Installing a custom Android ROM on your device is a very popular way to modify it and has some benefits as well as downfalls.
Benefits include things such as:
> Bug fixes for your current version of Android and software
> Add features that were previously unavailable for your device
> Run unsupported versions of Android on your device
> Custom ROM could be unstable (crashes and things broken)
> Voids your warranty
> Can brick your device in the process (this means that the device becomes useless)
First things first:
Due to the experimental nature and potential to brick your device, we take no responsibility for any damage (physical or otherwise) to your device. Also make sure your back up all of the data on the device to a different location, just in case things go wrong.
Before you even try to install a custom ROM on your device it needs to be rooted. Rooting is the process of exploiting the software on the device in order to gain unrestricted access and will ultimately allow you to do whatever you want on the system.
A good place to find out how to root your device is XDA Developers and search the forums for your device. 9/10 times they will have worked out how to root your device and will have a pretty simple tutorial on how to do so. Just make sure the tutorial is actually for your device or things could go wrong.
If you have a Galaxy S5, check out our How to root the Samsung Galaxy S5 tutorial.
Every Android device has something called the recovery mode which is a small piece of software on your device that allows you to restore the Andorid to your device in case of it being broken in some way (device won’t boot etc.). The Recovery mode will only allow you to install signed software, which is of no use to us as we will be using unsigned packages.
This is where clockworkmod recovery comes in use. This is a custom recovery for Android devices which has much more advanced features and also allows the installation of unsigned packages. Each devices has it’s own build of clockworkmod and therefore you need the one targeted to your device.
In order to get clockworkmod for your device, head over to XDA Developers again and search for your device and find the CWM.zip for it. Once you have it copy to your SD-card and reboot into recovery mode (search around for how to do this on your device). Once in recovery go to the “Install .zip from SD” and select the CWM.zip you copied earlier, you will be asked if you are sure, just select yes. Some devices will require you to do this everytime you go into recovery.
Installing the ROM:
After you have found the ROM you want to install for your device and have made sure that it is definitely for the device you have, you can go ahead and download the .zip file and copy to your sd card. Reboot into recovery mode and goto “Backup/Restore” select back up and wait for the process to finish. This action backs up all of the data on your device, which you can use later in order to restore your phone to the original software should something go wrong.
Once that it done go back to the main menu and then select “Mounts and storage”. From this menu select the “Format /system”, “Format /data” and “Format /cache” options. Then make sure that /system, /data and /cache are mounted, if they are not go ahead and mount them now from the top of the “Mounts and storage” menu.
Now back at the main menu select the “Factory restore” option and also the clear cache option. This will remove all of the apps and user data currently on the device, don’t worry though as we backed all of this up earlier.
Now comes actually installing the ROM this can be done by selecting the “Install .zip for SD” option on the main menu and then finding your ROM’s .zip file from the list. The ROM will then be installed on your device. Once it is done you will be back at the main menu, select the “Reboot device now” option and then your device will restart.
If your device takes a while to boot don’t worry this is normal for first boot, eventually you will get to the device setup screen and you can then use your device as normal with your new software.
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