December 17, 2013 By: Samantha
There are a wealth of guides on the XDA forums that teach folks how to tinker with the information displayed in the ‘About Phone’ menu of an Android device, allowing people to change the build number, Android version, the ‘easter egg’ animation, among others. More often than not, such changes are only for novelty and aesthetic purposes, with no effect on the device’s performance, but that’s what make them fun.
Another equally nifty and neat modification Xperia device owners are able to perform is including a visual banner in the ‘About Phone’ menu along with the default information already displayed. Thanks to XDA Senior Member abo hani, a tutorial is available on the forums that teaches the steps, and it’s very simple and straightforward. The procedure essentially consists of decompiling the Settings.APK, inserting the provided .xml file, your image file, and a line of code. Then, you simply recompile and push it back.
The end result consists your new and improved ‘About Phone’ menu with a banner of your selected image at the top of the menu and above the rest of the device information. The tutorial was inspired by XDA Senior Member gravtec‘s collection of mods that modified the ‘About Phone’ menu to include a few images gravtec had chosen.
This is certainly a nifty little modification that I’m sure will interest quite a few people. If you are one of them, check out the tutorial at the forum thread for more information.
December 15, 2013 By: Samantha
One of the greatest challenges nearly all smartphones and tablets owners must face is applying a screen protector. It’s not something that any beginner will be able to accomplish immediately, but rather, a task that requires minutes of intense preparation and scrupulous planning, a patient and composed state of mind, and meticulous application. Of course, you can also get a someone else to do it for you, but there aren’t many things in the world more satisfying than a perfectly applied screen protector that you did all by yourself.
So although not quite mobile development, knowing how to install a screen protector on your smartphone or tablet without those pesky bubbles, dust, and lint getting trapped underneath is quite important and practical. Fortunately, XDA Senior Member BillTheCat has written a fantastic tutorial on doing just that.
Originally written back in 2011, BillTheCat has continuously updated the tutorial with methods and techniques that work well. The process is quite ingenious really, requiring a little bit of sticky tape, a wiping cloth and cleaning solution, and a suitable environment. The tutorial then continues describing and explaining each step of the application, with multiple images of each step providing visual guidance.
BillTheCat has also included a note on choosing your screen protector, providing a useful insights on different options available, from the cheap ones to the pricier options. The process detailed in the tutorial is intended for self-adhesive, non-water based screen protectors, but can also work for those requiring a spray method.
So for anyone who is struggling with applying a screen protector, check out BillTheCat’s guide over in its original forum thread to find out more.
Most, if not all OEMs, like to bundle devices with their own iterations of certain apps, especially music players, gallery apps, and video players. Most of the time, they’re not that different from one another, despite how much each OEM makes them out to be. Despite this, many folks still have their favorites in regards to which app they like best. This may be because they’ve recently moved on to another OEM’s device, or simply because they like the look of it.
Unfortunately, because these apps are developed only for the OEM’s own devices, not everyone is able to download and use them. Sure, there are worthy alternatives in the Play store, but some people are looking for a specific experience that they normally couldn’t get with other devices. One way to overcome this issue is to port these apps over, and XDA Recognized Themer and Contributor Rizal Lovins has written a tutorial on how to do just that.
The tutorial lays down the process needed to port OEM-specific apps, such as Sony Xperia Walkman app, to other devices. It outlines the requirements, the APK decompiling process, and points out the various lines of code that need to be changed. Rizal Lovins warns that not all apps can be ported this way and that porting apps native to Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich to Gingerbread will be quite difficult.
So if your device doesn’t have a port of an app native to another device and you would like to give this a go, visit the original thread for more information.
December 4, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
In this episode, XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan shows you how to root your Oppo N1. The Oppo N1 is hot news in the Android ecosystem. It is the device that is pushing the limit of phone size, and some say even phablet size. This thing is huge. But as usual at XDA, we must root all the things, and the Oppo N1 is no exception!
Jordan presents step-by-step instructions on how to gain root access on your Oppo N1 using tools from the XDA Developers Forums. First, Jordan shows you how to gain root access using XDA Senior Recognized Developer Jcase’s APK root exploit. Then, he installs TWRP and OmniROM. If you wanted to root your Oppo N1, take a moment and check this video out.
December 1, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Alongside the various user-facing and security-related changes introduced Android 4.4 KitKat, Google also significantly modified how the SMS Content Provider works. In Android 4.4, users can now select a default SMS app from within Settings -> Wireless & Networks. Then, two intent broadcasts are sent: one for all SMS apps (SMS_RECEIVED_ACTION) and one for only the default SMS app (SMS_DELIVER_ACTION). Thus, non-default SMS apps are able to receive incoming SMS messages, but they are not able to do certain things such as abort the broadcast.
Despite the positive effect on software modularity afforded by being able to select a default SMS app, the change also brings a few limitations. Namely, in order to delete (or restore) an SMS message, your app must temporarily become the default app if it isn’t already. This is problematic from a UX standpoint because there will be two mandatory prompts, where the user must select the default SMS app: one to select your app and one to revert.
Thankfully, XDA Senior Member stepic came up with a workaround that allows app developers to write to the SMS Content Provider in KitKat without being the default SMS app. Stepic made his discovery by looking in the Android source code and finding a special permission: OP_WRITE_SMS. Unfortunately, this workaround either requires user interaction or root access. However, this is only a one-time affair, rather than two prompts for user input every time a non-default SMS app needs to perform certain tasks.
If you’re an app developer looking to make an SMS app for KitKat, head over to the guide thread to learn more about this workaround.
“Just one last video”
Yes, I’ve had those too. A whole day wasted on YouTube watching cute cat videos, ‘epic’ failures, and hilarious Vine compilations. You try to assure yourself that the current video of someone faceplanting on the ground will be the last one for the day, but this only heightens the guilt when you press the replay button or the next video. So rather than wasting hours on YouTube, put that time to good use by creating boot animations of these videos so you can relive those moments every time you turn on your phone or tablet.
XDA Senior Member deathviper wrote a great tutorial on doing just that. Once you have installed the three required programs, being XDA Recognized Developer despotovski01‘s boot animation creator, an image resizer, and a video pad editor, all of which are free, you’re already well on your way. The procedure is very straightforward, consisting of resizing, and not stretching, your video to the resolution of your device. Then, you push it through the boot animation creator.
All the steps are well explained and illustrated with plenty of corresponding screenshots and helpful links to additional information. If a boot animation is the wrong size, don’t worry, as deathviper has also covered the necessary steps to get it working correctly on your device.
Deathviper’s guide definitely makes the process of converting and resizing your favorite videos a breeze. So if you’re interested in making this happen, head over to the forum thread to get started.
Ever since XDA Recognized Developer amarullz created the AROMA installer, we’ve seen it used in quite a variety of ways. One of the first proofs of concept was the constantly evolving AROMA File Manager by amarullz himself. We’ve also seen it used for ROM and kernel customization, toolkits, debloating utilities, and much more.
The widespread use of AROMA installer should come as no surprise. After all, the installer is both versatile and user friendly. So naturally, quite a few developers have adopted it into their own development work, making it their delivery method of choice. However, getting up and running with AROMA is understandably more difficult than creating a simple updater-script. But if the only thing holding you back from incorporating AROMA installer into your flashable files, XDA Senior Member Ayush Singh has a comprehensive guide aimed at getting you started with AROMA installer as efficiently as possible.
The guide, while clear and well documented, is understandably long. After all, it covers quite a lot of material. This ranges from initial setup and basic editing to things like visual customization, displaying menus and system information, and giving various options. Thankfully, every step along the way has sample code and an accompanying screenshot.
To get started, make your way over to the guide thread.
November 17, 2013 By: Samantha
System dump files of Android firmwares are just so immensely useful. It’s how everyone else can get their hands on the new, leaked version of firmware, the reason why we can taste the goodies of the new, chocolate flavor of Android on other devices. It’s also the foundation for porting features not native to the device you’re holding in your hand right now.
Thankfully, XDA Recognized Developer majdinj wrote a fantastic tutorial that makes learning how to create system dump files a breeze. Majdinj goes into much detail about every step of the process, including the prerequisites, the different methods of getting mounting points, dumping the /system partition, and mounting, reading, and extracting from the partition image. Visual learners will also feel right at home, with plenty of screenshots and images, as well as samples of code and commands accompanying the steps.
If you’ve found yourself staring at a binary with no idea of what it is, majdinj has written and included a very helpful and convenient legend, explaining and clarifying them. Additionally, the guide has been written with beginners in mind, with the process focusing more on the manual way of doing things, without the inclusion of tools. By bringing it back to the basics, beginners will hopefully be able to also understand the concept of the process without taking shortcuts.
So if you’ve found yourself with an unknown or rare breed of firmware, share it with the world by heading over to the original forum thread and getting started.
November 6, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
In this episode, XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan shows you how to root your Google Nexus 5. The Google Nexus 5 is hot news in the Android ecosystem. It is the first device released with Android 4.4 KitKat, and that is a good thing. But as usual at XDA, we must root all the things, and the Nexus 5 is no exception to that!
Jordan presents step-by-step instructions on how to gain root access and unlock the bootloader on your Nexus 5 using tools from the XDA Forums. First, Jordan shows you how to unlock the device. Then, he gain root access using XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire‘s CF-Auto-Root. If you wanted to root your brand new Google Nexus 5, take a moment and check this video out.
November 6, 2013 By: Samantha
Bloatware hasn’t been much of an issue for Android users for quite a while now. Once rooted, the gates fly wide open to the beautiful, green pastures of customization. This provides a wide array of ways to get rid of useless, preinstalled software. From then on, you may freely take your picking. Maybe a custom ROM interests you? Perhaps you’d prefer something lighter, such as Titanium Backup? Perhaps a debloat script fits the bill.
There are a great selection of scripts out there for folks who find the final option enticing. However, the issue is that they may not always exactly fit the bill. This is since more often than not, debloat scripts only provide limited options as to which apps are to be removed. Because of this, it’s great to see a tutorial written by XDA Recognized Contributor DaRk-L0rD on how to write your own debloat script for the Xperia T, TX, and V.
The guide comprehensively covers every step of the process, from the necessary tools and requirements, to every line of code that’s needed, to creating the actual ZIP file to be flashed through a custom recovery. In order to aid and streamline the process, DaRk-LorD, along with the help of various forum users, has compiled an exhaustive list of system apps and whether they are safe to remove or not.
If you’d like to try this out, head over to the guide thread.
A couple of days ago, we talked about how you could get some of the KitKat goodies on your Jelly Bean device, thanks to some APKs that were extracted once the Nexus 5 factory images were released. While it is obviously preferable to have the real thing, these KitKat apps are the next best thing if you are on a device without a stable KitKat build—well, other than learning how to build from source and creating a port for your own device yourself.
The previous article focused on getting the launcher, new Hangouts app, Camera, Google Now, and Gallery working. Now, there is a fantastic guide by XDA Recognized Themer ATTACK that shows you how to get KitKat-style gradients in your Status and Navigation Bars, assuming you have an AOSP-based ROM. This involves decompiling, modifying, and recompiling your android.policy.jar and SystemUI.apk files, but there’s a guide for that.
Then to top it all off, XDA Senior Member ivn888 created a thread with all of the KitKat wallpapers, sounds, fonts, and even the boot animation. The wallpapers are available as standard images, and the sounds, boot animation, and fonts are flashable ZIPs.
To get started, head over to the gradient status and navigation bars guide and the wallpapers, boot animation, sounds, and fonts thread.
And for those who want to see the overall product of using these customizations, XDA Senior Member enricocid created a KitKat-flavored ROM for the Galaxy Nexus incorporating these goodies. While it’s not KitKat, and there are already some highly-functional builds available, the look is pretty convincing.
October 31, 2013 By: egzthunder1
Some things simply have fantastic timing when it comes to releases. Halloween is the day when we bask in all those creepy monsters and nightmare-ish creatures that come out only during the night. In order to better celebrate this wonderful, candy stuffing holiday, we came across a small tutorial that should make your gore-craving inner zombie tremble in its boots.
As some of you may remember, Dead Trigger was released about a year and change ago, and it was dubbed as one of the best FPS games for handheld devices. The graphics, when Google demoed them in front of a live audience, were simply amazing. However, there was a small caveat and that was that the app needed to run on Tegra 2-equipped devices in order to display all the blood and flying pieces of God-only-knows-what. Long story short, it turns out that while powerful, the Tegra 2 did not really have anything special that made the blood richer. Rather, it was in fact a software lock that would automatically lower the image quality if the device was not running NVIDIA’s hardware. A simple work around was found, and the world was happy once again.
Fast forward to 2013. As it turns out, the sequel to Dead Trigger (Dead Trigger 2) also suffers from the same predicament, but with the only difference that now the hardware of choice is the Tegra 4. Much as it was the case before, there is yet again a simple fix to get your Halloween thirst for blood satisfied once again thanks to XDA Forum Member A N D Y.
Andy penned a simple tutorial that involves some slight editing of a few values in a xml file. The file is located in the /data/data/com.madfingergames.deadtrigger2/shared_prefs folder and it is called, you guess it, com.madfingergames.deadtrigger2.xml. (You will need some kind of file manager with Root explorer capabilities in order to get there). Once inside, simply put the values suggested by the dev in the entries that require them, save the changes, change some permissions and voila! You have high quality blood jumping at you front, right and center.
This mod should work for most devices. Needless to say, Dead Trigger 2 does require somewhat good hardware in order to run properly, so make sure that you have enough horsepower before you put your device on its knees by making it process more than it can handle. Please leave some feedback regarding your experience and which device(s) you tried this on.
You can find more information in the original thread. Have fun and happy Halloween!
Usually when you think of the word “tethering,” you think of using your mobile device’s data connection to provide the glorious Internet awesomeness of memes and lolcat images to your desktop or laptop computer. Often times, however, you may find yourself in need of Internet access on your mobile device in an area lacking WiFi or network connectivity. In these cases, you must reverse tether.
XDA Forum Member phamthanhnam created a detailed guide for rooted users that allows you to share your PC’s Internet connection with your mobile device over USB. This works with Windows, Linux, and Mac, and it does not require any additional tools. However, you must enter in some terminal commands on your mobile device.
As stated above, you need to be rooted. Further, your device must support USB tethering (under Wireless & Networks). Often, this is disabled by stock ROMs, but can be easily re-enabled. You also need a PC with a working Internet connection, a USB cable, and a terminal emulator on your Android device. Alternatively, you could enter the Android terminal commands via ADB rather than terminal emulator, if you have it installed.
Now, we’re not going to lie. There are quite a few steps required to make this work. However, the end result is reverse tethering without having to install ANY additional bloat-inducing software.
Grab a cup of coffee and make your way over to the guide thread to get started.