Taking Control of Your EVO 4G

Simple Tips for the Cyanogen Mod of the EVO 4G

The problem: My Evo 4g Android phone ran out of space constantly due to the limited “on phone” memory (428 mb total).  Most of this space was eaten up by apps my mobile carrier, Sprint, had added to the phone which couldn’t be moved to my SD card.  Things like “Sprint NFL”, “Sprint NASCAR” and “Sprint TV” as well as a host of apps like Blockbuster, which I’d never, ever use.

With Android, your apps need to first be loaded to the phone, before you can move them to the SD card, so I literally had tons of SD space, but couldn’t move anything there.  Over the past year, this became worse and worse, to the point where it was a real issue.

So, as suggested by David Churbuck and Alexei Vidmich, I decided it was time to root my Evo 4g and take back control.  I was shocked by how easy it was to do.

For Evo 4g users, there are full instructions here. Here are a few tips from my experience (it took about 30 minutes, then about another hour of customizing and installing the apps I wanted).

    • You probably want to disable your screen password and make sure you’re fully charged before you start.
    • I did a full backup with HTC Sync before starting.  I found I had to go to HTC and download the latest version to get it to recognize my phone.  The one on the phone didn’t work with Windows 7.
    • No matter what the doc says, assume you will lose your voicemails and sms messages.
    • First, create a new folder on you computer.  Call it “Cyanogen” or something.
    • In that folder, create a text document and call it “phone info”.  Save the file.  Use this to copy in your phone’s serial number, the hboot version, your revolution beta key, etc.
    • Since you’re going to be pulling your battery out, I suggest it’s a good time to upgrade to the Seido Extended Life Battery (this WILL make your phone much thicker…).
    • I also suggest using the Seido Innocase Extended Rugged Hybrid Case – aside from it’s “Eastern Bloc” style, the thing makes your phone basically bullet proof.  The iPhone crowd may laugh at you, but your phone is utterly protected and infinitely better than theirs are…
    • Instead of using Astro File Manager, use ES File Explorer.  It’s much better.
    • When downloading Revolutionary, be sure to download AND generate your key at the same time.  Otherwise, it won’t work.  If you mess up, you’ll get the infamous “invalid beta key” error.  If this happens, download it again and generate the key at the same time.
    • Definitely install the Google Apps at the same time.  You will need them.  After you have installed Cyanogen, you will need to use Google Voice for your voicemail.
    • In the instructions, there are three different recovery methods.  I used the Clockwork Mod method via Recovery.  It was simple.

Overall, the process is fairly simple.  If you can access the drive on your phone to download pictures and know how to unzip files on a computer, you can probably handle it without issue.  If you’re concerned, call your favorite geek and ask him to help.  Be sure to provide a 12 pack of his favorite barley pops, or perhaps dinner, to ensure future tech support service.

It is VERY important that you re-calibrate your battery.  To do this, go to the Android Market, and download Battery Calibration.  You will need to fully charge your battery, then use this plugin to delete the battery stats file on the phone and then fully discharge your phone and charge again to 100%.  While this seems like a fairly silly step, it is utterly crucial to getting the most out of your battery.

Okay, so now you have your phone rooted.  It looks pretty bland with the default theme, and no apps on it.

    • You can grab themes here that will work with the ADW Theme Launcher that is installed in your system manager.
    • I personally went with the MacOS theme, not because I like the MacOS, but because it was clean and most fit the idea of what I wanted.  Forget about the pink color…I use a background image anyways.
    • In system manager, turn off the animations.  They use up battery and I consider them distracting.
    • In either you own photo albums or on Google Images, find a nice horizontal image at high res you can use as a background.  The phone will scroll it across your screens…so a highwidth to height ration would be much better. I just like fly fishing at Monomoy…
    • Download and install the 3d Digital Weather Clock . Then install it’s widget on your main page.  4 columns by 2 rows is the proper setting.
    • Grab the Battery Indicator App, and the Green Power App (I have the free version, but am still testing battery management apps).
    • Install Elixir – it will give you an app that helps to see what’s really going on with your phone, but also provides a widget that will make it easy to turn on and off major services like Wireless, 4g, GPS, screen brightness (a big battery saver), etc. from your phone screen with a click.
    • Before you start pulling your apps onto your screens, think about how you organize them.  I like to put system stuff all together, information apps like news sites, magazines, etc., and then my social stuff all on screens together.  I also devote on page to work stuff, like my calendar, my Salesforce Chatter app, etc.  I anxiously await the soon to release Rally Agile Development app.

A few apps I strongly suggest

      • Dropbox  – it lets you move files from one machine to another via the cloud.
      • ES File Manager – A great way to manage files on your phone.
      • ES Task Manager – Manage what’s running on your phone.
      • Evernote – Files, pics, spreadsheets, everything on any machine.
      • WordPress for Android – unlike the iPhone app, this one really works well.
      • Currents – Yeah, I’m a fisherman and boater.  Why wouldn’t I want all the Eldridge Tide and Pilot content on my phone?
      • Navionics Marine & Lakes USA – same reason as above, why wouldn’t I want all the marine navigational charts for the US on my phone?  Honestly, this one is better on a tablet though.
      • Weatherbug – my favorite weather app, simple and easy to use.
      • BigOven – Recipes – I’m surprised how much I use this.
      • Google Translate – you may not need it, but if you do, it’s a life saver.
      • Google Goggles – lots of promise for visual search.  I haven’t really had cause to use it much, but this is the app to watch.
      • Google Maps – with this, you have no need of a traditional GPS for your car again.  Find anything and get directions, with turn by turn nav.

Social Media Apps (if you’re into it, you’ve already got your favorite apps, but here are mine):

      • Tweetdeck – The app I love to hate.  Nothing comes close, but it’s got some truly annoying issues.  Such as it’s need to load everything chronologically, esp. when I haven’t used it in a fewdays.  Why would I want to view 3 days worth of tweets?
      • Facebook for Android – a former weak sister of Facebook apps, but lately it’s become as good or better than the iPhone counterpart.
      • Foursquare – Enabling my cyberstalkers, one latte at a time…
      • Google + – Meh, a decent-ish app, but you absolutely must turn off auto-image upload, lest every picture you take end up in the clutches of Google.

Apps I haven’t yet installed but need:

      • A podcast player that works.  I’ve tried a few and been less than thrilled.  Suggestions welcome here.
      • Audible – I spend a lot of time in the truck and need to catch up on my reading.
      • Flickr, Picasa, or some decent cloud based image service.

Okay, let’s hear your suggestions in the comments.

 

2 Replies to “Taking Control of Your EVO 4G”

  1. I’m using the MyPod podcast catcher for now. I’ve had it before and it had to be deleted due to space concerns. It’s free, and it works. I will probably upgrade to DoggCatcher soon.

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