There are a lot of things you can do with root access on an Android phone, but many users are eventually pushed to flashing a ROM for the ultimate in customization. Well, things have been changing a bit over the past year with the introduction and expansion of the Xposed framework. This tool makes customizing a device considerably easier without all that tedious flashing, but is Xposed all it's cracked up to be?
Like with all things root, there are important things you need to know before you go wild tweaking every app and setting on your device. Let's explore the possibilities.
What Is Xposed?
Xposed isn't just another root app, though it comes in the form of an APK that you sideload on a rooted device. This simple action deploys the Xposed framework in your system directory. It reaches into the core components of Android and allows you to make changes that give you a ROM-like experience without leaving the stock software completely behind.
Xposed uses modules, which themselves are also sideloaded on the device. You can think of these as feature packs -- chop up a ROM like Paranoid Android or CyanogenMod into its assorted components, and that's a bit like a module you would install for Xposed. If you want to alter the look of your notification shade, there are modules for that. Additional lock screen shortcuts? Yes, you can get a module for that too. The list goes on and on.
The Xposed Framework has a frontend installer app that lists modules for download and allows you to enable and disable them as needed. There are also plenty you can grab online from places like the Xposed Repo and XDA. There are even some in Google Play. Most of the modules have their own settings UI that you can use to configure the tweaks they offer.