I don't know what I did but for a period of time my TabWidget had white colored tabs which looked really nice. I never set a theme or background/foreground color in my project at all. The next time I compiled it it reverted back to the gray tabs. My application is using the default dark theme. Even if I set the application theme to light, the tabs are still gray. So obviously it was something else that changed the tabs' color. Anyone know how to do this?

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I was having a problem due to a bug in Android 1.6's light theme (tab indicator text is white). I was able to override the default theme as follows:

  1. I created a custom theme that inherited from the default theme:


<style name="MyTheme" parent="@android:style/Theme.Light">
    <item name="android:tabWidgetStyle">@style/LightTabWidget</item>

<style name="LightTabWidget" parent="@android:style/Widget.TabWidget">
    <!-- set textColor to red, so you can verify that it applied. -->
    <item name="android:textColor">#f00</item>

Then I just apply that theme to my application by adding android:theme="@style/MyTheme" to the <application /> element of my AndroidManifest.xml.


Check this answer of mine: Background in tab widget ignore scaling

You can also refer to the package

In your code, you can set the background for your tabs like this:


in the public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState)

           `tabHost = getTabHost();

than in the listener:

public void onTabChanged(String tabId) { setTabColor();

finally the function, which set the foreground and the background too:

public void setTabColor() {
    // set foreground color:
    for (int i = 0; i < tabHost.getTabWidget().getChildCount(); i++) {
        RelativeLayout rl = (RelativeLayout) tabHost.getTabWidget().getChildAt(i);
        ImageView imageView = (ImageView) rl.getChildAt(0);// change it if you want it
        TextView textView = (TextView) rl.getChildAt(1);//          

    // set background color:
    for (int i = 0; i < tabHost.getTabWidget().getChildCount(); i++) {
        tabHost.getTabWidget().getChildAt(i).setBackgroundColor(Color.parseColor("#010101")); // unselected
    tabHost.getTabWidget().getChildAt(tabHost.getCurrentTab()).setBackgroundColor(Color.parseColor("#121288")); // selected

In onCreated() :


// Set tabs text color to white:
TabWidget tabWidget = tabHost.getTabWidget();
int whiteColor = getResources().getColor(R.color.white);
int someOtherColor = getResources().getColor(R.color.someOtherColor);
for(int i = 0; i < tabWidget.getChildCount(); i++){
    View tabWidgetChild = tabWidget.getChildAt(i);
    if(tabWidgetChild instanceof TextView){
        ((TextView) tabWidgetChild).setTextColor(whiteColor);
    } else if(tabWidgetChild instanceof Button){
        ((Button) tabWidgetChild).setTextColor(whiteColor);
    } else if(tabWidgetChild instanceof ViewGroup){
        ViewGroup vg = (ViewGroup)tabWidgetChild;
        for(int y = 0; y < vg.getChildCount(); y++){
            View vgChild = vg.getChildAt(y);
            if(vgChild instanceof TextView){
                ((TextView) vgChild).setTextColor(whiteColor);
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