A few weeks back, we talked about a mod that allows users to stylize their status bars by adding customizable color gradients. While capable of delivering quite a unique and interesting look, this modification was purely for aesthetic purposes. Now, we’re here to present yet another status bar tweak, but this one’s more than just cosmetic.
If you’ve ever wanted to monitor your device’s CPU state from the status bar, you can now do so. This tweak, just like the previous stats bar gradient modification, comes courtesy of XDA Recognized Themer mariozawa. Just like the previous modification, this is essentially a DIY project rather than a simple application. In addition to installing the supplied APK, you need to decompile your SystemUI.apk file and replace some smali code.
Once all of the instructions are followed, you end up with a customizable CPU info area in the left hand portion of your status bar. This shows both clock speed and governor, though either can be disabled.
To get started, head over to the guide thread and get cracking.
May 7, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
As we all know by now, Android 4.4.2 removed the previously easy access to App Ops activity. When asked, Google stated that this was for internal development use only, and was never meant to see the light of day on consumer devices. Despite this, App Opps still exists in most source-built custom ROMs such as SlimKat.
Having access to App Ops is one thing, but knowing how to use it effectively is another altogether. If you don’t know how to use App Ops effectively, you may want to take a look at a video tutorial by XDA Senior Member Kapiljhajhria. With this guide, you will learn how to deny specific permissions for a particular app, prevent an app from creating wakelocks, and monitor your device to see what permissions are in use. Kapiljhajhria made two videos, where he explains how to use Privacy Guard properly. And if you’re not a fan of learning via video, a small PowerPoint version will be released soon as well.
Used properly, App Ops is a great tool, and one that is still available thanks to source-built ROM development. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to use it more effectively, head over to the guide thread,
May 6, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Although they aren’t quite the most important aspect of a ROM, Easter Eggs have become somewhat of a staple in Android. Back in January, we talked about adding the Jelly Bean Easter Egg to a Gingerbread or ICS ROM. And then one month later, we talked a little bit about the evolution of Easter Eggs in Android. Now thanks to a simple guide by XDA Senior Member MuSaddiq, anyone can add KitKat’s Easter Egg to their own Android 2.3+ ROM.
In order to add in this Easter Egg, you’re going to have to first obtain the framework.jar file from your ROM. You then decompile the JAR file and replace some smali with code provided by Musaddiq. Then, you just have to recompile framework.jar, push it back to the device with the appropriate permissions, and install a particular app with the Easter Egg called by the smali code. After that, simply launch your device settings and tap the Android version number like your life depended on it.
Obviously adding the KitKat Easter Egg to your non-KitKat ROM won’t magically give it any additional features. However, it’s still cool for the novelty factory, especially if your device lacks a daily driver-capable KitKat ROM. Make your way over to the guide thread to get started.
Porting a new version of Android to an older device is a complicated process. The situation is much easier when the OEM decides to share the device tree with all necessary dependencies. But the vast majority of the time, the aftermarket developer needs to create this configuration from scratch or modify an existing tree from a similar device. Making a tree is one thing, but finding the appropriate library files to make it boot and work fully is another.
Sometimes, when a device boots up, logcat indicates that some .so libs are missing. To find out which are missing, you can use a guide created by XDA Forum Member tuxboy. This guide demonstrates how to use tools available in the Android NDK to find out which files need to be added to meet the dependencies of the executable file or library. The process is very straightforward and doesn’t require any special tools except the toolchain available in the Android source code. To make use of this method, you need Linux, Mac OS X, or any other *nix OS.
You can learn more by visiting the guide thread, so head over there if you are trying to port a ROM or find dependencies for a ported version of Android.
The Google Play Store is home to countless numbers of apps. Inside, there are hundreds of thousands of applications divided into many different categories. Most of us use it practically daily to install new software onto our devices or get updates for our favorite applications and games.
The Play Store can bring lots of fun, as well a lot of frustration when enigmatic error messages appear. Error 491 or 498 is just a number, and doesn’t really tell you how to fix the problem. But surely, someone on the Internet has already faced the same issue and posted a solution. These solutions are then spread across the web, including the XDA forums.
XDA Senior Member mohamedrashad decided to put an end to this fragmentation, and he gathered together all information regarding Play Store errors and pieced them into one thread. The errors are explained, and mohamedrashad even provides possible fixes for all found errors. The list isn’t short, covering eleven various inconveniences such as a lack of storage space and Dalvik cache problems.
If you have been or are currently facing some issues with the Play Store, head over to the original thread and give the proposed solutions a shot.
April 25, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Cross compiling is the process of creating executable code for a platform other than the one actually doing the compiling. There are many reasons why this is of use, but arguably the most relevant is compiling for a platform that doesn’t have the required tools to build for itself.
A great example of cross compiling is building Android from source on your x86 machine. But even those who have built AOSP-based ROMs may not be familiar with the cross compiling process, as there are various tools available to make this incredibly streamlined. This then becomes a bit problematic when one wants to compile an external binary for use on the alternate platform.
Luckily, XDA Recognized Contributor JustArchi created a thorough and well explained guide on cross compiling. The guide itself begins with defining cross compiling and why it’s important. It then continues by showing users how to properly create a build environment. Then, the guide covers how to build a native C application for Android, as well as how to optimize the newly created native binaries.
If you wish to build external apps for Android devices or simply want to learn more about cross compiling on Linux, head over to the guide thread, grab a coffee, and read up.
GitHub has become the epicenter of most open source development work that is posted both here to the XDA forums and abroad. Part of the reason for this is that there are so many useful tools built into the platform that allow developers to do what they need to do efficiently, and without jumping through too many hoops. However, not every project uses all of the tools made available to GitHub’s users, and perhaps the biggest offense in “open source” projects is the lack of proper commit history.
Maintaining a proper commit history is very useful both for yourself and others working with your code. Not only does it help other developers understand the changes and additions you’ve added, but it also helps you keep track of your own project better. Sadly, there are many projects in which a static source code snapshot is shared and no repo fork or commit history given. This could be a result of laziness or because the developer has something to hide, but one thing is clear: It shouldn’t happen.
Thankfully, a detailed guide created by XDA Senior Member Mazda is available to help both new and seasoned developers efficiently clone a repo and maintain a full commit history. The guide covers both the terminal commands and the website options required. and the end result is a properly populated commit history, where other developers can learn from your experiences—in other words, true open source.
If you’re a developer looking to brush up on maintaining proper commit history, head over to the guide thread and give the thread a read.
April 17, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Android is the only popular mobile operating system that allows users, developers, and OEMs to implement dramatic modifications to its user interface. Some OEMs such as Samsung, LG, and Sony release their devices with highly modified custom software, which differs greatly from Google’s version of Android that is seen in Nexus and GPe devices.
One of the aspects that is often changed in OEM skins is the lock screen. Almost every OEM has its own unique style of lock screen. But what to do when you want to have a bit of the AOSP taste in your device without fully switching to an AOSP-based ROM? If you have an ICS-powered Samsung device, the answer is simple: Read a guide written by XDA Recognized Contributor Mohitash that shows you how to change the lock screen on Ice Cream Sandwich-based Samsung devices like the Galaxy S Duos or Captivate Glide.
The guide begins by using the well known APKTool to decompile SecSettings.apk and android.policy.jar. Then, you perform some smali editing, recompile, and send the modified files back to the device. The method is thoroughly described, so you shouldn’t have much trouble adding it to your stock or stock-based TouchWiz ROM.
If you still own an older Ice Cream Sandwich-powered Samsung device and want to make it to look a bit more like a Nexus phone, head over to the guide thread and give the described method a try.
April 13, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
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!
Unlike most other mobile OSes, Android allows users to modify its source code to make the most of it. This is accomplished by editing code from the AOSP or AOSP-derived projects before compiling. However, not all of us build our own ROMs from source. Thus, there’s the world of decompiling and Smali editing.
Here on XDA, developers create amazing things. One new and exciting project allows users to create external controls for SystemUI.APK. The project comes in the form of a guide written by XDA Recognized Developer and Themer serarj, and it allows users to change the look of the status bar and other UI elements on the fly. But rather than simply providing completed applications that accomplish this goal, Serarj decided to share his knowledge and show others how to do this themselves in Eclipse.
If you are a ROM chef and want to add something interesting to your work, or if you simply wish to use it in your own personal builds, your way to the guide thread to get started.
Nothing provides more satisfaction than making something yourself. Learning is a beautiful process. And when you create even something small with your own brain, you feel like a king. The same thing applies to Android, where first you start by using apps created by others and then you may venture to make your own.
Xposed Framework module development differs a bit from that of a regular application. As you know, Xposed Framework allows you to modify many aspects of the Android OS without APKTool, decompiling, pushing back to your device, and all of the requisite clutter. If you are ready for a challenge, XDA Forum Member hamzahrmalik posted a tutorial on how to create an Xposed module.
Before you get started, you should know that this isn’t an easy process. You must know quite a bit about Java. But with a bit of an effort, you should be able to create your own module. The module presented as an example in the guide was made in Eclipse, but you can use an IDE to compile an application. You should be able to create one on every operating system that supports Eclipse.
So if you think that now is a good time to start developing some Xposed module, make your way to the tutorial thread to get started.
April 6, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Many of us don’t have unlimited texting plans. After all, why should we pay for something that essentially costs the carriers nothing? Plus, with practically everyone using some form of smartphone nowadays, it’s often more convenient to simply send an email or Hangouts message.
However, there are still times in which we must send a traditional text. For example, these messages can go through even when there is no standard data connectivity. When this happens, we either pay per SMS message or we eat at a given pool of messages that we purchased in our plan—unless, of course, we have an expensive unlimited messaging plan.
Unfortunately, many special characters reduce the number of characters that can be sent in a single message. This then requires the use of two or more SMS messages to achieve the same message. This then gouges our pockets to an even greater degree. Luckily, an interesting hidden option appeared in our Cross-Device Development Projects for Sony Devices forum.
Recognized Contributor and Themer DaRk-L0rD described the process of enabling a hidden option that converts certain special characters into their more traditional forms in order to make it so that your 160 characters stay at 160.
To perform the mod, you’ll need to decompile the original Sony messaging app, search for and modify a pair of strings, save, recompile, and resign the APK. The whole process is very simple, and you’ll be in and out in a matter of minutes.
If you are sick of wasting money on text messages and want to limit the number you send out without actually changing how you use your device, head over to the guide thread to learn more.
When you hear the word “Android,” you almost automatically associate this with smartphones and tablets baked in top secret Mountain View labs. However, Android isn’t only compatible with the ARM architecture. Rather, it also works with x86 personal computers like netbooks, notebooks, and traditional computers. This is of course thanks to the Android x86 project.
If you’ve ever wanted to try Android on your computer, there’s no better time than the present. Earlier today, we talked about how the Android on Intel project had been updated to Android 4.4.2 and how it was now available for the Dell XPS12 and Intel NUC. But what if you’re running other hardware? How do you get started with Android x86?
To solve all of your potential setup issues, XDA Senior Member F4uzan wrote a guide covering the installation process. With a few simple steps, your device will turn into powerful beast running the latest version of Android. You can easily set up Android as a secondary OS, and it doesn’t even need much hardware power, so it can be used successfully even on older PCs. Furthermore, the guide also covers using Unetbootin to turn your USB stick into an installation volume. If your machine doesn’t support booting from USB, you can use CD-R.
You can learn more about setting up Android x86 flavor by visiting the guide thread.