Making the impossible possible

Have you always wanted to customize your Android smartphone? Then this blog is made for you! We will guide you through the process of improving your Android experience. First of all you have to root your smartphone, so you will be able to install the apps we have mentioned below. Keep in mind that rooting your smartphone brings a risk, we are not responsible for any damage done to your smartphone. The guides and examples used in this blog are all done with a Nexus 5. If you own a different Android phone, you might have to follow some other steps. If you didn't drop out yet and if you want to go on an adventure, then follow the links below.

Chainfire root

This is the part where you root your phone. It consist of downloading a zip file, unpacking it and running a script while your phone is connected to your computer.

ClockwordMod Recovery

Android itself comes with the stock recovery. This stock recovery provides a few basic options that allow you to factory reset your device, recover its operating system with an official ROM and to clear the cache partition. This is about it for the stock recovery. A custom recovery on the other hand allows you to do a lot of extra things.

ClockworkMod Recovery is a custom recovery that will replace the default recovery option. This is needed to install the Xposed Framework in the next part. The link leads to method 1A, this is the method that is recommended. Make sure you do it twice. Make sure you do it twice.

Xposed installer

The Xposed framework consists of two parts, the sdk and the installer. The sdk must be flashed like you did with the ClockworkMod Recovery. The Installer is a simple .apk which you can install.

xposed-v*-sdk21-*.zip: Must be flashed with a custom recovery to install the framework.
XposedInstaller_3.0-alpha*.apk: Must be installed to manage installed modules.

Now the fun begins

Is your phone still alive? Good, now we'll continue to talk about different Xposed modules that greatly help to improve your Android experience. Just below this paragraph we have created a list with our favorite Xposed modules. For each Xposed module that we have selected, we will explain what the module does and why we think it is such a great module. Google Experience Launcher (GEL) will be the first victim we are going to talk about!

GEL: not only for your hair

The Xposed GEL module will improve the default Google Experience Launcher which is installed by default on your Nexus phone. Below we have listed our three favourite functionalities from the Xposed GEL module. Pictures say more than words, so see for yourself what the Xposed GEL module enables you to do.


Animation speed
As you can see there are no animations when switching between homescreens

If you are using Safari/Internet Exploder click here to open the gfy (drag to resize).


You can use gestures to perform certain actions. In the gif on the left the app drawer is opened with a swipe up, swiping down will open the overview screen.

If you are using Safari/Internet Exploder click here to open the gfy (drag to resize).

As you might have noticed; there is no pesky Google Search Bar. Just a small change that greatly improved our Android experience.

Xposed GEL has way more functionality, but we don’t want to take away the fun of exploring the application itself.

GravityBox: redefining 9.81m/s2

GravityBox allows you to change the color of the navigation buttons and the status bar icons. Besides changing the color of the statusbar, GravityBox allows you to tweak various small things from the status bar. As an example, you can change the position of the clock and the look of several icons from the status bar. Last but not least, with GravityBox you can monitor your ingoing and outgoing data. This is especially useful for when a page is not loading, because now you can see whether your phone is downloading data or if there is nothing happening at all.

Statusbar orange

Statusbar red

APM+: power menu done right

Are you like us and getting annoyed by the lack of a reboot option in the power menu? APM+ will solve this problem by allowing you to change the options which are being shown in the power menu. Besides putting the reboot option in the power menu, APM+ allows you to do way more things with the power menu. For example, you can switch to airplane mode with the power menu.

Expanding: the unexpandable

Normally only the most recent notification is able to fully expand. However with this Xposed module you are able to expand all incoming notifications! If you don't believe it, see the images below.

Well this was our $0,02 on rooting and the Xposed framework. Before we wrap this up, Vasco wants to share his newly invented model.

The JASPER model is to give you some basic information about rooting:

Joyful times await when you can install apps from the Xposed framework.

Always make backups of your smartphone data (in case something goes wrong. You can go back to the unrooted version of your phone).

Superuser permission allows apps to access ‘deeper’ parts of your phone, which in its turn will give you more accessibility to the Android OS.

Permissions can be set depending on each app with an Xposed module.

Easily customize your phone further by exploring apps that require superuser permissions.

Recurring process. The whole rooting process must be done all over again whenever you upgrade your phone to a new Android OS version.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. Below: a glimpse of all the Xposed modules out there.

If you are using Safari/Internet Exploder click here to open this video in GIF format (drag to resize).


* The awesome header image comes from Lucas Zallio.

Geschreven door


Jasper Swaagman

System Engineer

Our Swagman! Besides his life as an App Star, Jasper likes to play soccer and he can really enjoy a good book. Our head of security is constantly busy doing research to improve the security of the infrastructure of apps.

31 Jul 2015