AndroidGood and EVO

A day with the Sprint HTC One M9 Android 5.1 update

Sprint bloatwareI attempted to flash the new radio firmware yesterday without putting a new ROM on my HTC One M9 and discovered that my current ROM that I was very happy with was not going to work with it, so I ended up running the RUU and starting out with a completely factory stock system. Here’s what I noticed.

After running the RUU, I had two updates that my phone downloaded during the hands free activation portion which necessitated the phone being rebooted twice. I don’t know what they were, but I believe it was Sprint provisioning of some sort.

I was immediately greeted with an error message that Google Play Services had to be installed in order for this application to work. What application? I have no idea. I just couldn’t get to the home screen until I installed it. No biggie.

My first inclination was to root the thing as I now had a locked bootloader, all my applications were backed up via Titanium Backup and I needed root in order to get them back.

I noticed that you have to allow unlocking of the bootloader in developer options now, so the old method of unlocking requires a couple more steps. This is evidently due to the enhanced security mode in which if you lose the phone, it’s pretty much useless to anyone else. Even after a factory reset the phone should still be tied to your Google account.

Enable bootloader unlockAfter enabling OEM unlocking, I remembered I’m S-OFF, so I could flash a recovery without unlocking the bootloader if I wanted, and I did, so I did that.

MMS and WiFi Calling appear to be fixed now. At least I was able to send and receive MMSes while connected to WiFi Calling. I had this work occasionally in the past, usually when I was on with Sprint tech support, so your experience may vary.

The camera seems faster. I haven’t gotten a chance to play around with it much yet, but it seems a little peppier. Then again this could just be a pep improvement from Android 5.1.

The default for the app selection is now tiles as opposed to cards. You can change it after pressing app selection and there’s an options in the top right.

I’m not really seeing what the connect to WiFi directly from quick settings is (as listed in the WiKi for 5.1) I’m guessing HTC didn’t implement it or I’m dense. I’ve been dense when it came to quick settings in the past, so I’ll accept that.

This was my first time installing SuperSU on Android 5.1. After I installed TWRP I just chose to exit and it asked if I wanted to install a superuser… I said yes, bam. I’m not sure if it installed the APK for it as I already had SuperSU installed.

Turn off interest based adsInitially I noticed that the OK Google hotword detection wasn’t working and claimed it wasn’t supported in my language. There were also options missing that I have come to expect. About an hour later it was what I am used to. Some sneaky back-end Google stuff going on I guess.

There’s now, or at least I ran across it this time, an option to turn of interest-based ads in HTC Sense Home.

Something’s been done to the radios, but it isn’t a wonderful fix I’d hoped for. I keep seeing triangles with exclamation points saying that it’s unable to establish a wireless data connection. Unfortunately that’s the same thing I see on the wife’s phone. I’m guessing it’s just the last gasps of a set of failing towers.

I just did a test with zero bars LTE/Spark and got 10Mbps down, 8Mbps up at work. Updated PRL and connected to a five bar LTE connection and got 2Mbps down and 1.5Mbps up. I don’t think the LTE signal bars are working how they’re supposed to.

Fast charging seems more steady. This is of course a third party charger and a fourth party charging cable. It’s a lower positive mA charge, but it never seems to hit that wall where it kicks into slowdown mode. So I didn’t see the +2600mA I’ve seen on quick chargers, but I also never saw the thing drop to 700mA when the screen was on. I think the kernel is tuned now to figure out what the battery is going to take. That or I plugged in the wrong charger.

Benchmark of the stock systemDuring the mass of software updates in the first couple of hours after install I had three unexplained crashes and some serious slowdowns, and then everything settled down (I’m guessing Play Services and all the NSA surveillance software installed and updated) everything ran smoothly.

Of course, one day on a ROM is not enough to give it a full checkout, but the phone never got particularly hot, seemed snappy, and appears to be slightly less horrible than the software they shipped that turned the nice piece of hardware that is the HTC One M9 into the blurry heat brick that it’s been known as for the last two months.

It appears that the Flappy Bird Android game was removed as tapping the Android version over and over doesn’t do anything now. That, or Flappy Android hates me.

I’m going to need to play with the security modes soon. One of the big concerns with these are if you want to purchase a used 5.1 device you’ll have to verify that the person selling it to you knows how to disassociate their account from the phone (factory reset doesn’t anymore).

Otherwise you’ll end up having to get their username and password, log into the phone, and do some evil magics to get it working under your Google account as factory resetting won’t disassociate anything.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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