A Noob’s Guide to Android Hacking

These days there have been a bunch of the mob talking it out about the real meaning of Android Hacking and its legality! First of all, let me make this clear that Android hacking isn’t all about hacking into some arbitrary person’s droid or stealing some data or applications from the App stores or the servers across the horizon. In fact, it’s all about pulling out the most out of your phone’s potential which you basically cannot access if you like sticking to the stock set of firmwares! There have been people asking us about the risk involved in the process, let me tell you one thing, a risk not taken is a risk not paid!

Prerequisites

  1. Back up all apps using ASTRO File Manager. You can get the APK files using ASTRO and later restore it. Rooted users can use Titanium Backup which also backs up data along with the apps.
  2. Back up all contacts to SD card.
  3. Backup SMS on Android.
  4. Backup call log on Android.
  5. Have minimum 60% charge on your phone else you might get stuck while the update process is running on your device.
  6. Remove any security or Anti-virus app if you have them installed.
  7. Enable USB Debugging. This can be don by Settings>Applications>Development and making sure that USB Debugging is checked.

The basics of Android hacking includes details on the simple set of procedures to get you through the following processes:

1. Unlocking the Bootloader

The bootloader should must be unlocked first in order to get you through the first step of this errand. Be careful! Unlocking the Bootloader may void the warranty of your phone. The bootloader is a part of the set of stock setting by the OEMs which can be region dependent. Once you have unlocked the Bootloader, you get the access to various bypasses to boot your device, whichever suits the next step of the procedure following including the HBOOT mode, RECOVERY mode or the much needed Fastboot mode.

2. Rooting your phone

Rooting the phone fetches you the access to the Root folder of your phone. The root folder consists of all the system files which are required to make your phone run. Since these files are extremely important to have the phone functioning , these are kept abstracted away from the general user to avoid accidental data losses. Further, rooting the phone helps you get the root permissions access for your phone which are strictly required to run a specific list of applications on your phone. The most common question on rooting is that whether it is harmful to the device or not. In reality, you won’t have to break a single drop of sweat to get your phone rooted safely. The aid? Follow the rooting procedure in exactly the same way it’s stated in the tutorials. Still, if you’re not so sure about proceeding, better stop here and wait for your phone’s warranty period to get over or you can take the risk if you have a bit of faith on yourself and the community!

3. Flashing Recovery Image

The Recovery mode facilitates the navigation during the ROM flashing process meanwhile being the easiest way to do some system restore or create a backup of the current software of your device! ClockworkMod Recoveries are the most stable and commonly used recoveries which can be flashed via either the phone’s stock recovery or via the PC. There are touch based recoveries available for a bunch of phones. Thus installing the recovery is an important factor as it facilitates future ROM flashing and system repairs and makes them much more feasible!

4. Flashing the ROM

Flashing the ROM is the most important yet easiest step in completing the hacking process of your phone. The toughest part remains the task of making the right choice of the ROM to be flashed! (Don’t bother much about that, we are here for some kind of purpose). The ROM is the heart of your droid as it comprises of all what you can see i.e. the software part! Different kinds of Off-market firmwares are available for almost each and every android device out there, the best of them being the ones from the CyanogenMod team, while all other use the latter as a base along with a lot of customizations and tweaks. Meanwhile, if you want the best user experience, you can have a look at the MIUI ROMs which are known for their eye glittering visuals along with super smooth interface. The easiest way to flash the ROM is to do it via the Recovery mode but there are other conventional methods too viz. the KDZ updater for the LG devices or the Odin Multi-downloader tool for Samsung phones and tablets which can be used as an alternative method of restoring your phone to the stock conditions after performing all the experimental tasks mentioned above!

5. Flashing the Kernel

The Kernel is a set of instructions which guides and directs the controlling units via a series of functions in order to deliver you the kind of performance you wish for! Stay alert! flashing the wrong kernel may lead to a brain miscarriage of your phone! As serious as it could be, the Kernel is the governing brain of any linux based device. So be careful and flash the right kernel as prescribed by the developer of the respective ROM or you can end up having a fried silicon chip on the serve for dinner while if you got the drill right, you can make a smallish one capable enough to deal shoulders with the big baddies!

This is all the basic part of information you must be knowing before you proceed with the flashy stuff as for the time being you’ll get a glimpse of what you are going to do.

So feel free, go through the disclaimer, proceed further, Root your devices, flash some ROMs and get going with one of the world’s fastest growing developer community which is there all the time to back you up!