Yesterday I uploaded ADB Toggle and made it non-available on devices running Android 4.4 and later. It will keep working on devices running Android 4.3 and earlier, but 4.4 is no longer supported.
First off, sorry to the people who kept waiting for an update. I’m currently busy developing a new app and didn’t look into ADB Toggle until yesterday. I quickly fixed an issue which I thought was the reason, but sadly it wasn’t. ADB Toggle uses a little trick to do what it can do: when installed as system app it can use system privileges to toggle USB debugging. It seems the Android team changed this with the 4.4 release and now ADB Toggle no longer gets the permission to toggle USB debugging, even though it is installed as system app.
There could be other ways to still do this by using root access, but the point of this app was to not need any root after installation. It would also require some more development work which I honestly don’t want to spend. People more familiar with Android security probably already know that since 4.2 ADB Toggle is obsolete anyway: USB access is only allowed on a PC when you explicitly confirm this. This means if you have USB debugging enabled and ‘someone’ steals your devices and connects to his PC he still won’t get into (and that already was the whole point of my app).
So now it’s probably a good opportunity to say goodbye and thanks for the 100K installs! 😉
I recently introduced a new feature that allows you to re-disable apps when they were activated from a widget. In the newest version (1.28.1) this has been slightly improved: when an app is back in quarantine (by toggling from the notification bar, widget, app) then it automatically disappears from the notification now, and when all apps are re-disabled then the whole notification disappears as well. With this improvement the notification don’t get in your way when you don’t need them.
If you still prefer a permanent notification bar from which you can always enable/disable the most recently apps then there’s a little setting to bring back the original behavior: just disable “Only keep active apps in notification“.
For a long time it was already possible in App Quarantine to enable/disable apps directly from your home-screen by using widgets. You can add a widget for each app you need to toggle frequently, or when using the Pro version you can add a widget with multiple apps. This is definitely faster then opening the app each time and search for the app you want to toggle.
Basically the idea is that you use the app to toggle apps permanently, but use the widget when you need to toggle it more frequently. Now when using the widget then the most recently toggled apps will automatically appear in your notification bar so you re-disable them instantly from wherever you are. You can use the notification bar in just the same way like you use the widget: hit the lock icon to toggle the app (it’s green when enabled), or hit the app’s icon to launch it. Of course you can also toggle all apps at once.
If you don’t want to use notifications, no problem: just go into settings and disable it.
Now get it on Google Play!
User Manager is an app for Android 4.2 devices. The app offers more functionality to the limited multi-user feature. Now you can share your installed apps between all your users.
When User Manager was introduced in December 2012 it was only available in Google Play as paid version. Now there’s a free version available too. The free version comes with just the same features like the paid version, however it’s limited to managing one guest account only.
There’s a new feature available too….
Manage running processes
When often switching between user accounts then after a while your device is not feeling so responsive anymore. What you maybe don’t know is that the apps of all user accounts are still running in the background. With User Manager you can easy monitor what apps are running on which account, and stop them.
If you are familiar on how the Android system is working then you know that apps are coming back when you stopped them. Apps that are listening to system events (like receiving a new Email or instant message) will automatically be restarted by the system. Unfortunately his also happens when stopping apps on other user accounts.
So what do you wanna do? Wait for a task killer that supports multiple user accounts and let it drain your battery even faster? No thanks! User Manager comfortable lets you stop all activities on other user accounts. Just select “Running Processes” and select “Kill all” for each user account you currently don’t need. This freezes the user account and only brings it back to life when you switch accounts again. No background service is running to keep killing restarted apps!
If you don’t see the running time for each process then you need to install busybox. You can install it for example by using this handy app by Stericson: Busybox installer
Little surprise coming?
Currently Google has limited the multi-user feature to tablets only. Some people already managed to enable it for phones when using Custom ROMs. From the beginning User Manager was designed to support phones as well. So if you run such custom ROM then you’ll see it scales nice on the small screen:
Teaser: now if this was only possible on a stock ROM.
Now get it on Google Play!
The Android 4.2.2 update is just rolling out to select devices. If you don’t want to wait any longer, here are the instructions to flash it manually. There are different methods available like for instance using adb sideload when you don’t have root. However I have root and I’m always flashing new OTAs from ClockworkMod, so I’m describing this method only.
You need to have the following prerequisites:
- The previous Android 4.2.1 is already running
- ClockworkMod recovery (or a similar custom recovery) is already on your device
- A computer with the adb tool available (I assume you have this already)
- USB debugging is enabled on your device
If you have modified your system then you can’t flash the OTA. So first make sure that you have restored any framework modifications, undo any build.prop patches, and hopefully you didn’t delete any system apps (installing new system apps is fine, just don’t modify any existing files).
Now download the update ZIP for your device:
Copy it to your SD card:
adb push 472aafeb9fe3.signed-takju-JDQ39-from-JOP40D.472aafeb.zip /sdcard/
adb push de8b8d101614.signed-occam-JDQ39-from-JOP40D.de8b8d10.zip /sdcard/
adb push 6ece895ecb23.signed-nakasi-JDQ39-from-JOP40D.6ece895e.zip /sdcard/
adb push eaef14432ff5.signed-mantaray-JDQ39-from-JOP40D.eaef1443.zip /sdcard/
And then reboot into recovery:
adb reboot recovery
Now select ‘install zip from sdcard’, ‘choose zip from ‘sdcard’, select ‘0/’ (this is the SD card for the device owner), and scroll down until you see the update ZIP. Select ‘Yes – Install’
This will take a while. When it has succeeded then select ‘Go back’ and ‘reboot system now’. The recovery will ask you to disable the stock recovery. If you don’t do this then you’ll lose your custom recovery after reboot, so choose:
Yes – Disable recovery flash
Now the recovery will ask you to fix root, so you wisely choose:
Yes – Fix root
Your system will reboot and you’ll enjoy the Android 4.2.2 experience. According to first reports on Google Plus this is now buttery smooth again!
If you have ever rooted your Nexus device then you probably know that you first have to unlock your bootloader if you want to flash a new factory image or custom ROM. So here’s the famous:
fastboot oem unlock
When unlocking your bootloader however your whole device data is wiped. But why is that? Actually when the bootloader is unlocked then you open all doors to the device. Even when your phone is locked with a pin code someone could still boot into the bootloader, flash a custom recovery, and from here be able to access your device data.
BootUnlocker to the rescue!
Ideally you unlock your bootloader, flash a new Nexus factory image and then re-lock your bootloader again. However if you need to flash another factory image two weeks later then you have to unlock your bootloader again and your device is first wiped before you can flash a new image.
But there’s an app for that! BootUnlocker allows to to lock/unlock your bootloader without the need to wipe your data. From a security perspective of course that makes only sense if you have applied a pin code, unlock pattern, or a similar protection.
Currently the app doesn’t work on all Nexus devices yet. Among the supported devices are the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, or Nexus 10. The Nexus 7 is not supported because Asus have implemented some more security to their devices and don’t allow to modify the bootloader this easily.
But wait… what about Custom ROMs?
Typically you are using a custom recovery (ClockworkMod being the standard) which you are using for flashing your ROMs, framework modifications or be it only the latest Superuser binaries.
But unlike official factory images Custom ROMs can not be flashed from the bootloader. A custom recovery is needed that allows you to flash unsigned files.
Now even when you lock your bootloader (after flashing a Custom ROM) then you still got your doors wide open because everyone could just boot into recovery mode and use it to access your device.
I’m not saying this is so much of a critical issue and that you should immediately stop using custom ROMs but at least you should be aware of what you are doing! If you lose your Android phone then chances are good that a thief does not know about custom recoveries and the like. Nevertheless it still would be great if the device was more secure!
Usually you are using the fastboot tool to flash a custom recovery:
fastboot flash recovery your_recovery_image
Alternatively the tool allows you to directly boot a custom recovery (without flashing it permanently). So you can boot into the recovery, do your business like usual, but on the next reboot you are back to the stock recovery:
fastboot boot your_recovery_image
This command only works if your bootloader is unlocked, but unfortunately it’s more complicated for you to access your recovery. Gone are the times when you could quickly boot into recovery to flash a zip!
Call for more security to Custom recoveries
In an ideal world you would have the best security together with the best possible freedom for yourself! It would be nice if you could use a Custom recovery but rely on the security that not everyone can use it! So here’s my call to all recovery developers:
Please add some kind of protection level to your custom recoveries! On every PC you can setup a password to protect CMOS settings so you can too! Adding a password protection would be so much of a better feature than big ugly styled touch buttons! Thank you!
Today I proudly announce my newest app! User Manager is a tool to enhance the multiple user experience on Android 4.2 tablets.
Maybe you are sharing your tablets with your kids and you have already downloaded a couple of games. Or maybe you have setup an account that you are using for your job only. One of the limitations is that you need to login with your Google account(s) and re-install all apps for each account. But if you do this then your GMail, Google Plus, Calendar and such can be used by other users as well.
User Manager is a central administration tool that allows you to manage the apps for each user account. You can browse the apps that are installed for each user and then change their status from “Uninstalled” to “Installed”, or “Installed” to “Disabled”.
There are some limitations and requirements on how you can use this app:
Of course your tablet needs to run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Currently this is only the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 but more and more tablets will appear with multiple users support. Google does not enable multi user support on phones so obviously you can’t use User Manager on them. However there’s hope that some custom ROMs will add multi user support to phones!
Like you can already guess this app needs root access in order to perform the changes. One downside currently is that you need to reboot your device for the changes to take effect. You can delay the reboot if you first need to do something else, but beware: the Android system might overwrite the changes after some time.
User Manager works with both free and paid apps. So theoretically you can add a new user without setting up a Google account (or use an entirely different Google account) and share previously installed apps between them. However some apps (especially games) are protected with a licensing mechanism and only work if you are using the right Google account.
I’m introducing the app with a special price! You can get it for only $0.99 / 0,50 € but only for a limited time. When the app has improved and more features have been added then it will be sold for regular price.
You can purchase the app from Google Play: