Pity the poor Verizon customer, whose options for user-moddable Android phones are more limited than any other US carrier. It's particularly cruel, then, that Verizon tends to get some awesome Motorola exclusives in the DROID line. 2014's entry is the DROID Turbo, which is basically the Nexus 6 crammed down into the 5.2-inch body of the second-gen Moto X, plus the usual DROID Kevlar styling and an enormous 3900mAh battery. Oh, and a locked bootloader that makes root and custom ROMs difficult. Read More
If you're going to do any serious modding on your Android smartphone, your first step is going to be unlocking the bootloader. This is a simple procedure on Nexus devices and a few other handsets, but many of the top OEMs have added security measures to prevent regular users from mucking about with their stock software. For these devices, there's a tool called Sunshine by recognized developers Justin Case (jcase), beaups, and friends. Read More
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is expected to start showing up in a few weeks, and already Chainfire has gotten an updated version of CF-Auto-Root ready to go. So yes, there is a root method for some versions of the Galaxy S6, but only if the bootloader is unlocked. This is to be expected.
Android 5.1 made some major changes to the way recent apps are handled in Android. You can include Chrome tabs in the recent app list, and apps that are called up from another activity get their own card to keep things more consistent. However, Google also decided to never clear the list of recent app cards. It just goes on and on and on... it's kind of annoying. "Recently" from Chainfire fixes that, but you need root. Read More
Android 5.0 has a lot of smart features, and battery saver mode is one of them. When your phone reaches a user-defined low battery level, Lollipop will automatically reduce animations, turn off most background data, cut vibration from alerts, and lower the standard brightness on the screen. It's a smarter implementation of the feature than, say, the ultra power saving modes on recent Samsung or HTC phones, which disable all but a few apps. Read More
Sony's international phones have unlockable bootloaders, and the company even encourages users to tinker around with neat extras like AOSP builds. Alas, in markets like the US the carriers are still the keepers of the keys for a lot of customers, and T-Mobile has once again insisted on locking that sucker down for anyone who buys its version of the Sony Xperia Z3. Now users with this lamentable affliction can at least get root access on their phones, thanks to a bounty-winning method from an XDA user. Read More
Most of the news about CyanogenMod over the last month or so has been about Cyanogen Inc.'s very public spat with enthusiast manufacturer OnePlus. But believe it or don't, work continues on CyanogenMod 12, the custom ROM team's version of Android Lollipop. One of the more interesting changes to the new version was spotted over on the Android subreddit: starting with CM12, CyanogenMod will no longer require a separate app to manage root permissions. Read More
Remember the not-so-glory days of home computing, when each and every action taken before your operating system booted up was rendered on-screen in glorious greyscale text? Now you can re-live those days (or I dunno, just install a really useful pre-boot tool) with LiveBoot. This customized boot animation with its own configuration tool comes from prolific developer Chainfire, who released a free version with a Pro upgrade into the Play Store. Read More
Back in March, Justin Case released a root tool called WeakSauce for HTC's flagship lineup on Verizon. Unfortunately, a steady procession of updates to each handset has patched the original exploit, leaving many without root. Now there's a new version of WeakSauce, and it can root just about every HTC phone on Verizon running Android 4.4.4 and below.
Named WeakSauce 2: The Habanero's Revenge, this tool works just like its predecessor, and it's completely free. Read More