February 21, 2014 By: Samantha
One interesting function Sony touted for their phablet, the Xperia Z Ultra, is its ability to react to ordinary pens and pencils—yes, pens and pencils—as a styli. Putting aside the obvious concern of scratching and ruining your phone’s screen with a pen, it’s still definitely a unique differentiating factor when you’re comparing different phablets.
Well, it turns out that the Xperia Z1’s screen also has this same capability, except it was disabled by Sony for some reason or another. First implemented in an AOKP ROM for the device, XDA Senior Member RyokoN has now made the this function available to any owner of the Xperia Z1 running the official firmware.
In order to get this working, you must edit edit hw_config.sh, or create an init.d script with the lines of code given by RyokoN. Don’t worry if this sounds a bit too brief and incomplete, as RyokoN has provided all the necessary steps and information to get this rather simple mod up and running. And for users of Tasker, RyokoN has also created an app to get Pen mode working with Tasker.
This mod is only compatible with materials made of metal, wood, and lead, so plastic and anything else will not work. If you want to give this a try, head over to the original thread for more information.
February 20, 2014 By: Samantha
Chances are that if you haven’t accidentally ripped or broken the headset that came with your phone, it’s probably hopelessly lost, never to be found. And on an Xperia device, that’s too bad because without it, you won’t be able to catch up on your favorite radio personality or listen to Top 40 without streaming it via mobile broadband. But hey, there’s now a way for Sony Xperia owners to listen to the radio without the required headset, thanks to a tutorial written by XDA Recognized Contributor DaRk-L0rD.
Much like the previously featured smali editing tutorials, this tutorial can be a quick and easy fix that anyone can follow and apply, be it a rookie or a pro. It simply requires knowledge of decompiling and compiling an apk, for which there many tutorials and tools, and of course, the actual Radio.apk file. After you’ve decompiled the APK, navigate to and open PhfHandler.smali. From there, make the necessary code changes, save the file, compile the APK, and push it to your device. There are also screenshots of the process for anyone looking for a bit more guidance.
If you are craving your daily morning radio but can’t seem to find the (no longer) required headset, check out the tutorial at the original thread to get started.
Ever since December of 2013, a large number of Sony Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra owners began to experience what has been dubbed and feared as an Xperia “Brickademic.” This issue that has garnered confused, angry, and disappointed responses spanning over more than 35 pages in the discussion thread, and the cause seems to be spawning from kernel incompatibilities that result from flashing an Android 4.3 firmware on a device running certain builds of Android 4.2.2. Now that it has been festering for a couple of months already, XDA Forum Members vovanx500 and the_laser have finally come out with a solution to the bricking problem.
Vovanx500 makes it clear at the beginning of the tutorial that the fix is not for the faint of heart, with the process requiring disassembling your device, which voids your warranty, in order to access the testpoint. The tutorial lays down the necessary steps to recover your bricked device, from guiding you on what has to be done once you’ve removed the back cover of your device, to running the actual program and finally getting the device back on track. The fix would not be possible without the efforts of the_laser, who developed the program used in the process, as well as vovanx500’s Xperia Z Ultra which was used as a guinea pig to find the testpoint.
This definitely isn’t a fix that everyone may want to try due to its complexity. But if you’re willing and have the nerve, head over to the original thread for more information.
[Thanks to Senior Member zeppelinrox for the tip!]
February 14, 2014 By: Samantha
For many Android users out there, the wallpaper on the home screen is like the centerpiece of the entire device, which is probably why we invest so much time with wallpaper apps and forum threads. Of course, the bad thing is that when you navigate to anywhere else on your device, you can no longer see the wallpaper. If you much prefer this not be on your Sony Xperia device, check out XDA Forum Member kalel2012’s transparent framework tutorial.
The tutorial goes about showing you how to edit your device’s Framework-res.apk so by the end, you have a transparent UI wherever you go. The process includes decompiling the APK, changing and adding lines of code to a couple of XML files, and finally recompiling it back together. To help you out, kalel2012 also provides screenshots accompanying the steps of the process.
This mod has been tested to work on the Xperia L running Android 4.1.2 and 4.2.2, and the SP running Android 4.1.2, but any other Xperia device running official Android Jelly Bean should also be compatible. However, 2013 Xperia devices need to have a modified Framework-res.apk and framework.jar to proceed, something which can be achieved a tutorial linked in the guide.
So if you’re wanting to see your magnificent wallpaper from every part of your phone, or are after a new look, head over to the original thread for more information.
February 8, 2014 By: Samantha
Being forced to look at a lock screen for the umpteenth time everyday can wear down someone’s liking towards said lock screen setup. So what does one do? You switch things up a bit—maybe a custom lock screen, or customizing it with mods, or even simply a new wallpaper. If however, you own a Samsung Galaxy S Advance, are looking for something different, and up for a challenge, why not give XDA Senior Member BOOTMGR’s Lock screen Blur Effect a go?
Inspired by the GravityBox Xposed Module, the tutorial is written specifically for devices running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. It is compatible with all lock screens, including AOSP, pattern lock, and the default Samsung lock screen. The mod, however, has only been tested by BOOTMGR and confirmed working on TouchWiz firmware, with no guarantee for users running other ROMs.
The process requires you to have android.policy.jar, APKtool, and Notepad++ at your side, and consists of decompiling android.policy.jar, adding, removing and changing code and files with those provided, and recompiling it. Once it’s all done and installed on your Galaxy S Advance, the mod will take a screenshot of your current screen when you’re locking your device, apply a blur effect, and set it as the lock screen wallpaper. Pretty neat.
If you want to check the mod out and give this a go, head over to the original thread for more information.
February 8, 2014 By: Samantha
A common way for Android users to delete a large number of apps, such as bloatware, is to find a convenient bloatware removal script. Just download the base script, edit it by adding and removing the undesirable apps, and run it on your device, and voila. Of course, using a text editor to change the script can be quite a tedious process, especially if you do this often or have a massive number of apps to remove. If this is the case, you may want to check out an alternate method of bloatware removal through an AROMA package.
Originally developed for the Samsung Galaxy Y by XDA Senior Member the_pirate_predator, the AROMA package simply named Bloatware Remover, allows you to not only perform the expected function of removing apps in bulk, but also enables you to easily choose which apps to remove right there and then. This means no more manually editing scripts with apps you wish to remove and save, a benefit many folks may appreciate. Additionally, to reduce instability and the time you spend finding a particular app, the_pirate_predator has made it so the AROMA installer only displays apps that can be deleted.
Additional kudos must be given to the_pirate_predator, as he has also provided a detailed guide to port this device-specific AROMA package to other devices, so users of other devices will also be able to give this bloatware removal method a go. So if you’re interested in trying out an alternate method of removing bloatware from your Android device, make sure to check out the original thread for the Galaxy Y, and the porting tutorial for more information.
Update: It seems like users looking to port this AROMA package still must manually include all the apps that one wants to be included as ‘bloatware’ during the porting process. However, no more script editing is required after this initial process is done.
February 6, 2014 By: Samantha
Although boot times have been significantly reduced in recent years, and reboots are now only very sporadically required due to unrecoverable lag or similar issues, it still seems like it can’t get any slower. This is why many folks have been resorting to disabling unneeded apps that run on startup in order to lessen the boot up speed. But what can you do when the Android platform does not have this option natively? Rather than going the easy way by downloading an app, why not add it to your settings page yourself? Well, this is exactly what XDA Recognized Contributor DaRk-L0rD shows Sony Xperia users how to do in a new tutorial.
Explained with clear and simple instructions, the process essentially consists of decompiling the Settings.apk, adding and changing lines of code within the numerous xml and smali files, and recompiling the APK back together. Because of this, DaRk-L0rD has provided a number of screenshots to accompany the written instructions in order to make things as clear and easy to follow as possible.
If you own a Sony Xperia device and wish to learn more, head over to the original thread and get started.
February 1, 2014 By: Samantha
Boy, have headphones changed in the last few years. From something that was simply a black wire that split into 2 earpieces, they’ve morphed into a plethora of options and varieties with an assortment of buttons, sliders, and connections, each meant to make your music experience a little bit more convenient. And with the addition of OEMs designing and creating earphones for specific device models, compatibility issues may arise when you plug them into a new device for the first time.
For Sony Xperia Z Ultra users, XDA Forum Member Pannam offers up a potential fix for issues with headphone / device incompatibility where certain buttons do not work on some devices. The fix basically consists of a simple tweak of a system value labelled headsethook. But first, you must install the provided keytest.apk and with it, find the numerical scancode of your headset. Once that’s done, simply change the headsethook value to the scancode of your headset. You then change the headset scancode to the original headsethook value, and install a third party headset app.
Although claimed to work with only the Xperia Z Ultra, it is likely that this will also work on other Xperia devices, as well as other Android devices in general. That said, always make a backup of the original files just in case things do not work out and you need to revert back to your previous settings. To find out more, visit the original thread.
January 30, 2014 By: Samantha
The LG G Pad 8.3 GPe is probably the only 8-inch tablet that ships with the pure Android experience, making it a standout choice for a growing trend of tablets armed with a screen of around 8 inches. Of course, by getting a GPe device, in this case the G Pad 8.3, one hopes to have greater lease of freedom regarding open development. And with this in mind, XDA Forum Member sleekmason has written a tutorial on kernels for the G Pad 8.3 GPe.
Basically covering from head to toe everything kernel related for your GPe G Pad 8.3, the tutorial has a main focus on teaching you how to download the kernel source of the tablet, compiling a new custom kernel with the source, and installing it onto your tablet. Users of the Linux operating system may find the tutorial easier to understand and follow, as sleekmason does note that the guide assumes a basic knowledge of the PC platform.
Sleekmason keeps the steps and explanations brief and simple without skipping on the important details. This is accompanied by plenty of examples of code and commands and links to external resources so you’ll know exactly what you’ll be doing when you compile and install your kernel onto your device.
So if you’re looking to compile your very own kernel for your G Pad 8.3 GPe, you can get started by visiting the original thread for more information.
January 19, 2014 By: Samantha
Starting out on XDA Developers as a newbie can be pretty daunting. With the nearly limitless possibilities with we can do with our Android devices, it can be quite hard to decide just where and how to start your developing journey. If you own a Samsung Galaxy S II and you find yourself in such situation, it might be a good idea to start off with the more basic tweaks. One simple, yet useful modification to get your started may be learning how to add home and lock buttons to your Galaxy S2’s status bar.
Written by XDA Senior Member corruptionfreeindia, the tutorial provides a necessary foundation for your modding journey by teaching you the basics of APK and XML editing with the steps of adding home and lock buttons to the status bar. The guide is simple and brief, but certainly does not skip out on any details, so you’ll know exactly what you’re doing.
If you follow the tutorial step-by-step, you’ll end up with the home button on the left of the status bar, and the lock button on the very right. If, however, you want to change it up and move things around, corruptionfreeindia provides a very simple way of doing so.
So if you’re interested in starting off your modding journey on your Galaxy S2, check out the original thread for more information.
January 18, 2014 By: Samantha
We’ve all pretty much gotten used to the standard Android navigation bar setup, which is normally any permutation of a back, home, and recent apps buttons. This generally features the home button right in the middle between the other two. But what about the power and menu buttons? Surely, they’re just as commonly accessed to warrant a place on the convenient navigation bar, right?
Well, XDA Senior Member Rajeev seems to think so. And as a result, he wrote a great tutorial on how to add both the power and lock buttons to the navigation bar of the Sony Xperia Z. The process is very simple, consisting of decompiling the SystemUI.apk, moving the provided images to the designated folder, adding and removing lines of code in a couple XML files, and finally recompiling it all back together into an APK and signing it off.
By default, you’ll end up with a navigation bar with all five buttons in the order of back, home, menu, lock, and recent apps, but switching the order up is just a easy. As explained by Rajeev further on in the thread, all you have to do is rearrange the order of the codes for these buttons in whichever way you like.
Any Xperia Z user who has either the official Android 4.1.2, 4.2.2, or 4.3 firmware running on their device will be able to follow the tutorial, although it may be possible for owners of similar Xperia devices to do so as well. If you would like to learn more, check out the original thread for more information.
With the new Android 4.3 update rolling out to the newer Sony Xperia handsets, and with the leaks going around for those still waiting, users may have discovered a new aesthetic feature called ‘Xperia Themes.’ They’re downloadable and customizable theme packs that change various elements of the whole Android interface, including your navigation bar, home screen icons and layout, and wallpaper. But since ‘Xperia Themes’ is only a recent addition to Xperia users, few custom themes are available for download. In order to remedy this, XDA Senior Member funky0308 decided to write a great tutorial on creating your own custom Xperia theme.
The process is very straightforward, consisting of editing an already existing theme’s APK by switching out the numerous PNG image files. Naturally, this means that you need some basic knowledge of decompiling and recompiling an APKs. Once it’s all done, install the new APK like a normal app, and you have your very own Xperia theme installed.
This tutorial was originally written by funy0308 only for the Xperia Z1, but any other Xperia device with the official Android 4.3 firmware running should also be compatible with these custom made themes. So if you can’t wait to get started, check out the original thread for more details. And if you’ve already made your own, share them with us in the forums!
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.