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Ask Dr. Root: Themed App Upgrade Problems, Home Screen Re-Draws

Dr. Root, I am running a custom ROM and can’t upgrade my apps in the market. What gives?

Here’s the deal, all custom ROMs are different and when they are put together some of the apps you want to upgrade are not able to be upgraded because they are pre-installed with the ROM as a system app. This is done for a couple reasons. One reason is for theming purposes, and by doing this it prevents the themed app from being overwritten. This is a good and a bad thing; good because it keeps your app themed and bad because if you want to update to a newer version you have to wait for the themer or ROM developer to update. The second reason is  performance. By tweaking the app and leaving it in the system/app folder it can be .zip aligned leaving it optimized for the ROM.  Now fear not, if you want to update anyway you are not out of luck, but it will take you a few minutes depending on what you need to update.  

(Important) Please read the following: 3rd party themed apps that are not in system/app folder will update as usual and you will lose the themeing of that app. I know that sounds like a pain, but there is a quick fix in case this happens to you.  A simple uninstall of the update through the market should revert you to your themed app. To keep this from happening again make sure to uncheck the auto update box for your app.

Here are the steps to update  pre-installed apps that will not update:

*For rooted phones only

*Droid life  is not responsible for damages,acts of god and loss of spouses due to messing with your phone.

1. You need a file manager that gives you read write access to the system/app folder. Root Explorer is a great choice for this.

2. You need to locate the app you want to update in system/app. Once you find it you need to enable  R/W (read-write) in Root Explorer. It is set at R/O (read-only) by default and by doing this, it will let you delete or move the app from your system folder.  I suggest moving it out from system/app and onto somewhere safe like your SD card.  You can also just rename the app to end with .bak if you don’t want to move it.

3.  Now head out to the market and find the app you wanted to update, install like normal and enjoy your newly updated app.

Dr. Root. I am having home screen re-draws (refreshes) on my  rooted orignal Droid  and am not sure what to do. Please help!

*The following  is for a rooted original Droid only.

It seems that some phones experience this more than others and for no particular rhyme or reason. This has been attributed to the smaller amount of RAM in the original Droid, however there is a fix for it which virtually eliminates the re-draw issue. From time to time when I am not running after my 1 1/2 year old daughter I check out the Google  for little tips and tricks and ran across this…

Hint for developer phones:

“One limitation has been noticed on Android developer phones (ADP1). Due to limited memory home screen often takes several seconds to load. Luckily these phones allow root access. Issue the command “echo ro.HOME_APP_ADJ=1 >/data/local.prop” and reboot, to lock home screen in memory.”

Now yes I know we don’t have developer phones, but take this into consideration.  We have a phone with an unlocked boot-loader running stock Android, so really it can be considered a developer phone. The following command can be entered into Terminal Emulator which can be found on the market.


In your terminal application on your phone (if you have to ask what this is, Google it, download it from the market):

su (enter)
echo ro.HOME_APP_ADJ=1 >> /data/local.prop (enter)
reboot (enter)

If you want to undo what this command does, simply remove that toggle from: /data/local.prop, or if you did not have this file (like I did not) prior to the mod…remove it entirely.

If you entered this correctly you should see through the day that the redraw issues have disappeared and the homescreen is actually there when you come out of a memory intensive app.

Dr. Root  (MrPicolas)

  • Xgrinder911

    Does this work on the DROID x2?

  • RoadsterHD1

    Does this have to be done everytime you reboot?


    I tried to get the new youtube but it wont install. so i did the steps and it still wont install what can i do to fix this?

    • if root.
      1.) install titanium backup
      2.) de-install youtube via titanium backup
      3.) reboot (you MUST DO THIS)
      4.) install youtube via market
      5.) profit

  • Archlyte

    Im not rooted and on both my D1 and my current D2 i have this problem. It's the SD card for the not-rooted crowd. Once the folder named Apps gets filled (partitioned only to 256mb) the “installation unsuccessful” starts happening. The only way i can get my apps to download/update is to remove the SD, do the download, then put it back in and its fine. this to this day i have to do this.

  • Judysigalsss

    did some one knows a company called perfecto mobile(http://www.perfectomobile.com)

    i want to test my app on real devices, and i herd that they offering that kind of service.


  • Pl_tice

    I am still not able to update Google maps anyone have any other tips to try?

  • Oogalic

    Can you do a video on this? I wanna do this but I'm scared of messing up. (Redraws)

  • Chris

    ok I have a OG droid. I have LP pro 5 screens 4 of which are completely full of apps and widgets (vlingo widget, jorte, i picture and power controls widget which i have on 4 of 5 screens with resizing most of the widgets to shrink them so i can have more on the screen. so for me, when i did this “fix” i started having the apps i was in killed, for instance in the browser when i had more than one window it would exit to the launcher, when i was searching in maps using swype i was able to type in ghost moun and it bounched back the to launcher, when i used the physical keyboard it would allow ghost mountain mesa, a and kill back to launcher. so i decided to edit this out of the local.prop file but astro can't see it as it is owned by ROOT so back to terminal

    cd /data
    ls -l
    and there it is local.prop so i tried ed, vi, vim, pico and none of them are recognized as commands… arghhhh
    mv local.prop loca.pr

    phone is back to life again wahoo. check the file size of loca.pr and it is 18 bytes which coincidentally was “ro.HOME_APP_ADJ=1 ”
    so back into terminal
    rm loca.pr

    and it is all gone and i am back to 20-30 seconds to refresh my screens when coming out of the browser or angry birds but at least the browser is not being term'd by the OS in favor of the launcher any more…

    • Chris

      oops actually it should go

      cd /data
      rm loca.pr
      LS -L
      and the file was gone…
      if your file is not 18 or less when you directory it (LS -L) then there is more in there than just this, unless of course you echoed more into it by doing it several times.

  • Stephen D

    Redraws are one of the things that pushed me away from my Droid. I did that trick and so many things, and it always had horrible redraw issues. An extra 100mb of RAM would make a world of a difference with the OG Droid. It's still my favorite phone I've ever owned though.

  • TheMan876

    How does the Redraw fix work if you use QuickDesk? Technically THAT is my homescreen, even though my main is LP.

  • Shakazulu

    I can dig it. Other than the perception of improved performance is there any way to tangibly tell if we entered the command correctly? Is there a file that should be evident afterwards? Just checking as it was not a terribly bad problem before. Thanks for the info!

  • shr1k3r

    by removing the toggle do you mean make the middle line:
    echo ro.HOME_APP_ADJ=0 >> /data/local.prop (enter)

  • niteperson

    You, Sir, are a lifesaver! Home screen refreshes have been a problem for quite some time and this should go a long way toward getting me through until I can upgrade. I was under the impression nothing could be done about it, so I just dealt with it. Much appreciated!

  • i have a DX and my problem is some apps wont be in the market place at all. I am rooted and cannot download apps like jetflicks, rom buddy psx, and where. I have had them on my phone before but not since i have rooted. Any fix for this? They still show up in appbrain but still cant get it to download to the phone?

  • RoadsterHD1

    Cool I did it, now I'll see how it goes.Thanks DR. Root!!!
    Now, how do we make better use of our D1 memory? How do we stop so much running in the background at once, even after we close it.

  • Another good post man 🙂 Your helping all the n00bs out there 😀

    • RoadsterHD1

      Does this have to be done everytime you reboot?

  • Dpu328

    FINALLY! The redraw is fixed. I can't count all the bogus tweaks I read prior. Thanks

  • skltr21

    what do you mean by “remove that toggle from: /data/local.prop or if you did not have this file (like I did not) prior to the mod…remove it entirely.” ????

    • Tyrian

      From the Terminal, if you type “ls /data/local.prop” and it returns “/data/local.prop” on the next line then that means the file is there. Run that first to know if it is present before you go updating it. Then you have an idea of whether you should remove the file


      just remove the line “ro.HOME_APP_ADJ=1” from the local.prop file.

    • Open the file with a text editor. If there's more than just “ro.HOME_APP_ADJ=1”, then just remove that line in the file. If thats the only thing in it, then you didn't have the file before (I didn't and you probably didn't either) and you can just delete it from your phone.

  • SecurityNick

    Cool tips….here's my problem with updating and the market and being rooted: It seems like almost any app that I have on my SD Card will not update/install correctly when updating from the market. 99.9% of the time, the app will say installation failed after downloading. If I move the app from SD to Phone, then try it again, most of the time it works with some exceptions, then I generally move the app back to SD….which is really a pain. Anyone else noticed this? D1, CM6.1RC2.

    • Man I have the same dang problem and it is so annoying. Some apps I cant update at all even if its not on sd. I dunno how to fix the problem but it would be great if Pic had a fix.

  • Dushufugufudoosa

    LauncherPro often won't draw ANYTHING on the screens. Just the row of icons at the bottom. I have it locked in memory.

    Only solution is a reboot.

    • skltr21

      it does that for me quite often too, but what i do is either open the keyboard (original droid) or try rotating the phone. that often fixes it.

  • Dilznoofus

    Or just use a rooted app like Titanium Backup that will rip out “system apps” just like that.

    • skltr21

      yeah it's way easy with titanium.

  • Josh

    The redraw tip works so well. I did this a couple weeks ago and I don't think I have had a redraw at all, even after playing Angry Birds or Reckless Racing. OG Droid w/ BB.5

    • skltr21

      that's funny. the only time i EVER notice the redraw issue is after exiting out of angry birds……

  • NorCalGuy

    Just a quick question before i go through with the re-draw fix, is this the same thing that LP uses in his general settings (keep in memory), i have this checked but it still seems that every once in a while it will still take some time. If they are the same or if they are different should i uncheck the one in launcher pro before trying to do it through the terminal?

    • RoadsterHD1

      Good question, anyone have the answer???

      • Armyof2

        The keep in memory thing doesn't work as it was planned…this command forces your default home launcher into memory…it works for stock launcher, LP, ADW or any other launcher

        This originated here http://www.launcherpro.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2652&hilit=redraw there is a pretty good explaination as to what is going on

        • The350zWolf

          I tried the above mentioned fix (echoing into local.prop file) using LauncherPro on my OG droid and it worked great. I forgot to uncheck the keep in memory box until now that I’m reading, but the fixed worked fine regardless of the boxed being checked or unchecked. Incidentally I was getting fed up with the screen refresh issue.

      • Samsonite801

        The ‘Keep in Memory’ option in the launcher has very little control since the launcher runs in a sandboxed environment and has very little ability to tell the memory manager what it ‘is going to do’ (not to mention for security reasons too). The ro.HOME_APP_ADJ=1 toggle requires root too install and the command is run as root in the system, and it tells the memory manager to lock the launcher into memory whereas the ‘Keep in Memory’ toggle in the launcher settings is more of a request to the OS to ‘pretty-please keep me in your memory if you could please’ kind of thing.

        • Anonymous

          That is an excellent explanation, Thanks for that…. I’ve did it and so far so good. Unless I get down to about 11% memory and then my phone slows to a crawl and sliding from screen to screen becomes laggy. Then I kill apps or allow “memory booster to re cooperate memory” then it runn good again. How can we make OS more efficient in using memory? How can we make it kill apps after exiting them?

    • It's not the same as LP's “lock home in memory” option. And yes, you should uncheck the option in LP. It won't hurt your phone if you don't, but there have been reports of a conflict that will cause worse redraws!

      I used this trick a few weeks ago, and since then have had no redraws whatsoever. Plus, its very safe and completely reversible. (all it does is put “ro.HOME_APP_ADJ=1” on the last line of a file called Local.prop in the data folder)

      • jason6g

        This has also worked wonders for me.

        On a side note about LP’s keep in memory… I’ve noticed that with it checked my widgets would CONSTANTLY freeze and stop updating. ie. i go to check the time, bw says its 1:20pm but the status bar clock shows the correct time of say 3:40pm. with this little command and unchecking the keep in memory i have both a fast back to home AND normal operation of widgets, yay!

  • tjhrulz

    lol i found this last night and did it rather ironic its on here now
    Edit: but oh it forgot to mention it works great with LPP

  • *Off Topic – Just saw an i*hone case add on the top of DLIFE OH NOES!!

    • I see those pretty regularly. I think it's inescapable that any site covering mobile phone news is going to end up with ads that go cross-platform.

    • tjhrulz

      THEN THIS IS WAR…….. or Sparta I cant remember

  • Kevin Jellison

    Launcher Pro has a “Save In Memory” option, which is how I took care of my screen draw issues. It used to take up to 30 seconds for my screen to redraw, and now it it instant.

    • Mrpicolas

      Right but this keeps the system from killing it which with LP being an app can still be killed by the system

      • Kevin Jellison

        Got it. Thanks!

      • Snookie

        Unless you use a real ROM like CyanogenMod that has its own option to keep ANY home app in memory.

        • Even then, it doesn’t always work. CM6 still killed the home app when I watched flash videos.

      • Anonymous

        i have a question about changing the font on my ROM. im running sapphire 1.1.1 and i want to change the font. now some ROMs come with extra option to change these right within the ROM. but this ROM does not have that option. do you know of a way i can easily change the font on this ROM? thanks

  • Corkis84

    does this work for all launchers?

    • Mrpicolas

      It should as long as your rooted

  • love the redraw tip, this is one question I keep seeing over and over again

  • tbaybe

    dr root…. post stuff for me on my DX now!!! lol 🙂

    • Mrpicolas

      Like what no pron I hope LOL jk….
      Happy Tuesday

      • Tabe

        Yes, she meant pron… She just told me…

        • Tabe stop lying thats you.

          • Tabe


      • Lol wtf?

      • tbaybe

        oohhh MrP u are too much for me!! 😉

  • sweet

  • Tyt


    • Do i have to start saying first for you guys? you have to say first to get a random or weird prize from me! oy