A few of you heard my cry on Google+ and Twitter about receiving several hundred text messages from a 4-digit phone number with the text “itson:” followed by a series of nonsensical garbage. What I probably didn’t mention that might have helped was my phone was always waking up causing even a decent charger to struggle to charge with the screen always coming on. I was also locking up like I’d installed a non-stock kernel and overclocked. Battery was not great.
It turns out this issue is caused by some carrier garbage called Itson that reared its ugly head after the Android 4.4.4 update. You can think of it as CarrierIQ’s more bastardly cousin, although I can’t find out that it does much more other than you probably completely agreed to installing this piece of spyware. On a side note, since the One M8 is on many carriers, I only know it’s a problem on Sprint. Your carrier may be less evil or not.
It appears Itson communicates from a home base to your phone about twice every hour via text messaging. Those who don’t have integrated Hangouts may have never seen the text and only noticed the phone wakeups and crappy battery life.
Luckily there’s a fix, at least for the root crowd. It doesn’t seem as though Sprint is going to get this handled in the next few days judging by the uproar in the Sprint forums. The fix involves mounting and deleting a partition, or installing a ROM with Itson turned off.
I’ll post a link to a flashable fix later as soon as I’ve confirmed the thing works. As of yesterday it required jumping through many hoops to get it working as you had to delete a partition in the carrier segment of the EMMC, but today it appears ROMs are being distributed with Itson removed so there may be no need to flash anything separately as of tonight.
If you’re in a rush for a fix, you can check out Captain_Throwback’s post regarding a scripting fix, or I’m sure someone can locate and post a link to a simple flashable before I manage to find it :)
Anyway, if you’ve been ready to throw your M8 against the wall, at least this will let you know that the problem’s already been fixed in the root world, now we just have to get the carriers on board to stop sending faulty spyware with software updates.