Android Factory Reset Protection

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Android Factory Reset Protection

What are the pros and cons of Android factory reset protection? This is a new feature that is included with Android version 5.1.1. First, I have to state that any security measures that can be added to your android device will only improve the safety of your personal data. That being said, you as the owner of the device, should also have the option and control to turn these features on and off as you choose. For example, unlocked bootloaders, carrier unlock, factory reset protection, and Write Protect to name just a few.

Pros

1. Device will not even boot to lock screen without the correct password. Kernel level password check.

2. Using Android device manager, you can remotely locate and/or wipe the data on your device.

3. If your device is lost, stolen, or wiped, only someone with your Google account or screen lock information can use the device.

 

Cons

1. Device protection is automatically turned on when you add a Google account and setup a lock screen password. I list this as a con because it is automatic.

2. If you have Factory Reset Protection turned on and you mess something up, it will not boot or you forgot your password, then you will also not be able to reset it in stock recovery. The only way to fix this is to use a tool like odin, rsd lite, fastboot, or lg flash tool to restore the factory firmware.

3. If you can’t provide your Google account information during the setup process, you won’t be able to use the device at all after factory reset.

 

Sprint put together a great little walk through explaining how to turn on and off Factory Reset Protection. HERE IS THE LINK

Another great read on this subject from Google  HERE

Important: If you reset your Google account password and need to do a factory reset, you need to wait 72 hours after changing your password to reset your device. This is for security purposes.  

 

Rooting: Advantages, Disadvantages and Myths

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Rooting: Advantages, Disadvantages and Myths

hydroponics-myths-570x321

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

 

US Cell Phone Carrier Unlocking Policies

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US Cell Phone Carrier Unlocking Policies

unlock carrier

Policies: Verizon | AT&T | Sprint | T-Mobile | US Cellular

First what is carrier unlocking and why might I want this for my device? If your device is carrier unlocked then you can put any carriers sim card in your phone and it will work as long as the device you are using supports that carriers network frequencies. On the other hand if your cell phone is carrier locked then it is stuck on whatever carrier you have and will not work on any other network.

Note: Most people confuse bootloader unlocking with carrier unlocking. These are to very different things carrier unlocking has to do with the Network and bootloader unlocking has to do with freedom to flash custom firmware / OS to your device.

Above you will find linked all the policies for these major carriers. Check to see if you meet the requirements and can get your device carrier unlocked for free through there programs. If you aren’t eligible then start Googling carrier unlock and you will find that there are many free and paid for services out there that can accomplish this task of unlocking your phones networks for you. Most cost 25 dollars or less some are even free.

As of today Feb 11th 2015 the FCC and CTIA is forcing all carriers to allow customers to unlock there phones if they meet the requirements listed. So go check out your carriers policy and see if you are eligible.  Now you will be able to bring your device to any carrier and not have to buy a new one if you don’t want to. As a customer you bought the device and you should fully own it and have full control not the OEM or the carrier.

Other Important Links:  FCC device unlocking FAQ | CTIA Consumer Code for Wireless Service

 

Sony Firmware Restore

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Sony Firmware Restore

Today we will be talking about using FlashTool-0.9.18.4 to restore your Sony android device to stock firmware also to unbrick your device if needed.

Flashing Firmware with Flash Tool Requirements

1. Sony phone or tablet

2. USB cable to connect device to your computer

3. Sony Drivers downloaded and installed

4. Download FlashTool-0.9.18.4 and install

5. Some time. I would plan on 1 hour depending on your internet speeds of course.

Instructions

1. Open FlashTool-0.9.18.4

Flashtool start

2. click on devices then check updates scoll through the options and pick your device family

pick device

3. look thought this next list for your model. If you right click on branding you can check release and it will show you the version

model 2

4. once you have the version you want then click that file and it will download

downloading firmware

5. After downloading and extract the firmware along with some decryption you will see this page

extracted firmware

6. select all files and click arrow moving them all to the other side like the picture below then click create. once the FTF restore file is created you can flash it.

create firmware button

7. click flash button on the tool that looks like a Lightning bolt. then choose Flashmode. pick your newly pulled firmware from the list and click the flash button.

flash firmware

8. the flash tool will tell you to unplug your device and plug it back in while you are holding the volume down button. keep holding volume down until the flash starts. once 100% the device will reboot it self or you can unplug and manually boot it back up and you will be restored and unbricked. NOTE: if you dont want to wipe out your apps and data uncheck the wipe section boxs.

 

Will add to this post as i learn more.

Motorola Firmware Restore

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Motorola Firmware Restore Plus Unbrick

In this tutorial i will be covering restoring and unbricking your motorola device by flashing the stock fimware. We will be using RSD lite (Motorola Program) along with using fastboot and a batch file. This tutorial will be for windows user only since i dont have a mac. First lets cover the older Motorola droid devices that use RSD lite

WARNING Restoring your Motorola firmware will factory reset your device and you will loose all data on the device and have to set it back up like a new phone.

RSD Lite Firmware flash Requirements

1.  Motorola device

2.  USB cable for device

3.  Download the Motorola Drivers and install them your PC

4.  Download RSD lite Program and install it on your PC

5. Download your devices latest firmware. (NOTE) The best way to find out what device and firmware you need is to go into phone settings then about phone. Look at System Version plus build number. Between these you should be able to figure out the firmware you will need. Another good thing to find out is the device code name. Normally a quick Google search can accomplish this task. If you dont know this info and your device is bricked then start Googling it. You can get your motorola firmware from my server or Motofirmware.com

Flashing firmware

(NOTE) It is highly recommended that your device is fully charged before starting this firmware flash. Older devices have small batteries and can die during the restore which would be bad. The only way to fix a dead bricked motorola android device is with this factory cable that can send power to the device even with a dead battery. This cable comes in really handy at times and can be picked up from amazon if needed.

1. Place your phone into AP Fastboot Mode. Turn off the device then press and hold both volume up and down then hold power, now wait 5 seconds and release then buttons. You should now see a screen like this one.

ap fastboot

2. Now connect the USB cable to the device and let the motorola drivers you downloaded and installed on the PC, install for the device. This may take up to 5 minutes.

3. Open the RSD lite program and make sure it sees your device like in the picture below

RSD lite

4. click on the 3 dots where it says file name and select your firmware you downloaded. (NOTE) if the firmware is in a zip then just select it. If you extracted the firmware already, then select the XML file

XML

5. Click start button on RSD lite and sit back and wait for the device to finish the restore. Once the device has finished it will reboot and you will see the setup screen. Now you have unbricked and restored your stock firmware to your Motorola device.

(NOTE) Do not bump or unplug the device while flashing the firmware. This could cause a hard brick and your device will be dead. Also, if  the device gets stuck in a bootloop on reboot, just boot the device into stock android recovery, then wipe data factory reset the device. This will fix the bootloop. Below is a video on this process.

HERE IS A GREAT POST ON XDA THAT COVERS THIS EVEN MORE

 

 

 Fastboot Firmware Flash Requirements

1.  Motorola device

2.  USB cable for device

3.  Download the Motorola Drivers and install them your PC

4.  Download Fastboot and ADB files 

5.   Download your devices latest firmware (Note) best way to find out what device and firmware you need is to go into phone settings then about phone. Look at System Version plus build number between these you should be able to figure out the firmware you will need. Another good thing to find out is the device code name. Normally a quick Google search can accomplish this task. If you dont know this info and your device is bricked then start Googling it. You can get your motorola firmware from my server or Motofirmware.com

Flashing firmware

(NOTE) It is highly recommended that your device is fully charged before starting this firmware flash. Older devices have small batteries and can die during the restore which would be bad. The only way to fix a dead bricked motorola android device is with this factory cable that can send power to the device even with a dead battery. This cable comes in really handy at times and can be picked up from amazon if needed.

1. Place your phone into AP Fastboot Mode. Turn off the device then press and hold both volume up and down then hold power, now wait 5 seconds and release then buttons. You should now see a screen like this one.

bootloader mode

 

2. Now connect the USB cable to the device and let the motorola drivers you downloaded and installed on the PC, install for the device. This may take up to 5 minutes.

3. Extract the firmware and fastboot / adb files you downloaded to the same folder on your desktop like the picture below.

fastboot plus firmware

 

4. Click on the file in the folder ending in .bat This is a batch file that will open and flash all the firmware in this folder. Once the firmware is flashed and if you dont have any errors, then in fastboot mode on the device, select normal power up and the device will power up and be fully restored.

(NOTE) Using a batch file and fastboot to restore your device is the preferred method over RSD lite. RSD lite sometimes hangs on some steps in the XML and can be a real pain. Here is a video of me using a batch file to restore one of my Motorola Android devices.

 

Moto E Super Tool

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Moto E Super Tool

This is a little script tool I made up for the Moto E XT1023 The Firmware restore will only work on the XT1023 but all other options should work on all the variants of the Moto E
It is really simple. But requires a unlocked bootloader video HERE If you need help with bootloader unlock
Click image for larger version</p><br />
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Views:	2147<br /><br />
Size:	59.8 KB<br /><br />
ID:	2791689

Download the Moto E Super Tool
extract the tool to your desktop
Turn on usb debugging mode on the device
install the Motorola drivers
Run the Moto E 1 Moto-E-Restore-XT1023.bat file
then just select what you want to do
1. Root your Moto E
2. Flash TWRP Recovery
3. Flash Stock Android Recovery
4. Flash CWM recovery
5. Remove the unlocked bootloader warning
6. Fully restore the Moto E to stock
7. Fully restore plus Relock the bootloader

Newest release V2
Change Log

Vision 1 first release
Version 2
updated TWRP
Updated Supersu.zip

DOWNLOAD SUPER TOOL

Hope this will help out some noobs

LiveBoot App

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[ROOT] LiveBoot

Live boot

 

LiveBoot is a boot animation that shows you logcat and dmesg outputs on-screen as they happen. Output configuration includes logcat categories, whether to show dmesg, and the amount of lines that should fit on your screen. For Pro users there’s also the option to make the output transparent and overlay the default boot animation.A feature is built-in to test your current configuration without rebooting. The lines shown in test mode may be limited and relatively static, this does not reflect exact boot time behavior as much as it just shows you that it works and how big the text will be.Note that LiveBoot will only show up after the data partition is mounted. If you need to enter a decryption key or pattern at boot, it will not show up until you have done so.RootThis app does not only require root, it requires specifically SuperSU version 2.40 or newer, due to how the boot-time code is launched.

Compatibility

Officially the app supports 4.3+ and newer, but really it is aimed at 5.0 firmwares. Regardless of 4.3, 4.4, or 5.0, the app may work on your device or it may not. I’ve gotten it to work on a bunch of my own devices on various firmwares, but not on all. Even if the test run functionality works, this does not necessarily mean it will actually work during boot. It usually does, but not always.

This does indeed also mean I cannot guarantee continued operation – even if it works for you today, it may fail your next firmware update. If that is an issue for you, then you should definitely not update to Pro.

The risk of bootloops is extremely low, but not completely non-existent. Should a bootloop occur, removing either the app’s APK or /system/su.d/0000liveboot through recovery should fix the problem.

The app writes to /system, as such your firmware must allow this. There is no recovery-based install option at this time.

Pro

There’s an in-app purchase to upgrade to Pro, which supports my developments, and unlocks the transparency option.

Of course, if you have one of the paid variants of the old live logcat or live dmesg boot animations from all those years ago installed, this will also enable Pro mode.

Like some of my other apps these days, if you don’t have Google Play but still managed to install the APK, this will also enable Pro mode.

Last but not least, if you simply don’t want to pay for it, there’s also a button to enable Pro mode.

Script

If /system/su.d/0000liveboot.script exists (chmod 0644, not 0700 like other files in /system/su.d/ !), this script will be run instead of logcat and dmesg, and its output will be shown in white (stdout) and red (stderr).

Discussion/support/etc

Please see the official app thread on XDA-Developers.com here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/android/apps-games/liveboot-t2976189

Also check out Chainfires post on Google Plus here: https://plus.google.com/+Chainfire/posts/G4GjETEQhR1

This is one really cool Liveboot App that will be really helpful for developers to use. Go check it out for yourself

Download the app here from Google Play LiveBoot

Android wear gets updated to Lollipop

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Android wear gets updated to Lollipop

Android Wear has been updated to Android version 5.0.1 today with some nice to features to boot. Some of the most notable are the recent apps menu and the Silence pull down now also has theater mode, sunlight mode, and settings. This is a nice set of new features. Lastly you also get a chance to cancel the swipe away notification if you swiped it away and didnt mean to. Below you will see and video on these new features on my Moto 360 check it out

Moto 360 Android wear updated to Lollipop 5.0.1 new features

Android black Friday deals

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Android black Friday deals

The best Black Friday Android Deals for 2014 for those of you who want the best bang for your buck this year on cool new tech.

Walmart has a amazing deal on a 7in RCA Tablet for $29.99 this isnt a flash ship device but for the price it is pretty good.  With specs like this 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 1GB DDR3 of system memory, 7″ TFT touchscreen, 1024 x 600 resolution. Not a bad device for the for the price. check it out HERE

Kindle Fire Phone 32GB GSM version is only $199, not a bad deal at all, will work on GSM networks like AT&T or T-Mobile. This is the off contract price so go get yours now.

How about a Google Chromecast device for $23.99 which is a good deal from the normal $39.99 check it out here at Amazon 

If you are interested in dirt-cheap tablets, check out Kindle Fire HD6 at $79 and HD7 at $109, check it out here.  a lot of amazon tablets and devices are on sale today.

Verizon actually has the best Black Friday deals out of all the carriers by offering free Galaxy S5 or Moto X 2nd-gen with 2 year contract.  But their best deal is on the LG G Watch, just $99!  Check out all Verizon Black Friday deals here.

Try the Tech Tribe Razor USB portable charger, which is on sale at just $21.99 on Amazon.  This USB portable charger is super-thin, comes with brushed metallic finish, emergency LED flash, and rated at whopping 10,000mAh that will recharge your smartphone 3-5 times and tablet 2-3 times.

if you guys see anything i should add please comment with a link and i will add it to the list of Android black Friday deals

Streaming and Sharing

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Streaming and Sharing

A Mobile Entertainment Experience

Streaming SErvices sharing

When I say mobile entertainment you might not think of home tv, but those lines have blurred into one seamless line. Now that smart tvs and streaming devices are cheaply available, apps that we used to use on our phones, tablets and even pcs to kill time or even entertain ourselves during a long commutes are now invading our livingrooms, making cable and satellite television obsolete. Especially now that public television’s broadcasted in Digital HD with a standard tv antenna. Most television broadcasting companies are available for mobile streaming via apps or web browser. Making it possible to watch your local news or public channels on the go or on your home tv with a streaming device or a smart tv.

 

Apps like HBO GO and Hulu easily replace cable and television provided services. Without a required cable subscription for HBO GO you can just pay and play. Amazon Prime has movies, tv, and even now HBO content for a reasonable once a year fee that included free 2-day shipping and their newest feature unlimited photo storage. Netflix is nice for binge watching seasons of your favorite tv shows provided by cable networks like Cartoon NetWork, Discovery and SyFy channel. Plex is another great app for streaming media that you yourself provide via download. To download movies and tv shows I use a torrent based website called Kat.ph. When using a torrent based download client you need a bittorrent program to piece the bits of the torrents together. Plex also has plugins for other apps such as, TBS, Team Coco, and so much more, that can be used with in plex for streaming.

 

If you have a cable provider using mobile streaming apps like fios mobile and xfinity to go as well as their affiliate channel’s apps like cartoon network, Discovery and SyFy is as simple as downloading the particular app and logging in using your cable sign in information, same credentials you would use to log in and view or pay your bill. Since you’re paying for a cable service and that service comes with those channels you might as well use them by adding as many that are offered to the list of mobile streaming apps you use. Channel surfing is a dying sport played from the couch, it has evolved into something so much more than that. With the option to watch nearly anything you want easily provided and supplied to your device of choice, looking for something to watch is unnecessary, just search for what you want and watch or a genre to suit the mood and watch what you want not what’s provided at that moment in time unlike live television. Not having a cable provider makes this a little harder and more complicated but not impossible, just have to find someone who does and offer them a trade worth while, for example, I pay for Amazon Prime and I trade that for someones comcast information that I use for its mobile hotspot as well as its streaming. I also barder my Amazon Prime to friends and family for their Netflix, Hulu and HBO GO, making a streaming community or network out of sharing and if someone misses one bill the community can all pitch in and keep out network going strong.

entertainment

Using only a cell phone as a means for TV entertainment is possible with micro hdmi or mhl, but thats no longer necessary thanks to streaming devices and smart tvs. Before having a Chromecast I would just use my phone or tablet and an MHL to HDMI cable. The convenience of using a streaming device rather than hard wiring your phone or tablet is worth the $34.99 for the Chromecast. You can spend upward of $99.99 for a streaming device such as the Amazon Fire TV which has a separately sold gamepad for Android gaming. Fire TV does come with a remote and does not require an Android device to function, unlike the Chromecast which does require an Android device to function. There are two ways to use Chromecast one is as a casting device, using your phone tablet or web browser to cast content from Netflix or ect, and you can use your device for other thing while the casting takes place. The other way you can use a Chromecast is for mirroring, meaning everything thats displayed on your phone happens live on the tv, so if you’re mirroring a video from your gallery or mirroring a game, from phone or even web browser, you can not use the device for anything other than what you are trying to mirror. The Fire TV can not mirror but it also doesn’t require anything but its supplied remote or gamepad depending on what your trying to do. Others like the Ruku and Nexus player are also awesome choices for streaming devices, but before you go and invest in one make sure it offers what you are looking for. To each their own.

By Kenn

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