[Q&A] No Root? Why? What do you miss about root? Let's find workarounds!

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iridaki

Retired Forum Moderator
Feb 21, 2007
4,534
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Edinburgh, Scotland
ROUNDUP OF NON-ROOT MODS/APPS/SOLUTIONS


APPS

1. iFont
It uses the native Flipfont system present in the Note to change fonts. You can install any font from a very big list and if you buy the Donate version (which I highly recommend), you can make an installable apk for any font you want. I have already made and shared Roboto L fonts, Comic Sans and Comic Neue.

2. Adblock Plus
Works on WiFi and (if APN settings are edited) on mobile data, blocks apps on browsers and other apps. An excellent solution for ad-blocking on non-routed phones.
2b. An alternative solution that only works for browsing via WiFi networks is Adguard.

3. SMS Backup & Restore
A free app that can backup and restore your messages, no root required. Works flawlessly, I used to it to backup my SMS on my S4 and restore them to my Note 4.

4. Greenify
As mentioned in this thread, Greenify works without root as well. Automatic hibernation is even an option, albeit some issues with "talking calculator" have been mentioned.

5. My Backup
As mentioned here this app is a feature-rich backup solution for non-rooted phones.

6. SD Maid - System Cleaning Tool
This app attempts to make best possible use of its features without root present. It's a tool that cleans up unnecessary files from your phone that apps leave behind.

7. AutoStart - No root
As the name suggests, this app lets you select which applications you want to auto start after phone boot-up and it works on all phones/tablets without root permission. You can also choose one or multiple apps to auto-launch at boot with customisable delay values.

8. Busybox (No Root)
For advanced users who want to run busybox commands on their phones via the Android Terminal Emulator app.

9. Call Recorder
Call recording app that uses the Samsung standard API therefore does not require root access. It is a bit pricey but well worth the money for people who need that feature. There's a full-featured trial available from XDA so you can try before you buy.
9b. There is also a free alternative that has been reported to work well on the Note 4, AndroRec Free.
9c. Another great free alternative is Automatic Call Recorder, with the added bonus that it can record in better formats, like mp3 or wav, save on the SD card and the option for prompt to "Save or Delete" at the end of every call.

10. NoRoot Firewall
Firewall without root. Host name/domain name filtering, simple interface, fine-grained access control and no suspicious permissions on the app itself.

11. Better Wifi On/Off
A free, fully featured, ad-supported app that aims at giving you the control of the Wifi state, optimizing your battery life without losing on user experience. In theory, Wifi is less power hungry than 3G but some apps behave differently when Wifi is on (DropBox / Google+ uploads, Google Maps location caching) and the well known wlan_rx kernel wakelock is a symptom of wakeups caused by uncontrolled Wifi hotspots. The Wifi sleep policy is not working consistently and does not solve all the above problems, enter this app.

12. Helium - App Sync and Backup
Helium is the missing app sync and backup solution for Android and doe not require root. You can backup both your apps and their data to your SD card or cloud storage and sync them from your other Android devices. You need access to a computer for a brief USB connection and then you're good to go.

13. Desktop VisualizeR
Application that allows you to personalize your home screen by creating icons or widgets with your favorite photos or images, works on any launcher, even TW!

14. FREE screen recorder NO ROOT
Recordable is the easy way to create screen recordings without root. The free version adds a watermark on the recordings and limits frame rate to 8fps, but is otherwise fully functional. A Windows, Mac or Linux computer required to complete the installation (like with Helium Backup), but after this it's not needed to make screen recordings.


MODIFICATIONS

1. Full Screen Immersive Mode
Full screen immersive mode in any application or game, root is not required.

2.Enable AirView and AirGesture
2b. Instead of Nova Launcher, you can use the QuickShortcutMaker app to create any shortcut directly on the Touchwiz launcher.

3. MW-Pen App Enabler
This app that enables apps for multiwindow and/or pen window without rooted access. The only limitations are that it does not work for system apps and that enabled apps can not be updated. To update them, you need to uninstall the enabled app first, install the updated app and run it through the enabler app again.

4. Mont Blanc digital content
A guide on how to get the extra Mont blanc pens for the S Note and the two exclusive Mont Blanc wallpapers and unlock effect..

5. QuickClick
Start any action (flashlight, system toggles, media controls, etc) with a sequence of volume buttons clicks.

6. Spen Toolbox
A wonderful little app that extends the functionality of the S-Pen, by offering options for: turning the screen off when you attach the pen, changing the detach and attach sounds, creating a custom shortcut popup to appear on detach, and many more!

7. No root and want to modify your DPI? You can!
Thanks to PizzaSauce, we have a way to modify DPI without root. All you need is access to a Windows PC. Changes persist after reboot too.
If you don't want to install the whole Android SDK, you could use this tool to install ADB, which is all that is needed for this mod.



Hello all!

I recently got my Note 4 and it's by far the best device I've ever owned. :)
I started this thread because I decided not to root the phone -at least for now. Even though, I've been rooting and heavily modding all my phones in the past.
My reasons are:
1. Warranty.
I know that you can flash a stock firmware before handing it to service and that KNOX counter doesn't matter (I've had my Note 10.1 with a tripped counter repaired twice under warranty). However, I'd like for once to be able to just send my phone to service if need be, without the extra hassle of concealing the tweaking I've done.
2. S-Pen.
I know that rooting doesn't affect the S-Pen functionality, however, the use of the Pen makes custom ROMS such as AOSP and CM useless to me. I actually use the S-Pen heavily and it was one of the reasons I bought the phone. There are of course custom TW ROMS but to be honest, and with no intention to offend anyone, they are not my cup of tea.
3. Stability.
This one will seem weird to many, but it's my personal experience. This is the 4th Samsung device I own (SGS3, SGS4, Note 10.1, Note 4) and with the previous three I noticed that when I rooted and enthusiastically started "debloating", things started to turn unstable. And I have never, ever noticed any improvement in battery life. I know it sounds odd, but it is true to me. The Note 4 gives you the option to disable a lot of preinstalled apps anyway.
4. Lollipop.
I want to get the update that was meant for my region via OTA, no cables necessary. Plus I believe that all the annoyances I rectified with root (mainly theming, such as Tinted Statusbar) will be solved in Lollipop. Again, that's my opinion and personal taste.

Now do I miss root? Hell, yeah! Why?
1. ADS ADS ADS...
Ads everywhere! I have been paying for my apps and I am not using pirated software at all. And I gladly donate/pay for ads to be removed and premium features for apps I really love. However, there are apps that either don't offer an a ad-free option or they charge an insane amount for ad removal. I know developers need to make revenue, but there's nothing uglier than an ad banner. Seriously.
2. Tinted statusbar.
And generally Xposed.
3. Call recording.
I liked the native call recording function of the TW dialer, no app comes close from what I've seen.


I hope this thread will be used to discuss unrooted phones and ways to mod your device without root.
Kindly keep in mind that this is not a thread to persuade anyone to root or not -please respect other people's decisions.
 
Last edited:

khaeid

Senior Member
May 9, 2007
232
12
Berlin
www.hazem-mastering.com
For me I need root to
- Change the very bad Arabic font
- Use proxy applications
- Be able to stop WifiKill which they use heavily over here
- Use Wanam Xposed mostly for Long press back button to kill App
- Freeze all the useless pre-installed apps I never use eating memory and battery, I need maximum memory for multitasking
- Stop auto startup of other un needed apps
well I guess these may not be important to you
 

iridaki

Retired Forum Moderator
Feb 21, 2007
4,534
5,210
35
Edinburgh, Scotland
3. Call recording.
I liked the native call recording function of the TW dialer, no app comes close from what I've seen.

Try this app, by an actual XDA dev, it works great. Its very polished, very native looking/behaving app.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skvalex.callrecorder

Tested and working great without root.

Thank you, I'll have to try this! :)

For me I need root to
- Change the very bad Arabic font
- Use proxy applications
- Be able to stop WifiKill which they use heavily over here
- Use Wanam Xposed mostly for Long press back button to kill App
- Freeze all the useless pre-installed apps I never use eating memory and battery, I need maximum memory for multitasking
- Stop auto startup of other un needed apps
well I guess these may not be important to you

The font is something I also miss, Roboto has been vastly improved for Lollipop. So I'm waiting for the big update.

EDIT: I figured out a way to change font that doesn't require root, it uses the native Flipfont system present in the Note!
Using the iFont app you can install any font from a very big list and if you buy the Donate version, you can make an installable apk for any font you want! Marvellous! :D
 
Last edited:

Teardrop45

Senior Member
Nov 16, 2008
147
19
Nice Thread... main thing i miss in the Adaway..other den that the phone is perfect for me...no lag ..good battery life ..
 

iridaki

Retired Forum Moderator
Feb 21, 2007
4,534
5,210
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Edinburgh, Scotland
Last edited:

Evilphilanthropist

New member
Apr 14, 2014
2
0
Hi guys,

It is my first post although I had been lurking for a while now. Interesting thread, I didn't root my Note 4 as well for all the reasons mentioned above. What I miss most is App Opps or XPrivacy. I find it hard to install all the applications I want to try because of the ridiculous amount of permissions required. Other than that I don't miss much. The phone is pretty awesome.
 

EP2008

Senior Member
Jan 2, 2008
2,946
580
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I was forced to root because I had app data on another device that couldn't be moved, even through ADB.

But, Xposed,Titanium Backup, Adaway , greenify and a few others make rooting well worth the risk (once you know your devices hardware is good ).

Sent from my SM-N910U
 
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bruce16878

Senior Member
Aug 31, 2012
161
23
Not rooting mine too, my first ever android device to remain stock.

Sent from my SM-N910G using XDA Free mobile app
 

monkley

Senior Member
Apr 26, 2010
53
2
I would like to stay without root but i really miss viper... Is there any non root way stay get that type of sound improvement?
 

iridaki

Retired Forum Moderator
Feb 21, 2007
4,534
5,210
35
Edinburgh, Scotland
I would like to stay without root but i really miss viper... Is there any non root way stay get that type of sound improvement?
Have you tried installing Viper and see if it works? Because a quick Google search gave me these:

If you're using a Samsung device, you're lucky because you actually don't need root to install the Viper4Android! Only thing you need to do is to install the app as usual and change the sound effect in*settings > sound > music effect*to Viper4Android. Be sure you don't use the TouchWiz stock player because it may not work.

...And from the official XDA thread:

Setup your Device
For Samsung devices,
1. Try install V4A as user app instead of system app if the latter failed doesn't work.
2. Use Normal Mode and select V4A FX in Settings>Sound>Music Effects.
3. If don't work, use another player rather than Samsung stock Music.

iR¡[email protected]!* from i9505 via Tapatalk 4
 
Last edited:

sawy3r

Member
Aug 25, 2010
30
3
Melbourne
Jumping on the band wagon here too... I've had many android devices, all rooted; most recently an S4 running CM. The reason I bought the Note was for the stylus and note taking abilities. Very happy with the speed and stability so far in stock form although the battery life sucks. Dropbox was a major drainer so killed that. I need to selective disable some of the other stock apps but so far not really missing much requiring root other than titanium backup...

Sent from my SM-N910G using Tapatalk
 
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iridaki

Retired Forum Moderator
Feb 21, 2007
4,534
5,210
35
Edinburgh, Scotland
Jumping on the band wagon here too... I've had many android devices, all rooted; most recently an S4 running CM. The reason I bought the Note was for the stylus and note taking abilities. Very happy with the speed and stability so far in stock form although the battery life sucks. Dropbox was a major drainer so killed that. I need to selective disable some of the other stock apps but so far not really missing much requiring root other than titanium backup...

Sent from my SM-N910G using Tapatalk

I had an S4 running a GPE edition ROM too. I only miss aesthetic modifications, like Tinted Statusbar and other theming elements.
Titanium Backup is also high on my list, however, I found SMS Backup & Restore works perfectly for messages (see OP). That's something! :D
 
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ozaghloul

Senior Member
Mar 24, 2011
724
202
Amsterdam
Thanks for this lovely thread. Getting Adblock without root feels like an early Christmas. Would like to add that "My Backup" backs up SMS and much more without root. It also now backs up to Dropbox which is lovely (at least the Pro version does).
 
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iridaki

Retired Forum Moderator
Feb 21, 2007
4,534
5,210
35
Edinburgh, Scotland
Thanks for this lovely thread. Getting Adblock without root feels like an early Christmas. Would like to add that "My Backup" backs up SMS and much more without root. It also now backs up to Dropbox which is lovely (at least the Pro version does).

I added your suggestion to the OP, thank you very much! :good:
Keep them coming! :D

Also, if anyone needs any specific installable font, post the .ttf file here and I'll make an apk.
 

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  • 107
    ROUNDUP OF NON-ROOT MODS/APPS/SOLUTIONS


    APPS

    1. iFont
    It uses the native Flipfont system present in the Note to change fonts. You can install any font from a very big list and if you buy the Donate version (which I highly recommend), you can make an installable apk for any font you want. I have already made and shared Roboto L fonts, Comic Sans and Comic Neue.

    2. Adblock Plus
    Works on WiFi and (if APN settings are edited) on mobile data, blocks apps on browsers and other apps. An excellent solution for ad-blocking on non-routed phones.
    2b. An alternative solution that only works for browsing via WiFi networks is Adguard.

    3. SMS Backup & Restore
    A free app that can backup and restore your messages, no root required. Works flawlessly, I used to it to backup my SMS on my S4 and restore them to my Note 4.

    4. Greenify
    As mentioned in this thread, Greenify works without root as well. Automatic hibernation is even an option, albeit some issues with "talking calculator" have been mentioned.

    5. My Backup
    As mentioned here this app is a feature-rich backup solution for non-rooted phones.

    6. SD Maid - System Cleaning Tool
    This app attempts to make best possible use of its features without root present. It's a tool that cleans up unnecessary files from your phone that apps leave behind.

    7. AutoStart - No root
    As the name suggests, this app lets you select which applications you want to auto start after phone boot-up and it works on all phones/tablets without root permission. You can also choose one or multiple apps to auto-launch at boot with customisable delay values.

    8. Busybox (No Root)
    For advanced users who want to run busybox commands on their phones via the Android Terminal Emulator app.

    9. Call Recorder
    Call recording app that uses the Samsung standard API therefore does not require root access. It is a bit pricey but well worth the money for people who need that feature. There's a full-featured trial available from XDA so you can try before you buy.
    9b. There is also a free alternative that has been reported to work well on the Note 4, AndroRec Free.
    9c. Another great free alternative is Automatic Call Recorder, with the added bonus that it can record in better formats, like mp3 or wav, save on the SD card and the option for prompt to "Save or Delete" at the end of every call.

    10. NoRoot Firewall
    Firewall without root. Host name/domain name filtering, simple interface, fine-grained access control and no suspicious permissions on the app itself.

    11. Better Wifi On/Off
    A free, fully featured, ad-supported app that aims at giving you the control of the Wifi state, optimizing your battery life without losing on user experience. In theory, Wifi is less power hungry than 3G but some apps behave differently when Wifi is on (DropBox / Google+ uploads, Google Maps location caching) and the well known wlan_rx kernel wakelock is a symptom of wakeups caused by uncontrolled Wifi hotspots. The Wifi sleep policy is not working consistently and does not solve all the above problems, enter this app.

    12. Helium - App Sync and Backup
    Helium is the missing app sync and backup solution for Android and doe not require root. You can backup both your apps and their data to your SD card or cloud storage and sync them from your other Android devices. You need access to a computer for a brief USB connection and then you're good to go.

    13. Desktop VisualizeR
    Application that allows you to personalize your home screen by creating icons or widgets with your favorite photos or images, works on any launcher, even TW!

    14. FREE screen recorder NO ROOT
    Recordable is the easy way to create screen recordings without root. The free version adds a watermark on the recordings and limits frame rate to 8fps, but is otherwise fully functional. A Windows, Mac or Linux computer required to complete the installation (like with Helium Backup), but after this it's not needed to make screen recordings.


    MODIFICATIONS

    1. Full Screen Immersive Mode
    Full screen immersive mode in any application or game, root is not required.

    2.Enable AirView and AirGesture
    2b. Instead of Nova Launcher, you can use the QuickShortcutMaker app to create any shortcut directly on the Touchwiz launcher.

    3. MW-Pen App Enabler
    This app that enables apps for multiwindow and/or pen window without rooted access. The only limitations are that it does not work for system apps and that enabled apps can not be updated. To update them, you need to uninstall the enabled app first, install the updated app and run it through the enabler app again.

    4. Mont Blanc digital content
    A guide on how to get the extra Mont blanc pens for the S Note and the two exclusive Mont Blanc wallpapers and unlock effect..

    5. QuickClick
    Start any action (flashlight, system toggles, media controls, etc) with a sequence of volume buttons clicks.

    6. Spen Toolbox
    A wonderful little app that extends the functionality of the S-Pen, by offering options for: turning the screen off when you attach the pen, changing the detach and attach sounds, creating a custom shortcut popup to appear on detach, and many more!

    7. No root and want to modify your DPI? You can!
    Thanks to PizzaSauce, we have a way to modify DPI without root. All you need is access to a Windows PC. Changes persist after reboot too.
    If you don't want to install the whole Android SDK, you could use this tool to install ADB, which is all that is needed for this mod.



    Hello all!

    I recently got my Note 4 and it's by far the best device I've ever owned. :)
    I started this thread because I decided not to root the phone -at least for now. Even though, I've been rooting and heavily modding all my phones in the past.
    My reasons are:
    1. Warranty.
    I know that you can flash a stock firmware before handing it to service and that KNOX counter doesn't matter (I've had my Note 10.1 with a tripped counter repaired twice under warranty). However, I'd like for once to be able to just send my phone to service if need be, without the extra hassle of concealing the tweaking I've done.
    2. S-Pen.
    I know that rooting doesn't affect the S-Pen functionality, however, the use of the Pen makes custom ROMS such as AOSP and CM useless to me. I actually use the S-Pen heavily and it was one of the reasons I bought the phone. There are of course custom TW ROMS but to be honest, and with no intention to offend anyone, they are not my cup of tea.
    3. Stability.
    This one will seem weird to many, but it's my personal experience. This is the 4th Samsung device I own (SGS3, SGS4, Note 10.1, Note 4) and with the previous three I noticed that when I rooted and enthusiastically started "debloating", things started to turn unstable. And I have never, ever noticed any improvement in battery life. I know it sounds odd, but it is true to me. The Note 4 gives you the option to disable a lot of preinstalled apps anyway.
    4. Lollipop.
    I want to get the update that was meant for my region via OTA, no cables necessary. Plus I believe that all the annoyances I rectified with root (mainly theming, such as Tinted Statusbar) will be solved in Lollipop. Again, that's my opinion and personal taste.

    Now do I miss root? Hell, yeah! Why?
    1. ADS ADS ADS...
    Ads everywhere! I have been paying for my apps and I am not using pirated software at all. And I gladly donate/pay for ads to be removed and premium features for apps I really love. However, there are apps that either don't offer an a ad-free option or they charge an insane amount for ad removal. I know developers need to make revenue, but there's nothing uglier than an ad banner. Seriously.
    2. Tinted statusbar.
    And generally Xposed.
    3. Call recording.
    I liked the native call recording function of the TW dialer, no app comes close from what I've seen.


    I hope this thread will be used to discuss unrooted phones and ways to mod your device without root.
    Kindly keep in mind that this is not a thread to persuade anyone to root or not -please respect other people's decisions.
    18
    MontBlanc Digital Content Tutorial

    MontBlanc Digital Content Tutorial

    Hello all! I decided to make this small tutorial for the Mont Blanc digital content that we can now get without buying the Montblanc case or pen.
    (The OP also links to this post now.)

    Installing the app is pretty straightforward, just download it from this post and install as you would any apk.

    After installation, you will not see a new app on your app drawer, so don't go looking for it. :p

    Firstly, you will have two new wallpapers in the default wallpaper chooser, accessible via long-pressing the menu key while on your homescreen > Wallpapers. Secondly, you will have an "Ink in water" unlock effect, found in Settings > Lockscreen > Unlock effect (provided that Swipe has been selected as screen lock).

    As far as S-Note goes, any existing notebooks you've made will continue to use the same template you chose the first time and the pen toolbox will remain unchanged. This is where a lot of people get confused, thinking that something went wrong because they can't see the new pens. You have to create a new notebook. Once you do that, you will see that the regular pens have been replaced with Mont Blanc ones and the page background has a Mont Blanc logo watermark on it. Enjoy! Now every notebook you create will have the same page template and available pens, as well as a black leather image as cover.

    But how do you go back to default S-Note templates, covers and pens?
    You don't need to uninstall the Mont Blanc app. Simply drag the menu on the left from the S-Note main screen, select More features > Montblanc and untick Set Montblanc as default note. Now all your new notebooks will use the same ol' settings.
    What I've done is I've created a Montblanc notebook, then turned the option off. Now I can create notebooks with any template I want and I still have one with all the extra features, just because it looks cool.

    But what if you still want to uninstall the app?
    From the same menu as above, choose Go to download screen. It will get you to Samsung Apps where you'll see the option to completely uninstall.

    That's it! I hope it solves questions and issues regarding the extra features.

    13
    I assume you already know this and I usually leave this to others but still has to be said:

    You have come to a "modification and development" site basically for "rooters and modders" and are pitching why you shouldn't root and all the lovely "work-a-rounds" to do so.

    This is stuff better suited elsewhere but to each their own I guess.. We surprisingly see enough of it here already I suppose.

    I never mind the debate though!

    Seeing as I've been a part of the moderating team, yes, I am very well aware of the nature of the website. Looking at my thanks meter, you may even say that I also know very well how to help and give back to the community.

    I wonder whether you know that this website started as a place for developers to discuss and publish their work, hence the name xda-developers. However, here we are, you and me along with millions of users who do not produce any development work. We talk about screen protectors, cases, upcoming updates, how much our battery lasts, what colour is our phone, which network operator is the best and so on and so forth.
    See the paradox already?

    I couldn't possibly assess your reading comprehension level, but, I won't lie to you, I am a little concerned. I never wrote anything that even remotely implies that this thread is a crusade against root. Taken directly from the OP:
    Kindly keep in mind that this is not a thread to persuade anyone to root or not -please respect other people's decisions.
    It's meant for people who already made the decision not to, providing them with solutions and workarounds. And yes, they are lovely! And they are apps and mods that developers created. Hence, completely appropriate for a place like this.
    Furthermore, apart from people who do not want to root, there are also people who just cannot (locked bootloaders, for example).
    Bottom line is, the thread is way more useful and appropriate than all of the threads you have started here combined.

    On top of all that, this is a civil, informative and free from off topic posts (apart from yours) thread and I would like it to remain this way. Because, for a change, people may actually find helpful advice and suggestions. Which is why it has 8000+ views already and a lot of people are following and contributing to it.

    I don't know why you suddenly decided to quote the OP, without even reading it carefully enough to understand the purpose of it, and make a comment like that. But please, do us all a favour and follow this 'debate' quietly, since you "never mind it" and it only exists in your head anyway.
    Thank you.

    iR¡[email protected]!* from Galaxy Note 4 via Tapatalk
    6
    With Lollipop already out for some variants and probably coming out soon for others, there are a lot of no-root tweaks that can be applied. I can't wait to discover them and update the OP! Well excited for this update! :)
    5
    On a slightly unrelated note, I find TW to be way more stable on the Note 4 than it was on my previous Samsung phones. I just realised that I got my phone about 11 days ago, turned it on and set it up and I haven't rebooted/had a random reboot ever since! And that's without rooting and meddling with the software at all. No slow down, no hiccups, everything runs as smoothly as it did on day 1. :)

    iR¡[email protected]!* from Galaxy Note 4 via Tapatalk