Before you deploy the Xposed Framework on your phone or tablet, there’s some housekeeping to be done. Since there is always a risk in making root-level changes, you want to make sure there are no important files that exist on the device, or nowhere else. First, upload them to a cloud storage service or transfer them to a computer.
Even though Xposed carries less risk than flashing ROMs, it’s a good idea to do a full system backup. Since this is a root operation, you probably already have a custom recovery setting on your device—most rooting methods require this. Before installing Xposed, make a system image backup.
Common rooting tools ClockworkMod have a top-level menu for backups, so just accept the defaults, and let the recovery do its thing. This process takes five or ten minutes; the resulting file can be quite large, depending on how much system data you have. You’ll want to keep the backup on the device at least until Xposed is up and running, so it’s easier to restore if something goes haywire. Better safe than sorry, right?
Once you’ve covered your rear end, grab the Xposed installer from the official site. Xposed isn’t hosted in Play, so you need to enable Unknown Sources in the Security settings. Just save the A for Xposed to your phone’s internal storage.
Xposed by itself doesn’t actually do anything—all the modifications are handled by the modules you plug into Xposed. Modules can be sideloaded just like the installer or downloaded from the Xposed GUI, which you can access from the app drawer. There are also some modules distributed in Play Store.
When you install a module, it needs to be enabled in the Xposed module menu. Usually a reboot is necessary as well. When the device boots back up, you can make changes to Android’s UI features in real time, and no more rebooting required. With a few modules, you can get all the features of the best ROMs without modifying any system files!
Anyone with a stock Android device (Nexus Experience devices) should grab GravityBox. This single module offers a huge number of customizations from the lock screen to the Quick Settings, drop-downs, and a lot more. The GravityBox app is organized as a simple series of menus, so you can just peruse, and make the changes you want. Some of the more useful alterations include replacing the stock battery meter with a numeric circle icon; adding tiles rearranging the Quick Settings, drop-down, and adding reboot options to the power menu.
For users of non-stock Android phones, the capabilities of Xposed might be even more intriguing. If Samsung’s Touch or HTC’s Sense layers don’t include the features you want, there are modules to change them. Xposed is a module designed for phones like the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 with features similar to GravityBox, and it aggregates a ton of useful mods into one package. It includes (among other things) the ability to change the color transparency of UI elements, universal Multi-window support, and the option to disable Samsung’s excessive persistent notifications. HTC One users can grab the Sense 5 Toolbox for an assortment of mods, including some stock Android tweaks to replace the heavily skinned Sense ones.
On the more utilitarian side of things, there is AppOpsXposed, which brings back the native App Ops UI recently removed by . Are you tired of that wireless charging notification sound? Lucky for you there’s a module called Wireless Charging Xposed that lets you modify it. Almost anything you can think of, can be added to the stock ROM on your device in a few moments.
You Can Always Go Home
Xposed lets you assemble exactly the featured UI elements you want on your phone; you don’t have to deal with flashing a ROM. That’s certain to save you a headache, but there is another big advantage to Xposed. It only takes a few taps to disable everything to get back to the stock interface. All traces of Xposed on the system can be wiped just by tapping uninstall in the Xposed settings. Try doing that with ROMs!
All the changes in Xposed are softmods; that is, they reside in active memory, and do not modify any system files. That’s why you can make changes with a module on the sly and see the effects without a reboot. If you disable your modules, and uninstall Xposed, everything is back to normal after a reboot.
This kind of flexibility is important for OTA updates; your phone or tablet can be updated normally after you’ve disabled the Xposed modules. If you install a ROM to customize your phone, it is up to you to flash updated builds of that ROM to your device when they’re available. With Xposed, you can get virtually any feature you want in the stock ROM, and still get the official updates as soon as they come out.
You may find that playing around with the Xposed framework scratches that customization itch in just the right way. Xposed is as good a reason as any to root a device, and has even cured some ROM flashing addicts of their affliction.