If you’ve ever tried to do anything advanced on your Android phone, you’ve likely heard (or read) the term “USB Debugging.” This is a commonly-used option that’s tucked away neatly under Android’s Developer Options menu, but it’s still something that many users enable without giving it a second thought–and without knowing what it really does.
Back in Android 4.2, Google hid Developer Options. Since most “normal” users don’t need to access the feature, it leads to less confusion to keep it out of sight. If you need to enable a developer setting, like USB Debugging, you can access the Developer Options menu with a quick trip into the About Phone section of the Settings menu.
So, you’ve opened the doors of advanced functionality on your Android phone by rooting it. That’s great! You can do stuff with your phone that other people can’t do with theirs. But what happens when things change and you want to unroot it? Fear not, we’ve got you covered.
There are occasions when getting into Android’s bootloader or recovery systems is necessary—perhaps the OS is having issues and you need to factory reset, or maybe you want to root your phone. Fortunately, booting into the bootloader and recovery are both very simple. Here’s how to do it.
If you want to root, flash a custom ROM, or otherwise dig into the innards of your Android phone, a custom recovery like TWRP is a great way to do so. Here’s how to flash it on your phone.
If you have an Android phone or tablet with a small amount of storage, you probably keep uninstalling apps to make room for other ones. But there is a way to expand the storage of an Android device if it has an SD card slot.
Making TWRP backups is a must if you’re going to be rooting and tweaking Android. But if your phone is encrypted, you may have some issues with your PIN or password lock after restoring from a backup. Here’s what’s going on.
When you bought your phone it was cutting edge, had the latest version of Android, and made your heart sing. A year or two later, it doesn’t get new updates, and the performance is a little sluggish. You can breathe new life into your phone–not to mention add a ton of useful features–by flashing it with a new custom ROM.
Unlocking your Android phone’s bootloader is the first step to rooting and flashing custom ROMs. And, contrary to popular belief, it’s actually fully supported on many phones. Here’s how to unlock your bootloader the official way.
When you’re rooting, flashing custom ROMs, and otherwise playing with Android’s system, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Before you start, you should know how to back up and restore your phone with the TWRP recovery environment.
Rooting your Android device gives you access to a wider variety of apps and a deeper access to the Android system. But some apps–like Google’s Android Pay–won’t work at all on a rooted device.
Compared to a PC, phones and tablets are fairly locked-down devices. Jailbreaking, rooting, and unlocking are all ways of bypassing their limitations, and doing things that manufacturers and carriers don’t want you to do.
We’ve written about rooting your Android smartphones and tablets before, but why don’t they come rooted? Google argues that rooting is a mistake for security reasons, as it subverts Android’s security model.
Many Android tweaking and hacking guides warn that you’ll void your warranty by continuing. But will you actually be denied repair service if you’ve rooted or unlocked your bootloader?
Android 6.0 Marshmallow contains a highly experimental and hidden multi-window mode. Perhaps this will be stable in the next version of Android — it would definitely make Google’s Pixel C, Nexus 9, and Nexus 6 phones more useful. For now, you can enable it if you’re willing to do some tweaking.
If there’s something everything seems to agree on, it’s that Google’s Android is more “open” and Apple’s iOS is a more “closed” operating system. Here’s what that actually means to you.
Want to install a custom Android ROM — in other words, a third-party version of the Android operating system — like CyanogenMod? You’ll probably be instructed to install a custom recovery, too.
Android is open source, so developers can take its code, add features, and build their own operating system images for Android phones and tablets. Many Android geeks install such custom ROMs — but why?
Many features that once required root have been added to Android over the years. However, many advanced tricks still require rooting your Android smartphone or tablet.
Whether you want to prevent your child from accessing Facebook or are simply sick of the advertisements that litter webpages, a custom hosts file can come in handy.
Android has decent multitasking, but the missing piece of the puzzle is the ability to have multiple apps on-screen at the same time – particularly useful on a larger tablet. Floating apps fill this need.
Most of the app data on your Android is probably synced online will automatically sync to a new phone or tablet. However, your Google Authenticator credentials won’t — they aren’t synchronized for obvious security reasons.