February 25, 2014 By: Samantha
Lackluster battery life is probably one of the biggest downfalls in the modern day smartphone, despite the slow gains being made by OEMs with each passing generation. Putting aside battery saving apps and devices with non-removable batteries, one way of getting more screen time from your device is to simply use a battery with higher mAh rating. This generally means a battery with larger physical dimensions that will not only add more bulk to your device and ruin its beautiful, carefully designed aesthetics, but can also prevent you from using key features.
This is most definitely the case for the 9300 mAh Zero Lemon battery for the Samsung Galaxy Note II, which completely covers the phone’s NFC chip with its ginormous form. Naturally, users can no longer use NFC, which for many has become an integral part of their lifestyle. But thanks to the efforts of XDA Recognized Contributor Bajanman, there’s now a mod that can allow you access to the phone’s NFC again.
One must keep in mind that this modification can be very complicated, especially for anyone who is not experienced or trained in soldering. The process essentially allows contact between the NFC chip and the phone with wires wrapping around the side of the battery. Having gone through and completed the procedure himself, Bajanman documented every step of the way and provided the images as much welcomed visual aid.
This mod is definitely not for everybody, aimed obviously towards those who have the Zero Lemon battery or are seriously considering of purchasing it. If however, you would much rather keep NFC than have a larger, both in regards to dimensions and mAh, it may be an idea to check out something else. If you would like to find out more about this mod, visit the original thread for more details.
February 23, 2014 By: Samantha
The abundance of mods, themes, and tools are, more often than not, scattered throughout the XDA forums in just as many threads. Those looking for a couple of mods and themes to play around with on a whim may end up getting lost between various browser tabs. But if you own a Samsung Galaxy Note II, you may want to check out Powerbox.
Developed by XDA Senior Member mannyvinny, Powerbox is an AROMA-based tool that helps set up and customize your Note II with its extensive list of functions and features. It allows you to root and install Busybox on your device, as well as remove Knox and user-selected bloatware. In addition, Powerbox packs in quite the variety of mods and themes, including:
If you’re interested in checking out Powerbox for your Note II, visit the original thread to learn more.
February 18, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Before today, Samsung has been very cautious in tempering expectations regarding official Android 4.4 KitKat updates for its recent devices. While certain phones have already received the 4.4.2 goods, much of the rest of the company’s lineup is still in Jelly Bean limbo. We’ve seen leaks fly around left and right for the Galaxy S 4, but official word regarding KitKat for the device has been lacking. And since this is just for their latest and greatest, the future didn’t look so hot for Samsung’s older devices.
Some time ago, we saw a leaked internal memo pointing to a potential KitKat release schedule for various devices. Now, however, Samsung has broken the silence by stating which devices will receive official updates to Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Unfortunately, they aren’t stating when, though.
Samsung Galaxy U.S. devices currently scheduled to receive the KitKat update include select carrier variants of the Galaxy Note® 3, Galaxy Note® II, Galaxy S® 4, Galaxy S® 4 mini™, Galaxy S® 4 Active™, Galaxy S® 4 zoom™, Galaxy S® III, Galaxy S® III mini™, Galaxy Mega®, Galaxy Light, Galaxy Note® 8.0, Galaxy Tab® 3, Galaxy Note® 10.1, Galaxy Note® 10.1 2014 Edition.
In addition to the Android version bump, the update will also pack the following additional features:
- Location Menu: An integrated location menu enables users to easily activate GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile networks, while simultaneously checking the battery usage of apps running location service capabilities.
- Enhanced Messaging: Enables users to choose between Messages or Hangouts as their preferred default messaging application, and select from a larger assortment of updated Emoji icons.
- Upgraded Google Mobile Service™ (GMS) apps: Users can automatically back up photos and video and can open, view, rename and share Google Docs and files.
While the update news is a few months later than we would have liked, it’s nice to see that older devices like the Note II, S III, and Note 10.1 will get to enjoy the KitKat goods in official capacity. However, the presence of the word “select” when talking about which carrier-branded devices leaves us more than a bit skeptical about certain US-based carriers with less than stellar track records. Furthermore, we’d still like to know when exactly Samsung plans on delivering the goods!
February 3, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Imagine that you’re flashing the latest nightly of your favorite ROM. If you are performing a fresh install by wiping all of your data, this also means that you have to flash all of your modified system apps, user apps, modules, and so on. And if you’re doing this on a regular basis, all the wasted time really starts to add up. So what do you do? Do you manually install these apps again, or do you add them to your favorite ROM? One of the better solutions is to use Aroma Installer by XDA Recognized Developer amarullz. However, you normally need some experience to configure it properly.
A few days ago, we talked about a Windows-only tool to create flashable ZIP files. Now, it’s time to present yet another tool that can be used on every OS with Java installed. With Android Flashable Zip by XDA Senior Members Nikhil and RajatPatel, you can easily add apps, boot animations, ringtones, and much more to a flashable ZIP. And since the tool uses Aroma installer, you can pick and choose which apps you want installed when applying the ZIP.
Aside from requiring Java to be installed on your PC, tool currently only supports a few devices—namely the Samsung Galaxy R (i9103), Samsung Galaxy Nexus (maguro), LG Optimus 4X HD (p880), and Samsung Galaxy Note II (N7100). That said, the supported device list will surely increase in time. And even if your device is unsupported, you can always give it a try and report your findings in the thread. Just be prepared in the event that something does go wrong.
If you want to easily create AROMA-based flashable ZIPs, head over to the development thread and give Android Flashable Zip Creator a shot.
If you own a Samsung device, you have undoubtedly heard of the EFS partition. If you haven’t, let me explain. EFS is a partition where quite a bit of important radio data is stored. Without this data, you won’t be able to use your phone correctly. It’s extremely important to keep a local copy of your EFS partition, and we’ve already presented a Windows utility and application to backup the EFS partition on Samsung devices.
The two aforementioned utilities are not the only tools available to backup your EFS partition. Rather, XDA Senior Member ricky310711 created another application that gives users the option to backup or restore the EFS partition, as well as reboot your phone in four different modes.
With the appropriately titled Samsung Tool, you can hot-reboot your device, go to recovery, or enter mode. The application stores a copy of the EFS backup in the /data/media/SamsungTool folder. But in future releases, we might see external SD card support. Samsung Tool works with many Samsung devices, but only Samsung Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III, Galaxy S 4, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy Note 10.1 are officially supported.
Hopefully, you won’t ever have to restore your EFS partition. However, it’s never a bad idea to make a backup copy. To learn more, make your way to the application thread and give this a shot.
December 17, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
We first saw official Android 4.3 appear on the international Galaxy Note II LTE N7105 back in the middle of November. Ever since then, it’s gradually been making its way over to other variants of the device such as the Sprint, T-Mobile, and finally the Verizon units. Now, the update has begun rolling out to the AT&T variant of the Galaxy Note II, and it’s about time.
The update in the form of a 696 MB OTA update to I317UCUBMK6 from the previous I317UCAMH3 build. It brings various new additions such as improvements to Multi-Window, a better camera app, “easy mode,” Galaxy Gear compatibility, and Samsung KNOX.
Key additions in the latest update, as reported by Samsung:
Software update includes:
- Android 4.3 OS upgrade
- Samsung Galaxy Gear compatibility
- Premium Suite Features
- Group Play 2.5
- Multi-Window (Note 3 Version)
- Camera – Shot & Sound
- Group Messaging
- Samsung Link (Preload)
- New Easy Mode
- Samsung Apps
The update is rolling out to devices gradually, and it appears to not yet be available through Kies. However, we’ll update this post as soon as the OTA is mirrored.
Have you updated your AT&T Galaxy Note II to 4.3? If so, what are your experiences? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to visit XDA Senior Member wilsonhuang‘s thread detailing his experiences with the update.
December 12, 2013 By: wildstang83
We have seen a few modern Samsung devices receive firmware updates recently. Looking back to November, we brought news that the Samsung Galaxy Note II N7105 was in the process of receiving the Android 4.3 update. The Samsung Galaxy Note ll (i605) from Verizon Wireless is certain not to be left out in this recent batch of Android 4.3 updates.
The update for the Samsung Galaxy Note ll i605 brings the device up from the previous version (Android 4.1.2 – VRAMC3) to version Android 4.3 - VRUEMJ9. Along with bumping up the Android version, a few new features and bug fixes have been included. One notable feature is easy access to Blocking mode, which Samsung had previously hidden from the settings menu.
Verizon has not yet officially begun pushing the update to all i605 owners, but they do appear to be conducting a splash test. It was through this splash test XDA Senior Member kwhodson received the update and was able to capture it. He pulled the files from his device and provided them to XDA Recognized Contributor beanstown106, who then converted the update into a flashable ROM.
While the ROM can be flashed normally, the update does include new firmware that must be flashed through Odin in order to insure that WiFi works. Head on over to the development thread for more info and to check out the ROM.
December 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
To a certain extent, the T-Mobile Galaxy Note II has been living in the shadows of its peers. After all, the first time we saw Android 4.3 appear for the international model was nearly two months ago in the form of a leaked firmware update. Then about a month later, we saw the international model receive its official Android 4.3 update. That was also right around the same time that the Sprint variant received its update. And let’s not forget that the HTC One and Moto X have already received their official Android 4.4 updates—though that should be the case for the Note II by April.
Now, XDA Forum Member fatesealer has let us know that the update has begun rolling out to T-Mobile-branded Galaxy Note II devices. While not quite everyone has received the OTA just yet, it can be manually installed through Samsung Kies. And for those who’d rather install it manually, XDA Senior Member deeznutz1977 has mirrored the update, and Senior Member kozmo21 has extracted and posted the modem and kernel files as well.
1. Webpages are loading a lot faster now; not sure if due to cache, quicker LTE, or what.
2. Applications also appear to be loading a bit faster.
3. I like the slightly different presentation of the Notification Bar at the top of the page.
4. Under my Task Manager, there’s a new option in the toolbar called “Clear default / Launch by default” which apparently let’s you designate and control which default apps to use when performing certain actions (eg. when making a phone call, you can establish the standard Phone app to do so, versus, say, Skype; or the standard Internet browser versus Chrome).
1. According to my Task Manager app, SOMETHING or things are now taking up a bigger chunk of my onboard System Storage. System storage usage went from around 2.5 to 3GB to 7.10GB (out of 16.00GB). When I checked with File Manager, I noticed under /storage a new folder called “emulated”, with two subfolders called “/storage/emulated/0″ and “/storage/emulated/legacy” that appear to be some type of backups of my previous Android environment.
2. Android 4.3 appears to be taking about 250MB more RAM space on my Note II, as compared to the previous version
Have you updated your Note II to 4.3 yet? If so, let us know what you think in the comments below!
November 23, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
A few days ago, we covered the release of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean for the international Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE N7105. We immediately began to wonder when 4.3 update would make its way to some of the more popular carrier-branded variants.
Now, it appears as if that time is here, as Sprint has begun the Android 4.3 rollout for the Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note II. As this appears to be a staged rollout, not everyone will see the update when checking manually. However, XDA Senior Member npesa92 was gracious enough to pull the update from his /cache folder and upload it for everyone to enjoy.
The update comes in at version LP900VPUBMK4, and it is in the form of an incremental update from the previous LP900VPUBMC2 build. And as you may gather from the build version, this will only work on the Sprint-branded Galaxy Note II (SPH-L900). And naturally, you must be on stock firmware and recovery to flash this.
To get in on the update action a bit early, head over to the original thread.
November 22, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
When Google released Android 4.4 KitKat 23 days ago, we all knew that it would be quite some time before most users would have the chance to play with the OS on their own devices. Sure, the Google Nexus 5 launched with the OS, but what about those with older phones? Thankfully, the update news has been gradually coming through, with most manufacturers giving timetables as to when the the updates will come. Then there’s Motorola, which has gone above and beyond by actually starting the rollouts on certain variants of the Moto X.
Unfortunately, Samsung has yet to officially state when their Galaxy line up will receive the KitKat goods. Moreover, they haven’t even said which devices will receive updates. But now thanks to a leaked internal memo, it looks like the updates are at least in the works. Naturally, the company’s new flagships (the Galaxy S 4 and the Note 3) will receive the updates first. This leaked memo states an anticipated January 2014 date. Next up are the Galaxy S III and Note II, which should receive the goods between March and April.
While the update won’t be here in time for the Holiday season, at least we now know that it’s (probably) coming relatively soon. Are you pleased with Samsung’s update schedule, or are you disappointed that the updates are lagging far behind Good Guy Moto? Let us know in the comments below!
November 19, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Samsung has had a relatively good track record as of late for providing (relatively) timely Android firmware updates. Most relatively recent flagship-level Samsung devices have already received official updates to the final version of Jelly Bean (Android 4.3), and this is no small feat considering the level of customization in their TouchWiz UI.
New to the 4.3 party, the the iconic Galaxy Note II LTE N7105 now has an official Android 4.3 update of its own. And for those keeping track, this comes a few weeks after the leaked 4.3 XXUEMJ5 build for the N7100, which has now since been superseded by the XXUEMK4 update. Originally intended for Nordic countries, this new build for the N7105 comes in at version XXUEMK5. While it is available via OTA and Kies, you can also install the update manually.
However, not all is well in Samsung 4.3 land. Namely, the official updates for the international Galaxy S III I9300 and AT&T variant of the Galaxy S 4 I337 are being temporarily suspended. Those who care to rewind a few weeks will remember the official 4.3 build for the S III is the same firmware that was previously leaked almost three weeks ago.
The causes for the update pull on the S III include wake up lag, random freezing, battery drain, Bluetooth audio issues, stuttering music playback, freezes, poor multitasking, and WiFi issues. Basically, what can go wrong, has gone wrong. On the other hand, there is no official word as to why the update was pulled on the AT&T variant of the S 4, but we can only assume that the device is facing similar issues.
If you’re an S III owner who has already installed the update, what have your experiences been like so far? Let us know in the comments below.
October 29, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’ve ever longed for a multipurpose toolkit that does it all on the Samsung Galaxy Note II, a new offering from XDA Recognized Contributor dr.ketan may be exactly what you’re after. OK, so the toolkit won’t do everything, but it should be enough to get most new users started and well on their journey towards device customization.
The toolkit comes in the form of an AROMA installer package. As you would expect, you run the toolkit by “flashing” it from your custom recovery as you would flash any other update. Once in the utility, there is a menu of 17 functions, with over 300 possible choices available.
Currently, the toolkit allows you to root the device, install busybox, backup and restore your EFS partition, change your recovery/kernel/modem, backup and restore system apps and framework, remove bloatware, bypass lock screen security, clean your device, and more. And within each general category, there are various selections to make. For example, when choosing to flash a recovery, a selection of different recovery options are available. The same goes for kernels, and so on.
There are versions for both the N7100 and N7105, so be sure to pick the right one for your model. To get started, head over to the appropriate thread for your device below:
[Many thanks to reader David Yountz for the humorously creative tip!]
October 27, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
We recently brought you news that the Android 4.3 (XXUEMJ5) update was rolling out to the Samsung Galaxy S 4. We knew that it wouldn’t be long before the update love was spread to Samsung’s older devices. While it’s not yet here in official capacity, it is available in leaked form for the Galaxy Note II.
XDA Recognized Developer Faryaab has posted the leak to our forums, courtesy of Sammobile, along with simple instructions on how to get it up and running on your device. The build is intended for the international Galaxy Note II (GT-N7100), and it brings many new features that were previously seen on the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy Note 3, such as Samsung Wallet. As expected, this release brings Knox to the previously Knox-free device.
Keep in mind that there may be various bugs and instabilities due to the fact that this is pre-release software. However, installing this will not increase your binary counter, so those worried about future warranty support shouldn’t worry too hard.
Head over to the firmware thread to get in on the leaked action.