Francis D'saJul 06, 2013 14:40:58 IST
The stock ROM installed on Android phones available today is filled with bloatware and in order to remove these apps, you need to root the phone, and install a root enabled file explorer. Enthusiasts love to try on custom ROMs on a regular basis to experience the tweaks and customisations added to the stock ROM by the developer. However, at times the developer also adds some unwanted apps to his ROM. For example, I prefer to use my own selected file explorer, home launcher, wallpapers and a few other necessary apps. Alongside, apps that are meant for my daily use need to be installed after that. Flashing a custom ROM, and then installing the necessary apps (either from the SD card or from the Play Store) all over again, takes up a lot of time. So why not have the favourite apps you always use, already present inside the ROM while flashing it?
Well, to answer this, “_Logie”, a developer on XDA, came up with a simple and powerful utility which has the ability to insert and remove apps into a custom ROM (.zip file) and recompile it. This new refreshed ROM can then be flashed to your phone with all unwanted apps removed and your preferred apps inside it. This saves time reinstalling your apps after you flash the custom ROM. The utility is named APK Swapper and all it does is help swap existing apps with new desired ones and rebuild the ROM, ready to be flashed. The utility is presently in its beta stage (Beta 11) and works on custom ROMs only. Stock ROMs and a few other custom ROMs won’t work (for now at least). So if it works for your handset, it is worth using it. Using this utility, you can get rid of unwanted apps, wallpapers, ringtones and insert your own favourite apps. Here is a step-by-step method to show you how to use it.
1. Download the APK Swapper utility from here and unzip it to a folder on your desktop.
2. Download your custom ROM (or if you already have one) and place it on your desktop.
3. Keep your .apk (apps) files ready to insert them into your ROM.
Load your custom ROM and let the utility extract the files
Step 1: Start up the utility. Now drag and drop your custom ROM (.zip file) on the blue bar (on the top) in the utility’s window. The utility will highlight the progress in the bottom window once the file is dropped. You will notice that 7Zip (the archiving utility) will automatically extract the ROM’s contents into a temporary folder.
Remove or add apps according o your preference
Step 2: Once all the files are extracted, you will see a list of all the apps inside the ROM in the centre window of the utility. These are the apps present inside the ROM. All you need to do is select the app you want to remove, right-click on it and from the context menu choose ‘Delete .APK’ under ‘.APK Options’. Using the same method, keep uninstalling the apps you don’t want. Using the same method you can insert your own apps into the ROM. To do this, right-click on any existing app, and from the context menu choose ‘Inject new .APK’ under ‘.APK Options’. Then browse to the location where you have stored the apps to be installed into the ROM and choose the files one by one or multiple files using the ‘Shift’ or ‘Control’ button. Note: Make sure you do not delete apps that you are not sure of. You might accidentally delete a system app or an important app and the final ROM will either crash or behave erratic. If you made an error, simply delete the ‘Temp’ folder inside the utility’s folder and start all over again.
Once everything is done, simply compile the new ROM
Step 3: Once you are satisfied with removing unwanted apps and inserting the wanted ones, the new, refreshed ROM needs to be compiled into a .zip file back again. Once again, right-click on any app and click on ‘Compile New .ZIP ROM File’ under ‘.zip Options’. Now the utility will ask you to give the new ROM file a name and the destination where it should be created. Give in the required name and hit the ‘Save’ button. The new ROM will be recompiled as a new name in the destination folder you entered. You will see a message informing you that it will take a while to do so. The time taken to recompile the new ROM will depend on the size of the ROM and the speed of your PC. Once the compilation is finished, you will receive a dialogue box confirming the same. You can now try out your new ROM on your Android handset.
Give in a new name and destination for the ROM.
Note: Flashing an altered ROM can brick your phone. This utility, as we mentioned earlier, is in a beta phase and the developer is making all possible changes with the help of testers and users from all over the globe. When you are using this app, make sure you read all the pros and cons of the utility and use the latest version. We, and the developer of the utility, are not responsible for any damage to your phone by using this utility. Do this entirely at your own risk.
Main visual: Getty Images
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