CalyxOS News

Chromium 90 available for testing

Google released Chrome 90 (90.0.4430.66) yesterday, and we have updated our Chromium fork (and the patches applied on top) to pull in all the changes, and created a new build.

It is now available for testing in our test F-Droid repo, https://gitlab.com/CalyxOS/calyx-fdroid-repo

This F-Droid repository gets app updates as soon as they’re available, you can add this if you want to help us test them out.

To add it, simply add this URL to F-Droid -> Settings -> Repositories -> Plus sign at the top right: https://calyxos.gitlab.io/calyx-fdroid-repo/fdroid/repo?fingerprint=C44D58B4547DE5096138CB0B34A1CC99DAB3B4274412ED753FCCBFC11DC1B7B6

Alternatively, you can scan the below QR code:

gitlab-calyx-fdroid-repo

Google usually does staged rollouts, where the new version will hit a small percentage of devices first, then some more, and so on.

We intend to do something similar, by adding it to this test repo first, and then later on adding it to an F-Droid repo hosted on our own servers which is already pre-added to your CalyxOS device.


Technical:

Google made a change in how they bundle Chrome since Android 10:

“Chrome is no longer used as a WebView implementation in Q+. We’ve moved to a new model for sharing common code between Chrome and WebView (called “Trichrome”) which gives the same benefits of reduced download and install size while having fewer weird special cases and bugs.”

However, the system handles this shared common code (called Trichrome Library) differently from a typical app, and as such F-Droid was not able to update it.

We submitted changes to F-Droid to allow updating of Trichrome, which have since been merged and are included in the April builds. That means we can know ship Chromium updates via F-Droid easily.

It turned out that F-Droid would have needed some system privileges to actually see the details about the “Trichrome Library” installation on the device so that it could actually update it. We didn’t want to grant any extra privileges to F-Droid itself, however we already have an F-Droid Privileged Extension which is meant exactly for something like this.

The changes:

The Big April update

April is amongst us, and with it comes a security update, but wait, there’s more.

This update contains a lot of new features and bug fixes that we’ve been hard at work over the last few months. There’s even more coming in the upcoming builds, stay tuned!

Changelog:

  • April Security update (2021-04-05)
  • VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling support for a lot more carriers
  • microG: Potential fix for google account login issue
  • Introducing Datura Firewall - our new Firewall app
  • Makes the existing Wi-Fi / Mobile / VPN / Background data toggle easily accessible. More features to come!
  • Add a Global cleartext network traffic restriction toggle to prevent all non-TLS traffic from leaving the device (including the OS, system apps and installed apps) Settings -> System -> Developer Options -> Restrict cleartext network traffic
  • Include a Sensitive Phone Numbers list, hiding them from the call log.
  • Dialer also gets a new helpline contact list based on the above. (Dialer -> Menu -> Helpline) for easy access. Thanks LineageOS!
  • Add feature to optionally scramble the lockscreen PIN. Settings -> Security -> Screen lock -> Scramble layout
  • The “Background data” toggle is now able to restrict background network access completely (even when using Wi-Fi) and as such has been renamed
  • Wi-Fi timeout feature - like our bluetooth timeout feature, now CalyxOS users have similar functionality to automatically turn off Wi-Fi after a certain time. Settings -> Network & Internet -> Wi-Fi -> Wi-Fi preferences -> Turn off Wi-Fi automatically
  • microG: v0.2.18.204714
  • Chromium: 89.0.4389.105
  • Seedvault: Allow verifying and re-generating the 12 word recovery code
  • Ability to install Chromium (Trichrome) updates via F-Droid
  • Add caffeine, heads up, Sync, AmbientDisplay, USB Tether and AOD QS Tiles from LineageOS
  • Fix TTS Engine crash
  • Use Cloudflare DNS as the fallback in more places
  • Updates for all other included apps.

A2:

  • Merge Xiaomi’s March 2021 Security update
  • Update Kernel to 4.4.261
  • Include 10.0 Firmware (September 2020)

Note: A2 Firmware is from September since upgrading to versions after that requires a factory reset.

Security update notes

  • The Pixels 3, 3 XL, 3a, 3a XL, 4, 4 XL, 4a, 5, 4a (5G) contain the full security patch, as they are still being updated by Google.
  • The Pixels 2 and 2 XL are not being updated by Google anymore, so they only contain the fixes to the open source components, such as the OS code and the Linux kernel. Proprietary components such as the bootloader, modem firmware, and other firmware no longer get updates.
  • The Xiaomi Mi A2 is still getting security updates, but those are Android 10 and usually released towards the end of the month, whereas CalyxOS is Android 11 and releases the updates right as they're available. This means that the A2 lags behind slightly, by a month or two, in getting security updates for proprietary components.

Mi A2 10.0 Firmware

A new experimental build has been released for the Xiaomi Mi A2 which contains firmware from the stock 10.0 release.

You may recall flashing stock Oreo 8.1 before installing CalyxOS - we now have a way to avoid doing that, and this update contains the bits updating the firmware on your existing install from 8.1 to 10.0. For new installs, factory images will be available at a later date.

Changelog:

  • Merge Xiaomi’s March 2021 Security update
  • Update Kernel to 4.4.261
  • Include 10.0 Firmware (September 2020)

Read before installing

This update contains the bootloader and additional firmware files. While we have taken utmost care to make sure this works, and done lots of testing, incorrect or interrupted installation may lead to a non-working phone.

For testing this build, you need to enable USB Debugging on your device, and then run:

adb shell setprop sys.update.channel a2ten

And then, Settings -> System -> Updates -> Check for updates. That will begin downloading and then install the build.

If that doesn’t work, you can also try running:

adb shell cmd jobscheduler run --force app.seamlessupdate.client 1

So far in our testing it works well, but additional testing is always helpful and appreciated.

If you can wait, it will hit the beta channel later, and then the stable channel after that, you won’t have to do anything, your device will get the update automatically.

Additional details:

The way this works is that we included the bootloader (abl) from stock Oreo 8.1, and the rest from stock Q 10.0. The old bootloader is needed because that’s the only version that supports Verified Boot with a custom OS like ours, however we can safely upgrade the rest, to an extent.

You may have noticed the September 2020 date above, unfortunately that is due to a bug with all Xiaomi firmware after that. Updating to those from any older build results in needing a factory reset - you simply cannot upgrade without wiping data. This is not desirable, and hence for now we’ve included the last working firmware where this wasn’t required.

Mi A2 Charging fix

A build with a charging fix for the Xiaomi Mi A2 has been released.

There are no other changes, which means it’s a very small update - only 609 Kb for the incremental OTA update.

March Security update and Feature drop

The March Security update is now available for all supported devices.

Changelog:

  • CalyxOS 2.2.0 - Android 11
  • March Security update (2021-03-05) and feature drop
  • Chromium: 88.0.4324.181
  • Updates for all other included apps.

Security update notes

  • The Pixels 3, 3 XL, 3a, 3a XL, 4, 4 XL, 4a, 5, 4a (5G) contain the full security patch, as they are still being updated by Google.
  • The Pixels 2 and 2 XL are not being updated by Google anymore, so they only contain the fixes to the open source components, such as the OS code and the Linux kernel. Proprietary components such as the bootloader, modem firmware, and other firmware no longer get updates.
  • The Xiaomi Mi A2 is still getting security updates but those are Android 10 and usually released towards the end of the month, whereas CalyxOS is Android 11 and releases the updates right as they're available. This means that the A2 lags behind slightly, by a month or two in getting security updates for proprietary components.

February Security update

The February Security update is now available for all supported devices.

Changelog:

  • CalyxOS 2.2.0 - Android 11
  • February Security update (2021-02-05)
  • microG: v0.2.17.204714
  • microG: Include Services Framework (GSF)
  • Chromium: 88.0.4324.93
  • Calendar (Etar): 1.0.24
  • Keyboard: Remove non-functional proprietary gesture-typing preference.
  • Aurora Store: Fix installation issues for new installs, to fix your current app kindly re-install the app from F-Droid
  • Updates for all other included apps.

Pixel 2, 2 XL, 3, 3 XL, 3a, 3a XL, 4, 4 XL:

  • Implement Active Edge support - squeeze phone to perform action
  • Configure from Settings -> System -> Gestures -> Active Edge

Security update notes

  • The Pixels 3, 3 XL, 3a, 3a XL, 4, 4 XL, 4a, 5, 4a (5G) contain the full security patch, as they are still being updated by Google.
  • The Pixels 2 and 2 XL are not being updated by Google anymore, so they only contain the fixes to the open source components, such as the OS code and the Linux kernel. Proprietary components such as the bootloader, modem firmware, and other firmware no longer get updates.
  • The Xiaomi Mi A2 is still getting security updates but those are Android 10 and usually released towards the end of the month, whereas CalyxOS is Android 11 and releases the updates right as they're available. This means that the A2 lags behind slightly, by a month or two in getting security updates for proprietary components.

Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G) support

The wait is over, we have builds available for the new Pixels!

These builds are Android 11 with the January 2021 Security update, and are fully working.

You can follow these instructions to install.

Note: DO NOT install the Pixel 4a (5G) / bramble build on a Pixel 4a / sunfish (or vice versa).
DeviceLinkSHA256
Pixel 5 / redfin redfin-factory-2021.01.25.15.zip cdbb9f775e9d5de913b8d35ac125e2c564dbf1df2837ca29e2b985387f9ab659
Pixel 4a (5G) / bramble bramble-factory-2021.01.25.15.zip 811e34e8200b980310a5851bf45c75097ae94642f4a20f9fbc16e0be79c440ae

Do let us know if you face any issues or bugs.

New website

Yippie! We have a new website. It is static generated and anyone can contribute through gerrit. See https://gitlab.com/CalyxOS/calyxos.org and https://review.calyxos.org/q/project:CalyxOS/calyxos.org.

In the coming weeks, we will be adding help documentation, tutorials, release change logs, and more. Stay tuned!

Some phones may have stopped updating and need intervention

The April 2020 build of Calyxos (build 2020.04.07.17) did not include the OTA Updater due to a misconfiguration.

This means that it will not update to the May build by itself, you need to follow two quick manual steps:

1) Open F-Droid, pull down to refresh the repositories. After the refresh completes , check the updates list. You’ll see an update for “Seamless Update Client”, install that update.

2) Open the newly updated “Updater” app. It’ll ask you “Let app always run in background?”, please hit allow, and then it will start updating the system