Saturday, May 5, 2012

How to Keep Root When Upgrading your Android Device (Video)

This video tutorial teaches you how to protect root when upgrading your Android device firmware. This method only works for Ex2,Ex3, and Ex4 file systems. This includes devices like the Galaxy S, Galaxy Nexus, and Honeycomb tablets.

App Link
My friends Youtube Channel
My video of the bug

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Text Tutorial

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Huge Face Unlock/Pin Bug on ICS 4.0.4 (Video)

If you own a Galaxy Nexus or other Android device running Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0 and up), you may want to watch this video. There is a huge and obvious security hole after the OTA 4.0.4 update.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

How to Keep Root when OTA Updating your Galaxy Nexus

DISCLAIMER! The instructions provided below are for educational and informative purposes only! You follow them at your own risk! The author of the article can not be held responsible for any damages or trouble you get into! Rooting your phone opens up many security holes in your device and make it easier for hackers to get access to your private information stored on your device like passwords, contact lists, etc. At the time of the post, Google stores all your email passwords and credit card information as clear text on your device (no encryption). A simple root access is enough for someone to steal them. 

As a lot of you guys know that ICS 4.0.4 just came out for your Galaxy Nexus. I was hesitant this morning to update as I didn't want to loose my root. After talking to my friend (he runs his own blog here), he told me that I can keep my root by installing an app from the Android Market (I prefer the old name), I immediately went and tried. To my surprise, it works! So let me tell you how it works.

I have to first tell you that this does not work with all Android devices. Just some. I only tested it on my Galaxy Nexus. Read about the compatibility on the application page. This application does not root your phone, it just protects you from loosing your root! First of all, you need to download OTA RootKeeper from the Android Market here. You can also scan the following QR code.

After you install it, open up the app, and press protect SU. Then run the OTA update. After the update finishes, open back up the app and press restore SU or restore root (I forgot what the button said). There you go! You have root again! :) I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

ICS 4.0.4 is out for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

If you are a lucky owner of a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, you probably saw a small system update icon in the notification area. That's right! ICS 4.0.4 is finally out for the Galaxy Nexus!

The update includes slight UI changes and bug fixes. According to users, their device has been running slightly faster since the update. The update also brings you the Google Wallet app, something everyone has been waiting for. Google Wallet is great, and with the update, you no longer need to run an unauthorized app.  So go ahead and grab yourself the update and try out the new ICS!

If you are rooted, the update will unroot your phone. Simply reroot your phone after the update and everything will be the same again. For instructions on how to protect your root during the update, please see my tutorial here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Android USB Host Mode (OTG)

I want to demonstrate Android's USB Host mode today. Some of you might know it as OTG or USB On The Go. This allows you to plug portable devices like flash drives, keyboards, mouses, etc to your phone directly via USB! Anyways, before you go any further, please note that I have a Galaxy Nexus and was using this OTG cable. Please also note that just because this cable worked for me, does not mean it will work with other phones. If you have a Galaxy Nexus, this will most likely work, if you have another model, go Google for one or try this one, it's up to you. The best way is probably to buy one, if it doesn't work, get another. They are pretty cheap usually just a few dollars. Mine was under $2 with free shipping. You can click on the images to view the full size.

 Here is me plugging in a SD card via a SD to USB adapter on the OTG cable. Even though this feature is already built-in to the Android OS, Google haven't really released a way for the partition to be mounted. To solve this problem, get StickMount from Android Market. Root is required to do this. (Who doesn't have a rooted Android these days. XD) This method can be used for regular flash drives or external hard drives (needs to be self powered). Obviously StickMount is an unofficial way of mounting the partition and still have bugs. For me, I got no issue reading from the flash drive but crashes when I tried to write. Anyways, you need a File Explorer to be able to view the contents after StickMount mounts the partition.

Android already have native support for USB keyboards. No need to install anything else, your device should pick up on it once you plug it in. Anyways, just make sure you focus on a text box before you start typing. Also, the arrow and and enter keys works kind of like a trackball.

Android also have native support for USB mouse! Once you plug on your mouse, a small cursor will appear on your screen. Left and right clicks simulate you touching the screen. The scroll wheel scrolls up and down on webpages and Facebook. It also makes your home screen go left and right. 

 This is one of the features Canon EOS owners will like. You can connect your DSLR via USB to your Android phone and use it as a remote shutter release. Just install Remote Release from the Android Market (Free App) or DSLR Controller (BETA) from the Android Market (Paid App) and you can control all sorts of functions on your camera directly from your phone! This includes viewing Live View from your phone, adjusting the ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture, etc... 

Anyways, these are just a few examples of what you can do with OTG. Go get yourself one if you love messing with electronic stuff. LOL I also heard you can plug multiple devices too with a powered USB hub, I didn't try it out yet because I don't have one. I tried a passive USB hub and it didn't work... Not enough power? Anyways the other surprising thing is the Galaxy Nexus battery only outputs 3.8v, but I measured 5v on the OTG after plugging it in. I think there might be a small step up transformer inside the phone. Either way, this is great as there will be a lot of uses for this. I hope more smartphones incorporate features like this.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Install Google Wallet On Your Galaxy Nexus

Most of you are probably pretty bummed that Verizon has made up their mind to block Google Wallet on their Galaxy Nexus devices. Also, some of you are probably getting impatient waiting for Sprint to release it to the GSM Google Wallet phones. As a lot of you probably already know, right now Google is offering a free $10 debit card to everyone that signs up and you want the free money! You are in luck, Google Wallet can be installed on your Galaxy Nexus device via a leaked APK!

First of all, make sure your Galaxy Nexus is on ICS 4.0.2 and make sure you are in the US. Just go to Settings >> About Phone to check the firmware version. Also make sure you haven't installed any previous version of the Google Wallet app. If you did, go see the tutorial on the XDA forums, I can't help you. If you are not on ICS 4.0.2, update it. If you need help, check out my tutorial here.

After you check your firmware version, go ahead and get the APK from the XDA forums here. You will need to enable non-market apps in your settings (Settings >> Security >> Unknown sources). Copy the APK into your phone, and use Installer, File Exploer, or something else to install the APK onto your phone. Install it like you would with any other APK.

Simply finish the registration process and within a minute, the $10 debit card should be delivered to your phone! This debit card can be reloaded after you use it up. Anyways, I had no issues using this app. I managed to use my free $10 on a meal from McDonald's and a free drink at Jamba Juice. If you got any issues leave me a comment below and I will try to help.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

How to Manually Update your GSM Galaxy Nexus to 4.0.2

Google have already released ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) 4.0.2 for GSM Galaxy Nexus devices, but still haven't pushed the update onto some devices. The updates comes with a fewbug fixes including fixes for the volume issues. Most of you guys, like me, are probably too impatient to wait for the update. There is a method of manually updating your GSM device to ICS 4.0.2 and today I will teach you how.

Disclaimer: You follow the instructions I have provided here at your own risk. The author of this article can not be held responsible for any damages or problems you get into. The event of something going wrong is highly unlikely but possible.

Other Dangers: This tutorial is written for the GSM Galaxy Nexus only. If you own the CDMA version, you might be able to use this tutorial with slight modifications to a few steps, but is not recommended. It is also recommended you back up your data before you update. Even though the update will not erase anything, if something goes wrong, you may loose your data. 

This tutorial is recommended for people who are familiar with command line, adb, and fastboot commands. If you are not, it's not a big deal, but you will be doing some commands to get your phone updated.

The process requires the Android SDK, if you don't have it, get it now here.

First step is to make sure your bootloader is unlocked. If it is not, unlock it. The update will not erase anything on your phone, but unlocking your bootloader will perform a complete factory reset on your phone. If you have to do this, back everything up!!! If you have an unlocked bootloader, skip down, if not follow these instructions.
  1. Back up all your data. Your contacts, apps, and everything else will all be erased during the unlocking process. Why? Go as Google, they did it.
  2. Turn off your phone.
  3. Boot into bootloader mode (Volume Up + Volume Down + Power).
  4. Open Command Prompt as Admin.
  5. Navigate to the folder of your fastboot command. 
    • If you installed the SDK in the default directory, type this.
    • cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools
    • If you did not install it in the default directory, I think this is still very self explanatory.
  6. Now type in fastboot oem unlock
  7. Finish the process on your phone and wait for it to reboot.
  8. Copy back in your data and you are done. Your bootloader is unlocked now.

Now on to the instructions on how to manually update. First of all, if you have root access, use your File Explorer on your phone and navigate to /system. Now open up build.prop as text. Check and make sure the value for is yakju and ro.product.device is maguro. (If you have CDMA, these values are different, you are on your own.) Make sure those values are that! Not a variation! Now go here to get the correct Factory Image for your phone.

Now extract the files and copy them to the folder where your fastboot command is. Here are the 4 files you should get:
  • bootloader-maguro-primekk15.img
  • radio-maguro-i9250xxkk6.img
Now make sure USB debugging is enabled in your phone. Go to Settings >> Applications >> Development >> USB debugging to check or enable. Disable any antivirus you got.

Now turn off your phone and boot it into bootloader mode (like above in the unlocking instuctions). Open up command prompt as Admin and navigate to fastboot folder (like in the unlocking instructions above). Type fastboot devices and make sure your computer detects the device. (If you have rooted your device before, there should be no problem) Now run the following commands (copy paste one by one or type in yourself):
fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-maguro-primekk15.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
(Wait till the Boot loader is Rebooted)
fastboot flash radio radio-maguro-i9250xxkk6.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
Wait till the Boot loader is Rebooted)
fastboot update
After you have done that, your Command Prompt window should look similar to the one below (click for full resolution).

Now to to Settings >> About Phone and it should say 4.0.2! If it does, you are done! Good job. I already did this myself. Did not meet any problems, so you shouldn't either. If you get any issues, leave me a comment below and I will try to help you.

After you update, you will loose root. If you used the "Manual Method" provided here, boot your device up with the insecured boot image (fastboot boot boot.img). DO NOT FLASH IT! Just boot using it. At this point, it will look like your phone is bricked. It is not. It will be stuck on the Google screen with an unlock symbol. This is perfectly normal. Check if adb can see your device (adb devices).

If adb sees your device, type the following:
  1. adb root
  2. adb remount
  3. adb push su /system/bin
  4. adb shell chmod 06755 /system/bin/su
  5. adb reboot
After your phone reboots, it should be rooted. Remember, DO NOT FLASH THE BOOT IMAGE! If you do, you are screwed.

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