October 26, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that Samsung has seen incredible success with its Galaxy line of Android phones. In fact, the company’s profitability makes up such a large slice of the Android pie, that the Android ecosystem is quickly turning into the Samsung ecosystem. While much of Samsung’s success is due to their heavy marketing presence, the rest is down to the various innovations found in their products and how they cater well towards their users. That said, not everything is perfect for every user with Samsung’s offerings. And to the many who prefer vanilla Android, TouchWiz is a drawback rather than an asset.
Sure, you can wipe your default firmware and install a custom, AOSP-based ROM on your device. In fact, that’s what a good number of us do when installing source-built ROMs such as Paranoid Android, Omni, and PACRom. However, we don’t always want to leave behind the value-added OEM software. Instead, we can get back the look and feel of stock Android, while keeping the default ROM and OEM apps alive.
XDA Senior Member MohammadAG has created a simple modification that allows you to get back the AOSP lock screen on your TouchWiz device. While this mod was originally developed for the Samsung Galaxy Note II, it should also work on the Galaxy S II and Galaxy S III.
Since this is an Xposed module, you will need to have XDA Recognized Developer rovo89‘s Xposed Framework (thread) installed. After that, you simply activate the module, reboot, and enjoy your AOSP lock screen.
Make your way over to the module thread to get started.
October 18, 2013 By: TK
The Samsung Galaxy Note line of devices has given us many reasons to want a stylus on our phones. While you can customize the functions of the S Pen on the Note 3, the sound that the device makes when you take the pen out is not customizable from the system settings. The same goes for the Camera app.
XDA Recognized Contributor kevinrocksman brings us an easy way to modify the Note II and Note 3′s S Pen and Camera sounds to our hearts’ content. Before starting, you must be rooted and have a custom recovery installed.
The modification comes in the form of an AROMA-based recovery-flashable zip, in which the sounds are included. Due to the use of AROMA installer, installation is easy, and the installer walks you through the selection of sounds selection. And if you decide the modification isn’t for you, it even allows you to go back to the stock sounds.
Even with its successor already in the wild, the aging Samsung Galaxy Note II is still a fantastic phone. The powerhouse features a large, high-resolution display, plenty of RAM and internal memory, and a processor that is still quite speedy. That said, the newly released Galaxy Note 3 improves upon the original Note and Note II in practically every way. However, not everyone will notice or appreciate the increase in CPU speed, RAM, and resolution. Rather, many would prefer to simply have some of the Note 3 software features on the Note II.
This is now possible, thanks to XDA Senior Members titooo7, ravijiani, slink_59, and Arsaw (as well as a team of others listed in the thread’s OP). Using the leaked 4.3 ROM (MI6) as a base, titooo7 managed to get many of the new Note 3 features on the older Note II.
So what works? Quite a bit. Some of the major features are Air Command, the Gallery app, the launcher app, S Note, Sketchbook, S Planner, and more. Titooo7 believes that more work must be done to remove unnecessary files. Despite these concerns, this mod (now in its third revision) seems quite functional.
Make your way over to the modification thread to get started.
[Thanks to pakure for the tip!]
August 21, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you have a Samsung device, you’ve undoubtedly heard of CSC files before. For the uninitiated, CSC editors on various Samsung devices allow users to modify various hidden settings and enable certain hidden features. By modifying these files, you can do things such as disable the camera shutter, enable infinite scroll on the launcher, change the number of contacts that can be merged, make the enter key send a text message, and much, much more.
Expanding on previous CSC editors we’ve seen, XDA Senior Member nagasgura presents Note 2 Hidden Settings, a new CSC editor that adds many niceties such as automatic backups, a cleaner Holo-themed interface, and more. Note 2 Hidden Settings even is able to list modifications made manually or by other applications. And if you’d like to restore the values to their default settings, you can do so at the touch of a button.
If you’re unwilling to take the plunge in an alternate ROM and would like to add some features to your Note II’s stock firmware, head over to the original thread to get started. Obviously, you must be rooted to get started, but who isn’t nowadays?
July 16, 2013 By: Conan Troutman
The Xposed Framework is an incredibly easy and versatile way of customizing and increasing the functionality of your device. We’ve previously brought you news of several useful and innovative modules that can be used with the framework, and I recently stumbled across another that might of interest to Samsung Galaxy Note II owners.
XBackground is an Xposed module by XDA Senior Member xperiacle that allows you to customize certain elements of your device’s UI quickly and easily. The main purpose of the module is to allow you to replace the Holo Dark and Holo Light backgrounds of many stock apps or applications available from the Play Store that make use of the Holo theme. It also allows you to modify the background image or transparency of the notification drawer. The standard images can be replaced with either a solid color of your choice or an image from your gallery, allowing you to give your device a very personal look and feel.
This module was originally posted in the Note II forums and is specifically designed to work with the stock firmware for that device. You will of course need to have already installed the Xposed Framework, and it’s highly recommended to make sure that you are running the latest version. Check out the modification thread for more details.
July 8, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
With phablets becoming increasingly common, we’re slowly getting accustomed to trading in some portability for increases in mobile firepower. And what’s one very simple way to add functionality to your device? Give it a bigger battery and some additional storage, of course!
To that end, XDA Forum Member 白い熊 used some incredibly basic tools to make his Galaxy Note II just that much more useful. Armed with a high-capacity aftermarket battery, a generic donor case, an SD to micro SD adapter, and a rather large 256 GB SD card, he set off to pimp his phablet.
While not technically a true device modification per se, this is a really cool and simple modification that we can encourage you to try. However, in the process of making things work, not everything went as planned. It was quickly discovered that an alternative solution was needed in order to close off the back of the device. This is where the generic case comes in.
A couple of snips (to allow for the battery bulge) later, and the back was covered once again. Unfortunately this also means that the device is much less insulated from the elements. Furthermore, when looking from certain angles, you can see the underlying hardware, so it’s hardly the most aesthetically pleasing option. However, this is still pretty cool for those who will be careful enough to not splash their devices and don’t mind the looks.
To get some inspiration for your device, head over to the original thread. We’d love to see what you come up with, especially if it involves creating your own sealed enclosure using vacuum forming or other means. If you have your own Franken-device, let us know in the comments below!
July 6, 2013 By: Samantha
One subtle, yet simple modification to your device is a different battery indicator. Probably one of the most looked at icons on your device, a different battery indicator can bring out pleasant changes to the overall look of your device. And although finding the right indicator and manually changing it is quite a simple process, it’ll still be great if they were all in one place.
Well, good news for users of Samsung devices, as you can now pick and choose all you like from a huge collection of hundreds of different battery indicator mods for your device. Compiled by XDA Senior Member NadMaj, the collection spans (almost) every different color, theme, and animation in the world of battery indicators—or at least enough to last you a lifetime. Previews accompany each one, and animations range from the classic battery and circular indicators to Pacman and Aliens, to Captain America’s Shield and the Pokemon Pokeballs. And even better, each battery indicator is packaged into a convenient flashable zip file, so say goodbye to manual drag and drops.
NadMaj has gathered 600 different battery indicators for Galaxy S3 and S4 users, while owners of the Note 2 and Note 10.1 have over 100 to choose from. So if this has gotten you interested, definitely head over to the original thread for the GS3, GS4, Note 2 or Note 10.1 for more.
One of our goals for the year has been to better organize all of the development works (ROMs, apps, tools, kernels, etc.) on XDA. We wanted this to be useful but also to have minimal impact on how developers post to XDA and on users who are happy with the current structure of the forums.
We’re currently testing a system, we call the Development Database (or DevDB for short) on a handful of forums (Galaxy S II, Xperia Z, Galaxy Note II, Droid DNA, Nexus 4, Nexus 7). You’ll note that when you go to the gateway to those forums, such as that for the Xperia Z, you can now see a tab for ROMs. Each ROM is linked to a forum thread– just as it’s always been. But when you click through to these threads, you’ll notice that they’ve become “enhanced” with a shiny new menu bar as shown in the below screenshot. Developers have the option of which features they want to include for each project:
- Feature Requester
- Bug Reporter
- Downloads (via our own torrent tracker)
- Q&A Thread Linking
We don’t usually cover individual custom kernels here on the Portal for the simple reason that thanks to the development community, there are so many great options available that we wouldn’t have time to cover anything else. However, every once in a while, a kernel developer brings so much awesome to the table that it would be downright rude of us not to sit down and stuff our faces until we are fat and happy. Devil Kernel by XDA Recognized Developer DerTeufel1980 definitely falls into that category.
This is no ordinary Note 2 kernel. It’s a Linux 3.0.80 kernel based on the sources of the popular Perseus kernel that many Note 2 owners will no doubt be familiar with. The crucial (but by no means only) difference though is that Devil (in conjunction with DerTeufel1980′s custom recovery) will allow you to dual boot your device by splitting the system partition and enabling you to have two different ROMs installed at the same time—even a combination of AOSP- and TouchWiz-based ROMs.
This does take a little bit of setting up and there are some things that you will certainly want to be aware of before diving into this, so as always make sure to read through the details thoroughly before just throwing things at your device to see what sticks. Once set up, this is an incredibly beneficial option for those of you (and indeed myself) who are torn between a stock or AOSP firmware for this device. And yes, for those of you with an N7105 or AT&T/T-Mobile variant, you’re not being left out . There is a version of the kernel and recovery for these devices too.
Check out the original development thread for more information.
May 13, 2013 By: Conan Troutman
There has been a bit of a back and forth between the development community and Verizon lately, specifically relating to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. It is perhaps best summed up by XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler:
“Well, this has been quite the saga thus far…
Us: Suck It Verizon (exploit)
them: Suck it XDA-Developers (OTA patch)
Us: Back Atcha Verizon (exploit)
them: Stop it XDA (OTA Patch)
Us: No You! (exploit)”
The combination of Adam’s CASUAL deployment system and Recognized Developer Ralekdev‘s exploits themselves has been continually providing Verizon Note 2 owners with the ability to free their device through each OTA. The pair have once again managed to undo the restrictions put in place by the latest update, and they have released that exploit to the public. Be aware that this is only for those who are running a completely stock ROM. If you are not stock and have already installed a custom recovery, this will cause you issues.
This exploit lifts the restrictions put in place by Verizon that prevent the device from running unauthorized software. Be warned that it will leave you unable to accept their OTA updates. However, you will now have a much friendlier bootloader, and who doesn’t want that?
For those of you who are running a stock ROM and looking to unlock their device, the usual rules apply. Windows(7/8)/Mac/Linux users can all make use of this cross platform tool, which will take you through the process quickly and easily. Make sure you have Java installed beforehand and you’re all set. As always, be prepared to take a log if you run into any issues, and make sure to have a thorough read through the development thread before starting the process.
January 26, 2013 By: Former Writer
There is nothing better than a good story line. When it comes to good story lines on XDA, few are better than the Verizon locked bootloader debacle. It’s always big news when one is unlocked, and it’s always tragic when one is re-locked. This happened recently with the Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note II. First, it was unlocked by XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler. A few months later, Verizon pulled a slick one and locked it back up. Now, there is a new way to unlock the Verizon bootloader.
XDA Recognized Developer Ralekdev discovered the exploit while Adam helped deploy it. Much the same as the first time around. It’s an entirely new exploit designed to take care of Verizon’s latest ninja OTA. If you’re unfamiliar with the specifics, Verizon released an OTA that updated the bootloader. Of course, the sole purpose of the updated bootloader was to patch the exploit being used to get around the first one.
This new exploit is delivered using Adam’s tool CASUAL, so it’s very easy to use. Users download the tool and use it to unlock the bootloader. As Adam explains, CASUAL will boot your Note 2 into bootloader mode. In Linux, the tool uses Heimdall to auto-flash an exploit, whereas Windows users have to manually use Odin. It then reboots and performs a few more exploits. After that, the devices enters download mode. From here, a custom bootloader and recovery are flashed. Once again, this is automatic on Linux via Heimdall, whereas Windows users have to do it manually. When everything is said and done, the device then boots into recovery to allow users to immediately flash and make backups. After this extremely easy to follow process is complete, the Note 2 is unlocked once again. There isn’t any Mac support just yet, so you’ll need Linux or Windows.
CASUAL, the tool itself, also received some updates. For those who may not know, CASUAL is a multi-device, multi-platform tool in which Adam likes to place his work. Given that it’s open source, it’s also customizable and modifiable by anyone. Some of the other things CASUAL is capable of doing are rooting the Droid RAZR, enabling hidden menus on the Galaxy Note II, and the Note 2 bootloader exploit. The newest feature is a built-in kill switch. This has a lot of uses, but how it works is pretty simple. If you’re running CASUAL revision 200 with a script revision 1, and revision 2 gets released, CASUAL will automatically obtain revision 2 before the script is run again. Essentially, it checks to make sure you’re on the most updated revision of any given script before execution. If you aren’t, auto updates to the latest script. If CASUAL itself updates, users are sent to a support page. This new update system ensures that everyone using CASUAL has the most updated scripts available.
It’s a whole lot of awesome packed into one mod. To learn more about the Galaxy Note 2 unlock method, check out the new bootloader unlock thread. You can find more info on CASUAL in its repository here. If you’d like to see how it happens in a video, check out the YouTube video below:
January 19, 2013 By: jerdog
At the end of last year, we started selling XDA cases with our friends at CruzerLite, and we’ve seen some phenomenal interest. Our current lineup is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and the Google Nexus 4—but we want to add more. So we have decided to hold a poll and let the users choose which device(s) to add to our current lineup.
Below you will find some of the top devices at XDA. Please choose one from the list that you would like to see offered, and we will pick from the top 3 devices. The voting ends on February 15, so make sure you place your vote for the devices you love!
EDIT: The results are in, and displayed below. We’ll keep you updated as to the final options when they become available.
January 19, 2013 By: Former Writer
Update: Unfortunately, this exploit no longer appears to be working. People are having trouble flashing the appropriate firmware and cannot get back to an unlock state, so this method does not currently work and we don’t recommend using it. A new method is in the works.
When XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler released the bootloader unlock for the Verizon Galaxy Note II, most assumed this heralded the end of unlock struggles with the device. However, users have been heading back to the forums in a small panic because the bootloader managed to re-lock itself. Always ready to jump on such a matter, AdamOutler has already released a fix.
A symptom of the re-lock is users getting an understandably frightening message saying to return their devices to Verizon. Thankfully, no such thing is needed, and a fix is already available. Here is Adam’s take on the subject:
Previously unlocked devices will display a clear message instructing users to return the device to Verizon. Don’t do it. The OTA just relocked your device. Flash back to the provided bootloader baseline with this PIT file, then unlock as usual.
Apparently, what’s going on is that Verizon has been sneaking new bootloaders onto devices via over-the-air updates. This replaces the hacked bootloader and re-locks it. According to Adam, this is because it refreshes the Samsung keys that were broken during the initial unlock. While it may sound alarming, re-hacking the bootloader is pretty simple.
As AdamOutler stated, the easiest way to fix this problem is to flash a bootloader baseline and PIT file that are provided by Adam in the link below using Odin 3. Then, it’s a matter of using CASUAL to unlock the device again. It’s exactly the same method as the first time around. If you can’t remember, we’ve posted Adam’s unlock video at the bottom and Adam links to the original unlock in the thread (also linked below).
For the full details and the download link for the tools needed, check the original thread.