January 26, 2013 By: Joseph Hindy
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: Joseph Hindy
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.
January 7, 2013 By: Joseph Hindy
Previously, we posted about hidden menus on Samsung Galaxy devices. These menus can provide a number of useful functions and can actually help solve problems or make processes easier. In previous instances, the hidden menus have been used to restore bricks. There is now a tool for the Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note II that helps get to those hidden menus a little easier.
XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler repackaged the tool with CASUAL. It originally came from the Galaxy Note 2 IRC channel, and it’s quite simple to use. Enable USB Debugging on the phone, plug the device into your computer, click the “Do it” button in CASUAL, and enable the hidden menus on the phone. From there, you’ll have access to the following menus:
LTE Mode Menu
##Phone Util# Menu
While the hidden menus probably won’t be helpful to an average user, they often come in handy for various troubleshooting purposes or for finding more info about your device. The tool itself is a handy and quick way to get there, and is definitely work checking out.
For more details, check out the original thread.
December 18, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
One of the flagship features of Samsung’s Galaxy Note line is Multi-Window, which offers true on-screen multitasking by allowing you to simultaneously open two apps on the screen. Due to its popularity, it has even made its way officially to the Galaxy S III in the latest firmware updates, and unofficially ported to the good ole’ Galaxy S II right here at XDA.
While the feature is quite useful as it comes, our developer community isn’t exactly known for being content with stock features. As proof, we have seen several mods that extent the feature to support almost any app. XDA Recognized Developer LegendK95 has taken it one step further and released MultiWindow Complete Control for the Verizon Galaxy Note 2.
As the name implies, this mod grants you full control over the MultiWindow bar, allowing you to easily add or remove applications, sort them in alphabetical order, and even control Samsung’s predefined applications in the MultiWindow view. Do note that the mod is available for devices running a deodexed ROM based on the VRALJB firmware.
You can find more information, the download link, and installation instructions in the forum thread.
December 15, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
One of the coolest features of the new Galaxy Note II is the Multi Window feature. Most Galaxy Note II devices didn’t ship with the mod initially, and received updates from their various carriers. Then came a mod that allowed users to add any app they wanted to the Multi Window list, which makes it much more awesome. Now, the mod has been ported to the last variant to hit stores, the Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note II.
XDA Senior Member hairdewx posted a mod that lets users add any app to the Multi Window list. Unlike the most recent mods, which include an app that adds the apps for you, Verizon users are stuck using the old fashioned way for right now. This means de-compiling the apps, making the appropriate changes, re-compiling the app, and re-installing. Once done, the app will show up in the Multi Window bar.
The process isn’t difficult, but it does take some time for those unfamiliar with de-compiling and re-compiling applications. To do it, hairdewx suggests using APK Tool, which is a good idea since it’s well known and tutorials are easy to find. Eventually, a one-click method will show itself like with the other variants.
For more info, check out the original thread.
December 15, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Not long ago, great news came to Verizon Galaxy Note II owners that the Verizon Note II has had its bootloader unlocked. Now that developers can transfer some of the really cool stuff brought over to the Note II, they are doing just that. However, even before unlock, the Verizon Note II was a world phone capable of running on GSM and CDMA networks. The only issue? When on a GSM network, only phone calls and texts work. Now, there is a mod to make data work too.
XDA Forum Member joderme has released a method that gets data working when on a GSM network. XDA Recognized Developers adrynalyne and imnuts also gave a helping hand in the mod. In addition to making data work on GSM networks, the process will also get rid of the annoying error message about the SIM card not being from Verizon.
There are two ways to apply the mod. The manual way is to pull the apns-conf.xml, add the carrier data, put it back, and change permissions. Then you should be able to set it to that carrier and allow you to access data. The simpler way is a flashable zip that adrynalyne released, which allows users to edit these settings without pulling any files. There is also talk by imnuts of making a all-in-one APN file that works for all major networks. That is still a work in progress, but if it works, then users would just need to add that file and be done.
For the full details, check out the original thread.
December 12, 2012 By: Jimmy McGee
Recently, resident hardware hacker, XDA Elite Recognized Developer, and XDA Developer TV Producer AdamOutler got his hands on a Verizon variant of the new Samsung Galaxy Note II. He assembled a team of experts including Recognized Developer Ralekdev and fellow Elite Recognized Developer Rebellos. With a group this talented, they had the bootloader unlocked in no time. Why does Verizon even try?
This exploit involves installing Revision ROM as an Odin package, running CASUAL to exploit, and flashing the custom bootloader and TWRP recovery. It then ends by booting back into the ROM. Remember to boot back into the ROM. This is important because you wont get LTE back until CASUAL completes and tells you that you are unlocked. So grab a chair and check out this video.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II has been extremely successful, cashing in on the success of the original Galaxy Note and selling millions of units within weeks of its launch. If you got your hands on the Verizon variant of this 5.5″, quad-core powerhouse and can’t wait to root it, you’re in luck! The device has been rooted, and the method shared with us by XDA Senior Member droidstyle, with credits to XDA Recognized Contributors mrRobinson and Beanstown101.
What’s even better is that the method doesn’t require any exploits or commands. As with rooting most Samsung devices, it involves downloading the stock rooted Odin-flashable image for the carrier-branded Note 2 and flashing it to the device in download mode. Once flashed, you’ll have a rooted Note 2.
You can find the complete method and the relevant download links in the forum thread.