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How to Install a Custom ROM on your Android Phone

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Thinking about personalizing your phone a little more? Want some extra benefits to your mobile? If you’re even slightly technically inclined, installing a custom ROM to your phone does have its advantages. That’s why today we’re taking you through the process, though be warned, it’s not the simplest of tasks (though we’ll do our best!).

DISCLAIMER: Installing a custom ROM is a little technical, and there is always the risk that something will go wrong. In some cases, this may void the warranty on your phone, and in some rare circumstances can leave your phone unusable. Follow these instructions at your own risk!

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Wait, What? Why?

Install a Custom ROM on Android

Image Via – Android Authority

Okay, your phone has an Android operating system, right? A custom ROM is a tweaked, customized version of that operating system. In basic terms, you’ll be installing a different Android version, and there are all kinds of reasons you might want to do this, as well as all kinds of versions of the operating system to choose from.

One of the biggest reasons you might want to do this is because you’ve got an older phone and it no longer gets Android updates; a custom ROM can give you the most recent Android version. Some ROMs are designed to give you a faster, lighter OS version, meaning you get better performance. And then there are manufacturer ROMs. Unless you run a Google Stock device, you’re going to have a manufacturer ROM.

How to Install Custom ROM on Android

With a custom ROM, you can get any version of Android you want, running a Samsung version on an HTC, or going for the plain stock Android that’s on the Nexus. A custom ROM will be exactly what you want it to be, rather than the default option that came on your phone.

BEFORE YOU START…

Alrighty, before you get started, there are a few things that you’re going to want to do. The very first of these is that you’ll need to back up your mobile. Installing (or “flashing”) a custom ROM does occasionally go wrong, so you’ll need a full back up just in case you need to return to your original Android operating system.

You also need to disable security features like fingerprint lock or passcodes to get into your phone and make sure your phone is fully charged. Plus, you’ll need to turn on an option called “USB debugging,” which is pretty simple, just go into Settings then Developer Options, and check USB Debugging.

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Now the techie stuff. You’ll need to unlock the bootloader on your phone. This isn’t as hard as it sounds (it takes a few minutes is all), but the method differs by phone. Google your “phone model” and “unlock bootloader” to get simple instructions to do this. See, that wasn’t so hard, right?

Find a Custom ROM

Now you need to find a custom ROM that you like. The most important thing here is to ensure that the ROM is suitable for your exact make and model of phone. NEVER try to install a ROM designed for another phone! Other than that, there are tons of options. The two of the most popular custom ROMS are LineageOS and Resurrection Remix. Since these are so popular, there are plenty of versions suitable for most phones so they’re a good place to start (you can always change your ROM later if you like).

Installing a custom ROM

Image Via – GadgetHacks

The ROM you choose will be downloaded as a ZIP file, which you’ll need to save somewhere on the internal memory of your phone. Sometimes you need to save it in the external storage since you will be formatting everything on your internal memory. For some ROMs there’ll be two downloads, the ROM itself and something called GApps, just download both as ZIP files and save them separately… And… You’re ready to install!

HOW TO INSTALL A CUSTOM ROM ON ANDROID PHONE

RECOVERY INSTALLATION

There are two ways to install a custom ROM, and Recovery Installation is a little more difficult but there are less likely to be any problems using this method, so we recommend it. Firstly, you’ll need to download a custom recovery tool. The best option for this is an app called TWRP. So download and open it to install it! Once you’ve done this switch off your phone and turn it back on in recovery mode. The method for this differs by phone (usually some combination of pressing power and volume buttons) so Google your phone make and model plus “recovery mode.”

Your phone should now open in recovery mode using the TWRP app you installed, and the steps from here are pretty easy:

  • Select “Backup” and choose all the partition options given you then swipe the start bar. Your phone will back up, which may take a few minutes.

  • When this is done, back up to the original home screen and select “Wipe,” before again swiping the start bar. Your phone will be wiped, which may take a few minutes.

  • When this is done, back up to the original home screen and select “Install,” then find the original custom ROM ZIP file you saved. Tap the ZIP file, and swipe the start bar to start the installation.
  • Once this is done if you also downloaded a GApps ZIP file repeat the above step with this file.
  • Switch off your phone and switch it back on again and you’re done! This initial switch on process might take a bit longer than you’re used to, so don’t worry.

APP INSTALLATION 

There is an easier way to install a custom ROM, but this is a little dicier, and there are more potential risks. However, if the above looks too daunting, then you can download an app to do the job for you. The best of these is called FlashFire, and it’s free. All you need to do is download the app and follow the instructions it gives you.

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There’s a catch here though. FlashFire only works on rooted phones. If you haven’t rooted your phone you’ll need to do this first (not a tough process, just Google your phone make and model and “root” and you’ll get simple instructions).

If It All Goes Wrong…

Installing a custom ROM isn’t a guaranteed process, and there’s always the possibility that something could go wrong. Should the process not go well, or you’re unhappy with the experience and want to go back to your old operating system, then all you need to do is either flash any other custom ROM, or go back to the stock ROM by restoring that backup you created in the above steps. To restore, just go into TWRP recovery, Wipe everything, select ‘Restore’ and then find the place where the backup file is saved, and that’s it. 

We hope that this post helped you if you were looking for the detailed guide on installing custom ROMs. If you have any doubts, just comment below, and we will be replying asap. Stay Addicted to Android!

Arvind is an 19-year old college student and the one who started DroidHolic. Currently, he works as the Editor-in-Chief, webmaster and Managing Director. Passionate about smartphones, he likes to write on latest smartphone trends. You can connect with him via social media.

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