Android Oreo gains support for custom themes via Andromeda add-on for Substratum, no root needed

A while ago, we reported that custom themes may be coming to Android 8.0 Oreo without the need for rooting your device. We are happy to report back that this seems to be the case, although the ability to do so is not quite “native”, in that it requires a third-party app and a PC connection.

Last month, the folks over at XDA discovered, while tinkering with preview builds of Oreo, that the new version of Android has support for Sony’s Runtime Resource Overlay (RRO) theme engine baked-in. This spurned the developers behind the popular custom theming …


Google Play may start blocking root users from accessing certain apps

The latest update for Netflix, which rolled out on Google Play a few days ago, raised a few eyebrows in the Android community by preventing users with rooted/unlocked devices to download the app from Google’s official storefront. The app itself still works on rooted devices, it’s just shows up as “incopmatible” on Google Play, with the updated changelog stating that: “version 5.0 only works with devices that are certified by Google and meet all Android requirements.”

Bad news is that recent changes made to the Google Play developer console indicate that …

5 apps to mod the Galaxy S8: AMOLED wallpapers, new Bixby key and more (no root)

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are already finding themselves in the hands of their rightful owners, and after you set them up to your liking, transfer all your account info, and install all the apps you like, there are still a few things you can do to further mod your new flagship with a couple of simple apps, without ever resorting to rooting, flashing, or other shenanigans that would trip your KNOX security. 
Check them out – from making your wallpaper AMOLED-friendly, through enabling your hidden FM radio tuner, to remapping the Bixby key …

Call OF Duty 2017 Will Take Franchise Back to its Root

Activision says this year’s Call of Duty will “take Call of Duty back to its roots.”

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In a call reporting fourth quarter 2016 earnings, Activision elaborated that “traditional combat will once again take center stage” in this year’s title, which is currently in development from Sledgehammer Games.

Activision also commented on the lower-than-expected sales of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare last year, noting that the “space setting didn’t resonate” with players, and Infinite Warfare “wasn’t the success we planned.”

Still, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg noted on a call following the earnings report that “we’ve never been more excited creatively or commercially about our three-year Call of Duty slate.”

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare launched last fall and went on to be the best-selling game in the United States for 2016 despite not hitting the heights of previous Call of Duty sales. Youtube Video

How to easily root an Android device

Rooting is the Android equivalent of jailbreaking, a means of unlocking the operating system so you can install unapproved (by Google) apps, update the OS, replace the firmware, overclock (or underclock) the processor, customize just about anything, and so on.

Of course, for the average user, rooting sounds like — and can be — a scary process. After all, “rooting” around in your smartphone’s core software might seem like a recipe for disaster. One wrong move and you could end up with bricked handset.

Thankfully, there’s a new Windows utility that makes rooting a one-click affair: Kingo Android Root. It’s free, and based on my initial tests with a Virgin Mobile Supreme and later ones with an Asus Nexus 7, it works like a charm. (Be sure to check the compatibility list before you proceed, keeping in mind that even if your device isn’t on it, the utility may work with it.) Here’s how to get started.

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Step 1: Download and install Kingo Android Root.

Step 2: Enable USB debugging mode on your phone. If it’s running Android 4.0 or 4.1, tap Settings, Developer Options, then tick the box for “USB debugging.” (You may need to switch “Developer options” to On before you can do so.) On Android 4.2, tap Settings, About Phone, Developer Options, and then tick USB debugging.” Then tap OK to approve the setting change.

On Android 4.3 and later (including 5.0, though this also applies to some versions of 4.2), tap Settings, About Phone, then scroll down to Build Number. Tap it seven times, at which point you should see the message, “You are now a developer!”

With that done, tap Settings, About Phone, Developer Options, and then tick USB debugging.” Then tap OK to approve the setting change.

Step 3: Run Android Root on your PC, then connect your phone via its USB sync cable. After a moment, the former should show a connection to the latter. Your device screen may show an “Allow USB debugging?” pop-up. Tick “Always allow from this computer,” then tap OK.

Kingo-root

Step 4: Click Root, then sit back and wait while the utility does its thing. The aforementioned Nexus 7 took all of about two minutes, including the automated reboot at the end.

And that’s all there is to it. If you decide you want to reverse the process, just run Android Root again, connect your phone, then click Remove Root.

How to root your Android phone or tablet

Is the allure of being a superuser tempting you? Android rooting opens up a world of possibility, but it can also void your warranty, or even leave you with a bricked device. Yes, when it comes to rooting your Android, you’ll want to know the benefits as well as the risks.
Manufacturers and carriers have a vested interest in dissuading you from rooting. The act of rooting can be inherently dangerous. Even so, for the careful user, the risk is minimal, and the potential benefits are impressive. This guide will walk you through the necessary steps to root your phone. Some devices can be rooted in minutes. Others take a little research. One thing is clear: rooting your phone can be one of the best ways to tap into the deep potential of your Android device.

What is rooting?

Rooting is jailbreaking for Androids and allows users to dive deeper into a phone’s sub-system. Essentially, it’ll allow you to access the entire operating system and be able to customize just about anything on your Android. With root access, you can get around any restrictions that your manufacturer or carrier may have applied. You can run more apps, you can overclock or underclock your processor, replace the firmware.
The process requires users to back up current software and flashing (installing) a new custom ROM (modified version of Android).

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Why would you root?

One of the most obvious incentives to root your Android device is to rid yourself of the bloatware that’s impossible to uninstall. You’ll be able to set up wireless tethering, even if it has been disabled by default. Additional benefits include the ability to install special apps and flash custom ROMs, each of which can add extra features and streamline your phone or tablet’s performance. A lot of people are tempted by the ability to completely customize the look of their phones. You can also manually accept or deny app permissions.
You won’t find a lot of amazing must-have apps when you root, but there are enough to make it worthwhile. For example, some apps allow you to automatically backup all of your apps and all of their data, completely block advertisements, create secure tunnels to the Internet, overclock your processor, or make your device a wireless hotspot.

Why wouldn’t you root?

There are essentially three potential cons to rooting your Android.
Voiding your warranty: Some manufacturers or carriers will use rooting as an excuse to void your warranty. It’s worth keeping in mind that you can always unroot. If you need to send the device back for repair, simply flash the original backup ROM you made and no one will ever know that it was rooted.
Bricking your phone: Whenever you tamper too much, you run at least a small risk of bricking your device. The obvious way to avoid it happening is to follow instructions carefully. Make sure that the guide you are following works for your device and that any custom ROM you flash is designed specifically for it. If you do your research and pay attention to feedback from others, bricking should never occur.
Security risks: Rooting may introduce some security risks. Depending on what services or apps you use on your device, rooting could create a security vulnerability. For example, Google refuses to support the Google Wallet service for rooted devices.

How to root your Android?

Two recent rooting programs that have garnered some attention in the past few months are Towelroot and Kingo Root. Both will root your device in the time it takes to brush your teeth. However, both rooting programs aren’t compatible with every Android device. Here’s Kingo’s list of compatible devices.
If your phone is not compatible with these devices, you’ll have to spend a little time researching ways to root on Androd forums. The best place to start is XDA Developers Forum. Look for a thread on your specific device and you’re sure to find a method that has worked for other people. It’s worth spending some time researching the right method for your device.
Preparation for root
Back up everything that’s important to you before you start. You should also always back up your current ROM before you flash a new one.

You’ll want to ensure that your device is fully charged before you begin. You’ll also need to turn USB debugging on. On Android 4.2 you’ll enable USB debugging by going to Settings>About Phone>Developer Options> and then check the box next to USB debugging.
Most Android rooting methods require you to install some software on your computer. It’s possible you’ll need to install the Android SDK. You may find other software is required. Make sure you follow the instructions on the XDA developers forum and install all of it before proceeding.

Unlock your bootloader

Before you get started, You will also need to unlock your bootloader. Bootloader is a program that determines which applications will run in your phone’s startup process.
Unlocking your bootloader will allow you to customize your device. Manufacturers have responded to a demand for customization. Many of them have provided methods to help you unlock the bootloader on their website, though they are generally provided for developers, and they usually require you to sign up or register an account first.

Some manufacturers and carriers don’t allow bootloader unlocking, but you can often find a way around that with some searching (try the XDA Developers forum).

Using Towelroot

One of the easiest methods of rooting is through Towelroot. This option works on most Android devices, (it was designed to root the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S5) but not all–specifically some Motorola and HTC devices. Unlike other rooting programs that require downloading and running a program on your computer, Towelroot will root your device by simply downloading and running the app. No computer needed. However, Towelroot will only work with devices

To use Towelroot, you’ll have to enable your device to install apps from unknown sources. This can be accessed by clicking on Settings>Security> Unknown Sources. Now you’ll be able to download apps from outside the Google Play store.
Now go to Towelroot in your phone’s browser and click on the Lambda symbol. For more information check out Gadget Hacks’ youtube video.

Using Kingo Android Root

The Windows based, Kingo Android Root is one of the easiest ways to root your Android device. First, check to see if your device is compatible with Kingo. Their site provides a list of compatible devices. Then, download Kingo Android Root and enable the USB debugging mode on your phone.

Once you’ve enabled USB debugging mode on your phone, run the program on your PC and connect your Android to your PC with a USB cord. The program should detect your device and a message asking if you’d like to root will appear. Select “root” and then hang tight. Kingo will only take a few minutes to grant super user privileges.
Rooting forums
No other mobile operating system parallels the diversity of Android OS. For this reason, there’s no universal way to root your device. If the above two options fail, don’t fret. There is likely a guide on how to root your specific device available somewhere online. Generally you can find a guide to your device on such as XDA developers’ forum and Phandroid Forums.
Once you have found the right guide for your phone or tablet, it’s simply a case of working through the listed steps methodically. It can be a complicated procedure and it can take a while. Here’s an example guide for rooting the Samsung Galaxy S4. It can appear intimidating at first glance, but provided you follow it step-by-step, it should be a pain-free process. You can post questions in the XDA Developers forum if you run into trouble.

Download Root Checker

You’ll need to download another app to make sure your device has been successfully rooted. There are several apps available on the Google Play store that, when downloaded, will tell you if you have super-rooter permission. Root Checker is a popular one. Simply downloading and running the app will tell you if your phone has super-user permissions.
Install a root management app

Rooting will make your phone more vulnerable to security threats. Installing a root management app will give you more peace of mind. Normally, every app that requires rooted privileges will ask for your approval. This is where root management apps, such as SuperSU, come in. SuperSU lets you allow or deny sites’ requests for super user permission. It will then keep track of the permissible apps and automatically grant permission next time you use the app. SuperSU will also keep track of how many times an app requests to root.

Unrooting your Android

For all the good that is rooting, you may want to go back to the way things were. SuperSU allows users to unroot phones by simply going into the app’s settings and select the full unroot option.
To root or not to root
Gaining full root access to your Android device can be thrilling, especially if you want to tinker with settings and customize your device. How much it changes your experience depends largely on the device you have. If you have a shuttered device, like a Kindle Fire tablet, then it’s a great way to get the full Android experience.
The potential benefits for all Android users include improved battery life, root-only apps, custom ROMs, overclocking, an end to bloatware, improved performance, and the ability to upgrade your phone when you want. If you aren’t excited at the prospect of any of these things, rooting probably isn’t for you.