At some point of owning an Android phone, we all want to replace the older version of its system for an updated one. No onerous task if your phone still receives regular updates years after its release. But to some that don’t, flashing a custom ROM might have crossed their owners’ minds and go on changing the very core of their devices.
Flashing custom ROMs in our Android can also be for tweaks and alterations on the phone’s features, such as changing skins, eliminating bloatware, and installing apps that customize and improve the phone, that can otherwise be impossible with the device’s preset restrictions.
However, this process can be risky and is difficult to do. When things go wrong, they can go really far South, making your standard, run-of-the-mill Android OS reduces its usefulness into that of a brick. To ease the burden, this is where Xposed Framework comes in. It has some similarities to a custom ROM but different enough to discuss 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.
Xposed Framework is easy to install and navigate. You get the benefits of custom ROM flashing without going to custom recovery and doing all other time-consuming processes. Although, Xposed might only be for rooted devices that run on Android Lollipop or Android Marshmallow. TouchWiz from Samsung is also not supported by this framework.
Get To Know the Framework More
What is the Xposed Framework?
Of all the Android innovations at a fundamental level, Xposed is 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 can be a double-edged sword. These changes can come with unintended, undesired bugs and glitches, random reboots, crashing, and worse, bricking.
If you’ve ever done any computer coding, you’ve no doubt cursed to your heart’s content because of a domino effect a tiny, unexpected change can cause that is sometimes 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.
It may sound like a load of gibberish, but 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 your stock Android.
This is not to say that the Xposed Framework runs without any risk, though. First, the device must be rooted before installing the framework. This will not be easy. If you plan on rooting your device on your own, do so with ample knowledge.
Also, never forget to back your system up before making any changes to your device. Different Xposed modules don’t always play nice with each other, but Xposed does its best to be upfront with this information and provide links to FAQs.
If you are cautious, it’s probably best to filter out experimental and beta modules. If you have already heavily modified your device, Xposed may not work. The same goes for devices that are pre-Android 4.0. Xposed is now available for Marshmallow 6.0.
What can the Xposed Framework do?
As we mentioned earlier, Xposed is capable of tweaking your Android phone through Xposed modules. These tweaks include freedom to remap your hardware buttons, permit side-by-side multitasking, and other tweaks in the lock screen, navigation bar, and status bar. You can also add the type of menu that you prefer to apps, easily download videos or images from Instagram, or tweak your package installer.
On top of it, you can 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 modules.
How to Install the Xposed Framework
Installing Xposed is almost as easy as installing an app. You do have to press a few more buttons, though. It’s not an app that you will find in Google Play, although there are apps there that may help you with the installation. And, some of the Xposed modules that can be useful for you can be found on Google Play.
Note that the version you download for a phone that has Marshmallow will be different than the one running on Lollipop, and vice versa. And before you begin with the installation process, make sure to enable installation from “Unknown sources” on your phone settings.
Xposed can work with many different versions and even different ROMs. For later versions like Android or Marshmallow that have a custom recovery, the process involves downloading the Installer app and then sideloading the Xposed 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 the 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 the following Xposed installer according to your device:
Xposed Installer from Xposed Website (Note the separate link for Lollipop & Marshmallow)
Xposed Framework for Lollipop & Marshmallow Via XDA
Xposed Framework for Samsung Lollipop & Marshmallow Via XDA
Xposed Framework Systemless Via XDA
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 the glorified APK files. The app itself already contains several of these in the Downloads section. 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.
See below for examples of some of the modules with features we mentioned earlier, and some different ones that brings you many features from the Android Nougat OS. From here, your journey has just begun.
Download: GravityBox [LP]
Download: Awesome Pop-up Video
This Is Just the Start
We only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Xposed Framework and all it is capable of. Obtaining the app framework is just the start. Notice that there are tons of modules in the Repository alone, and the Repository is for free modules only! There are so much more Xposed modules to choose from. Start tweaking to your heart’s delight as you dive in to discover their use.
So, which modules did you find useful for your needs? Please don’t hesitate to share thoughts and experiences on the comment section below.