September 4, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
The lock screen widgets functionality that was introduced with Android 4.2 is incredibly useful. Lock screen widgets deliver at-a-glance information quickly and easily—without the need to fumble across home screens, apps, and menus. Their utility is then compounded when used in conjunction with lock screen security, since you can access this information without having to first unlock your device.
For some reason, however, Samsung decided that this functionality wasn’t important enough, as they have removed the possibility to add widgets when the device is secured. Thankfully, XDA Forum Member MohammadAG has created a quick modification that brings this functionality back. And just like the native Android functionality, it also enables a secure camera mode, where you can take new pictures and view them but not pictures taken previously.
The modification comes the form of a module for XDA Recognized Developer rovo89‘s fantastic Xposed framework (thread). It has thus far been tested on the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy S III running the leaked 4.2.2 TouchWiz ROM, but it should work on any device running TouchWiz firmwares based on Android 4.2.
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.
Having a password, PIN, or combination lock on your device can be quite an inconvenience every time you want to unlock your phone, especially when you have one for the sake of guarding against snooping eyes. If this is the actual case for any of you Samsung Galaxy S3 users out there, you may be pleased to know that you can bypass this problem while maintaining the security with the help of NFC tags.
XDA Forum Member Monteillard has come up with a sneaky way of making this possible on your GS3 for rooted users with Tasker, WidgetLocker, and NFC Re-tag, all of which can be found on the Play store. Users must flash a specific mod that’s available for download, setup WidgetLocker with the ‘unlock’ function, create four profiles with specific settings laid by Monteillard, and then add your NFC tag with NFC Re-tag with a couple of required settings to get things started.
The advantage of this mod is that you’ll now be able to unlock your phone with NFC tags and bypass the security screen, while maintaining the security that you have with your password, PIN, or combination lock when others get their hands on your GS3. There’s no restrictions on which NFC tag will work, as generally anything with NFC, be it textiles, NFC stickers, cards, or tags, will be compatible. Owners of other devices may be able to get this working, as one such user with a Sony Xperia S has done so successfully. However, the fact that you must flash a GS3-specific mod through recovery may mean otherwise for most.
If this has gotten your attention and you would like to know more, check out the original post for more detailed instructions and information.
[Image source: Flickr]
Not many feature omissions have drawn as much ire in recent memory as the lack of USB Mass Storage. While Media Transfer Protocol has numerous advantages such as safer removal and simultaneous access from both your computer and mobile device, it’s just not quite the same as directly mounting your device as standard USB storage. This is on top of the hoops that non-Windows users have to go through to access the storage in the first place.
Thankfully, there’s no shortage of tweaks and mods to get the beloved USB Mass Storage functionality back. The newest solution comes from XDA Senior Member MohammadAG, and it is for quite a few Samsung devices including the Galaxy S III, Galaxy S 4, and the Galaxy Note 2. And even if you have a Samsung device that isn’t one of the above, it’s quite possible that it may still work for you.
As described by the developer:
- Allows you to use your microSD card as a USB Mass Storage device.
- Shortcuts on your homescreen to easily enable/disable USB Mass Storage mode.
- Warns the user if they try to disable Mass Storage mode without unmounting/ejecting on the PC side.
Tested working on:
Samsung Galaxy Note II (GT-N7100)
Samsung Galaxy SIII (GT-I9300)
Samsung Grand Duos (GT-I9082) – Thanks to wan Mohd in Play Store reviews.
Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-I9500) – Thanks to taiseer999 in the replies below.
Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-I9505) – Thanks to Solomon Chow in Play Store reviews.
Samsung Galaxy S4 (SGH-I337) – Thanks to Delyan Georgiev in Play Store reviews.
Eager to get USB Mass Storage on your device? If so, head over to the original thread to get started.
[Thanks to The Waswas for the tip!]
March 21, 2013 By: Conan Troutman
XDA Elite Recognised Developer AdamOutler is at it again. Following up on his Verizon Note II root method, he continues to roll out safe and easy-to-deploy root exploits via CASUAL, the Cross-platform ADB Scripting, Universal Android Loader.This time, the device in question is the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S III.
One of the major benefits of CASUAL is that it is cross platform. Adam has been spending a great deal of time in bringing support for many different platforms to a consistent level. If you have him circled on Google+, you may have already noticed him tackling the OS X upgrade process in an effort to test these exploits for Mac users. That’s where you come in. Adam is especially keen to hear from users of both OS X and various different Linux distros about how CASUAL functions for them. It even works on the Raspberry Pi, so if you want to test it out on one of those and report back, I’m sure it would be much appreciated.
This latest mod will root an AT&T Galaxy SIII incredibly easily, as CASUAL handles the download and installation of drivers and runtimes. The end result is a fully rooted device courtesy of Elite Recognised Developer Chainfire’s CF-Auto Root. This will work even for those who are already rooted, so if you’d simply like to help test for compatibility you can do so without unrooting beforehand.
So if you have an AT&T SIII, rooted or not, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the development thread and lend a hand in making this the ultimate cross platform utility.
January 28, 2013 By: Haroon Q. Raja
While most Android enthusiasts (including many members of our smartphone community here at XDA) frown upon the idea of custom UI overlays by device manufacturers, they include certain visual or feature enhancements at times that add to the overall user experience for many. Over the course of the past few versions, HTC Sense has been making a transition towards minimalism. This has been done by getting closer to the stock Android experience, while still offering its signature fresh and bright look and feel.
One such feature that many enjoy is the task manager interface. However, since this is an HTC Sense exclusive, owners of other devices have thus far been out of luck. Luckily for Samsung Galaxy S III owners running the stock XELLA firmware (or custom ROMs derived from it), you can now get the same style of task management and switching UI thanks to XDA Member Tamerlan2009.
This HTC Sense-style Task Manager mod supports both portrait and landscape views for the task switching interface, offering you large previews of your currently running and recent apps, complete with app names and icons under the previews. It also features a nice shiny reflection to add some visual oomph. From the task switching interface, you get quick access to Task Manager and Google Search, and can also kill all the currently running apps in one go (the usefulness of which is debatable, but that’s a different story).
As mentioned earlier, the mod is intended for Galaxy S III I9300 running the stock XELLA firmware, as well as custom ROMs based on it. You can give it a try by visiting the forum thread.
January 28, 2013 By: Former Writer
Given that we focus our energies on development rather than theme creation, we don’t talk about themes very often. However, once in a while, something to aid the process or those looking for something extra appears, which is worth mentioning.
With so many themes shared on the site, it’s often hard to find a specific theme that meets every single aesthetic requirement you may have. T-Mobile and Sprint Samsung Galaxy S III users can now customize their own themes thanks to Morphology by XDA Recognized Themer rompnit, with contributions from many, many others.
The way that it works is that the theme pack is installed via the customization-friendly AROMA installer. This allows users to choose their theme elements individually. You first pick your install type. This allows you to choose between creating a custom theme, installing a prebuilt version, or restoring a backup. Next, you select from 15 different status bars and choose a clock style. After that, you customize the notification pulldown, choose from various icon sets, theme your framework, modify toggles, theme the dialer, and more.
This is one of the most comprehensive “build your own theme” packs ever created. Users practically choose how their entire ROM looks. Each step has a lot of options, so don’t be surprised if it takes a great deal of time deciding which options you want. For more details and the full feature list, check out the T-Mobile thread or the Sprint thread.
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 16, 2013 By: Haroon Q. Raja
The Samsung Galaxy S III is one of the best selling smartphones to date. As expected, it gets a lot of attention here at XDA due to high interest by both users and developers alike. For those of us who want to fully customize our devices, there are countless custom ROMs like CyanogenMod, AOKP, and Paranoid Android, each with advanced settings built-in that allow us to tweak many aspects of the UI. Though if you want to stick with the default TouchWiz-laden OS shipped with the device and still want to be able to tweak certain UI elements, there’s no shortage of mods for that either. XDA Senior Member gharrington has recently released one such mod that allows you to tweak several aspects of the status bar clock of the stock Galaxy S III firmware to your liking.
The mod adds options in the default Date and Time settings that let you center your clock on the status bar, show or hide AM/PM and the day of the week, or even hide the clock entirely. There is also a (work-in-progress) option to choose the size of the AM/PM display, but it isn’t currently functional and the developer has promised to fix it in an update.
While it is built for the XXELLA firmware, this mod should also work on LKC, LL5 and possibly other firmware versions as well—along with any modified ROMs based on these firmwares. As always, you can find more information and the download link in the forum thread.
If you haven’t heard, and we’re not sure how you haven’t, there has been active development towards an open source bootloader for Samsung devices. In a nutshell, it involves loading the open source bootloader to an SD card, and using some hardware hacking skills to boot from it. All of this had to start somewhere, and among the first things required is finding the UART. It is now possible to identify it on the US variants of the Samsung Galaxy S III.
If you hadn’t guessed, this bit of hardware hacking awesomeness was done by XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler. This is very similar to work Adam has been doing for the Samsung Galaxy Camera, which you can find here. Why would this be helpful? AdamOutler explains it best:
UART provides eyes before any other method of debugging (aside from JTAG) begins to work. UART is the first thing to do in order to make a device into a development board.
The process of getting it is a little complicated, and if you’re a beginner, will probably take some time. Users will have to pull the kernel from the device, add some command line parameters to enable UART, and flash the kernel back to the device. Since you’ll need Ubuntu (or at least a Debian based distro) to follow along, you’ll be using Heimdall to do the flashing. Then, it’s a simple matter of tearing down the device without breaking it and probing the correct spot. Adam has uploaded a video that demonstrates the entire process the exact spot for UART. As can be expected, there is some danger because you are tearing open your device. Be sure to use the utmost caution and follow the directions.
As Adam states in the thread, he sometimes does these hacks live via a Google+ Hangouts live stream. They are a lot of fun to watch, give you a chance to learn some new things, and let you watch the magic as it happens. To catch the next one, circle Adam on Google+ and keep an eye out.
For the full video, all the details, and more, check out the original thread. Or, if you want to watch it happen, here’s Adam’s video:
January 13, 2013 By: Haroon Q. Raja
Many Android device manufacturers ship devices with their custom skins such as Samsung TouchWiz, Motorola MotoBLUR, and HTC Sense, among others. In addition, several carriers also bundle certain apps along with their devices that are by no means necessary, and are not a part of Android. While there are several ways of removing all of this bloat, most of these methods involve manually deleting files using a root-level file browser. If you don’t wish to bother with the manual method of removing bloatware, PalaTool offers some assistance for Samsung Galaxy S III i9300 owners.
Developed by XDA Forum Member shahar2k9, and based on the excellent AROMA script for recovery-based installations, PalaTool (short for Paladin Tool) not only allows you to remove several bloatware apps and services from your device, but also lets you add Nexus 4 style UI elements, the latest CyanogenMod APN list, and certain Android 4.2 stock apps. Furthermore, it also lets you format your /system, /data, and /cache partitions, as well as wipe Dalvik cache. Obviously, these tasks are already possible on essentially all custom recoveries, but it is nice to streamline the experience and do everything from one interface.
Since the tool is in AROMA format, you need a custom recovery installed to use it. While the tool was originally meant for the Galaxy S III i9300, other Samsung devices with similar OS builds. That said, the Android 4.2 stock apps and Nexus 4 UI elements should work on any device running Jelly Bean (and perhaps ICS too), and the CyanogenMod APN list should work on any device running ICS or later.
You can find the download link as well as the complete list of removable bloatware in the forum thread.
January 11, 2013 By: Former Writer
If there is a way to make an existing button to do something different, developers will figure out a way to do it. Sometimes the volume rockers can function as skip buttons for the music player. The issue isn’t getting it to work, but getting it to work right. For the US variants of the Galaxy S III, the volume rocker as a skip button mod has been done correctly.
XDA Recognized Developer loserskater has released the proper way to make the volume buttons work as skip buttons. Unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately) for lazy people, only the long way has been released. So if users want this mod, they’ll have to learn to decompile some APK files. If one is wondering, it is different from existing mods. Here is loserskater’s explanation:
-The difference between this and the previous mod is that sending the media button presses would send an ordered broadcast and the app with the highest priority would take the broadcast and see if it needed it and then pass it along if it didn’t. Well most audio apps haven’t been updated to use this method. And if you changed it to just broadcast instead of ordered all media players would get the broadcast so you’d have a bunch of apps trying to all play music. This uses private apis that only the system can use and it’s the same method the lockscreen controls use which is controlled by the audio service instead of broadcasts. I hope that all makes sense
In case that doesn’t make sense, here’s the simplified version: This uses the same method as the lock screen music controls for the volume rockers. Because of the private APIs used in accessing the audio service rather than using a broadcast, you run in to none of the traditional pitfalls. While using an ordered broadcast should work, not all apps take advantage of this.
For the full method, check out the original thread.
January 5, 2013 By: Former Writer
As devices get newer and more powerful, the software that comes with them gets bigger and more complex. In the old days, ROMs were often smaller than 100MB. Now, on the newest devices, the stock ROM can be over 1 GB in size. There are some potential problems with this. Uploading a ROM can take longer, downloading a ROM can take longer, and storing ROMs on your device can take up a lot of space. Now, there is a tutorial available to help cut back on those file sizes.
XDA Elite Recognized Developer and TV Producer AdamOutler wrote a tutorial to help decrease the size of stock tar ROMs that users can flash via Odin3 v3 and higher. As Adam explains:
I’ve been working with this for a bit and tonight I found that Odin will accept tar.md5.gz files. This is important for GNote2 users as the stock ROM is 1.2Gigs! You can get an extra 10-40% compression and 100% gaurantee that the files arrive to your users computer in the condition that you packaged them using this method. I have not found a guide on using the gz format so I thought I would write one up.
This can be quite useful because if you like to keep a stock tar around in case of emergencies, following his guide can make the file smaller and more manageable for those with limited storage. For developers who upload tars frequently, it can shorten upload times, as well as lower download times for the end user.
There are a few things to keep in mind. Once the tar.md5.gz is run through Odin, it loses the .gz and is extracted into a standard tar file again. This results in a full sized Odin ROM. It’s not really an issue, but it is something to keep in mind. Adam also gives an important warning for Verizon Galaxy Note 2 owners to be cautious about flashing after an IROM unlock:
Note to Verizon GNote2 users: Stay away from using Odin after IROM unlock as flashing a package intended for another device will perma-lock your device into another carrier’s bootloaders. Especially stay away from GS3 as the displays are not compatible.
In addition to the compression tutorial, AdamOutler has also updated his Hidden Menu application. It now includes an IMEI restore tutorial adapted from XDA Senior Member <:GeeK:> to work on the Verizon Galaxy Note 2. The tutorial will help with two things: backing up and restoring the NV items (IMEI, IMSI, and more).