Rooting: Advantages, Disadvantages and Myths

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Rooting: Advantages, Disadvantages and Myths

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So you got a new phone and you’re wanting to delve into the world of Android rooting. A lot of questions are probably going through your mind. Should I root it? Should I not root it? What could happen if I do? These are all very logical questions that I’m sure the majority of us have asked ourselves at one point or another. So in this article, we’re going to dive head first into the world of Android root, and hopefully make things a little more clear for you.

 

Some of you may be asking, “Well what does root really mean?”

To root your phone basically means to have administrator rights over the system partition on your phone. It can somewhat be compared to having administrator rights on your Windows PC. Basically this means that you can install, and uninstall whatever you want on your phone. Sounds good right? It is. However, there are a couple valid reasons why your phone does not have this access right out of the box. Supposed you’re new to Android and notice that upon turning your phone on, you instantly have access to every system app and system file that is available on your phone. Woah! Careful though, you have no idea what you can or cannot delete without messing something up. You’re smart though, you can use common sense to get you through this. Next thing you know your phone no longer boots up, it won’t even charge! This is one of the many valid reasons that your phone does not come out of the box with superuser access. Believe it or not, it’s disabled to actually protect you!

So now that we’ve got that out of the way, you’re probably thinking “Well should I or shouldn’t I?” The answer to that question is entirely up to you. So let’s go through the advantages AND the disadvantages of rooting your Android device.

Advantages:

Debloat. Bloatware apps are usually carrier specific apps that come preinstalled on your device. They can be helpful, or they can be a nuisance. Keep the ones you want, get rid of the ones you don’t, permanently. NOTE: permanemtly deleting apps bloatware from your device can some times make ota updates fail.

Install and use those “root required” apps. Such as MyBackup Pro, Root Explorer and many more! These apps can become very useful tools in the rooting world and give you so much more control over your device.

Mods, tweaks and themes. Want to have your clock centered? Well that requires root to be able to install or flash a modified SystemUI.apk.

Custom ROMs. ROMs are basically packages of custom made Android software that you can install on your device to have all the nice little features that custom ROMs come with. Rooting is the first step in being able to flash ROMs.

Control “startup apps.” With root permissions, you can even control what apps start automatically when you turn your device on!

These are just some of the very very many advantages to rooting your Android device. Now let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages. (Yes those actually exist.)

Disadvantages:

You may soft brick, or perma brick your device. “Bricking” has 2 forms basically. Softbrick, which is where your phone either bootloops or won’t boot at all, but you still have access to Recovery and/or Fastboot. “Permabrick” or “hardbrick” is exactly how it sounds. You’re phone is a paperweight. It will not boot, it will not charge, and you have no access to Recovery and/or Fastboot.

You’re opened up to making a lot more mistakes, such as deleting your phone.apk, your Settings.apk. You’d be surprised at how much it actually happens. (However, this is why we have websites such as Rootjunky.com and XDA!)

Ok so now we got those out of the way as well, let’s get into some rooting myths!

Myths:

“Once you root, you will no longer receive OTA updates.” – This is simply not true at all. You will still receive the OTA update on your phone if you’re still on the stock software, and you can still install that OTA update as well. However, you WILL lose root access. This can be a pain if your bootloader is not unlocked. You will have to wait for someone to verify that root access is still possible on the new software version.

“Rooting voids your warranty.” – No. No. No. Rooting absolutely does not void your warranty. The absolute only way that root voids your warranty, is if it can be proven :-), that rooting was the direct cause of your issue. However, this is also a confusing subject. Some carriers don’t really care what you do, and some do. Those that do, will not hesitate to deny you any service or replacements if your phone is rooted. Some do not check at all and do not care. Then again, this also varies between OEMs (Motorola, LG, HTC, Samsung). Some OEMs follow the rule I posted above, and some will not grant you any repairs if your device is rooted. The main reason that some places do not care is because of one simple thing, rooting, can in now way at all, damage your device. All rooting does, is install 1 app (Superuser app of choice) and install 1 file (usually in /system/xbin). That’s it. It can in no way cause your touchscreen to stop working, cause your wifi to stop working, cause you to lose mobile data, none of that. It simply can’t do it, unless YOU mess with something after the fact. Keep in mind what I said before though. This is exactly why we have websites like Rootjunky.com and XDA. If something happens, you have a very good chance of recovering your device.

So there you have it. Some advantages, disadvantages, and even some myths about Android rooting. The choice is always up to you if you root or not. That being said, let me leave you with some tips!

1.) Always always always do your research first! Find out what Android version your device is on, find out if it has been confirmed to be able to be rooted.

2.) Try to stay away from Toolkits and “one-click” methods. I’m not saying that the people that make such methods don’t know what they’re doing. What I’m saying is, if you’re going to get into this world, learn the way it used to be done! Learn your adb commands, learn your fastboot commands! Don’t take Android modding away from it’s roots.

3.) When you find a guide about rooting your device, FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS TO THE “T!!!” Do not cut corners, do exactly what the guide tells you to do!

4.) Last but not least, always make sure you perform backups before flashing ROMs. Always make sure you have a recovery plan before doing ANYTHING to your phone.

Well hopefully this article helped you learn something, and hopefully it made the decision a little easier on you. The Android community is very amazing community that is just filled with people willing to help others out when they’re in need. We’re a community that you absolutely WILL NOT find anywhere else. On that note, be safe, be smart, read, read some more, and have fun!!

 

BY

Gary H

 

Android 5.1 Rumors

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Android 5.1 Rumors

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Android 5.0 (Lollipop) isn’t even available for most Android phones yet, but Google may already be working on an update for the software.

A new version of Android called 5.1 is reportedly coming in February, according to the blog “Android Pit

The blog claims to have spoken with two “trusted sources” familiar with the situation.

Based on the reported list of new features coming in the update, it sounds like some minor improvements and bug fixes are coming.

One notable fix, for example, seems to be the addition of a silent mode to Lollipop.

When Android 5.0 was initially released in November, users complained about the lack of a “silent mode” for notifications. Rather, users can choose from three options when it comes to notifications: None, Priority, or All.

“None” keeps your phone entirely silent, which also means your screen doesn’t light up when you get a text or notification. “Priority” mode silences almost everything except for alarms, and only allows notifications from certain designated contacts to come through. And “All”, as you can imagine, just allows all notifications to come through normally with sound.

Here’s a list of features and bug fixes that will supposedly come with Android 5.1.

  • Silent mode added after missing on Android 5.0
  • General improvements in system stability
  • Improved RAM management
  • Fixes for sudden app closures
  • Improved battery management
  • Excessive consumption of network devices when used Wi-Fi fixed
  • Issues with wireless connections fixed
  • Problems with Okay Google function solved
  • Notifications problems solved
  • Some sound problems experience by certain devices fixed
  • Other improvements and changes
  • Changes in the Material Design color palette (after users complaints, possibly for a higher version though)

Keep Following closely as we will update you on any Android 5.1 rumors and News

By: Gary H.

Learn how to create a theme

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Learn how to create a theme for your Android device!

Way back in the old android days, people actually made their own themes in the form of a zip file. Crazy right!?! That meant you had to download the ROM, gapps (if needed) and another zip file for the theme you wanted. This also meant that when flashing, you had to flash all 3. Now keep in mind that zip themes were made primarily for stock OEM based ROMs. Your source based ROMs which were typically based off of CyanogenMod had the Theme Chooser, so zip themes weren’t needed.

So why make zip themes now? Well for the same reason they were made before. Not everyone wants to run a potentially buggy custom software. Some people would rather run their TouchWiz, Sense, LG stock or Moto Blur based stock software.(way back in the day it was Moto’s stock UI).  They preferred it simply for one reason, everything worked. You didn’t lose the functionality that made you buy the device in the first place which some times happens with custom roms.

So why are we reading this extremely long article? Well, I’m hoping that you’re reading this because you’re interested in making a zip theme. If you are, then please continue on. For this tutorial, we will be following how to get setup on Windows system.

There are some prerequisites to making a zip theme and here they are:

WinRAR – 32bit 
64bit 

7zip – 32bit 
64bit 

Apktool Files

Java JDK

Notepad++ 

Paint.NET (free image editing tool)

Download and install Java JDK 6 (make sure you get the right OS build and either 32bit or 64bit)
Download an install Winrar. After installing, your zip files will now have an icon that looks like a stack of books.
Download Apktool. After it downloads, right click the zip file and click on “Extract Files…” and extract the Apktool zip to your desktop.
Download and Install Notepad++
Download and install Paint.NET

Getting Started:

One of the first things you’re going to want to do, is take the framework-res.apk and the SystemUI.apk off your phone and put it on your computer. You can do this by various means such as a root file explorer and an sdcard.

For purposes of this guide, we are going to assume you’re editing the SystemUI.apk and the framework-res.apk because these are the 2 main files for making a theme for a ROM.

Now take whatever apks you are editing and move them to your PC.

Now let’s go back to the Apktool folder on your desktop. It should look like this:

apktool

And your folder directory should look like this;

folder directory

 

Now take the apks that you just took from your phone, and put them in the apktool folder like this:

added apks

 

Now go back to your desktop. Now we’re going to hold the “shift” key, and right click on the Apktool folder. On the menu that pops up, select “Open command window here” and you should see this:

 

commandprompt

 

Obviously, your path to Apktool will not be the same as mine, that’s irrelevant. (Note: Anything you type into the command prompt IS case sensitive! Make sure you type everything correctly, or just copy and paste the commands from here!)

In that command prompt window, type the following code:

apktool if framework-res.apk

What this code does, is install the framework-res.apk in case it’s needed to edit any other files (and it will be).

You will see a message in the command prompt that says installation of the framework was successful.

Now it’s time to decompile the SystemUI.apk for edits, for that you will use this command:

apktool d SystemUI.apk

What this command does is tell apktool to “d” or decompile, the SystemUI apk.

Your command prompt should now look like this:

 

Now go back to the Apktool folder on your desktop and you’ll notice there is now a folder in there named “SystemUI” this will be where you make your edits. A few tips: Most of the images you will edit will be in the /res/drawable-hdpi folder. DO NOT EDIT ANY XMLS OR IMAGES THAT END IN .9 THESE CAN CAUSE SERIOUS SYSTEM ISSUES! READ UP ON THEM BEFORE YOU START EDITING ANYTHING IN XML FILES OR .9 IMAGES. When editing images, make sure the image keeps the EXACT same file name. You cannot change the name of any icons, that will come later.

Ok so let’s say that you have now finished all of your image edits and you’re ready to see your own work! That’s the simple part (as long as you didn’t mess anything up lol).

So now after editing, go back to your command prompt window. If you don’t remember how to do it, hold down “shift” and right click on the Apktool folder, then select “Open command window here.”

If you closed the command prompt window earlier, you need to reinstall the framework-res.apk with “apktool if framework-res.apk”

Now in that same command window, type or copy/paste the following:

apktool b SystemUI

This command tells apktool to “b” or build what is in the SystemUI folder, DO NOT put “.apk” after SystemUI or you will get errors.

 

 

Now navigate to the apktool folder again and go the following directory /apktool/SystemUI/dist

Inside there is your newly built SystemUI.apk, however, you’re not going to use it lol. You’re only going to use parts of it.

Rename that new SystemUI.apk to something distinguishable, like “newSystemUI.apk.”

Now right click that new apk and hover over “7zip” and select the top option which is “Open Archive”

Now go back to the apktool folder and open the old SystemUI.apk the SAME WAY! Right click, hover over 7zip, select “Open Archive.”

The same kind of window will pop up.

Now here’s where things get a little tricky.

You’re going to need to put these 2 7zip windows side by side!!!

Now hold down “ctrl” and highlight the following items in the NEW apk window:

res folder

resources.arsc

Now drag and drop both of those items into the OLD apk window.

Close out all windows

Now take that OLD SystemUI.apk which has the new images in it, and place it back on your sdcard.

Use a Root File Explorer on your phone and move the SystemUI.apk to /system

Now press and hold on the file and select “Permissions”

Make sure the permissions look like this:

Now move that apk to /system/app (or priv-app, whichever folder you took it from earlier)

Now reboot

Your phone should boot backup normally and you will see the changes you made.

Now repeat this process for every apk you’re editing.

If your phone fails to boot, you messed something up, seriously you did lol.

A few more tips and notes:

SystemUI’s and framework-res.apk’s are NOT inter-changeable. You cannot take these files from other ROMs and place them in yours.
Again, DO NOT touch the XML files, or the 9 patch images (images that end in .9) until you have read up on them A LOT. There are tons of posts that talk about dealing with .9 images and XML edits.

If you have any questions, please post  comment and I will try my hardest to answer as many as I can. A little later I will write an article on making your own flashable zip file, to put your apks in that way you can flash your theme, instead of copy/paste.

NOW GET OUT THERE AND MAKE SOME THEMES!!!!!

 

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