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

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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

 

US Cell Phone Carrier Unlocking Policies

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US Cell Phone Carrier Unlocking Policies

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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

 

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