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Android L is for Lockdown

Posted by egzthunder1 October - 21 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

lockdown

Root is, without a doubt, the (un)holy grail of the Android world. Those wonderful permissions that allow you as the user to pretty much do as you please with your device are certainly a major delight, and really one of the top reasons why Android devices have gained as much popularity as they have–not just among end users but among developers as well. There is yet another aspect of the OS that keeps people coming back for more, and that is the fresh, constant stream of updates and new OS versions. However, these two can hardly coexist with one another. Normally, whenever a new update for … well… anything comes out, it does so with features, bug fixes, and plugged holes. The latter are the ones that are normally required to obtain things such as root level access on our devices. This means that if you update, for the most part, you can kiss root goodbye. Granted, there are apps that will help root survive even an OTA upgrade but still companies making these OS and devices always are on the look out to ensure that the holes and exploits are plugged.

The latest and greatest installment of our beloved Android OS is Lollipop (Android 5), which is something that has been on pretty much everyone’s mouth in the tech world for the last week or so as it became available in the latest and most functional Developer Preview. The latest Lollipop installment is build version LPX13D, and aside from being one step closer to the final release, this one also brings the kiss of death for root, which pretty much is the case with all updates as we mentioned earlier. No biggie, right? We simply root again and be done with it, right? Or we simply use a root survival app and we keep going, right?? Nah, not exactly. There are several changes in device security, prompted in part by people and companies seeking the security and sanctuary of their precious data and nude pics. So, with that in mind, Google came to the rescue.

XDA Senior Recognized Developer and Senior Moderator Chainfire has been warning us of all the upcoming changes in the Android world for quite some time now, especially since the newer Jelly Bean and KitKat updates hit the shelves. Well, so far, we can officially say that he has been dead on target on everything he has said regarding the increased security on new versions of Android. The newest Lollipop update, LPX13D, seems to break root, like most updates do. However, it seems to do more than just break it because with the correct combination of factors, a device can become unrootable. Chainfire goes on to explain that the reason why root gets “broken” is mainly because the script required to grant root is no longer allowed to run at boot time from init.d, but rather it is forced to run from a SELinux dedicated context instead. This, apparently, is a new requirement for all apps and services running at boot.

The solution that Chainfire provides is to enable root at kernel level. In other words, you need a custom kernel in order to obtain root. However, many times, you need root in order to flash a custom kernel. Fine, some of you might say that by flashing via custom recovery, that the kernel can be flashed with ease. What if the bootloader is locked? Better yet, what if the bootloader cannot be unlocked? Yup, you got yourself a stock device forever (or until someone gets past the security measures). Essentially, Google is giving manufacturers a golden opportunity to put root access to rest for good. They will not do it to their devices, as the Nexus line has an unlockable bootloader, but no one can guarantee the case will be the same for other manufacturers.

The question then becomes, would the OEMs be willing to close off the devices for good, particularly considering that a large chunk of the sales come from word of mouth? Once Lollipop starts rolling out in its final form, it will be mighty interesting to see which OEMs go in what direction. One thing is for sure, these are trying times for people who enjoy their devices because of the freedom they have with root level access. Once you face the crossroad, which direction will you take?

If you are interested in the full explanation by Chainfire, you can head on to his Google+ page and read his entire take on this issue.

The post Android L is for Lockdown appeared first on xda-developers.

Rovo89 chimes in on Android Lollipop woes for Xposed

Posted by wicked October - 20 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

It is somewhat curious and at the same time disappointing that each release of Android alienates power users more and more while getting better and more secure. Such is the case of rooting, which is becoming more complex, in particular thanks to Android adopting the rather robust SELinux security framework. But unlike Chainfire, who is rather optimistic about the chances of rooting in the future, Xposed Framework developer Rovo89 isn’t as confident. Long story short, fans might have to wait a while for it to come to Android 5.0, if it will ever at all.

The are three layers to Xposed’s problems with Android 5.0 Lollipop. The first is the easiest to overcome, as it only requires waiting. It is also the first door that must be opened. Android Lollipop, while announced, still isn’t in its final form, as Google is still doing some last minute tweaking to the platform. It will be considered done once the first batch of Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 devices start shipping. Until then, it is still too fast a moving target for developers like Rovo to hit, and it’s wiser to wait for things to settle down and solidify.

The second problem is technical and actually more difficult to address. As Xposed requires root access, it faces the same problems as Chainfire and root developers do, but to to a greater extent in some areas. Rovo hasn’t decided yet what path to take to make Xposed work in the new secure Android world, but hopefully Chainfire’s work will show him the way. But it isn’t the only problem either. Xposed also interacts with the Android Runtime, which in Android 5.0 has been switched to ART fulltime. Aside from still not being in its final form as mentioned above, there is no assurance that OEMs would make use of ART that is found in AOSP versus some other mix of their own. Add in the fact that ART in Android 4.4 is quite different from ART in Android 5.0. Again, everything hinges on the final Android 5.0 release that is still to take place in a few weeks.

The last problem, sadly, is one that isn’t too easy to solve from a technical standpoint. Rovo has been candid about his loss of personal motivation on working on this aspect of Xposed, and who can blame him given the messy and bleak state it’s in right now. When people are demotivated, they tend to also move quite slowly. That said, Rovo hasn’t entirely given up on getting Xposed to work on Android Lollipop. He just isn’t confident when that will all come together, if it’s actually possible to make it work at all.

SOURCE: XDA
VIA: Reddit

Chainfire details root issues in Android 5.0, gives quick fix

Posted by wicked October - 20 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

With the latest Android 5.0 now out of the bag, many are quite eager to have a taste on their device. One subset of the Android community that might not be excited to have a taste of Lollipop are power users who live and thrive with rooted smartphones and tablets. The reason is that in the attempt to make the Android platform more secure, Android developers may have, unintentionally or not, left root devs and users out in the cold, an issue that SuperSU developer Chainfire tries to explain in more detail.

The situation with rooting in Android isn’t clear cut. It is natural and laudable that Android developers strive to make the mobile platform as secure as possible, plugging up holes in the process. But it is also understandable that some users would want functionality and access that Google isn’t willing to hand over, despite the platform’s Linux and open source roots. Rooting is the solution for this but achieving root on a device is practically the same as exploiting security holes in the system, holes that are getting fewer and fewer as Android’s security is gradually improved.

Developers such as Chainfire who have been monitoring the progress of Android 5.0 Lollipop, at least its incarnation in the AOSP source code, have been quite aware of the changes that will step on the rooting territory and practically break things. The good news is that Chainfire is optimistic that rooting will still be possible in Android Lollipop, but it is getting to be quite more difficult to do so. And in some cases, it might become even more of a super power user activity even more than it is today, cutting off a lot of potential new root users. As proof, Chainfire has released two quick band aid fixes for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 running on the latest LPX13D developer preview. This would unbreak root on those devices, but the installation method is different, using fastboot images instead of the usual CWM/TWRP recovery images.

The future of rooting on Android 5.0 isn’t something set in stone yet and it depends on how much of the security changes, particularly in SELinux, will make it to the final version of Lollipop, which has still to be released to the public, probably by November. In addition to that, Chainfire also has his own personal vision for rooting on Android. Unlike what some would presume, the developer doesn’t advocate throwing out the baby with the water in terms of security. While there is currently no way to get root without exploiting security holes, he also doesn’t advise turning off all other security features, like turning all of SELinux into permissive mode. He wants to use just enough permissions as necessary without going overboard, quite a balancing feat and definitely a noble goal. Hopefully Google will appreciate the gesture enough to meet root developers half way and help find a compromise that will benefit everyone in the Android community.

SOURCE: +Chainfire (1), (2)

SuperSU updated to 2.13, getting ready for Android L

Posted by wicked October - 11 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

If some of you are not familiar with SuperSU, that’s probably because you haven’t gotten around to gaining root access to your device. Most of the users who root their phones will know about SuperSU (and enjoy the naming redundancy) – an app that allows you some management and control as to which apps and aspects of your device will be granted root access.

Chainfire, developers of the app, have been toying around with betas for a while now, but has finally released version 2.13, with a nod to preparing for Google’s big and anticipated Android L release which coming pretty soon. Chainfire says that a lot of work has gone into making SuperSU work with the curren AOSP builds and ROMs you’ll find out there – hinting that these might be the same security features that could turn up in the first Android L release.

So what’s new in this version? Well, first up – and majorly – there might be a chance that supers will work with the Nexus devices that will carry Android L out of the box. Slim chance, but just maybe. This version of SuperSU now comes with architecture specific binaries for ARMv5, ARMv7, ARMv8, Intel x86 and x64. You might notice that there’s support for 64-bit already, but they have not been tested on working products yet.

You want to give this one a try? Check out the download link of the flashable ZIP via Chainfire here. The developers also said that apart from the normal download via Google Play Store, the Amazon App Store will also start carrying SuperSU.

SOURCE: Chainfire on Google+

LG G3 “Bump” Gives You Fully Working TWRP Recovery on All Variants

Posted by Kellex October - 10 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

If you own an LG G3 – we are talking any variant – and are into custom recoveries, ROMs, that sort of thing, then you should probably have already installed Bump. Created by Team Codefire, Bump allows you to boot into a full TWRP custom recovery and flash ROMs as you please, sort of like if you had a full bootloader unlock. As I just mentioned, this should work with all carrier variants (including Verizon’s), you just need to be rooted first (and work through a little adb with a recovery.img). 

According to the Bump thread over at XDA,  this unlock allows you to flash ROMs much more freely than before, meaning they only need to be compatible with your particular carrier. The particular ROM you are using also needs to have been “Bump’d,” but Team Codefire assures us that “most ROMs you’ll want to download will be pre-Bump’d.”

To get into the full instructions, warnings, etc., we will direct you to the source links below. Feel free to watch the video, though, to get a feel for how this works.

Via:  XDA [Verizon thread]
Cheers Phil, Justin, Matt and Matt!

LG G3 “Bump” Gives You Fully Working TWRP Recovery on All Variants is a post from: Droid Life

CF-Auto-Root now supports Asian Galaxy Note 4 and S5 Prime

Posted by wicked October - 8 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

One of the things that Android fans really lust after when new devices hit market is a root so they can install their own version of Android on the new device. If you are one of these folks that want to put your own flavor on your smartphone, CF-Auto-Root’s Chainfire has some good news for us today.

Chainfire has announced that he has added the first Note 4 models to the support list. The catch for now is that only Asian Note 4 models are supported, specific models supported include SM-N910C, SM-N910U, and SM-N9106W.

Galaxy S5 Prime users in Korea are also now able to root their devices with CF-Auto-Root. Supported S5 Prime models include the SM-G906K, SM-G906L, and SM-G906S. CF-Auto-Root support for other Galaxy S5 models came back in March. CF-Auto-Root is also now available for the Android TV ADT-1.

All of the root files are available on Chainfire’s Google+ page. The developer is also calling for stock recovery.img files so he can add support for new models to the list. If you install the root on these models, let us know how the process goes.

SOURCE: Google Plus

Two models of the Sony Xperia Z3 get root access

Posted by wicked September - 29 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Sony Xperia fans have been relatively excited about the Xperia Z3 since it was launched by the Japanese electronics company at IFA 2014 in Berlin earlier this month. And looking at the model’s stunning visuals, sleek UI, and classy and premium design language – really, what’s not to like? If you’re already an owner of an Xperia Z3, you might say that all this unit needs now is root access. Well, you might not have to wait long for it.

XDA forum member “monx” has delivered root access specifically for the D6653 and D6603 models of the Sony Xperia Z3, and it probably won’t be long until root access is gained for the other models. If you have to ask “why root it in the first place?”, then maybe this process is not for you. For those of you who fancy a tweak or two, rejoice.

The first requirement is an unlocked bootloader for the D6653 and D6603 models. If that is unlocked, then you only need to boot into fastboot mode, flash the recovery image provided in the official thread here, reboot into recovery and flash SuperSU. The recovery used was a modded version of the TWRP recovery.

Specific warnings for this is that the method can be used ONLY in the D6653 and D6603 models. If you try this on any other model, you run the risk of bricking your phone. Also, even if you have the correct models, we always warn you that any process you do tweaking with any phone’s kernel will have the risk of bricking your phone, so we do not recommend it for the faint of hearts and those who have no capability of revering from a catastrophic firmware breakdown.

SOURCE: XDA

Android One hardware recovery and root land

Posted by wicked September - 24 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

We have talked about the Android One devices already. These are the cheap Android devices aimed at emerging markets. Several manufacturers are making Android One smartphones including the Micromax Canvas A1, Karbonn Sparkle V, and Spice Dream Uno.

The good news for Android fans in countries where these devices are available is that recovery and root software is now available. The root owes some of its existence to the fact that all of these Android One devices have publicly available kernel source.

Developer varun.chitre15 at XDA Developers was able to get ClockworkMod recovery ported to all of the Android One devices available. The custom recovery and root access opens the doors for all sorts of custom ROMs for these smartphones.

One thing that people thinking about rooting their Android One device need to know is that, ClockworkMod is currently unable to mount the external SD card of the device. Developers are working on that issue.

SOURCE: xda-developers

Recovery? Check. Root? Check. Android One Ready for Lift Off!

Posted by wicked September - 24 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

android-one-660

In the last few weeks, we have been written quite a lot about Android One devices. There’s plenty of good reason for this, as Google has released the first batch of Android One devices produced by Karbonn, Spice Mobile and Micromax. As a cherry on top, all of them have publicly available kernel source, which isn’t too common for devices running chipsets made by MediaTek.

Owners of these pretty much identical and pocket-friendly devices in India now have yet another reason to be happy. XDA Recognized Developer varun.chitre15 managed to port ClockworkMod recovery to every Android One device available. This also means that Micromax Canvas A1, Karbonn Sparkle V and Spice Dream Uno can be rooted easily. Custom recovery and root access open the door to custom ROMs, kernels, tweaks, and basically everything that the XDA community has to offer.

At this moment, ClockworkMod recovery is unable to mount the external SD card, but this issue should be fixed pretty soon. To flash the recovery, you need to unlock the bootloader by entering the magical fastboot oem unlock command and follow the instructions provided in the thread.

This is indeed a milestone in the development for Android One platform. It’s just a matter of time when we should see some source-built custom ROMs as well. But meanwhile, you can flash the recovery image and root the device by visiting the ClockworkMod Recovery and rooting threads.

The post Recovery? Check. Root? Check. Android One Ready for Lift Off! appeared first on xda-developers.

Enable call recording on Samsung Galaxy S5, other devices

Posted by wicked September - 15 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Call recording is a nice feature to have on smartphone, especially if the user makes phone calls for work that are data and information intensive. A person’s memory can only hold on to reminders and information on voice calls for so long, and sometimes technology can help out those memory gaps. Fortunately, the good fellows at XDA has help for us.

We need to first say that the best and easiest route for users is to install an Xposed Framework module. The Xposed Framework is basically a tool to let you tweak apps and features on your phone “on the fly” – and one of those things can be the voice call recording. This is done by installing a module for it. Sady, there are also many reasons that people can’t or are not able to use an Xposed module. This is where XDA member “_alxandr” and his script comes in.

call_recording

For the Samsung Galaxy S5 – and some other branded carrier-locked phones – the feature is actually already in your device, although it doesn’t advertise itself via an app or an app button. This may be Samsung’s or your carrier’s decision in some ways – but the mod is achieved by tweaking an XML file deep inside the Galaxy S5’s /system partition. There are three was to “activate” this feature on your Galaxy S5 (or other device) – first is flashing the script through Odin, second is flashing the script through custom recovery, and lastly by locating said XML file and editing it manually.

All of the information you need is mentioned in the official XDA thread here. Be sure that you are confident enough to do these tweaks on your phone if you want this feature. As we have found out so painfully by experience, crap happens almost randomly when tweaking your devices – so always have a backup of your phone’s system and data that you can come back to should anything untoward happen. Enjoy!

SOURCE: XDA

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