"For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen." - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
[INFO]Table of Contents
- Unlocking/Rooting - Tapping into the Mysterious Fountain of Awesomeness: Unlocking & Rooting
- Flashing - Flashing = Installing (And crazy things you've done but didn't realize until now...)
- CPU Control - I Wanna Go Fast! Some Thoughts on Kernels, Governors, and Speed Limits
- Radios - Can't Phone Home? Get a New Radio!
- Theming - . . . And one day, you'll be an artist--customizing the appearance of your home screen, lock screen, soft keys, and elsewhere
I would like to thank all sources linked within this guide, may they be apps, developers, forum posts and posters, or whatever. Your work is amazing and without it, the Android community would not be what it is--a vibrant, thriving community based upon open access to all and for all.[/INFO]
Your Galaxy Nexus is a flawed device, but it's an extremely powerful flawed device. The Samsung-Google-Verizon triumvirate has made the device easy to unlock, easy to flash, and easy to do just about anything your imagination can think of within the bounds of the Android operating system.
In fact, you're probably sitting there reading along a variety of threads thinking "what in the hell does that mean?" "Why would I want to flash my phone, aren't there laws against that?" "Bootloader? Radios? WTF, is this the twenties?"
But fear not intrepid Nexiian! This guide is meant for you and with one purpose in mind--translating everything regarding customizing the Galaxy Nexus into pure, plain English. By the time it's finished even a caveman can do it!
And now for something completely different . . .
[WARN]Please remember--flashing, rooting, and the like are all serious endeavors. Don't mess around and be careful. If you take precautions you will be rewarded with such pleasantries as wicked boot animations, at least 35 home screens, and a battery lasting longer than a puddle in the Sahara.[/WARN]
[TIP]Top Tip #1 - Go to this link, Android Central's Android Dictionary, and read it. Then print it out, put it under your pillow, and read it some more the next morning. Trust me.[/TIP]
Tapping into the Mysterious Fountain of Awesomeness: Unlocking & Rooting
The first step in discovering the awesome untapped power of the Galaxy Nexus is unlocking the bootloader and rooting the device. But what, you ask, does this mean?
The bootloader is the first "substep" to this procedure. Essentially, it's a tool--a control panel, if you will. Without access to it and to what it does, it's like being left alone in a house without access to the central heating control--you'll just sit there, cold and damp or hot and sweaty with nothing left to do. But if you get that key--if you unlock that bootloader--you can enter that room and start fooling around to a degree that you weren't able to previously.
So essentially, this piece, the bootloader, is an internal mechanism that controls your phone. Some phones have highly secure--or "locked"--bootloaders, making it nearly impossible to turn up the heat or cool down the kitchen. The Nexus, on the other hand, has a bootloader so easy to unlock that it makes you wonder why the hell they even bothered locking it in the first place.
Anywho, once unlocked, you can flash and do a variety of things--including rooting the device. Rooting is a cool term (at least I think so, but I'm used to latin and the Internal Revenue Code). Think of rooting as having a filing cabinet in an office. You, the lowly clerk, can only access file cabinet one with closed client cases. I, the superuser, can access every file cabinet, including the filing cabinet of open cases--and it is this cabinet that effectively stores everything in your business. That closed cabinet? Nice, but lacking in control.
This is rooting. When rooted, you have access to your "root" folder directory. Not just the faux/virtual SDcard, but everything. Certain apps need root access to do their magic, e.g. apps like the aptly named Root Explorer, the swiss army knife known as Titanium Backup, etc. etc. Think of it as automatic v. manual transmissions; sure, you may like letting the car do its thing, because what do you know? But you start shifting and you discover that you just might like controlling the car, and further, you like telling it what to do and what gear to be in. Rooting takes you from a 3 speed automatic to a 6 speed manual.
[TIP]Top Tip #2 - If you would like to know how to unlock/unroot, please reference the exceptional methods and guides here in this very forum. From CyberWarrior's extensive guide to everything and TitansJonne's guide for the lonesome Mac User (like my former self). Finally, if you have a Windows PC and just want to tear the bandaid off, Wug's Toolkit will do the job reliably, quickly, and without any harm to you or your psyche. Another great guide is authored by Jubakuba, who prefers the "ol hoagie way."[/TIP]