Android

SGS5

I have purchased a new T-Mobile SGS5. So far, I’m impressed with the T-Mobile network – 4G-LTE delivers. Not like that Sprint network which is super slow. I use Ting, so I can have both my phones (Sprint SGS4 and T-Mobile SGS5) on one account. It also affords the ability to test both networks at the same time.

Sprint.

Sprint.

T-Mobile.

T-Mobile.


SGS4

I finally took the plunge and updated my SGS4 to Lollipop (Android 5) official OTA. I skipped right past Kit Kat (Android 4.4) which I thought was the latest official for the SGS4. It’s pretty, but there are features missing that I like. Namely: lock screen shortcuts and lock screen widgets.

Well, the old SGS2 decided to hard-brick itself. I looked up at it to check the time (I had Desk Clock in the foreground) which said it was ~12:15. I looked at it again a while later and it still said ~12:15 (the time was ~14:30), so I investigated – it was frozen, so I tried rebooting. When I rebooted, it looped the “loop” portion of the boot animation indefinitely, so I attempted it again by holding the power button – after which it remained on the boot pic (separate from the boot animation – the manufacturer/carrier logo). Then I tried a third time by pulling out the battery and now all I get is the notification light. I can’t get even to Recovery or Odin to investigate any fixes, resets, or restores.

screen_20130815_1433Unknown Sources is disabled in your security settings.


screen_20130815_1431Either you are trying to install the APK from an EXT partition with insufficient permissions or you are trying to install an APK that is incompatible with your Android version (e.g. installing Facebook Home on Gingerbread).


screen_20130816_0204All the buttons are greyed out? That’s because the app is an administrator. You need to disable that setting for that app in your security settings.

My SGS2 (Epic 4G Touch). The third in the sad line of SGS2s owned by me. The first one fell victim to the eMMC bug from a leaked ICS ROM. The second one died because I was trying to reflash the stock ICS which failed for some reason. Instead of closing the One-Click Odin flasher, I tried to reflash a second time (note that closing it and reopening is required). The third one, which I’ve had the longest, was getting hot. Like super, fry eggs on the glass hot. I tried to resolve this by wiping the data and reflashing the stock JB ROM. Unfortunately, it is still getting blazing hot. I’m afraid he’s not long for this world. Pray to whatever God you believe in that he may rest in peace.

Update: I was mistaken. It’s not getting blazing hot anymore. It still has problems, but at least it’s not hot enough to melt steel.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for you doing things wrong and breaking your phone or losing your data.

  1. Make a folder somewhere under /data1.
    Click the "+".

    Click the “+”.


    Click "Folder".

    Click “Folder”.


    Type a folder name and click "OK".

    Type a folder name and click “OK”.

  2. Move desired APK from /data/app or /system/app2 (only if you want to move a system app’s APK while preserving its “system app” status) to the folder you just made in step 1.
    Long click file and click "Move".

    Long click the file and click “Move”.


    Click "Move here".

    Click “Move here”.

  3. Make a symlink of the newly moved APK in /system/app.
    Long click the file and click "Link to this file".

    Long click the file and click “Link to this file”.


    Click "Create link".

    Click “Create link”.

  4. Repeat from step 1 for each desired app3.
  5. Clear dalvik cache or just delete the dalvik cache file for the selected app(s).
  6. Reboot.
  7. The app is now a system app in the eyes of Android and is stored on the user data partition. Good for space saving in the system partition and future ROM updates or no-data restores4.
  • I used Root Explorer for the screenshots. You can use any file explorer you want as long as it can make symbolic links. You can even use the command line if you know what commands to use.
  • Clearing data will also delete the APK. If this was intended, don’t forget to delete the symlink from /system/app – not required as Android will just ignore invalid APKs and if left there, you won’t need to relink, should you do this again, as long as the file path(s) are the same as they were before.
  • You can make the APK read-only to mimic the system partition (440 – a-rwx,ug=r), but it’s probably not necessary.
  • You can use second-partition apps like Link2SD that premount a user-created second partition on the external SD card.
  • Zipalign will undermine your efforts if the APK needs to be zip aligned – it effectively copies the APK file somewhere and copies it back thus overwriting the symlink with the Zip aligned original APK.

  1. Don’t use the SD card because it’s not available until long after boot up.
  2. Do not move core system apps from /system/app. If you wipe data for whatever reason or the data partition fails to mount, you will lose a vital core app and cause a boot loop and I will not help you fix that.
  3. Some app crashing may occur. I wouldn’t recommend moving the APK of the file explorer you’re using to do this unless you’re using the command line.
  4. The app will not get deleted, but you’ll have to relink the APK after a no-data restore or ROM update.

Google included their own Touchwiz-like launcher in their latest Android release, Kit Kat 4.4, which works flawlessly on Jelly Bean 4.1 and 4.2. (See thread [APP]Get Android 4.4 Launcher on your phone NOW!! @ XDA.)

Here are some interesting things I’ve discovered as I’ve been playing with it:

  • If you’re rooted, get Xposed and App Settings. Changing Google Search’s DPI will dynamically change the amount of real estate onto which you can put more/fewer shortcuts and/or widgets. For example: on my SGS4, setting its DPI to 350 makes it 6 columns wide by 6 columns high with 6 available slots in the dock bar (42 total on one screen). 250 makes it 8 columns by 5 rows with 8 dock slots (48 slots total). The stock SGS4 DPI of 480 results in a launcher with 4 columns by 4 rows and 4 dock slots (20 slots total). The app drawer also changes dimensions with the DPI.

    Open folder @ 480 DPI.

    Open folder @ 480 DPI.

    350 DPI

    350 DPI

    250 DPI

    250 DPI

    480 DPI

    480 DPI with folder

    400 DPI

    400 DPI

  • You can add screens by dragging a shortcut or widget off the right side of the screen.
  • You can make a folder by dropping a shortcut onto another shortcut which, when open, can be renamed by clicking “Unnamed Folder”.
  • Add shortcuts by dragging them from the drawer (accessible by clicking the circle with 6 dots on the dock) and dropping them where you want them.
  • Long-click an empty slot or click the menu key to access wallpapers, widgets, and Google Now settings. You can also drag the screens around in this view.

    Main Menu

    Main Menu

  • Click “Widgets” and drag a widget to a screen and drop it where you want it.
  • Some widgets are resizable. Long-click the widget to pick it up, then drop it in the same spot. If the resize square shows, you can resize it.
  • Swipe all the way to the left to access Google Now.
  • You can fling shortcuts and widgets to the top of the screen to remove them from the screen.

There are some caveats:

  • You can’t hide the labels on the shortcuts or folders.
  • Most widgets can’t be resized.
  • The action bar at the top will stop short on the right if the DPI is too low.
  • You can’t move the app drawer shortcut.
  • You only get one dock.
  • You can’t access the phone’s settings except by adding the Settings shortcut to the launcher or clicking the button on the notification panel.
  • It doesn’t rotate with the screen.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for you doing things wrong and breaking your phone or losing your data.

I recently found out that my debuggerd hack to enable init.d support on my stock SGS4 wasn’t working. So, I did this and now it works.

Make a file named “install-recovery.sh” and drop it into /system/etc. Whatever script you put in here will execute at boot up so long as the user/permissions are correct.

chown shell:shell "/system/etc/install-recovery.sh"
chmod 755 "/system/etc/install-recovery.sh"
chmod u=rwx,a=rx "/system/etc/install-recovery.sh" # busybox must support symbolic modes

My “/system/etc/install-recovery.sh” script:

#!/system/bin/sh
LOG="/data/install-recovery.log";

echo "Executing install-recovery.sh" > $LOG;
echo "" >> $LOG;

echo "$(date) install-recovery hack..." > $LOG
echo "" >> $LOG
echo "init.d" >> $LOG

# I can't get run-parts to work for some reason, but this will run every *.sh script in /system/etc/init.d as root.
for N in /system/etc/init.d/*.sh; do
	su -c "$N" 1>>$LOG 2>>$LOG
done;

Notes:

  • Mount binding (in JB 4.2.2+) seems to work. E.g. mount -o bind /folder1 /folder2
  • $(date) does not provide the correct date (mine said: “Wed Apr 15 13:24:13 MST 1970”).
  • The Package Manager is not available. (There may be other unavailabilities, but I don’t intend to test it thoroughly.)

Increase Battery Life and Reduce Game Load TimeIf you’re like me and don’t care about super-high quality graphics, you can use Xposed App Settings to tell apps to run games and other apps at a lower screen resolution. The dimensions of the apps remain unchanged and I haven’t noticed a difference visually, but the apps load faster and I’ve gotten more battery life.

  1. Install Xposed Framework.
  2. Install Xposed App Settings.
  3. Clear the data of the app for which you want to change the resolution.
  4. Open Xposed App Settings
  5. Search for the app.
    2013_08_13_20.02.01
  6. Change “Screen (dp)” to something small (I used “320×480”).
    2013_08_13_20.03.08
  7. Click the floppy disk icon (top right).
  8. Click “Yes” to kill the app if asked.
    2013_08_13_20.07.47
  9. Exit Exposed App Settings
  10. Start the app. It will now redownload and/or reinstall lower resolution graphics.
  11. Enjoy!

Update: Not all settings in App Settings will work. You’ll have to play with it some to figure out which settings work.