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Android Devices


icon-android Android Devices icon-android


Read all the information on this page and related pages before you attempt rooting your devices.


This page contains information on how to use your android device, how to root your device and why you may or may not want to root your device.  Use at your own risk.  Rooting your device may void all warranties.  You are responsible for any damages and issues that are caused from attempting to root your device.


Pardon our dust as this page is Under Construction.
The information here is not complete and is a work in progress.
Draft Version 0.3 – This page will be edited and rewritten as it nears completion.
I am working on putting this information together because I was recently asked some questions about how to do stuff on android and if certain things could be removed that were installed by default.


Reasons to root your Android device.
Things to know about why you should root your device.

Rooting your device is needed to add additional features to your device.  By rooting your device you can gain access to more things than if your device is not rooted.  This can include installing Android versions of Internet Security & Antivirus products such as Comodo Security & Antivirus with full support of all features.


Reasons not to root your Android device.
Things to know about why you should not root your device.

Rooting your device can cause more security risk to your android device.
Rooting your device adds more risk to your device.  Rooting your phone for example will make it easier if someone steals your phone to bypass any password or other security mode that you have enabled and reset to factory and sell it.  By not rooting your phone or device you have an additional layer of protection to make your device useless to thieves.


Rooting software.

There is a variety of rooting software for android devices and not all software will work on your device.
Cydia Impactor

How To root your device using Cydia Impactor.
androidxda.com

Be sure to let the windows drivers install before trying to root your device. – also be sure to enable developers mode and check the usb debugging box.  When you are done rooting your device disable developers mode.


Uninstall or Disable apps that you don’t use.
If you don’t use some google apps on your android device you may be able to reduce the space taken or even uninstall them completely. Issues may arise by trying to force uninstall some apps. The best course of action is to uninstall updates then optional disable unwanted apps. (Safest method)


Free up space on your device by moving apps to sd card.

Some apps can be installed to the devices sd card partition and free up space on your device.
Removable SD cards can increase storage space on your device.  Removable cards have there disadvantages and you usually can not install apps on the removable sd cards.


Swap partitions.

There are a few things you should probably do before swapping partitions.
Backup your files & info on your device. Do a factory reset.  Follow the correct method to swap partitions then reboot.  (More information will be added once I have swapped my tablet’s partitions and verified at least 1 way to achieve this with or without additional software)


I have successfully rooted the Nextbook 8″ NX008HD8G Tablet using Cydia Impactor.


Q. Will rooting a device allow me to uninstall pre-installed google apps?

A. No.  Rooting your device will not change default installed google apps.  You can however uninstall updates and disable the apps that you do not use.  There may be other software that will allow you to remove apps that would not regularly be able to be removed however there can be additional risk to removing additional apps that are installed by default.


You may try moving all apps from the phone/tablet to the sd card (internal) to free up some more space on your device.  Please note that not all apps can be moved to the sd card and some that can be moved may have limited functions if on the sd card partition.  Also moving files, music & videos to a removable sd card will free up more space however depending on what Android version you are using and what app you are using to play back your audio/video files some annoyances may be encountered.  This may include having to play each file separately instead of in a playlist for example.


Q. Google Play says my device is incompatible.  Is there anyway to install the app on my device?

A. There are many apps available for Android and not all are compatible with every device.  Sometimes apps are restricted to devices.  some are just not compatible with your device.  if you want to try to load the app anyway you can Sideload Android Apps.

Q. What is Sideloading an app

A. Sideloading an app is bypassing the normal way that you would install the app from the Google Play Store.  You will need to use an alternate method to download the .apk file from the Google Play Store.

Q. What is an .APK file

A. An .APK file is similar to an installer program in any operating system.  in this case it has the extention .APK


If you want to install apps that are not compatible with your device, there are other methods of downloading and installing them from the google play store.  You can try downloading apps from the google play store by visiting http://apps.evozi.com/apk-downloader page.

(Be warned that there are deceptive ads that look like downloads but they are ads.)

Below the line that says Package name or Google Play URL there will be a box to paste the link to the page that contains the app that you want to download.   To download the desired file for your device directly from google play navigate to the page and copy (Ctrl + C) the full google play page link then paste (Ctrl + V) the url into the box.  Once you have the full URL to the download page in the box click the generate download link button directly below.  this should create a download link to the file to download it from the Google Play Store.

If you use the extension for google you can download by clicking the link to download the free apk files. (additional account & device info setup required.)  In the newest version I have there is now an additional button after the Install – Add to Wishlist – Download APK (Windows running Google Chrome Browser with extention)

You can also install the APK downloader extention for chrome at https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/apk-downloader/obhlfmheblhjhkmacldlhdnbgbaiigba (link on APK downloader site too.)

This will allow you to download the app to your computer or device directly if google play says this app is incompatible with your device. (Web Browser not Google Play App)
There are also other sites that offer .APK app installer files however they may contain viruses, trojans, and other harmful downloads.

Note there are some apps on google play that you should watch out for.  Check ratings and reviews of apps before downloading.  There are also some apps that I have come across that are nothing but a way for people to make money off of adsense ads and do not actually provide any useful features.  There has also been a few apps that I have found


Are you looking for information about your Android device (or any other books that may be available) check out it-ebooks.info .  they have a variety of .pdf books available to download.  If you find a book useful please support the authors by purchasing the book.  You can also check your local Library for related books to check out.  I have found that some of the books such as the “For Dummies” books in .pdf format have been easier to find the information I am looking for because you can search the .pdf document for a keyword or keywords.


Swapping Partitions.  by default Android usually has 2 visible partitions that are used.  One is the default location that all the apps are installed.  The other is the internal sd card.  There is a few ways to swap the partitions and the main reason you would want to do this is simply the sd card partition is usually larger than the app partition.  So by swapping a few lines of code in a file on the android device you should be able to now have more space and more apps installed on your device.


Example:
My 8 gig tablet has a total of 8 GB available.
Internal Storage 0.89 Gig – (Device)
Nand Storage 5.83 GB (Internal Storage/SD Card)
By swapping the partitions on my device I will have 5.83 GB available instead of 0.89 GB of space.
Note Android has additional hidden partitions that use additional space.


Android is based on the Open Source Linux Operating System.  Android devices use ARM CPU that is different than Intel, AMD and other CPU’s.  There are a few Linux Operating systems that are available that will run a modified linux OS on your Android device however additional steps are needed to boot to another operating system on your device.  This option is only recommended for Android tablets and should never be attempted on an Android phone.


Before buying an android tablet do your homework and check reviews on more than one site.  If you are looking to buy a cheap tablet decide what features you don’t need.  Cheaper android tablets will not have bluetooth and may be a stripped down version of other models.  Also plan to buy your tablet near the end of the year when they are cheaper.  Watch the current deals and price match when possible. Amazon, Tigerdirect, Newegg, along with some other sites sometimes will drop prices to clear out old inventory to make room for the new models.

Decide what you plan to do with your new android device.  If you want to add a bluetooth keyboard to your tablet later you should make sure your tablet has bluetooth built in.  Also you can attach USB devices to most tablets with an OTG adapter.  They sell for like $5 to $10 on average however you may find them cheaper shopping around.  All an OTG adapter really does is add a connection to power your external devices such as a keyboard or mouse for example.


Some devices (Tablets) may say that they will not charge from the USB device.  In some cases this may not always be the case.  Some devices will charge from the usb connection however may take much longer than by using the included charger because the maximum amp output rating for standard USB 1 and USB 2 is 500 MA or 1/2 an amp maximum at 5VDC.  I have actually charged my tablet with the usb connection however it took much longer to charge because the default charger is like 5VDC @ 2 amps


Useful Google Play Apps:

Hacker’s Keyboard – Full qwerty keyboard (recommended for tablets)
Comodo Security & Antivirus – Best for rooted tablets
KeePassDroid – Keep all you account info in 1 place and password protected

Battle.net Authenticator – Authenticator for Blizzard Entertainment games


 

Android uses several partitions to organize files and folders on the device. Each of these partitions has a distinct role in the functionality of the device.  Here is an overview of the different partitions and what they are used for.  Below is a list of standard internal memory partitions on Android devices.

/boot
/system
/recovery
/data
/cache
/misc

SD card partitions.

/sdcard
/sd-ext

Note that /sdcard is found in all Android devices.  The other partitions may not be on all devices.

/boot

This is the partition that enables the phone to boot, as the name suggests. It includes the kernel and the ramdisk. Without this partition, the device will simply not be able to boot. Wiping this partition from recovery should only be done if absolutely required and once done, the device must NOT be rebooted before installing a new one, which can be done by installing a ROM that includes a /boot partition.

/system

This partition basically contains the entire operating system, other than the kernel and the ramdisk. This includes the Android user interface as well as all the system applications that come pre-installed on the device. Wiping this partition will remove Android from the device without rendering it unbootable, and you will still be able to put the phone into recovery or bootloader mode to install a new ROM.

/recovery

The recovery partition can be considered as an alternative boot partition that lets you boot the device into a recovery console for performing advanced recovery and maintenance operations on it. To learn more about this partition and its contents, see the ‘About Android Recovery’ section of our guide to ClockworkMod recovery.

/data

Also called userdata, the data partition contains the user’s data – this is where your contacts, messages, settings and apps that you have installed go. Wiping this partition essentially performs a factory reset on your device, restoring it to the way it was when you first booted it, or the way it was after the last official or custom ROM installation. When you perform a wipe data/factory reset from recovery, it is this partition that you are wiping.

/cache

This is the partition where Android stores frequently accessed data and app components. Wiping the cache doesn’t effect your personal data but simply gets rid of the existing data there, which gets automatically rebuilt as you continue using the device.

/misc

This partition contains miscellaneous system settings in form of on/off switches. These settings may include CID (Carrier or Region ID), USB configuration and certain hardware settings etc. This is an important partition and if it is corrupt or missing, several of the device’s features will will not function normally.

/sdcard

This is not a partition on the internal memory of the device but rather the SD card. In terms of usage, this is your storage space to use as you see fit, to store your media, documents, ROMs etc. on it. Wiping it is perfectly safe as long as you backup all the data you require from it, to your computer first. Though several user-installed apps save their data and settings on the SD card and wiping this partition will make you lose all that data.

On devices with both an internal and an external SD card – devices like the Samsung Galaxy S and several tablets – the /sdcard partition is always used to refer to the internal SD card. For the external SD card – if present – an alternative partition is used, which differs from device to device. In case of Samsung Galaxy S series devices, it is /sdcard/sd while in many other devices, it is /sdcard2. Unlike /sdcard, no system or app data whatsoever is stored automatically on this external SD card and everything present on it has been added there by the user. You can safely wipe it after backing up any data from it that you need to save.

/sd-ext

This is not a standard Android partition, but has become popular in the custom ROM scene. It is basically an additional partition on your SD card that acts as the /data partition when used with certain ROMs that have special features called APP2SD+ or data2ext enabled. It is especially useful on devices with little internal memory allotted to the /data partition. Thus, users who want to install more programs than the internal memory allows can make this partition and use it with a custom ROM that supports this feature, to get additional storage for installing their apps. Wiping this partition is essentially the same as wiping the /data partition – you lose your contacts, SMS, market apps and settings.

With this, we conclude our tour of Android partitions. Now whenever you install a ROM or mod that requires you to wipe certain partitions before the installation, you should be in a better position to know what you’re losing and what not and thus, you’ll know what to backup and what not.

Original information was found on addictivetips.com


 

Factory Reset Options

Just a note about fixing issues with an android device..

I was having issues installing apps because it said i had no space on my Nextbook Tablet.  I booted the tablet holding power and the – (Minus) volume key until the menu loaded with several options including upgrading from file etc.  I reset all partitions and files to default and then rebooted.  This restored the tablet to factory just like out of the box.  I had plenty of free space on my tablet again.  I had uninstalled almost all the apps I could on my tablet trying to make the app install however there just was too much space used still even after uninstalling all the apps on the tablet.  If you are running into this issue be sure to back up all your files you want to save because this will reset your tablet to like new out of the box.

The options on how to boot to this may vary between devices but on the Nextbook Tablet that I have


01-21-2015 App installation information. The move to SD card feature doesn’t actually move the app to the SD card from information I have read on other sites. Instead it moves the cashe files and possibly some other files to the SD card while leaving the program on the smaller partition of the device. There is a possible change to the android device that may change the app installation location to install apps to the internal SD card. I am looking into further information on how to do this. When I find the information I will include it with instructions on how to make the changes and any software/apps that may be needed.


Updated: October 19, 2014 — 4:55 pm

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