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Android hacking problems solved

We take a look at some common Android hacking problems, and how you can solve them

I flashed a ROM and now my phone won’t boot. HELP!

The first boot after flashing a ROM may take a few minutes so be patient before deciding there is a problem. If it won’t boot you need to reboot into recovery – you may need to pull the battery of hold the power button down for ten seconds to get it from its frozen state. The main cause of non-booting ROM is that you failed to wipe either your cache or data (or both) initially, as many custom ROMs require you to do. Assuming you’ve backed up your data, boot into recovery, wipe it then reflash the ROM. It should now boot, and you will need to set up your phone once again and restore all your data. If not restore your Nandroid backup through recovery, which will get your phone working again, and find a new alternative ROM to try.


I’ve rooted my phone and now it no longer gets updates.

Most of them won’t. Once your phone has been ‘modified’ official system updates will either not be available, or will fail when you try to install them. Head over to the forum for your device at and you’ll find a version of the update that you can install almost a soon as it is released. Note that installing updates may in some cases unroot your device.

I rooted my phone and am now getting terrible battery life!

It’s just a coincidence. Rooting simply unlocks access to certain files in the system, it doesn’t make any fundamental changes to the system, nor does it have stuff running in the background. It cannot adversely affect the functioning of your phone or tablet in any meaningful way.

How can I keep my ROM up to date?

In some cases you will need to check manually whether updates have been released. Some ROMs are available through the ROM Manager app so will have the updates made available through that; others use the service for hosting ROMs, and this will check regularly for updates and alert you when they are available. Some, such as CyanogenMod, use their own built in update system that enable you to download either full releases or nightlies depending on your preference.


How can I use a banking app on a rooted device?

Most finance apps, as well as others that rely on a certain level of security, will not work on rooted devices for security reasons. There are apps in the Play Store that will attempt to temporarily unroot your phone to allow you to use those apps that are blocked. These include Hide My Root. However in our experience their success can be hit and miss, and may work with some apps but not with others. In short, if banking is an absolutely essential part of your mobile experience then you may need to keep your device unrooted in order to be able to do it.

How do I unroot and return to stock?

In many instances the simplest way to unroot and return to stock is just to flash a stock ROM. This would be done using the same method you used to root in the first place (for example Odin on a Galaxy device, or Fastboot on a Nexus). Equally, if you used a one-click toolkit for rooting many of these will include an unrooting option within them. It’s a good idea to perform factory reset after flashing a stock ROM. In the case of the Galaxy range of devices an extra step is required, involving the Triangle Away app from the Play Store. Triangle Away resets the ‘flash counter’ on a Galaxy which records the number of times a ROM has been flashed, and which remains even after you have returned the device to stock. It’s easy to do, but since the process itself is not trivial it is essential that you follow the instructions to the letter when using Triangle Away.


My Nandroid restore keeps crashing. Is there any way to get my data back?

The essential root app Titanium Backup has the ability to extract data from a Nandroid backup. If the worst comes to the worst and you cannot get your Nandroid restore to work you can reset your phone then restore the data in TB. Go to Menu>Special Backup/Restore>Extract from Nandroid backup. Select the backup and wait a few minutes while it is analysed. You will then see the apps and associated data listed, and can choose to restore select apps, or all apps and their data. It’s a good idea not to restore paid apps in this way, but to reinstall them manually from the Play Store then restore their data through the Nandroid afterwards.

How do I know if I’ve bricked my device?

There are two main types of brick. A soft brick means the device will turn on but won’t boot – these can mostly be recovered from by either restoring a Nandroid backup or flashing a new ROM. A hard brick means that the device will not even power on. These are much rarer and are also considerably more difficult to recover from, if you can at all. Some devices support the use of a USB Jig to restart the device – you can pick them up cheaply from ebay – but often you will need to take the device to a service centre that can tackle such problems. It isn’t guaranteed that a hard brick can be repaired, however.