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Android customization – how to transfer files using ADB push and pull commands

Posted by wicked April - 16 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Nexus 7 Nexus 9 Moto G Chromebook ADB USB

The last couple of weeks on our Android customization series has been a brief look into the world of using the Android developer tool called ADB. We started by using it to identify apps and services that might be eating your battery, then we dove into the exciting ability to make screen recordings of your device.

This week, we pick up right where we left off, assuming you’ve got a screen recording on your device that you would like to transfer to your connected PC.

Before we begin

Once again, there are no app requirements needed to follow along today, but you will need to have the Android SDK and ADB up and running on your computer. From there, you’ll need to connect your Android device to your PC using an appropriate USB cable.

Be sure to hit our previous posts on ADB to get details on how to get everything up and running.

ADB screenrecord Moto G on Chromebook

File transfers using ADB

There are many ways to transfer files between your Android device and a PC, many of which do not require wires. In fact, there are so many great ways to transfer files that using ADB may not even be the tool for you. However, when all else fails, or you just took a screen recording and are all connected up anyway, ADB file transfer is here for you.

Using a command line interface is usually reserved for the more adventurist of computer users, but that does not mean it is difficult to use. In fact, once you have a basic understanding, the command line is rather simple. This all remains true for ADB for Android as well. Let’s get started.

Connect your Android device to your PC, get ADB up and running in a command or Terminal window, then enter adb devices and hit enter.

Nexus 9 HP Chromebook USB cable

As a refresher, we recorded a screen recording last week and stored it on our device at the location /sdcard/video.mp4. Let’s transfer that file to our computer.

Pull a file from your Android device

ADB Pull

The format of the pull request is simple, you start with the command adb pull, then add the file you are pulling and the location you want it to go. I’ll dump mine on my desktop for now, which would look like the following on a Windows machine.

adb pull /sdcard/video.mp4 C:\Users\Jonathan\Desktop

You may choose to omit the local save location, to look like adb pull /sdcard/video.mp4, which will save the file in the same location as your adb.exe.

Hit enter, your file should now be transferring to your PC. Now, let’s upload a file.

Push a file to your Android device

ADB Push

I’ll keep the steps pretty simple here, if you were comfortable with the steps to pull, push is a no-brainer.

The format starts with the command adb push, then adds the local location of the file and the location on device you want to save to. To keep it absolutely simple, let’s just put that video file back on the device.

adb push C:\Users\Jonathan\Desktop\video.mp4 /sdcard/

Hit enter, of course, and watch your files fly.

And there you have it, files successfully transferred between your Android device and your PC.

What’s next

Remember that the above examples are just that, examples. Please adjust the commands to suite your file location needs. I admit that it can be cumbersome to have to type out the full file location start and end points for each individual file transfer, but it is a bullet proof tool, if you ever need it.

I’ll keep it really short today, there is so very little that you can do with a file push or pull to your Android device. Be sure to hit the Android Debug Bridge developer page to see a full list of the available commands and tweaks.

Android Wear ADB developer options

Next week

Let’s do just one more ADB piece on the Android customization series before we step away for a bit, next week we will show you how to use ADB to install apps on your device. It is rare that we feed you links to an Android .apk file, and it is easy enough to transfer that file to your device and just open it to install the application, but ADB can do it right from your computer, if you are interested.

What do you say, I know you’ve found easier and better file transfer tools and techniques, but has ADB Push or ADB Pull ever come in handy for you?

Android News, Rumours, and Updates 2015-04-14 12:24:02

Posted by wicked April - 14 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Cyanogen 12

Owners of OnePlus One handsets might want to start tapping the Software Update button on their devices because Cyanogen’s 12S Lollipop update is busy rolling out after passing certification a few days ago. That’s right, the wait is (finally) over, and now you can choose whether to continue using Cyanogen’s firmware or the OxygenOS ROM developed by OnePlus. We have more details and the OTA link after the break.

Cyanogen’s 12S update sports material design cues, and you can customize your experience thanks to the inclusion of a new feature called App Themer. The Boxer powered email client is also included, bringing premium features to all cyanogen OS users such as Exchange support, multiple accounts and canned responses for quick replies. The email app also includes customization options and gestures.

The Cyanogen 12S update is an over-the-air update, although some quick thinking by Google Plus user, Haider Ali Tariq, has ensured that the OTA is available to download here. Let us know if you chose to continue with Cyanogen or if you installed the OxygenOS firmware.


Source: Cyanogen

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The TWRP custom recovery is now available for the Galaxy S6

Posted by wicked April - 13 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (48)

Samsung only released the kernel source code for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones a short while ago, but there’s already some good news for would-be hackers and tinkerers. The Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP) team has just announced the availability of its custom recovery for the Galaxy S6.

Currently, the build has only been tested on the T-Mobile variant of the Galaxy S6, but it’s believed that the customer recovery may also be compatible with other versions so long as the bootloader isn’t locked like it is on the Verizon and AT&T handsets. Naturally, as with all hacking and modding activities, you should follow the instructions to the letter. It’s advisable to get a copy of the stock recovery before flashing the TWRP recovery to your phone and your handset will also need to be rooted before-hand.

Seeing as no one wants a bricked smartphone, you should proceed with caution when tinkering with your handset. If you aren’t sure what a custom recovery is, stop what you are doing and read the instructions again, making sure you understand them fully and ensuring your handset is compatible. Once the TWRP recovery is installed, the path is clear to install custom ROMs, mods and hacks as and when they become available.

Source: TWRP
Via: AndroidPolice

Come comment on this article: The TWRP custom recovery is now available for the Galaxy S6

Samsung publishes kernel source code for Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Posted by wicked April - 13 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (47)

So, you’ve just got your hands on a Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge smartphone and you’re already wondering how you can remove some of the bloatware, install a custom recovery or maybe even install firmware developed by a third-party such as Cyanogen. Thanks to Samsung publishing the kernel source code for both handsets, this possibility is now a step closer.

The source code for the following models can be found at Samsung’s Open Resource Release Center:

  • SM-G920F
  • SM-G920K
  • SM-G920L
  • SM-G920S
  • SM-G920t_NA
  • SM-G925T_NA
  • SM-G925F
  • SM-G925K
  • SM-G925L
  • SM-G925S

Just because the source code has been released doesn’t mean that there will be a wide choice of custom ROMs or mods available right from the word go. The use of the Exynos processor in the Galaxy S6 handsets also means that AOSP development will be a little slower than you might find with handsets using Qualcomm’s offerings. Remember to be patient with the developers, the custom goodies will arrive soon enough.


Source: Samsung Open Resource Center

Come comment on this article: Samsung publishes kernel source code for Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Android customization – how to make a screen recording, using ADB – root not required

Posted by wicked April - 9 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Last week on our Android customization series, we dove into a deep and involved developer tool called ADB, or Android Debug Bridge. Our purpose last week was pretty simple, we were trying to hunt down apps that were eating up the battery on our Android devices, and we used logcat to do so.

This week, now that you’ve got ADB up and rolling, let’s keep using it. I have a short list of tasks I want to perform with ADB, but we will start off with the most fun of them all, capturing a screen recording on your Android device.

Before we get started

You do not require any special apps or to have root on your device to follow along today, or for any of our upcoming ADB tasks in the coming weeks. You will, however, need to have a connected computer with ADB setup and ready to roll.

Nexus 9 HP Chromebook USB ADB logcat

You will need to at least follow along our previous project to see how ADB is setup and enabled on your connected computer, and be ready to connect with an appropriate USB cable for your Android device.

Warning: The screen record functionality in ADB is for video only, it does not capture the audio of your device, please be prepared to capture audio separately, if required. The recording is limited to about 3 minutes in length, to help prevent copyright violations, I presume. Screen rotation is not supported, pick an orientation and stick with it for the recording.

Capture a screen recording with ADB

First things first, connect your Android device to your PC. Follow any steps required to enable ADB, fire up your command/Terminal window and get ready to rock.

ADB screenrecord sample

In your command or Terminal window, enter adb devices and hit enter.

As mentioned last week, you do not really need to do this, but it is always nice to see that your device is connected and reporting to your computer properly.

Now, enter adb shell and hit enter.

Shell enables a subset of new tools within ADB, and, in a manner of speaking, provides access to the command line controls of your actual device. If that does not make sense, don’t worry about it, we’ll have the chance to explain in more detail at a later date.

Enter screenrecord /sdcard/video.mp4 and hit enter.

You are now recording your Android device display.

To stop the recording, wait for three minutes to expire, or simply press Ctrl+C into the command/Terminal window.

ADB screenrecord Moto G on Chromebook

The video file is saved to your Android device, and will be located where you specified above, which would be on your /sdcard/ if you entered the exact text above. Feel free to specify a new storage location on your device, and a new file name as well, be careful not to run the command again right away, as it may overwrite your previous video.mp4 file.

What’s next

Our implementation above utilizes the bare bones defaults of the screen record tool. There are additional options available that may be of use to you.

First, the default will record the video at your device’s screen resolution, if supported. If you have issues, try specifying a specific screen resolution. The general format is to add –size WIDTHxHEIGHT to your command. For example, screenrecord –size 1280×720 /sdcard/recordings/my720pvideo.mp4. Consult your manufacturer for supported resolutions on your Android device’s AVC encoder.

You can also control the bit-rate and recording time (up to 3 minutes.) Head on over to the ADB help pages for more details – fair warning, our next few Android customization posts will cover our favorite tools on that ADB page, feel free to jump ahead if you wish. For now, the following image has the few supported screen record options for you.

ADB screenshots command options

Next week

Now that you have a screen recording or two saved to your Android device, you may want to get it off the device and onto your computer. We have talked about file transfers before on our Android customization series, but we’ve got ADB at our disposal now, so let’s use it. Next week, we will use ADB to transfer files to and from your computer and Android device.

What do you use a screen recording for? Work, entertainment, send to a friend to show them a problem you are having?

Android customization – improve battery life, use ADB logcat to find battery hogs

Posted by wicked April - 2 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Nexus 9 HP Chromebook USB ADB logcat

Last week on our Android customization series, we took a few moments to look at the built-in Android tools in an attempt to hunt down rogue apps eating up your battery. We continue that pursuit for battery life perfection this week, taking a little bit more advanced look at identifying battery killing apps.

Warning: This week’s post is not intended for beginning Android users. While we encourage you all to expand your abilities, maybe even to give this project a go, we will be using Google’s ADB developer tools, which are not exactly made for your everyday Android experience.

Before we get started

Today we have a whole bunch of requirements, luckily, there is a great chance that you have everything you need kicking around. First, you will need a computer with a functioning Windows, Mac or Linux operating system. From there, that computer must have a functioning USB port. Doesn’t sound too bad so far, does it? Lastly, as far as hardware goes, you’ll need the USB cable that goes to your Android device.

Aside from the super obvious stuff above, you are going to need to have the Android SDK and appropriate drivers for your Android device installed on your computer. If you are unsure how this is done, rest assured, we’ve got you covered:

How to install the Android SDK
How to setup ADB

Use Logcat to watch your system

The idea is pretty simple here today folks, logcat is a tool that watches all of the system level actions on your device. While this list may be a little overwhelming at first, it is a low level developer’s tool after all, it shouldn’t take long for you to recognize your apps and how they are taking up the cycles on your device.

Once you have the Android SDK and ADP setup and running, you are likely already connected to your computer, but let’s start with those steps anyhow.

Nexus 9 HP Chromebook USB cable

Connect your Android device to your computer.

Turn on the necessary settings for your device, including USB Debugging, which is found in your Developer Options.

Fire up a command prompt on your computer.

Now, you will either have to CD (change directory) navigate to the location of your ADB.exe, or, find it in your platform-tools folder and open the folder in a terminal/command window.

Enter the command adb devices and hit enter. This step isn’t actually required, but it is a simple way to make sure your PC and your Android device are talking.

Enter the command adb logcat and hit enter.

Sit back and watch as your device pumps out its actions to your computer screen.

ADB Logcat CMD Windows

Now that you have your logcat, what’s eating your battery?

There is no easy solution here. Logcat is designed to catch actions as they happen, this means you will need to spend some time connected, allowing your device to do its thing. As you watch the log, you will soon begin to identify your apps, especially if they are misbehaving.

Our results

ADB Logcat Pogoplug WiFi off

If you recall, we’ve been hunting down poor battery life on our Nexus 9. Although we still have to figure out the real culprit, we learned something extremely valuable. We were able to determine that, as anticipated, two of our favorite customization apps, Pushbullet and Zooper Widget, are very well behaved apps. They do keep the device awake a bit here and there, as is expected with this level of use, but certainly are well behaved enough that uninstalling them is not required. At least this is true when you are connected to WiFi!

That’s right, the moment we turned off WiFi, as we have been doing frequently in an attempt to reduce power consumption, activity for both services ramp up. Again, the actions Pushbullet and Zooper Widget are taking are not strenuous on the battery themselves, but they are frequent, preventing your device from entering and remaining in a sleep state, thus, killing the battery faster than would be expected. Do we uninstall the apps or just keep WiFi turned on? Not sure yet, but we are pleased that we have something to work with.

What’s next

I hope that you were not expecting magic here today folks. There is no doubt that logcat is a bulletproof method to see what your device is doing in the background, but it is now up to you to determine if all of your apps’ actions are justified, or if you need to do a little uninstalling.

Every once in a while you can repair an app without full un-installation. Make sure you’ve got the app data backed up, if applicable, then head into the App section of Settings, try hitting the Clear Cache and/or Clear Data buttons. Clearing data will reset the app to an empty state, wiping all of your saved game data or requiring you to log back into the service.

Android clear app cache

While there is no guarantee that wiping an app’s data will fix it, you should find it is at least worth trying before giving up and uninstalling completely.

Final thought, do keep in mind that there are some apps that you just cannot fix. We’ve named and shamed some of these apps before. In the end, you may choose to live with the battery drain, if the app serves a purpose well enough for you. Worst of all, you may find that the Android operating system itself is sapping all your juice. If you are like me, you are just sitting back praying that Google pushes out a fix soon, or are considering some of those custom ROMs out there instead.

Next week

Android ADB shell

As we continued the process of hunting down apps that are eating up our battery, our Android customization post this week took to logcat to see what is going on. To get to logcat, we needed to use ADB, and you know what, ADB has some other cool features as well, let’s take a look at a few next week.

Did you manage to find any rogue apps in your logcat today? Will you uninstall them? Can you uninstall them?

Samsung will release a theming tool for Galaxy S6 sometime in April

Posted by wicked March - 30 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (47)

While we’ve known that the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones will allow users to customize the handsets thanks to the Themes option first seen in the Galaxy A series of phones, it hasn’t been clear exactly how 3rd party theme makers would be able to distribute their offerings for the S6. Until now, thanks to Reddit member, gedankenreich, receiving a reply from Samsung on the matter.

According to Samsung’s reply (below), there will be a new theming tool made available for the international Galaxy S6 sometime in April. It’s possible that it could just be an updated version of the theming tool for the Chinese Note 4, A5 and A7, but that tool is limited to custom icons and wallpapers at the present time. For me, the reply seems to imply that a new authoring tool will be made available for the S6, although as with all hunches, a liberal pinch of salt is required.

Changing themes on our smartphones is such an easy way to customize and personalize our devices, I’m surprised that it’s taken so long for this ability to become a baked-in feature. Especially when you consider how versatile the Android operating system is, and how many different launchers there are available in the Play Store. If you are one of the predicted 55 million future owners of the Galaxy S6, what theme would you like to see on your new phone?


MY Theme

Source: Reddit
Via: SamMobile

Come comment on this article: Samsung will release a theming tool for Galaxy S6 sometime in April

Android customization – improve battery life, identify battery killer apps

Posted by wicked March - 26 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Android Settings Battery killer app

Last week on our Android customization series, we took to the ultimate in cleaning up your Android device, walking through how to perform a factory reset on your device. While a reset is a pretty extreme measure for repairing some issues, we would like to look at a few battery drain repairs you might consider trying before you go all the way.

Today, we will dive into a few built in Android tools (non-ADB) to help identify if there is a rogue app that is eating up your battery. For the advanced user, dedicated to getting the absolute most battery life out of their device, today’s article may be a little basic for your needs.

Before we begin

We are not doing anything that requires any third-party apps today. However, we will be working from our typical stock vanilla Android 5+ Lollipop device. Your manufacturer or carrier skin may have eliminated, hidden or simply over-written these tools with their own offerings. Nonetheless, the theory of what we will discuss today may still work for you, even if the exact steps do not.

Moto G Nexus 9 cliff

What’s eating my battery?

If you are still reading this, I suspect you have experienced, as I have, the battery on your Android device dropping rapidly for no apparent reason, or just dying faster than normal. Perhaps your device went unused all day, but died in a few short hours anyway. This is sadly a fairly common experience that can be caused by any number of things, including Android’s built-in services or the apps that you have installed.

There are many things you can do to identify the cause of rapid battery drain, from the built-in battery usage graph all the way up to advanced apps and debugging services and tools for developers. Today, we will keep it simple, looking at a few features built into stock Android.

Battery usage graph

Android Settings Battery Graph

In addition to the simple battery level indicator in the top bar of your Android device, your OS keeps careful tabs on which apps are using up your battery. This info is presented in a fairly general format when you head into Settings -> Battery.

When it really boils down to it, the info is a tad confusing if you are researching a rogue application. My stats show that Google Play Music has kept my device awake for a little shy of two hours. But I’ve been listening to music for over 3 hours now. The remaining time lives within the listing for Mediaserver and I suspect into Android OS and Android System as well, but there is no way to tell from here.

Aside from the idiosyncrasies of the basic Battery usage chart, this is a great place to start, and may reveal your rogue application that is eating up your battery.

RAM usage in Apps

Android Settings Apps RAM usage

Aside from the actual battery usage list, you may be able to hunt down a problematic app in your running apps list. Head into Settings -> Apps, then swipe over to the Running tab.

What you see is a list of the apps that Android reports as currently loaded into RAM on your device, thus, the apps that are ‘running.’ Although this view does not offer actual battery usage, assumptions can be made with the visible RAM usage numbers, as well as the up-time counter.

What do we see above, oh yes, I now see that I have been streaming my music over Bluetooth for just shy of three and a half hours. That is more accurate for sure.

Android Settings App RAM Use Google Services

Have a look for a rogue app that is eating up too much RAM or has been running for far too long and you may find your battery killer. I wouldn’t outright recommend using the force stop button here, as this is akin to killing processes in your Windows Task Manager, kill the wrong one and the system will crash. Instead, check the app itself for a proper quit button, change settings to prevent background processes/syncing or swipe back to the left in the Apps Settings and stop or uninstall the app in your list of installed apps.

Let me share a small example of a service stoppage that might have saved me some battery. You see in my example that Bluetooth Share is running with just 1 service. My audio equipment, which is my only Bluetooth accessory running at this time, is equipped with only the A2DP protocol. By default, the Bluetooth service fires up all of the Bluetooth protocols, which I chose to stop as a test for today. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would still get music, but it works and the phone hasn’t crashed. Trial and error wins again, and upwards of 9 unnecessary services are no longer potentially draining my battery.

Once again, this method is great for identifying rogue battery draining apps, you are better off using the in-app settings or un-installing the app as a means to fixing your battery life.

Developer Options – Process Stats

Android Settings Developer Options Process Stats

Taking things to the next level, there is a feature within Android’s Developer Options called Process Stats which, in its own words, provides “Geeky stats about running processes.”

This list of running apps is interesting to look at, and a little more detailed than the other tools, but perhaps less practical for the average user. What you see here is the exact breakdown of what the app is doing, or at least how it is using RAM.

Android Settings Developer Options Process Stats apps

Look at that, seven of those services within the Bluetooth service were reduced when I manually stopped the services earlier. Did I really save any battery? Logically, I would think so, but that was not really my purpose today, I was just looking for apps that were acting up, eating too much juice, my Bluetooth is in good order.

Look through the list, be sure to hit the menu button and swap Duration and Stats Type to see all of your foreground/background/cached apps and services.

What’s next

As you can imagine, the steps we took today are not very advanced or effective for fine tuned battery saving management. There is also plenty more that can be done and surmised from the tools presented. We do hope that you find the reason for your battery drain concern using one of these methods, and that it is an obvious concern with an easy fix – like a rogue app that you will happily uninstall.

Before you jump into external measures, have a look through Developer Options for more tools that might help you. For example, you may turn on Show CPU usage and look through the list of running apps for something that shouldn’t be.

Android Settings Developer Options Process Stats CPU

From there, as you branch out into other tools, keep in mind the word “wake-lock.” I’ll have more to say about this in the future, especially as we explore root tools and options. If you want to know more now, check out this Android Developers post for a good overview.

Next week

We hope that the relatively simple steps above helped you identify a rogue app that was eating up the battery on your Android device. Next week on our Android customization series, we will assume that your efforts today did not solve your battery drain concerns, let’s dive a little deeper into more non-root battery drain identification techniques.

What app did you find was eating the most battery on your device? Did you uninstall it?

Leaked Quad HD Wallpapers for HTC One M9 Plus are available to download

Posted by wicked March - 26 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off


Over the last few days, we’ve seen a steady drip feed of leaks and rumours about the HTC One M9 Plus, with a possible announcement for the device on April 8th according to an HTC invite. Today’s leak sees the Quad HD wallpapers of the alleged HTC One M9 Plus becoming available to download.

The wallpapers come courtesy of @LlabTooFeR who you may remember leaked the wallpapers for the HTC One M9 a few weeks ago. The Quad HD (2880 x 2560) wallpapers will apparently be pre-installed on the HTC One M9 Plus(dimensions here). You can either click the image you’d like to download and the right-click to save or you can download the whole caboodle by clicking the source link below.


Source: @LlabTooFeR
Download: Mega


Come comment on this article: Leaked Quad HD Wallpapers for HTC One M9 Plus are available to download

Download the 12 stock wallpapers of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Posted by wicked March - 23 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off


So, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is getting closer and closer to becoming available in the retail shops, but what if you are in the middle of a contract or can’t afford to get the Next Big Thing? Well, you can always choose to give your current phone a fresh lick of paint by installing some new wallpapers. On that topic, we have the stock wallpapers of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge handsets available for download after the break.

The wallpapers come courtesy of HITMAN-CREED from the XDA Forums, and they range from the colourful line-up of beach huts (main image) to the stylistic swoosh designs that we are used to seeing on smartphones. You can choose to download them one at a time by selecting the chosen image and then right-clicking to save, or just download all 12 wallpapers by clicking the link below. Wallpaper resolutions vary from 2240 x 2240 to 2560 x 2560 with a couple of lower res wallpapers thrown in.

If you are one of the 55million prospective Galaxy S6 buyers, you might want to enter our competition to win a Spigen Capsule Ultra Rugged case to protect your future handset.

Download link: Galaxy S6 Wallpapers

Galaxy S6_wallpaper_006
Galaxy S6_wallpaper_005
Galaxy S6_lockscreen
Galaxy S6_knox_bg_05
Galaxy S6_knox_bg_04
Galaxy S6 edge__default_wallpaper
Galaxy S6 edge_lockscreen
Galaxy S6_default_wallpaper
Galaxy S6_knox_bg_03
Galaxy S6_knox_bg_02
Galaxy S6_knox_bg_01

Source: XDA

Come comment on this article: Download the 12 stock wallpapers of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge