Flashing Custom ROM to any Android Phone

Android is great but sometimes you get the version with the phone, or your vanilla Android or anything like Samsung TouchWiz-a little to be desired. How to install a new version of Android (ROM) on the device for better Android experience.

What is a ROM?

One of the best things about the opening of the Android platform is that if you are not satisfied with the values of the operating system, you can install one of the several modified versions of Android (called ROM ) on your device. A new ROM that can bring the latest version of Android before your manufacturer, or can replace your modded version of Android manufacturer with a clean, version values. Or you can take the existing version and simply reinforce with new features impressive-that depends on you.

If you’re familiar with Linux, which is similar to installing a Linux distribution different species. Each version of the operating system has a specific purpose in mind and as such, somewhat different from the others. Which you choose depends on your priorities and how the device is used. You must unlock the bootloader and flash a custom recovery (more on that here), but once you get the hang of it, it is not too difficult.

There are many different ROMs out there, and if you are looking for a place to start, check out our list of the five most popular. You can also check this awesome chart comparing one ton of ROM feature by feature, which is a great way to find the right one for you. Even if you have a Nexus phone with Android pure strain ROM are a great way to add new features and amenities for Android.

Note: Initially, we wrote this guide in 2010, but things have changed a bit, so we thought it is time to review the process. Many veterinary Android you already know how to do this, but I hope newcomers will find this guide valuable and perhaps even veterans will learn a thing or two. We will begin!

First step: unlock the bootloader and flash a custom recovery

First, let’s clear up some confusion: Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to root your phone to flash a ROM only have to unlock the bootloader and flash a custom recovery. However, this process usually goes with rooting and most custom ROMs come with root access so think “the roots of your phone” is probably what you’re going to do first.

Unfortunately, we can not go through this step in detail here, because it is different for each phone! Therefore, I recommend you take a look at our guide to rooting around to learn more about what is involved, what the different terms mean, and what to consider. Then look around sites like XDA Developers for instructions on how to unlock the bootloader on your specific phone, the recovery should be used (usually TWRP or ClockworkMod), and how he blinks.

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I also recommend the roots of your phone during the first stage, because it will make the backup process with the two easiest step and save along the way discomfort. Many methods and applications with a single click will start the phone anyway, it could be included in the process. Again, this can vary from one phone to another. (If the instructions require flashing SuperSU.zip, you can refer to the third stage of this guide for information on how, ironically, is equal to a flash ROM).

NOTE: Unlocking your bootloader is more likely to clean your phone without root access, will not be able to save a lot. Therefore, save all you want to keep on your computer, you must configure your phone from scratch just this once before continuing.

When finished, come back here and go to step two for the rest of Roaming process.

Step two: Make a backup of your system, applications, and data

Now that you have a custom recovery on your phone, the first thing you should do before you ever make a big change in your system is a backup. First, we will make a Nandroid backup, which is essentially an image of your current system. This way, if something goes wrong, you can restore your phone exactly as it was before starting to adjust. This will save a lot of trouble if something goes wrong (which, let’s be honest, it can happen often). To do this:

  1. Restart the phone and go into recovery mode. This is a little different on each phone, but usually, involves some permutation pressing the volume buttons and power simultaneously.
  2. Head to the “backup” or “Nandroid” section of its mode of recovery. The default settings should be fine. If given the opportunity, give your backup a name that helps you remember what it is (as “pre-backup CyanogenMod 01/17/14”).
  3. Confirm the backup and let it run.
  4. Wait until the backup completes. This may take some time.

I also recommend getting a second type of backup: your applications and settings. If you just turn the bootloader and your phone is erased, you can skip this, but each time the flash ROM in the future, you want to back up your applications first, as you may need to clean the phone before flashing. With a backup, you can easily restore applications and data after flashing, making the process much simpler. We recommend using Titanium Backup.

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This is different from a Nandroid backup, as a backup only the applications themselves, which can then be restored at any ROM you want. Nandroid backups take the entire system as it is, ROM.

Note that must be rooted to use Titanium Backup (which is why I recommend root in the first stage). To make titanium backup:

  1. Titanium permissions and backup root grant open if you ask for them. If you experience problems with the root, to tell you now.
  2. Press the “lot” in the upper right corner (looks like a little box to tick). Scroll down to the “Save” section and find “Backup all user applications.” Click the “Run” button. These backup applications you have downloaded from the Play Store and your data. (You can try to make backup copies of system data as well, but I think it usually does not work very well).
  3. Wait for it to finish. If you want, you can sync with Dropbox as described here, but you do not need for this process.

This may seem like a lot of unnecessary backup copies, but trust me: you will save a lot of time in the long run. Now, if something goes wrong, you have a Nandroid backup to fall back and not have to start from scratch. And when the ROM correctly, flashes do not have to restart the download and the creation of all its applications by itself, because it can restore with titanium.

Step three: Download and update the ROM of your choice

Now comes the fun part: flash your ROM. First, obviously, you have to find the ROM you want. Again, this table is a good starting point, as our list of the five most popular. You can also search on sites like XDA-Developers forums to see what is available for your particular phone.

When you find a ROM you want to try, download it and save it on your phone. It should be in the form of quite a ZIP file, so you probably want to be using Wi-Fi to download the program. You can download directly from your phone, or download it to your computer and transfer it via USB through.

Update the ROM:

  1. Restart the phone in recovery mode, as we did when we made our Nandroid backup.
  2. Facing the recovery “Install” or “Install ZIP from SD card”.
  3. Navigate to the ZIP file you downloaded previously and select from the list to flash.
  4. Wait until the process is complete; It may take several minutes.
  5. Depending on your situation (see below), it may also be necessary to clean your data and / or cache. In TWRP, is in the section and ClockworkMod “Cleaning”, you should select “Wipe cache partition” “clear Reset data / factory” or. Once completed, you are free to reboot into your new ROM .
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Therefore, when cleaning your data and cache? Here are some general guidelines:

  • If you flash another ROM that is running, you must clear the data and cache. This essentially performs a factory reset on the phone, and all data will be lost.
  • If you are launching a new version of a ROM is already running, it is recommended to clean your data and cache, but you should be able to get away with just clearing the cache, which means that you must keep all your applications and settings.

Remember, if you made a copy of all titanium, then do a factory reset is not as bad as you can restore most. Note that even if you just update your existing ROM, it restores the factory can be helpful. If the fabric of its cache, note that some applications may cause problems, but the relocation or removal of data applications that usually solves the problem.

When you reboot, you should be on your shiny new ROM, ready to play! But what? No Play Store? Read on for the last step …

Step Four: Download and Flash Google Apps

Because Google apps are not open source, custom ROMs can not applications like Gmail group, Google Hangouts, or read the store-ROM. This means you will need to download and flash separately. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to do: just head to this page to know what RootzWiki ZIP file you need, download on your phone, and flash ROM as in step three. Gapps Manager is a great application that will help you find the right package if you’re stuck, and you can download the APK XDA Developers.

Once you have flashed the last package of Google Apps, you should be all set! You will have a new ROM with lots of settings to play with the Play Store to download new applications, and if you made a Titanium Backup Now you can head Titanium Backup and restore all your applications and settings. Have fun!