You know why you might need an alternative system for Android on your phone, as the manufacturer of your phone has stopped issuing any official or security updates long ago, so your phone will be hungry for a new system that carries all the security and privacy benefits necessary to keep up with the new challenges and threats.
In fact, there are many advantages and benefits in installing a new system on Android phones, but due to the length of the article that we have today, you only need a practical explanation, so let us provide the talk for that.
Warning Before flashing a ROM on your phone:
The flash process for the ROM is on your personal responsibility, so even if you follow the explanation on this topic, you are exposed to failure due to many reasons, and therefore, your phone may be exposed to errors that may reach sometimes to crash and stop working entirely.
Therefore, it is a process similar to overclocking operations, as it causes the phone to fall out of warranty, and may cause the phone to break down and be unable to use it again except with the help of technicians specialized in the maintenance of the phones of the manufacturer of your phone.
Why did we choose LineageOS?
LineageOS is one of the best alternative systems for Android, and the most popular and used and supports many old Android phones, for a very large percentage you will discover that your phone that you bought two to three years ago or long before it is powered by LineageOS.
But if it turns out to be unsupported, then either your phone is very old more than a decade ago, or because your phone was in the category of budget phones that are not commonly used, and then you may have better luck looking for a custom ROM as an alternative to LineageOS.
In any case, you can confirm whether LineageOS supports your phone or not through the official support page, and if it appears that your phone is supported, you must make sure that the Codename is the exact same code name corresponding to your phone.
Also, LineageOS is old enough and has achieved widespread popularity and is known for its stability and great features in support of Google apps and services and the ability to download Google Play Store apps, in short, it is the twin brother of Android that is similar to it in everything.
Previously known as CyanogenMod, it has great additional features that make your phone more powerful, more secure, ready to install new updates, and is customizable better than the Android system itself (or at least better than the Android version you are on now), meaning that it will revive the soul again in Your phone that was long forgotten by its manufacturer.
What are we heading to now?
Long topic and explanation, so one cup of coffee will not suffice, be prepared and choose the right time to start the phone update process.
First, there are some basics and protocols that you should know about the flash ROM process for phones, and there are some terms that we will use during the explanation, so you should know what these terms are and what they symbolize, so let’s start together:
This term is an acronym for Read-Only Memory, which we know as reading memory, and it is where the phone’s main operating system resides.
We often refer to post-manufacturing operating systems like LieneageOS as ROM, because they are versions of the operating system intended for the “Android” parent system.
When you replace an operating system or part of basic programming to a different programming system, this process is known as Flashing, and what we are heading towards now is Flashing for Android phones.
When you turn on any phone, the first thing that loads is the bootloader / unlocking tool, which is responsible for starting all other processes, and you can liken it to BIOS.
All Android phones come with a locked Bootloader so as not to be tampered with, fortunately, this lock can be unlocked to allow us to upgrade the base operating system and replace it with a different system.
4 Custom Recovery
Once you download the bootloader responsible for starting up, the Android Recovery Program comes into play.
In all cases for a custom ROM to startup, you will also need a custom recovery, which varies from phone to phone.
Wipe means deleting all or most of the drivers and administrators of the platform itself, meaning that this process wipes out your private data as well.
Therefore, when you perform this process, you will notice after turning on the phone that it has stopped on the recovery mode.
LineageOS, Google’s suite of apps and services, and Custom Recovery are downloaded to your phone in a bundled package that we named “Package”.
Often it downloads as a .ZIP file format or as a zip file so you can think of the package as a zip file.
Short for Android Debug Bridge, this tool is intended for connecting a PC with an Android smartphone.
This means that you will need the ADB program on your personal computer (we’ll explain it in the tutorial).
This tool is a diagnostic tool attached to most Android installations, and it allows for different Flashing ROMs, and you can access the Fastboot tool through ADB.
Some phone manufacturers like Samsung or HTC use the term Download Mood instead of Fastboot but the functionality is the same.
If an error occurs during the Flashing ROM process, this means the phone has stopped working.
If you discover that the phone does not open in the first place, then this means that the phone has become like a piece of bricks hence the term “brick”, which means that there is no longer any real benefit from its existence.
This problem only occurs when messing with the settings in a wrong way and not following the recommended explanatory steps, but in the end it can be fixed by a specialist or technician expert in the specific type of phone.
During the flash ROM process, there is a set of steps that should be followed properly, and how to complete these steps and necessary tools may differ from one phone to another, but in general the basic steps are the same.
These are the main requirements:
- Android smartphone or tablet, powered by LineageOS system.
- USB cable.
- Desktop computer or laptop running on Windows, Mac OS, or Linux.
- Internet connection.
- Time (it may take 1-2 hours, so be prepared).
The basic steps that we will follow in the flash-ROM process:
1- Install necessary computer software, usually it will be ADB only.
2- A phone ready for the backup and preparation process.
3- Download the Package which includes Custom ROM + Custom Recovery + GApps.
4- Unlock Bootlaoder lock.
5- Flashing Custom Recovery.
6- Flash Custom ROM.
7- Flash Custom Apps.
8- Restart the phone and start customizing.
You will notice that each step is followed by the exact step based on it, at first installing the ADB program because it is responsible for unlocking the Bootloader, then you open the bootloader lock because it is responsible for accessing the recovery mode, then change the recovery because it is responsible for flashing the custom ROM which By LineageOS, we mean, then you start the flash ROM process until the end.
It’s simple and very easy if you follow the steps in order.
The bootloader unlock process causes wipe or erase all device data, so it is necessary to follow the The third step to back up your important files before you initiate any changes to your phone.
If you make a mistake after unlocking the Bootloader, you will not be able to restore your phone to its previous condition, instead it will be reset to factory settings as it was when you first bought it.
Unlocking the Bootloader revokes the factory warranty, meaning that even if you try to lock it a second time, the agent or manufacturer will know that you have opened the Bootloader and he will have the right to refuse to service any problem with the phone.
First Step: Install ADB Tool on your computer.
You will need to connect to a desktop computer or laptop with a Windows operating system, Linux, Mac OS, or even Chrome (we will use Windows in the explanation).
The Flashing Custom ROM process does not require many hardware resources, so there is no need to worry about the hardware components in the computer.
The tool you need is ADB, you can visit this page and follow the clear instructions on how to download and install ADB on your computer’s operating system.
Once you have downloaded ADB on your computer, you will be able to access it from the Command Prompt window on Windows CMD or through the Terminal window on Mac and Linux.
Read this article about: What is ADB Tool and how to use it and benefit from it as an Android user.
Second Step: Download the bundled packages.
1 After confirming that your phone is supported by LineageOS through the official support page (and making sure that the Code Name matches your phone), head over to this page.
On the left of the page you will find the names of manufacturers and phones supported by LineageOS, click on the name of the manufacturer, then search for your specific phone model and click on its name.
Now you may find on the right a different set of LineageOS versions compatible with your phone, while you can download any version, but it is always better to choose the latest version, and if all packages are the same version, for example “16” then choose the version with the latest date, You will often find it at the front of the page.
After downloading LineageOS, now that you have what we can call a custom ROM on your computer, you can leave LineageOS now.
As we mentioned in the basic steps a while ago, in the second step we will need a complete package, now we only have a Custom ROM, but what remains is for us to get GoogleApps and the Recovery Package.
2 There are two types of Recovery Package, the first is TWRP Recovery and the second is CWM Recovery (in this tutorial we will use the TWRP Recovery Tool, which is an acronym for TeamWin Recovery Project).
Now, find the TWRP tool exactly compatible with your phone from this page.
Follow the instructions on the page to download the latest version of TWRP Recovery.
There are so many types of phone versions that come under one model, and you have to find the TWRP version that “exactly” matches the version of your phone.
You will notice in the middle of the page that it gives you an option if your phone is rooted, so you can download the TWRP App from the Google Play Store and download the Recovery compatible with your phone from within the application.
But if your phone is not rooted, you will find links to the TWRP Recovery tool on American and European servers as well.
Choose any of the servers and just remember that you need the “img.” And not any other format like “tar.” Or “md5.”
3 You will also need the Google Apps bundle, so if you do not install it, there will be no Google products and services on your phone, including the Google Play Store.
Now go to this page, or this page, any of the previous pages provide you with the version of GoogleApps, but the first page is easier because it makes you easily choose the type of platform or architecture for your phone, and the version of your Android system, and then you can download Super, Stock or Full.
Again: Check the architecture used in your phone, is it ARM, ARM64, X86, or X86-64, and what is the Android version of your phone.
If you encounter difficulty determining the architecture of your phone, go again to this page, choose your phone specifically, then open its page, on the right of the page, look in the Architecture specifications to know the architecture used in the architecture of your phone system.
Now, you have the Custom ROM, which is LineageOS, which is compatible with your phone, and you have the ADB program responsible for TWRP recovery that is compatible with your phone, and you have the Google Apps package that is compatible with your phone.
Once you have the three things ready, move them inside the folder that you installed ADB inside, and then rename the three files to simple names, for example, you may notice that the TWRP file name is very large and contains many version numbers, change this long name to TWRP.img, this label is very important because it will help you to access these files easily from within the Command Prompt window, so rename the three files so that they are like this:
- TWRP xxx -xxxxx-xxxxx.img to TWRP.img
- Lineage -xx-xxxxxxx-nightly.xxxxx.zip to LINEAGE.zip
- Open-gapps -xxxxx-xxxxxxx-xxxx.zip to GAPPS.zip
And don’t forget to move the files to the ADB folder which is usually located at: Userprofile / adb-fastboot / platform-tools
Now, you have everything organized and ready to go to the next step.
Third Step: Make a backup copy of your important files.
There are many ways that allow you to back up all your files, there are free and paid programs on the Google Play Store, and there are free and paid programs for personal computers.
There is no single way to back up your files, you can depend whichever method you prefer.
The best way is always to rely on the Helium app, once you connect your phone to the Helium account on your computer, you will be able to back up everything on your phone “almost everything” and save it on your computer without needing to root the phone.
Read this article about: How to backup and restore applications with or without root.
After completing the backup procedure, you will need to do two things on your phone before moving on to the next step:
1- Enable USB Debugging.
2- Unlock the OEM powers.
These options are hidden in the developer option settings, to get the developer options, you will need to go to the Settings page, then click on about Phone, then click on Build Number seven times in a row, so that a second or two seconds separate each time, just keep clicking on Build Number until you see a message that Developer Options has been activated, or the message may be (You are now a developer).
After activating the developer options, look for it in the settings window, after you reach the developer options, you will need to activate both USB Debugging and OEM Unlocking, if you do not find OEM Unlock then do not worry, just take care to activate the USB Debugging option, this is in order to allow the flash-ROM installation process from Computer to phone.
Once you activate the previous options from developer mode with Enable work for both, connect the phone to the computer via the phone’s original USB cable (if you don’t have the original cable, the cable used must be of good quality), you will see a notification on your phone asking if you trust On the computer, confirm that you agree to the command and then exit from the settings.
You may notice that the computer is starting to recognize your phone and trying to install or activate some processes, which is normal, and if your phone is not recognized, you will have to download the USB drivers for your phone from the official page of your phone manufacturer.
Fourth Step: Unlock the bootloader.
Here, in particular, the steps to unlock the Bootloader differ from one company to another and from one phone to another, some companies make this process very easy, while others make it almost impossible, and therefore it depends on your phone completely.
If you want our personal opinion, it is better to search on the Internet first about whether unlocking the Bootloader for your phone is permissible, simple, or nearly impossible, and the Youtube platform is your best reference, you might search on YouTube with the phrase “how to open bootloader for Galaxy S6” (but At the end of the phrase you write the exact name of your phone), so if it becomes clear to you that there are many users who have been able to, this means that you are able to too.
In any case, you will need to go again to the LineageOS installation manual page, then search for your phone again and open its page, and under the word Guides click on Installation, then follow the written instructions on how to open the Bootloader on your phone.
If it appears that there are no instructions on how to unlock your phone by unlocking the Bootloader, then you will proceed directly to step five.
As for phones that accept unlocking, unfortunately there is no single way for us to guide you to it, but most likely these steps will be some commands that you will write in the Command Prompt window in order to open Bootloader the phone.
In order to try to make it a little easier: go to the folder in which you installed ADB, and make sure that the phone is connected to the computer, and you will need to open a command prompt window or Powershell window for this folder, then type the command “adb devices” and then look at your phone, you may find a notification message Asks you to grant permission to allow ADB, accept the message “Always allow” and then click “OK“, and if an “unathorized” message appears in the Powershell window, try again to get your phone recognized.
It is assumed that your device has been recognized in the form of symbols or numbers in front of the device command, as shown in the following picture, and this is your phone, and the process of communicating with it has been successful.
Now type the following command: “adb reboot bootloader“, it is assumed that this command will restart the phone to enter the bootloader, once it finishes the reboot phase, type the following command in the command prompt window: “fastboot oem unlock“.
Now you will need to look at your phone, and rely on the volume increase and decrease keys on the sides of the phone, click on the volume up to select the “Yes” command, then click on the power key to “Confirm“, it is assumed that this way the Bootloader lock is unlocked.
Unfortunately, the previous steps may not work for you, because we mentioned to you that there is no single method, so after writing the adb devices command, you should follow the instructions on the LineageOS website on your phone’s official page to complete the bootloader unlock.
After completing and successfully executing the previous commands and unlocking the Bootloader successfully, you will notice that the phone restarts on its own in order to enable the Android system settings in the phone, just like the Factory Reset stage for any phone, then you must go to the settings again, and make sure Enable and enable USB debugging by making the Enable USB Debugging command.
Fifth Step: Flashing Custom Recovery.
Now that you have unlocked the Bootloader of your phone, you can actually start the flash stage and install new software on the phone memory.
Now, on Windows, when you open the Command Prompt window, type the command “adb devices“, this command is exactly like the previous one, as it tries to make sure that the phone is connected to the computer properly, and then type the command “adb reboot bootloader” and this is the command that takes you to Fastboot mode, then type “fastboot devices” command as an additional check that your phone is connected and in download or fast format mode.
Now enter this command in Command Prompt window: “fastboot flash recovery TWRP.img” As we mentioned before, it is better to name the TWRP file under the name “TWRP.img” instead of the many numbers.
And now it is assumed that you will get a close result in the form of the results in the following image:
Now that the custom recovery has been flashed, you will need to restart the phone and enter the recovery boot mode, and always accessing the recovery mode is a simple trick that differs from one phone to another, but it is shown on the official page of your phone on the LineageOS website, which is Always in the form of clicking and holding some of the main phone keys, the following picture is an example:
For example, while the phone is turned off, you press and hold the phone’s power key and press the volume down key until you enter Recovery Mode.
And since you were able in the previous steps to flash TWRP Recovery and after clicking on the correct keys on the phone to enter the recovery mode, you will get a screen similar to the following image:
This screen gives you a notification that you are using TWRP’s recovery mode, which allows you to change or manipulate the system on your phone.
Sixth Step: Install LineageOS.
You are now ready to flash a ROM for your phone with the new system, and it is assumed that you were able to download the appropriate LineageOS version for your phone in the second step, and we previously referred to a simple and short name such as LINEAGE.zip, and we moved it to the same path as the folder in which ADB is installed.
But in this step, we do not want the LINEAGE.zip file to be on the computer, we need it to be on the phone itself, and the only solution to transfer this huge file to the phone will be through ADB as well, but we must first make sure that there are no remnants of the system The old file on the phone memory in order for the system to be properly installed.
Therefore, through the main screen of the TWRP recovery mode interface, click on the command Wipe, and then click on the Format Data command, in this case you will receive a message from the recovery mode indicating that you are about to erase all data from your phone, do not worry, because you have already made a copy Back up all your necessary files in the third step, right?
Now, TWRP Recovery will give you instructions that you must follow to erase the data, it will tell you to type Yes to complete the erasing process, or click on the Back button to undo the erasing process, and after you type Yes and click on the check mark button to complete the erasing process, the data removal process will start and then You will receive a “Successful” message indicating the success of the operation.
Go back one step to be on the Wipe main screen again, then click on Advanced Wipe, and you will see a menu containing several options that allow you to activate them in the deletion process.
What you need in this window is to activate only three commands, which are Dalvik / ART Cashe, System, and Cashe, and leave the rest of the other options as they are in the list without activation, and then swipe your finger on the Swipe to wipe button from left to right, and you will notice the start of the erasing process as In the following picture:
Now that you have finished erasing everything that is old, you are ready for the custom ROM for the new system, but first you will need to transfer the system file to the phone itself, so connect the phone to the computer using a USB cable, then open the command prompt window and type the command: “adb push LINEAGE.zip/sdcard/“, then click on the Enter button on the keyboard, this is how ADB will transfer files from the computer to the phone memory.
Sometimes it takes some patience, and sometimes you will not see the status bar that shows you the course of the transfer process, but you have to be patient for several minutes, so give the phone at least 5 to 10 minutes, do not click on any other button and do not try to tamper with anything, just Wait for the “1 file pushed” notification message to appear as shown in the previous image.
If you are unable to complete the file transfer process from the computer to the phone, this means that the ADB program is not able to recognize the location of the LINEAGE.zip file, which means that you did not add it in the correct path inside the ADB installation folder as we explained earlier in the second step when moving and renaming Pack files.
After the system file LINEAGE.zip is on your phone’s memory, go back to the main TWRP Custom Recovery interface, then click on “Install” then you will see a list of different files, among them the LINEAGE.zip package, click on this package and you will notice an interface that contains three options What you need to do at this point is to swipe to confirm the flash operation.
The flash process will start for the new system, and as soon as it is finished you will see a message indicating that the process was completed successfully.
After you finish, you will find a new window with two different options: “Wipe Cashe / dalvik” and the other, “Reboot System” Do not click on either of them at all, instead click on the “Home Screen” button.
Now, you are done flashing LineageOS on your phone, and you only have one last step left.
Seventh Step: Install the GAPPS package.
It is very near to the end, you just need to install the basic Google applications package in order to enjoy the Google services on LineageOS system just like the Android system.
Again, you will need to transfer the application package file to the phone first, and now, the natural step is to open the Command Prompt window, and again verify that the phone is connected to the computer as we explained earlier, and then type this command in the Command Prompt window: “adb push GAPPS.zip/sdcard/“
Of course, you will discover that the package of Google’s applications and services is very large compared to the package of LineageOS, and this means that the process of transferring the application package file will require a long period of time, so be patient with it until the end, and once the transfer process is finished, you can remove the phone from the USB cable.
Now, from the TWRP recovery mode interface, click on Install and search for the location of the GAPPS.zip file on the phone, once you get it click on the name of the GAPPS.zip package and then swipe the cursor from left to right Swipe to confirm flash, and then the flashing process will begin Applications.
Once done, tap on Wipe Cashe / dalvik and wait a few moments, then tap Reboot System.
Thus, you have finished installing LineageOS and the Google services on your phone, and are ready to customize the main phone settings.
In the end, the process of flashing any system on any phone is very easy, but the whole difficulty lies in unlocking the Bootloader, especially since there are very difficult phones that may be difficult and nearly impossible to unlock.
Also, there are many Android alternative systems out there, but the most popular, stable and supportive of various phones is LineageOS.
Therefore, if you encounter any difficulty in implementing these steps, do not hesitate to contact us to help you with them.