason Robitaille. This thread has the complete information for the application if you run into a problem with your system and installing it. After the WebOS Quick Install jar has downloaded, open it up and you'll be prompted:

Let it do its magic by clicking “Yes.” When you are done downloading (it could take a bit of time depending on your connection), you will see a question window pop up after download, set it to USB device - at which point you'll see the main window for WebOS Quick install

Step 3: Developer Mode

Now we work on your Pre, we need to put your device into developer mode. In card view (either no cards open or where you can see multiple cards at once), start typing “upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart” exactly as shown in quotes (no spaces and no quotes). Your developer mode enabler will slide up into view. Tap on the icon and you will see you can enable developer mode now (this lets your put programs on). You will be prompted to restart the Pre. That's ok to do, but go grab yourself a soda or something, the Pre isn't known for quick reboots.

Step 4: Download and install!

Now the fun part! Head on over to the webOS Theme Gallery and find your favorite theme.  Click into it and then click on the download link to download the zip file for your theme.  Note: You do not need to open the zip file, just leave it be.

Now go back to WebOS Quick Install and click on the Tools Menu, then click Themer.

That will open up another window that you can use to manage your themes.

There's a button right there that links to our Theme Gallery, a button to revert your Pre to the default theme (more on that in a bit), and finally the button we're going to hit right now, "Load Theme."  Clicking that will pop open a file browser, use it to go and find the .zip file you just downloaded and then click "select."

WebOS Quick Install will now load up a window that lets you preview all the screen shots for your selected theme. If you still like what you see, simply click "Set Theme" and then wait a tick while the app unpacks your zip and replaces your system theme with the new one. Your Pre will look like it's resetting, but it's not, it's just restarting the graphical user interface.

Once the window pops up that says "Theming Complete!" you are all done! Close this extra window to go back to the theme manager.  Congratulations, your Pre is now stylin' and profilin'.

Step 5: Removing Themes

Once again, it's very important that you remove all system tweaks before you allow an over-the-air update for the webOS to come down on your Pre from Palm. We also recommend waiting a day or two after an update before you re-install any themes - just in case the new update changes anything, you'll want to be aware.

To uninstall a theme, simply go through all of the steps above, but when this time when you are in WebOS Quick Install's themer window, simply click on "Revert to default" to restore your Pre's original system theme.

One last note before we sign off - there is another option for getting themes onto your Pre - install the Preware app and then use it to install themes directly onto your Pre, no desktop needed. They currently offer themes from

As we mentioned in our announcement post, we're hoping to get on-device install going soon, but in the meantime the steps outlined above work quite nicely and have the added benefit of not counting against your app memory limit.