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How To Add Custom ROM’s To Your Android Device
Flashing custom ROMs on your Android device is a lot of fun and easy to do once you get the hang of it. Here’s a little basic tutorial to get you up to speed of the concept, it’s prerequisites, and get your ROM installs from beginning to end without any blunders.
I. Before You Begin.
1. Want more info on what a ROM is? A custom ROM is one that has undergone any modification from being a pure distribution of Android. Google make the Android source code available for anyone to play around with, and people take this code and alter it for themselves. Whether to add features they come up with, or to redistribute it with fun tweaks and additions. So a custom ROM can range in definition from some custom code modifications to make Android run better on a device, all the way to changing the homescreen, background services, and default software.
Many software experts collaborate together in communities to build the fastest or most feature filled ROM’s. The most popular today are CyanogenMod (which supports over 70 devices!), AOKP (a lightweight ROM with plenty of customisation options), and Android Revolution, a heavyweight ROM which often focusses on looking great. Just because these Android builds are made by ‘ordinary people’ and not highly paid developers at HTC or Samsung doesn’t mean they are full of bugs or risky to use. In most cases the software built by communities is ten times better. Release cycles are much shorter, fun features can be put in, and anyone can contribute an idea to the development.
II. Root Your Device
First you will need to obtain root access. Root access is essentially getting the phone to give us permissions to change what we want.
1. If you don’t have root access or never rooted your phone, you’ll need find an tutorial for your android device to look for a procedure that’ll work for you. Once, done, head back here to continue.
III. Flash a Custom Recovery Image
[Note: Always make sure you use a ROM made for your device and carrier or you will brick your device]
Next thing needed after rooting is a custom recovery image. All Android devices have a recovery partition. This is essentially a section of the device’s memory devoted to a very basic recovery system that is separate from the normal operating system. This is normally used by manufacturers for recovering a broken device (as even if the operating system crashes, the recovery image has a chance of still being access and used to reflash the operating system, etc.).
Because of that function of flashing the operating system, once we have root access, we can use it to flash our own versions of the operating system. Before it’ll do that though, we need to replace the original recovery image with a custom one that has a lot more functionality.
- After you have root access, head to the market on your device and look for ROM Manager. Download and install the free version.
- Open ROM Manager and select Flash ClockworkMod Recovery and choose your device.
- Select Grant when the Superuser prompt comes up.
- Wait for it to say successfully flashed. You now have a custom recovery image.
IV. Load a Custom ROM
Now that we have root access and a custom recovery image, we need to find a ROM we want to flash. Thanks to the amazing third party developers (most of which do this in their spare time), there are a bunch of ROMs to choose from. All of them have their own pros and cons and tweaks and themes, so you should try a few to decide which you’d prefer.
- Download the custom ROM you have chosen to install on your Android device.
(This will be located in Downloads/ . when you get to step 8.) In the future you can set up a designated folder to place your ROMs if needed.
- Now, open ROM Manager again.
- Select Reboot into Recovery and wait for the device to reboot.
- Once in recovery mode, use the volume buttons to navigate and power button to select Backup and Recovery.
- Then select Backup and hit yes to confirm. Wait for it to finish backing up your current system (this will save you if something goes wrong).
- Select Wipe data/factory reset, then wipe cache, and finally wipe dalvik cache.
- Now choose Install zip from sdcard.
- Scroll down to Downloads/ and open.
- Find the ROM we copied to the sdcard in .zip format and select it. Then select yes to confirm. Wait for it to finish flashing.
- Select Reboot System Now. Once it reboots (which will take a while the first time), you’ll be running the new ROM.
If you ever have any issues we suggest doing a full wiping and start over. Be sure to always do a backup backup before switching ROMs. To flash a different ROM, just redo all the steps in Section IV here. Enjoy and don’t forget to comment.
As always, if this procedure helped you please thank/donate to the developers. You can thank Koush, the creator of the ROM Manager app, and/or the developers of the ROMs you like (their donate links found where you downloaded the ROM from).