We’ve been discussing about hacking your android device on this blog with various tutorials on flashing several different types of ROMs on your device. Who doesn’t love doing this? I do, and I frequently change ROMs on my device — so may you! To install a ROM on your device, you would perhaps download a zip file and flash it via the recovery mode. Not everyone is successful doing that and a few often get held up at the boot animation or sometimes boot back into recovery mode itself. This may sometimes result due to usage of incorrect button combinations on your phone. It could be great if you can do all this using a user-friendly interface on the PC and Uniflash is the tool that will let you accomplish these tasks.
Uniflash is the complete Android Hacking tool that can be used on your PC. The various operations that this single tool lets you do are remarkable and make Android hacking much easy for noobs. In this tutorial we will let you know how to use Uniflash, what should you do and what not to do so that you do not brick your device. Uniflash must be used with great care else you may brick your device permanently. It is hence advised to read the complete guide before you use this tool.
To take a look at the features of UniFlash, we have used Samsung Galaxy S GT-I9003 phone which runs on the stock firmware.
- Unlocked Bootloader – Your phone’s botoloader must be unlocked else you will not be able to flash any partitions to your device. HTC devices can be unlocked from HTCDev.com A few other phones can use fastboot commands to unlock the bootloader.
- Root Access – This is mandatory as UniFlash is a hacking tool which will make changes to your phone’s system files and hence will require root access. Read more about rooting.
- CWM/Custom Recovery – If you are flashing a ROM, you will need recovery installed to flash the zip file.
- USB Debugging Enabled – Uniflash uses ADB commands to perform several actions. These commands can run on your phone through the USB Cable only when USB Debugging is ON. Read more about ADB.
After you have satisfied the above requirements, download Uniflash from XDA forums. (You can find it under attachments).
Install Uniflash in any location on your computer. Now go to the folder where you have installed Uniflash and run the Uniflash.exe file which will also create a folder “unitools” in your C:\ drive. Do not delete it. If you create any backups using this tool, there would be another folder name “unibackup”.
Start Uniflash and connect your phone to the computer via USB Cable having USB Debugging enabled. After your phone is connected, you will see the following screen.
On the right side of the screen you can see the information about your phone. In my case, it is Samsung Galaxy S running Gingerbread. The code shown below the name of the phone is the serial number which you would see when you type “adb devices” command in Command Prompt. It also shows the ROM info, memory info (which doesn’t seem to work atm).
On the left side you see various buttons that correspond to different tasks that can be done using this tool. We’l discuss about these tasks below:
Flashing ROMs from PC
This is a feature that is currently available only in Uniflash (as far as I know). When you click on Flashing, you would see the following screen.
In this screen, you can reboot your phone into recovery mode, bootloader mode or boot normally. If you do not have recovery installed, you can select the option to flash recovery to the phone. You need to have the recovery image on your PC that has to be flashed to the phone. In the Reboot section, you also have the option to install APK files from your PC or delete apps on your phone. These can be system or user apps. Make sure you do not delete any system app unless you know its function. For example, if you delete MMS.apk file, you will not have the messaging app on your phone and you will not be able to receive any messages. The copy to device and copy from device do the same basic functions which you can do in mass storage mode. The copy from device feature did not seem to work for us.
On the left side, you have the Flash menu from where you can flash Kernels or recovery images. Make sure your phone’s bootloader is unlocked to perform these actions. If your phone is already in bootloader mode, make sure you check the box at the bottom. Do not flash any radio or splash partitions of any other phone as it may lead to permanent bricking of your phone.
Backup Data From PC
This option will backup all data on your PC. It is a nandroid backup which will be create on your phone and then copied to C:\unibackup \ folder on your PC. Make sure to check ‘I have an EXT partition’ if you are using apps2sd/data2sd/data2ext with an ext partition on your SD card and want to take its backup as well. If you are using a Tablet, make sure you check the corresponding option.
If this does not work for you, you can read our previous guide to create an online nandroid backup of your phone using on your PC. Creating an online nandroid backup does not require you to boot your phone into recovery mode.
While taking a nandroid backup was easy and possible, restoring the backup did not work for us irrespective of the type of recovery installed. This is because Uniflash is still in beta stage and will be subjected to future improvements.
The “Restore something not all” option is for you to restore parts of your nandroid backup. For example, you can restore all your apps and data but not the boot.img and other system files. This can be done when you are changing your phone’s ROM. This also did not seem to work as of now but may work in future versions of Uniflash. If this does not work, you can boot into CWM and select “backup & restore”>’advanced” and select whatever you wish to restore.
Modify ROMs on PC
So you have installed a new ROM but you are not happy with some system apps that the developer has stuffed in. You can easily remove them using Titanium Backup or you can use this tool to perform the same operation.
Build.prop is the file under the /system/ folder which has information about the ROM and device. The information you see when you go to Settings>About phone is something which is written in build.prop For example, the name of the ROM ca be changed from build.prop. You can also change the Android version displayed on your phone by modifying build.prop code. This can be done to trick your friends but it seriously makes no sense to me :p
The other options are to Wipe data and cache which you would do before installing a ROM. You can also flash ROMs using Uniflash, but you need to have the zip file downloaded to your PC. Clicking on the buttons to flash ROMs opens the windows browser where you can select the zip file to be flashed. Sometimes when you face bugs in certain ROMs, the developers release patches which are also zip files. You can flash them by selecting the “Choose patch/update” option.
This tab is not working at the moment but will work in future releases of Uniflash. Using this feature, you will be able to download popular ROMs like stable CyanogenMod and MIUI ROMs to your computer and flash them to your Android device. Using this feature, you can stay updated with the latest ROMs for your device and hence have a better user experience on your device.
Uniflash, undoubtedly is a great tool for noobs who wish to hack their phone but are afraid of the button combinations or the various options that may look scary on the bootloader or recovery screen. We have used version 1.1 for this tutorial. Version 1.2 is also available but reportedly has some bugs. Since this tool is in the beta stage, a few features may not seem to be working. You can however stay subscribed to the XDA thread mentioned below to keep up with the latest version of Uniflash.
Via XDA Forums