One of the most beloved pieces of software for Android enthusiasts, the Xposed Framework, has finally made its way to Lollipop. After a long delay and even uncertainty if it was even possible, rovo89, the developer, has finally released a very early version of Xposed that works with Lollipop. We have expressed our love and admiration for his fantastic software before, so it’s really nice to see it making its way to the most recent version of Android, especially with Android 5.1 looming in the horizon. It’s still early, but let’s take a look at the compatibility of the framework, and what made it take so long.
It is well known at this point that Lollipop really did introduce a lot of new features and under-the-hood modifications to stock Android. While some of the aspects are pretty visible and obvious, like the system-wide Material Design, some are not so obvious, like the new ART runtime. The Android runtime is the heart of the system, which allows you to actually run the apps you have and make them work across a wide range of hardware, and ART came in to replace the previous runtime, Dalvik. So, as you might have guessed, Xposed was made specifically for Dalvik, and it actually took advantage of some of its design features to work at all, injecting custom code in real-time.
Once the switch was made to ART in Lollipop, the developer had to redesign the whole thing: not only did he need to adapt his API into the new runtime, but some of the enhanced security features of Lollipop also made previous injection strategies not viable or possible to begin with. And that’s the major source of the delay and complications in bringing this over. But it seems like that hurdle has finally been surpassed, and now we have an early version of Xposed that should work pretty much the same way in Lollipop, to the point where existing modules will work out of the box in Lollipop with no change in some cases.
You can check out this release yourself by going to the official XDA thread, where the developer answers some questions and has the necessary files for download, in case you want to try it yourself. Be advised, this is an early and in-testing version, and the way to install and remove it differs from standard releases: there is still no official release of the installer app and the compatibility of the test version is still under investigation, with some Samsung devices running Touchwiz reporting bootloops and failure to start, so please don’t try it if you’re not comfortable fixing the issue later. Besides, an official, more compatible and easier to install version should be released very soon.
It’s hard not to be excited about this development. A lot of custom Android users had actually been stuck in KitKat, because some of their beloved Xposed modules and features were not available at all in Lollipop. A lot of users also had very little faith that Xposed would even be possible at all in Lollipop, due to the increase in safety and complete redesign of how apps run, but it seems like the developer has figured it out, and now we will be able to take advantage of all those extra features that the framework offers. And since it seems like Lollipop is going to be around for a while, same as with Jellybean, it’s also likely that Xposed will be a part of Android for a long time.