Smartphones are quickly taking over the roles of our watches, calendars, and even our personal computers. With these miniaturized devices, we are able to set our alarms, remind ourselves about upcoming appointments, take care of business, and perform countless other tasks. These smartphones of ours can be made to truly live up to the “smart” in their name by performing automation tasks such as turning off data connectivity when not in use and, and so on.
Device automation has been partially integrated into stock firmwares from OEMs like Sony. However, AOSP still lacks built-in application. Luckily, there are plenty of apps to choose from to make your smartphone smarter. If you are looking for a free application with dozens of scenarios and conditions, you should take a look at Fences by XDA Senior Member Stephen.k.spear.
Fences allows you to create profiles and apply scenarios that are run when your device meets certain conditions. For example, you can mute your phone’s alarm when the device is flipped down or enable mobile data in certain locations. The list of profiles is long and includes over 15 actions and 10 triggers.
Configuring various Android settings manually is tedious and wastes a lot of time. Thankfully, apps like Fences help you reclaim some of this through automation. You can get started by visiting the application thread.
Android is an extremely flexible OS, in which almost everything can be adjusted to fit your personal needs. However, a problem arises when an application is downloaded from Play Store and it happens to have an ugly icon. Luckily, you have a few ways to change the icon or even its displayed application name. One of them is to recompile the app and set a new icon and name, but very often it won’t work because of errors in smali and XML code. The second way is to use a theme, but that’s a luxury reserved for users of ROMs supporting theme engine.
Both of the aforementioned methods are rather inconvenient and require some dev knowledge or custom AOSP-based ROMs, which some users like to avoid. Luckily, you can accomplish the same task with a handy Xposed module. All you need to do is download xSuite by XDA Senior Member GalaxyInABox. xSuite allows you to easily change an application’s icon and display name to anything of your choosing.
To enjoy these goodies, root your phone, install Xposed Framework, and go to the module thread.
May 11, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Take a look at your Android contacts list for a second. Doesn’t it look really nice when your friends’ social media profile images are populated as contact icons? This is generally done automatically via synced social media sites, but unfortunately, not everyone you care about is on social media. In these cases, you’re generally greeted with a generic icon.
In order to make one’s contacts list look a little nicer, the ChameleonOS developers decided to replace the generic contact image with a identicon, a small image made of geometrical shapes. Everyone’s shape is unique and can serve to distingush contacts from one another.
Now thanks to an application by XDA Forum Moderator GermainZ, you can have this feature without having to install ChameleonOS on your own device. Identiconizer gives you the option to choose the style and size of the image, and create identicons for all missing contact with just one click. The application can work as an Xposed module as well, allowing it to be integrated directly into the OS.
The application and the source code can be easily found in the application thread. If your contacts look boring and you want some unique images to replace the stock icon, head over there and give Identiconizer a try.
A few years ago, not many people expected that music would be streamed from the Internet legally. Then came services like Spotify, which allow users to stream music on various devices. It’s officially available for Windows, OSX, Linux (outdated, but still), and on almost every mobile operating system. The one device that is missing on this list is the Chromecast—well, “was” missing.
Thanks to XDA Forum Member NOPDevelopments, Spotify can be used with the Chromecast. Spoticast is an unofficial port of Spotify and was made without any official affiliation. To try it on your Chromecast, you need to have a premium account and enable “Device Broadcast Status” in the application. Spoticast fully integrates with your screen, so you can see album art and the progress bar directly in high quality. It’s an early release, so not everything will work as expected. For example, there’s a slight delay and few bugs that still need to be squashed, but having Spotify on Chromecast is great nevertheless.
If you are using Spotify often and want to use it on your Chromecast, make your way to the applcation thread and give Spoticast a try.
May 8, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Having your phone download a long list of application updates to oftentimes unused applications is nothing unusual. This consumes lots of time, storage space, and bandwidth. To prevent such a situation, you can either disable synchronization with the Google Play Store, or you can backup your applications and restore it when you want to use it.
If you prefer the second option, you should check out the application by XDA Recognized Developer bartito. As its name suggests, Apps Backup backs up applications onto your SD Card and allows you to easily restore them without wasting your network bandwidth. Apps Backup also updates the saved apps and games and stored data in order to keep them as up to date as possible. With a few clicks, you can see your favorite apps back in the application drawer. Naturally, the application requires root privileges to work.
The version available on XDA is a trial, but bartito was kind enough to provide a unique code only for XDA users, which unlocks all the features of the app. You can get the application in the original thread.
April 24, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
The Sony Xperia M2 is Sony’s affordable offering for early 2014. While not quite a lust-worthy flagship device like its big brother the Xperia Z2, the M2 is still decently specced, and it offers quite a bit to make it an ideal device for those who don’t need the absolute latest and greatest.
One of the nice software additions found on the M2 is its Smart Social Camera app. Luckily, XDA Senior Member xperiaz2 has ported it to all Xperia devices running either Jelly Bean or KitKat such as the Xperia M, SP, TX, V, Z, Z1, Z1 Compact, ZR, and ZU. The camera app itself offers automatic scene recognition with 36 predefined scene types, and automatic HDR mode. The addons then build on the camera app’s functionality by adding things like portrait retouching and intelligent capture, which can capture 61 frames in two seconds—even before the shutter button is pressed.
If you’ve got an older Xperia device running Jelly Bean or KitKat and you wish to run the latest Smart Social Camera app, head over to the ported application thread and give it a shot.
April 13, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Theming is an art. As such, making a beautiful theme is an extremely time consuming and challenging task. Preparing resources requires countless hours spent in a graphics editor app. Putting everything together into an application isn’t easy, but within XDA you’ll find a long list of guides and tutorials that help you understand the Android ecosystem better.
If you have some ideas regarding theming and don’t know where to start, you should read a guide written by XDA Senior Member SArnab©®. This guide explains how to create a theme in Eclipse for Xperia devices in step-by-step detail. The guide should work with Xperia phones running Android 4.3.
Every step is explained with screenshots and commentary, so you most likely won’t get lost while making your own theme. The guide author was also kind enough to provide all the necessary files and source code for the Xperia Pink Theme, which can be used for reference. And with a few relatively minor modifications, you can make a generic theme that works with every device—not just those by Sony.
This guide is a great starter for those looking to begin a journey in theming. So if you are planning to modify the look of your device, head over to the original thread and study it carefully. We wish you all good luck and no build errors!
April 3, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Although the Xperia SP isn’t yet in the list of devices scheduled to receive the official Android 4.4 goods from Sony, that’s not to say that the SP can’t still benefit from some rather substantial OEM love. Early yesterday, Sony began updating the Xperia SP to firmware version 12.1.A.1.201. While it’s not KitKat, it packs quite a few bugfixes over the previously released 12.1.A.0.266 build.
Just like the previous build, 12.1.A.1.201 is based upon Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. But according to Sony’s update page for the device, it brings an enhanced user experience, improved battery life, and software performance improvements. This, however, doesn’t tell the whole story, as it it seems to have fixed quite a bit more than the official changelog lets on.
For starters, 12.1.A.1.201 seems to fix many issues people were having such as the RAM bug, as well as problem with device overheating, battery usage, color LEDs, screen flickering, touch screen responsiveness, and more. Furthermore, users seem to report an increase in device speed after updating. But even after the update, Bravia Engine still seems to be broken, so hopefully this will be addressed in a future update. To learn more about the 12.1.A.1.201 update itself, head over to Senior Member Amin.HVS‘s update review and Forum Member Rushaan™‘s changelog threads.
So when can you install the update? Well, it’s currently making its rounds through various regions, so there’s a very good chance that your device will receive the OTA soon if it hasn’t already. That said, not every device in every region will have access in the first wave. Luckily, Forum Members Jozinek, chewlohseng, jnocomski, and UltraWelfare have pitched in to share FTF mirrors of the firmware, which can be flashed using Sony’s FlashTool.
Head over to the mirrors below to get started:
[Many thanks to Omessy7 for the tip!]
About a week ago, the Sony Xperia M started receiving its official update to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. While not KitKat, it at least proves that Sony still wants to show its mid-range device some official firmware lovin’. Naturally, many Xperia M Dual (C2005) owners wondered when the dual-sim variant would receive the update. Thankfully, that time is now.
XDA Forum Member navidhz first shared the news early yesterday, and it was later confirmed by Sony on the Xperia M Dual’s official firmware page. And just like its single-SIM sibling, the update brings Android 4.3 and a host of minor improvements such as a smoother UI, an updated battery stamina mode, new first party apps, and security enhancements. But unlike last week’s 15.4.A.0.23 update for the Xperia M, today’s update for the X Dual comes in at version 15.5.A.0.18.
The update is currently rolling out to consumer devices, and should also be available through Sony’s PC Companion. But for those who’d like to install the update a bit more directly, XDA Senior Member mbc07 was kind enough to repackage the update into a flashable FTF.
[Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter Titokhan for the tip!]
In recent Android releases, Google has become more and more unwilling to cater to the use of external SD cards. It was never quite clear why Google decided to abandon SD card support in their Nexus devices, but many believe this to be due to the added simplicity of removing another storage area.
While Google nixed the idea on its own devices, various OEMs decided to keep SD card slots in their devices. To use them properly, some modifications to Android’s source code were needed. And due to changes in how some later versions of Android handled SD cards, many applications lost the ability to access external SD cards. Luckily, Xposed Framework allows users to modify various aspects of their OS without messing around with the files themselves.
Annoyed by the external storage situation, XDA Senior Member defim created a module to fix the aforementioned issues. The only thing required to apply the fix is to enable the module in the Xposed Installer after successfully installing it on your rooted device.
If you are suffering from external storage handling problems on your Android 4.0.3+ device, make your way to the original thread and give this module a shot.
March 27, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
“What’s the time?” You probably ask yourself this question countless times during the day. One second later, you’re probably checking the time on your smartphone. However, the system clock in the status bar can’t be modified to much without digging into source code of SystemUI.apk.
Most things in Android can be modified without touching code. This is all thanks to XDA Recognized Developer rovo89 and Recognized Contributor Tungstwenty, who created amazing Xposed Framework. With this tool, even stock ROMs can be made usable and freed from inconveniences. The same applies to the status bar clock, which color can be changed automatically when a device is connected to Internet, thanks to XDA Forum Member stanbel and his Xposed module.
With this module, you will no longer require some pesky arrows showing whether the connection is established or not. If your phone has an access to the Web, the clock becomes green. If not, it is black. The module should work like a charm with all devices running Jelly Bean and KitKat. Since it’s a module, it requires your device to be rooted and you need to have Xposed Framework installed.
You can learn more about the module and get the APK by visiting the original thread. If you want to make your status bar clock a bit unique, make your way there to give it a shot.
March 26, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Although Android 4.4.3 is already undergoing internal testing, most devices other than modern flagships have yet to receive an official taste of any version of KitKat. In fact, it’s not uncommon for older or less powerful devices to be prematurely forgotten in update limbo. But rather than complain that they’re not running the latest and greatest firmware, we can at least be happy when they do receive some official firmware love from their OEMs.
The Sony Xperia M is one such device. Shipping with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean nearly a little under a year ago, the device is currently running Android 4.2.2. As of today, however, Sony has issued an OTA update that’s starting to make its way to consumer devices. No, the update’s not to 4.4.2… or even 4.4, but it’s a start.
Today’s firmware update comes in at version 15.4.A.0.23, and it bumps up the Android version to 4.3 Jelly Bean. According to Sony, it brings various improvements ranging from a smoother UI and an improved Battery STAMINA mode to various updated first party apps and security enhancements.
Naturally, this update is not available for every device on every carrier just yet. But thanks to XDA Forum Member 7lucky7, you can get in on the update before your time. 7lucky7 was able to convert the device’s SUS update files into FTF format.
Those looking to get in on the update a bit early should head over to the FTF firmware thread.
[Thanks to raghu and #superuser for the tips!]
The Android OS has been undergoing extensive development for over five years. Through the years, we’ve seen many useful features added, and many of these features were implemented in AOSP, while an equally large number have come from custom ROMs.
One of the main features added recently is profile support. It’s quite a useful feature to have on shared devices such as tablets. Every user can customize his or her profile with favorite apps and settings.
Not too long ago, we talked about a handy Xposed Module by XDA Senior Member safet.me to bring this to earlier Android versions. But if you still prefer to use APKTool, you might want to visit a thread by XDA Forum member durancharles27. With this guide, you will learn how to add profiles to various areas in your ROM such as the power menu or settings page. The method is really easy, and requires you just a few minutes of your time.
While far less convenient and seamless, using methods other than Xposed yields a few advantages. These allow the mod to be integrated into your personal ROM easily without adding additional applications and wasting space. Furthermore, you can do this without having to revert to Dalvik.
To learn more, make your way to the original thread and gather all the necessary information.