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Galaxy S4 Mini Plus (GT-I9195I) Hacking Guide (Root, Recovery, Xposed)

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By Alte.78, Junior Member on 16th November 2015, 07:02 PM
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Trying to purchase Galaxy S4 Mini (GT-I9195) I received S4 Mini Plus (GT-I9195I) from online retailer. After some consideration I decided to treat this as a challenge and not to return the purchase. Here is what I learned so far about hacking this tiny piece of electronics:

Getting Root
I was not able to get root on the firmware installed on the phone (I9195IXXU1AOB1). The way I fixed that was to download another firmware from SamMobile and flashed it with Kies. The highest version I was able to flash without issues was I9195IXXU1AOD2, and it immediately updated to I9195IXXU1AOG1. For both versions latest KingRoot worked just fine. SuperSu Me fixed all the damage KingRoot did, replacing it with proper SuperSu. This did not trip Knox device status, BTW.

Flashing Custom Recovery
I downloaded official TWRP recovery from teamw.in and decided to go the hard way and install the recovery doing dd fom command line (ConnectBot) - I was hoping this will help me to keep the warranty. Worked just fine, but tripped Knox bit nevertheless. NB: avoid extra hassles and just use Odin to install recovery.

Installing Xposed
Xposed install sent my device into boot loop. Fixing permissions from recovery allowed me to boot, but gapps was having permanent ANRs. Upon investigation it looks like Xposed for KK is not designed to take selinux enforcing mode into account. Specifically it installed app_process with wrong security context making device unbootable. The fix is very simple:
1. Install Xposed Installer and ES File Explorer.
2. Open Xposed Installer, go to Framework menu, select "Recovery (write zip to SD card, flash manually)" Installation mode, press "Install/Update".
3. Open ES File, navigate to /sdcard/Andriod/data/de.robv.android.xposed.installer/files. There are two files there: Xposed-Installer-Recovery.zip and Xposed-Disabler-Recovery.zip
4. Now comes the fun part: in both archives you need to modify META-INF/com/google/android/update-binary: comment or delete all "chmod", "chown" and "restorecon" commands and replace "cp XXX/app_process[.orig] XXX/app_process" with "cat XXX/app_process[.orig] > XXX/app_process". This will keep both permissions and security context of the file. Unpack, edit, repack.
5. Reboot into recovery, install Xposed-Installer-Recovery.zip, enjoy.
I will send patch to Xposed maintainer later this week. But we have not seen new releases of Xposed fo KK for over a year now, so I am not sure it will get released any time soon.

I will update the post as my adventures continue - my plan is to have CyanogenMod on this device some day. Stay tuned.
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16th November 2015, 08:34 PM |#2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alte.78

I will update the post as my adventures continue - my plan is to have CyanogenMod on this device some day. Stay tuned.

If you want you can PM me or join Freenode IRC and PM droidlambda. I've already started making CyanogenMod for the device, although I haven't come that far yet (even though the TWRP recovery you installed was ported by me). I could give you some advice (of my experiences with this phone and porting) and my basic config (which builds recovery successfully) if you want.
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19th November 2015, 07:13 PM |#3  
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Does it have to go through all that trouble for Xposed? Or only if you want to install it via recovery (not classic / APK)?
Because recovery will trigger Knox (bye warranty).
Anyone installed Xposed the classic way on i9195i?
25th November 2015, 11:51 AM |#4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alte.78

Getting Root
For both versions latest KingRoot worked just fine. SuperSu Me fixed all the damage KingRoot did, replacing it with proper SuperSu.

If we install TWRP, can't we just flash SuperSU zip from recovery to avoid the KingRoot removal hassle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alte.78

Installing Xposed
Xposed install sent my device into boot loop. Fixing permissions from recovery allowed me to boot, but gapps was having permanent ANRs. Upon investigation it looks like Xposed for KK is not designed to take selinux enforcing mode into account. Specifically it installed app_process with wrong security context making device unbootable.

Was this boot loop after classical (write to /system), or recovery install?
I installed Xposed classical on i9195 (not i) KK (it also has selinux enforcing) without problems. Is there a difference that I'm not aware of?

Thanks.
2nd December 2015, 10:46 AM |#5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alte.78

Trying to purchase Galaxy S4 Mini (GT-I9195) I received S4 Mini Plus (GT-I9195I) from online retailer. After some consideration I decided to treat this as a challenge and not to return the purchase. Here is what I learned so far about hacking this tiny piece of electronics:

Getting Root
I was not able to get root on the firmware installed on the phone (I9195IXXU1AOB1). The way I fixed that was to download another firmware from SamMobile and flashed it with Kies. The highest version I was able to flash without issues was I9195IXXU1AOD2, and it immediately updated to I9195IXXU1AOG1. For both versions latest KingRoot worked just fine. SuperSu Me fixed all the damage KingRoot did, replacing it with proper SuperSu. This did not trip Knox device status, BTW.

Flashing Custom Recovery
I downloaded official TWRP recovery from teamw.in and decided to go the hard way and install the recovery doing dd fom command line (ConnectBot) - I was hoping this will help me to keep the warranty. Worked just fine, but tripped Knox bit nevertheless. NB: avoid extra hassles and just use Odin to install recovery.

Installing Xposed
Xposed install sent my device into boot loop. Fixing permissions from recovery allowed me to boot, but gapps was having permanent ANRs. Upon investigation it looks like Xposed for KK is not designed to take selinux enforcing mode into account. Specifically it installed app_process with wrong security context making device unbootable. The fix is very simple:
1. Install Xposed Installer and ES File Explorer.
2. Open Xposed Installer, go to Framework menu, select "Recovery (write zip to SD card, flash manually)" Installation mode, press "Install/Update".
3. Open ES File, navigate to /sdcard/Andriod/data/de.robv.android.xposed.installer/files. There are two files there: Xposed-Installer-Recovery.zip and Xposed-Disabler-Recovery.zip
4. Now comes the fun part: in both archives you need to modify META-INF/com/google/android/update-binary: comment or delete all "chmod", "chown" and "restorecon" commands and replace "cp XXX/app_process[.orig] XXX/app_process" with "cat XXX/app_process[.orig] > XXX/app_process". This will keep both permissions and security context of the file. Unpack, edit, repack.
5. Reboot into recovery, install Xposed-Installer-Recovery.zip, enjoy.
I will send patch to Xposed maintainer later this week. But we have not seen new releases of Xposed fo KK for over a year now, so I am not sure it will get released any time soon.

I will update the post as my adventures continue - my plan is to have CyanogenMod on this device some day. Stay tuned.

Thanks for the Xposed trick!
I managed to root according to your instructions (King root the supersu me), then install xposed through flashfire.
No need to flash custom recovery!
So knox is still 0x0!!

Great!
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7th December 2015, 05:12 PM |#6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_white

Does it have to go through all that trouble for Xposed? Or only if you want to install it via recovery (not classic / APK)?
Because recovery will trigger Knox (bye warranty).
Anyone installed Xposed the classic way on i9195i?

Yes you have. Normal install (Write to /system) will send your phone into bootloop and you will have to re-flash your rom. I've tried that.
7th December 2015, 05:15 PM |#7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karboush

Thanks for the Xposed trick!
I managed to root according to your instructions (King root the supersu me), then install xposed through flashfire.
No need to flash custom recovery!
So knox is still 0x0!!

Thats absolutely cool! I want to have custom recovery anyway, but your discovery will surely help a lot of people.
7th December 2015, 05:20 PM |#8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_white

Was this boot loop after classical (write to /system), or recovery install?
I installed Xposed classical on i9195 (not i) KK (it also has selinux enforcing) without problems. Is there a difference that I'm not aware of?.

For me it failed both ways wiping out security context of app_process. Maybe your better luck has something to do with a different rom or Xposed version you are using?
15th December 2015, 10:11 PM |#9  
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Getting Root
I was not able to get root on the firmware installed on the phone (I9195IXXU1AOB1). The way I fixed that was to download another firmware from SamMobile and flashed it with Kies. The highest version I was able to flash without issues was I9195IXXU1AOD2, and it immediately updated to I9195IXXU1AOG1. For both versions latest KingRoot worked just fine. SuperSu Me fixed all the damage KingRoot did, replacing it with proper SuperSu. This did not trip Knox device status, BTW.

Could you point me as to where did you find the firmware for the phone. I'm tempted to try rooting it. Is xposed necessary for the root to take full effect or no ? Cause it sounds a bit tricky and risky.
21st December 2015, 05:00 PM |#10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CostasV23

Could you point me as to where did you find the firmware for the phone.

Try this link: http://www.sammobile.com/firmwares/database/GT-I9195I/
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22nd December 2015, 09:46 PM |#11  
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soo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alte.78

Trying to purchase Galaxy S4 Mini (GT-I9195) I received S4 Mini Plus (GT-I9195I) from online retailer. After some consideration I decided to treat this as a challenge and not to return the purchase. Here is what I learned so far about hacking this tiny piece of electronics:

Getting Root
I was not able to get root on the firmware installed on the phone (I9195IXXU1AOB1). The way I fixed that was to download another firmware from SamMobile and flashed it with Kies. The highest version I was able to flash without issues was I9195IXXU1AOD2, and it immediately updated to I9195IXXU1AOG1. For both versions latest KingRoot worked just fine. SuperSu Me fixed all the damage KingRoot did, replacing it with proper SuperSu. This did not trip Knox device status, BTW.

So my phone has the AOD1 firmware can i root it like AOD2? Im in greece
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