Have you ever had anything go wrong when flashing a custom ROM?
When things go wrong, they can go really far South, making your standard, run-of-the-mill Android OS that you were so sick of about an hour ago seem like manna from heaven. And hopefully you can just use your backup, but if you forgot that backup you are in another world of pain. Xposed Framework has some similarities to a custom ROM but is also different enough to talk about as an alternative to flashing a ROM.
Think of it as building your own custom ROM one step at a time, mostly without the drastic instability issues. If you do want a quick, complete makeover, you might want to go with Paranoid Android or Cyanogenmod instead; but you might not want all of those features, or want different features.
But if you don’t mind crafting your custom masterpiece, one piece at a time, Xposed could be for you. And even if you don’t like it, all you have to do is deactivate the module and reboot. Xposed is for rooted devices.
1. What is Xposed?
Of all the Android innovations at a fundamental level, Xposed is, I daresay, one of the best. A large portion of the dangers that come from rooting and custom ROMs is that the same changes that make the low-level tweaks you desire even possible are a double-edged sword. These changes can come with unintended, undesired bugs and glitches, random reboots, crashing, and more.
If you’ve ever done any computer coding, you’ve no doubt used profanity because one little change can have a domino effect that you sometimes don’t expect, and find even hard to track. Xposed bypasses this to a large extent; instead of modifying APK files as custom ROMs do, it extends the /system/bin/app_process executable to load a JAR file at boot. If that sounds like a bunch of gibberish, just know that the framework is capable of adding new features and changing existing features without sacrificing much of the reliability and straightforwardness you had with stock Android.
This is not at all to say that the Xposed Framework for Android is without risk. First, you must root your device before you even install Xposed, even though after that, the modules shouldn’t need to access root. Even though Xposed works on the majority of devices and versions, it is not known to work on all of them.
And you should always, always still perform a backup before making any changes to your device. Different Xposed modules don’t always place nice with each other, but Xposed does its best to be upfront with this information and provide links to FAQs.
If you are the cautious sort, it’s probably best to filter out experimental and beta modules. If you have already heavily modified your device, Xposed may not work, and the same goes for devices that are pre-Android 4.0. Xposed is now available for Marshmallow 6.0. But now that we’ve covered some of the risks and some benefits, we need to discuss what Xposed can do for you.
So earlier we mentioned that Xposed was capable of some tweaks. These can include freedom to remap your hardware buttons, permit side-by-side multitasking, and lockscreen, navigation bar, and status bar tweaks. You can add the type of menu that you prefer to apps, easily download videos or images from Instagram, or tweak your package installer.
You can also manage permissions, add more options to the Power menu, or enable 20MP Superior Auto on your Xperia camera. You can do all of these things and more, but first, you would need to install the Xposed Framework and then install the appropriate module.
2. How to Install Xposed
Essentially, installing Xposed is almost as easy as installing an app. You do have to press a few more buttons, but not many. It’s not an app you will find in Google Play, although apps do exist there that may help you with installation and some modules are available there. The version you download for a phone that has Marshmallow will be different than if you are running Lollipop and vice versa.
Xposed can work with many different versions and even different ROMs. For Samsungs devices running TouchWiz Lollipop or Marshmallow, there is a special link below. You can download the appropriate file from the link below, and then transfer it to your phone with a USB cable or wirelessly. At that point, installation can commence on your phone.
For newer versions like Android or Marshmallow, and that have a custom recovery, the process involves downloading the Installer app and then sideloading the installer. If you are running Marshmallow, you can opt for the systemless version of Xposed, provided you performed a systemless root, you have the stock boot image, SuperSU 2.76 or greater, and you have removed all traces of any old Xposed files. You will still need to download the Installer APK, Framework Zip, and the Uninstaller Zip and transfer the files to your SD card or internal memory. At that point you will want to reboot your phone into recovery using the key combination specific to your device.
Then, depending on which custom recovery you have,
- select Install Zip from SD Card or just Install,
- choose the Framework Zip file,
- and confirm.
- Wipe the Dalvik and system caches when installation of the file is complete and reboot.
- Launch the Installer APK.
If all went as planned, when you open the Framework option within the app, you should see app_process and Xposed Bridget.jar below Versions (keep reading if you have KitKat; it’s a little different). If, at any point, you receive a request for superuser access, grant it. It’s necessary for installing the Xposed Framework for Android.
Download: Xposed Installer from Xposed Website (Note the separate link for Lollipop & Marshmallow)
Download: Xposed Framework for Lollipop & Marshmallow Via XDA
Download: Xposed Framework for Samsung Lollipop & Marshmallow Via XDA
Download: Xposed Framework Systemless Via XDA
3. Where to Get Modules
Xposed modules are primarily available through the Xposed Module Repository, although there are other sources. You might want to use some caution with outside sources, as I have been burned a time or two. Before you get started with the modules, if your device is running KitKat, you will first need to select the Framework option in the Installer and once the installation of the framework is done, reboot. That step is unnecessary if you are using Marshmallow or Lollipop as it has already been done automatically.
If you stop at Installation of the Xposed Framework, you will most likely be disappointed. What we just did sets the stage for new tweaks, but also relies on the installation of modules for customization. Some of the modules only accomplish one small change whereas others may carry out several functions and some larger modifications. What are these modules that we speak of?
Really, they are glorified APK files. The app itself already contains several of these, housed in a section called Downloads. You can search for a particular module, or read the details about what each one does by tapping on it. Down at the bottom, you’ll want to pick the most recent version and tap the associated Download button. Look below for examples of some of the modules with features we mentioned earlier, and some different ones, like Android N-ify that brings you many features from the Android Nougat OS. Your journey has just begun.
Download: GravityBox [LP]
Download: Awesome Pop-up Video
Download: Android N-ify
We only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Xposed Framework and all it is capable of. Did you notice that there are 941 modules in the Repository alone? And the Repository is for free modules only! There is so much more you tweak to your heart’s delight.
Which modules did you download? Send us your thoughts.