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[How To] Resolution Tweak (req. Root)
In this post I'd like to share a small bit of Android information with you. I've discovered it while looking around at the build.prop file and did some research on it, and it turns out to be a pretty cool and powerful feature. Of course, seeing as this requires root you can probably already guess that it involves some more-than-consumer level risk, so anything you do here is your responsibility. This is not a tweak for a fairly novice user. You will need some basic knowledge on command line terminal and how to copy/edit files. I will be assuming you know how to setup and run ADB, and how to execute it and work with it in command prompt.
What's this mod do? Basically it changes your resolution (not really, but for simplicity sake we'll say it does) to a higher pixel density. What this means is everything on your screen will look smaller as if you changed your resolution on your PC to a higher setting. Now obviously we don't want to increase this too much or it will make our screen look bad and be impossible to read things, so I recommend you stick with the settings I have and only tweak it if you're daring.
Now for setup:
1: You require root access for this to work, so make sure you have it prior to doing anything else.
2: Next you will need to get your build.prop file from the /system directory. An easy (and free) way to do this is to use Astro file manager. Open up Astro, navigate to /system/ and copy the build.prop file to the sdcard.
3: Hook the phone up to your PC and enter USB Mass Storage mode. Open the drive on your computer and copy the build.prop file to the desktop.
4: IMPORTANT: make a second copy of this file, and rename it to: build.prop.BAK - accept the change to filetype and leave it alone for now.
5: Open up build.prop using notepad. Once its open you'll see a whole ton of text assuming you have Word Wrap enabled. Press Control + F and type in "density" then press enter.
6: Close out the search menu and find the number "240" to the right of "density"
7: Change the number from 240 to 200. Save the file and close notepad. (Note - higher numbers means bigger text/objects, smaller numbers means smaller text/objects allowing you to fit more on the screen)
8: Put your phone back into PC Mode, and then enable USB Debugging in Settings->Applications->Development
9: At this point I assume you have ADB setup on your PC. Copy and paste the modified build.prop file into the folder with ADB, and then open up a command prompt, change directory to wherever you have ADB installed (ex: cd C:\adb\ ), and type in "adb devices" without the quotes to start ADB and make sure your device is configured properly
10: Now you must push the modified build.prop file to your sdcard. To do so type this in:
adb push build.prop /sdcard/build.prop
11: You should see the text indicating it successfully transferred the file. Now type in "adb shell" without quotes. You should see a $: appear. Once it does, type in "su" and it should change to a #: sign.
12: Now that you're in root access, you must mount /system as read/write to copy over the new build.prop file. To do so type this in exactly as it is, making sure to not skip any spaces or use wrong letters/characters:
mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/system /system
You should see the line repeated and that means it went ok. If you get anything else like an error, somethings not right with the text you entered. Go back and double check it.
13: Now we'll copy the file from the sdcard to the system directory to overwrite the old build.prop file:
cp /sdcard/build.prop /system/build.prop
Again, you should see the line repeat below to confirm it copied it successfully. You can now reboot the phone to make the changes happen (note: for a speedy reboot, simply type in "reboot" from the #: prompt, this will drop you out of root shell and do an automatic reboot of your phone pretty neat)
Once your phone is booted back up you should notice some pretty significant changes in appearance. Everything will look smaller much akin to the changes you see on your desktop PC when you increase the resolution from say 800x600 to 1600x1200. In case you want to change it back to the old look, simply re-trace your steps using the original build.prop file, with the pixel density set to 240 instead of 200.
Note that this isn't a perfect change and some apps will use the old pixel density. But it works just fine and makes navigating things like the Market or the Settings menu much easier as it shows a lot more info on the screen at once. Enjoy and please post any questions you may have!
Screenshots for comparison. Note how lines of text are fully exposed in the new screenshots compared to the old ones, where it has to scroll/cut off text in App names etc: