How to install a custom ROM on Android. One of the biggest advantages of having an Android device with root is the ability to install a custom ROM. Android ROMs are simply alternative versions of Android, with some containing different apps by default, while others contain modified kernels.
A custom ROM includes features not available from the device manufacturer and also provides a clean slate to build the system, completely free of bloatware and unnecessary apps. Here’s how to install Custom ROM on Android to really customize your software.
Before you start, you will need a rooted device with an unlocked bootloader. You won’t go far without both and risk damaging your device. You also need to install the drivers to allow the device to be recognized by the computer.
- Always back up important data, we never know what can happen. The backup must be used to performed by the TWRP recovery.
- USB debugging must be enabled.
- Make sure your Android device has at least an 80-85% battery charge.
- The device must have the latest CWM or TWRP version installed.
- NB We are not responsible for what you do with your phone.
How to install a custom ROM with TWRP on Android Smartphones
Before you proceed, back up all your personal files and apps. This process will delete text messages, contacts, settings and practically everything else. The files on the device should remain, but we recommend backing up the same.
Android ROMs are installed through a custom recovery. The most popular custom recovery is currently TWRP, an excellent option with a simple interface and touchscreen support. Before continuing, install TWRP on your device.
Now that you have TWRP custom recovery installed, it’s time to look for a ROM. If you don’t know which one to choose, LineageOS is a fantastic place to start.
Head to the LineageOS download page or to your Android device desktop or browser. If you choose to download from the desktop, you will need to transfer this file and the others to your phone.
- The menu expands to show the available device models. Find and select your device.
- After selecting a model, you will be presented with a list of the builds available for that device. Select the last one and download it. Do not unzip the ZIP file. TWRP installs the zipped archive.
- You will need Google Apps (GApps), which are not released with LineageOS or any ROM and must be installed separately. First, go to theOpen GApps project, which provides everything you need in a convenient ZIP file that you can install via TWRP recovery.
- Select the platform on which your device is based. If you are using an Android device made in the last five years or so, select ARM64, as it is probably the right choice. To make sure you choose the right platform, go to the LineageOS Wiki and search for your device. The architecture will be listed under the device image.
- Select the version of Android you plan to install.
- Select the size of the package you wish to download. If you are not familiar with this, select Stock to get the default Android experience. If you want the bare minimum to access the Google Play Store, select Pico.
- When you have everything in order, select the red download icon to start the download.
- If you plan on rooting the device again, you can use Magisk to manage root permissions. If you are unfamiliar, Magisk is a powerful tool to root your device and manage which apps get root access. Go to the Magisk Github page and download the latest version of the ZIP file. This is entirely optional.
- If you downloaded everything to the desktop, transfer it now to your device. You can do it via USB, Wi-Fi or otherwise feel more comfortable. Place all your files somewhere you will have no problem finding them. If you’ve done everything from your Android device, you can skip this step.
- You will need to restart the device to restore it. Search your device in the LineageOS Wiki and search under the heading Special boot mode to find the combination of buttons you need to reboot to restore.
- Turn your device off completely, then press and hold the key combination during startup to access recovery.
- The device will boot into a screen showing the Android mascot. Use the volume controls to scroll through the list of boot options and until you reach recovery mode. Press the key power to boot into TWRP.
- The device will take a few seconds before reaching the TWRP main screen. You will see a list of options available in two columns. Tap Cancel.
- At the bottom, scroll the slider to the right to perform a factory reset.
- After restoring, press Back to return to the Clear screen, then press the back arrow to go back.
- Now tap Install on the TWRP home page.
- On the installation screen, hopefully, the ZIP files are listed. Otherwise, use the file browser in the upper section of the screen to locate them. In either case, first, touch the LineageOS ROM.
- TWRP will take you to a screen informing you that you have added your ROM to the installation queue. Tap Add more zips.
- Returning to the installation screen, insert the Open GApps zip file. You will come to the same type of screen as when you added the ROM. If you chose to include Magisk, tap Add more zips again and select it. If not, go ahead and scroll to confirm the flash.
- TWRP will go into action, installing your ZIP files in order. Depending on the device, this may take some time, so be patient.
- When finished, tap Reboot System. Before the device restarts, TWRP will ask you to install the associated app. Also, scroll to install it.
This time it will take a little longer to completely reboot the device because it is setting up everything from scratch. Once complete, you’ll need to repeat the entire setup process for the new device again, including logging in to your Google Account.
Congratulations! The device should now run a custom Android ROM.
How to install a custom ROM with CWM on Android smartphone
- Connect the device to the PC via a USB cable and then copy the downloaded files to the SD card of the device. Important: Do not extract the files.
- Disconnect the USB cable and then turn off the smartphone.
- Boot the phone via CWM custom recovery.
- Make a Nandroid backup of your existing ROM which you can restore later.
- To perform a Nandroid backup, select Backup and Restore, then on the next screen, select Backup another time. Return to the main recovery menu after the backup is complete.
- Now, clear the data. To do this, select wipe from the data/factory reset, then select Yes on the next screen to confirm the action. Wait a few minutes until the process is complete.
- Now go back to the main menu of the recovey CWM. Select wipe cache partition and after the cleanup process has been performed, select Wipe Dalvik Cache to also clean the Dalvik cache.
- Select install zip from sd card, then select the zip file of the rom that you previously copied to the sd sdcard.
- Now, locate the Zip file copied previously in step 1 and select it by pressing the Power button. Confirm the installation by selecting Yes. Install the zip file on the next screen. ROM installation will begin.
- Once the ROM installation process is complete, repeat step 6, but this time choose the zip file of the GApps instead of the ROM to install the Google application package.
- At the end of the installation, go back to the main recovery menu and restart the system, you will restart your smartphone with the new custom ROM.