Monday, August 3, 2015

Change default launcher on Letv S1

I recently acquired a Letv S1 (Letv One, Letv X600). It's a great device with the beefy Mediatek X10 SoC, and generally great hardware.

The custom Android version is also quite good, but my interest in watching TV and movies on my phone is limited so I don't need a launcher that reserves a lot of space for this.

But for some reason they lock down the selection of application for activities. Making it impossible to select launcher and browser the normal Android way. Luckily is rather easy to solve this.

These modifications requires a rooted device, but there are plenty instructions on the net describing how to root the device.

In the "etc" folder there is a file called "preferred_activity.xml". This file defines what applications should be used for the different operations. To allow normal selection of application you just remove the items from this file. A reboot might be required afterwards, but thats it.

Unless you know what you are doing, you probably shouldn't delete text from random files in the etc folder, so consider yourself warned.

This is roughly how I would do it manually:
  1. adb pull /etc/preferred_activity.xml
  2. Edit the file and remove default activities you don't want.
  3. Start adbd insecure
  4. Remount system
  5. adb push preferred_activity.xml /etc
  6. Reboot phone
I'm uncertain of wither the file can just be deleted or not. But removing elements should at least be safe enough.

You could use this technique to enable 3rd party handling of PDF, media, sms, office documents. etc. As they seem to define quite a lot of action handling there.

As a side note, it is probably easier to just change the default applications from the application configuration view. I just noticed there is a "Default apps" option on the bottom left of the view. From there it's possibe to change default applications. The option might have been there all along without me ever noticing it, and just expecting to find everything in the normal place.

But then again, it's more fun deleting system files (I verified in code that it's safe to do so). 


  1. thanks! whow did you find that?
    do you have problems with the gps when driving? can you please tell what is the error when driving 80kmph using "gps test" app?

    1. Were just fooling around trying to find why selection of default application were locked, and bumped into this. It didn't solve what I really were after, but got me halfway there.

      Haven't tried the GPS while driving yet, so I haven't bumped into any issues there. I guess logcat might give you details on your error?

    2. I get huge error while driving (error goes with velocity) even though apparently satellites reception is OK. Other people report similar behavior, and therefore it seems to be an MTK algorithm problem.

    3. Did you have a chance to run the GPS test in high speed?

  2. BTW, I just renamed the file from recovery and it worked like a charme.

    1. Nice good to know. Easier than having to modify the file.

  3. can anyone make a video tutorial pls :/