The Android OS is the most popular mobile operating system used on most smartphones and tablets everywhere. Of course, the struggle between Android and iOS, or easier to say Google and Apple, is still far from over, although both platforms have great features and benefits for us gadget fans.
The best thing about android is that it has the ability to configure and optimize the firmware and, therefore, the ability to improve the performance and operation of our devices. Today we will teach you how to set up your android phone by updating the software with custom firmware.This is a general guide that can be applied to any Android smartphone / tablet, so read the following lines if you are new to Android or if you want to learn all about custom firmware and how to install custom updates.
When we talk about custom firmware, you should understand only one thing: you are dealing with an unofficial version of the Android system, which is not OTA (Over The Air – wirelessly transmitted) or the official update released by Google for your android-device. That’s why custom firmware can be installed only manually and only following a special step-by-step guide.
In connection with the above, root access will be required if you want to update your smartphone / tablet with custom firmware. Route Rights mean that you get access to the internal system of your phone, removing factory and standard restrictions. Having received the root-rights, you will thus unlock the operating system and will be able to delete the built-in applications and programs, add new features, install complex tools that require root access in order to work properly, extend battery life, improve speed and so on. Most importantly, custom firmware can be installed only on rutted android-devices.
The operation of rutting is unofficial, so the guarantee of the smartphone / tablet will become invalid. You can not avoid this aspect (due to the above details), so you have to go through it, but you need to do it right, otherwise you can damage the mobile phone software. Therefore, follow the special step-by-step guide when trying to get root access. And if you do not like the custom firmware that works on the phone, if you want to return the firmware installed on the device initially (on ruled Android phones, official updates can not be received or installed automatically – you can do this only manually), or if you want to restore lost warranty,
Let’s leave these aspects aside (we’ll describe in detail what you need to do before reflashing a little later) and let’s see what the actual firmware is really about. So, the unofficial version of the Android software is distributed free of charge in the secondary Android market, it has both stock, and additional functions, applications, tools and capabilities. Usually, custom firmware has its own design and features, which is why you can improve the characteristics of the device – note that when working on a custom firmware, your phone will not look like it would look by default and it will have other features. Custom firmware is developed by third-party developers, which are based on the stock system android.
If you need to update the device with such firmware, then you should know that the most popular firmware installed by android users is: ParanoidAndroid, SlimBean, AOKP, CyanogenMod, MIUI and Omega. You can choose any update, as long as there is a guarantee that the system will work stably and without errors.
Custom updates usually have custom kernels built in, which means that you can later learn how to overclock the android device to increase the speed, or vice versa, to lower the frequency to improve the battery life (we have the appropriate manuals here). In addition, in custom firmware, you can easily make backup copies, you can also change the appearance, add applications that are not in the Play Store and much more.
But, if you want to update the android-device with unofficial firmware was successful, you must first prepare your gadget, otherwise there is a possibility of spoiling the phone’s software. Below we have listed the most common training steps that are required when working with custom firmware, such as ParanoidAndroid, SlimBean, AOKP, CyanogenMod, MIUI and Omega.
- Get root-rights on your smartphone / tablet.
- Install a custom recovery image (custom recovery) on the device – you can use any recovery tool, although it is recommended to install CWM or TWRP. A custom recovery will be used for reflashing, since the stock pre-installed restore can not be used for informal procedures.
- Make a backup of the data stored in the internal memory of the phone;save everything you need, including: messages, call logs, Internet settings, applications, EFS folders, and so on. In addition, considercreating a backup of Nandroid to save the current software.
- Along with the smartphone / tablet and USB cable, for these operations (updating by custom firmware) you will also need a computer.
- On the phone and the computer, you must turn off security protection;Antivirus programs, as a rule, interfere with the update operations.
- The device must be charged, especially if the battery condition is less than 60%; the phone can get damaged software if it turns off when flashing.
- The USB debugging option should be enabled on the phone: “Settings -> Advanced -> Developer settings -> USB debugging”.
Now, be careful, since each user’s firmware has a version that fits only one device; You can not install the same firmware version on all Android devices, since they are not compatible. Thus, download only compatible firmware; do not risk your phone. Well, next we’ll see how to install updates on your devices.
How to install custom firmware on the android device (universal manual)
- First of all, you need to download the corresponding update file (firmware) to the computer.
- Optional: Download the Google services package if it is not included in the firmware file (called GAPPS).
- Save the files on your computer; You do not need to unpack the archive.
- Then connect the device to the computer.
- Connect using the USB cable.
- Transfer downloaded files from your computer to the SD-card (tablet) of your phone.
- Disconnect the device from the computer (disconnect the USB cable).
- Turn off the smartphone / tablet and wait a couple of seconds.
- Restart the gadget to recovery mode.
- Then navigate through the recovery mode menu and select “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvick cache”.
- The system will be erased, so it was recommended to make a backup.
- Next, go back to the main restore menu: select “+++ go back +++”.
- And select “install zip from SD card” and “choose zip from SD card”.
- Select the firmware file and install it.
- Optional: Repeat this step to install Google Apps (GAPPS).
- When the installation process is complete, from recovery, select “+++ go back +++” and “reboot system now”.
Correction of problems:
In some cases, after the firmware has been flashed by the user system, the first time you reboot, your phone may become stuck in the download cycle (if the first download takes longer than usual, do not panic; nothing wrong with your device happened); if this happens, execute:
- Restart the device again.
- Select “wipe data factory reset” and “wipe cache partition”.
- Go back and reboot.
- Optional: if necessary, you can restore the previous version of the software (only if you made a backup copy of Nandroid). So, use the restore menu and select the “backup and restore” item.
Now you know almost everything about custom Android firmware and how to install such firmware on your smartphone or tablet. Choose only stable versions of firmware, which have important functions and capabilities.Thus, you can speed up the phone and improve its characteristics.