Update HTC Desire 816 to Android 5.1 Lollipop with CM12.1 custom ROM

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HTC Desire 816 is an interesting Android based device that offers decent performances to its users. However, the Android experience that powers the Desire 816 might be better, since Android Lollipop is already out. In that matter, I am here to help you out; if you own the HTC Desire 816, then you can choose to complete this dedicated tutorial as during the guidelines from below I will teach you how to update your phone with the new CM 12.1 custom ROM in order to get the taste of Android 5.1 Lollipop firmware.

So, bottom line, you can now install the latest Lollipop release on your own HTC Desire 816. Of course you will not use an official OTA update as there isn’t any firmware provided by HTC for the Desire 816. Moreover, the CM12.1 ROM isn’t coming from CyanogenMod either, so you will flash an unofficial and ported version of CM custom platform that brings a customizable Android 5.1 Lollipop OS.

Thus, this update is developed by those of xda-developers, which means that third party devs are standing behind this CM 12.1 release. Well, in that case, you will update your HTC Desire 816 with an unofficial port of Android 5.1 OS, which by the way is not yet fully stable. In a few words, the ROM is still under development so you might find different, though minor, bugs and software related issues. Anyhow, according to the devs and to the users who have already installed CM12.1, the Android 5.1 Lollipop OS can be safely used on the HTC Desire 816 on a daily basis.

So, if you want to complete this guide for experiencing the new CyanogenMod built on your own Android device, first read the following lines and ensure that this is what you really want to do:

  • The warranty of your Desire 816 will get void as you are about to flash an unofficial port of stock Lollipop firmware.
  • The update process is implying in tweaking your Android smartphone, so this tutorial is recommended only for experienced Android users.
  • If you mess things up, or if you apply things without consulting this tutorial, you can end up in bricking your smartphone – remember that the warranty can’t be reclaimed, so you will need to manually troubleshoot your handset.
  • You have to root your phone if you want to successfully install CM 12.1 on your Desire 816 – on a locked Android system you cannot flash unofficial updates.
  • The present Android 5.1 Lollipop software is offered in form of a .zip file – you can install it only if on your phone a custom recovery image is being installed (you can use CWM or TWRP recovery in that matter).
  • You must backup your HTC Desire 816; else you will end up in losing all of your data because during the installation guide a wipe will be applied.
  • You should also use the custom recovery image for making a Nandroid backup (for saving the ROM that currently runs on your phone) – you will be able to use this Nandroid backup for completing a downgrade operation, if that’s required (if CM12.1 and Lollipop 5.1 will not be on your taste).
  • Go here and check other risks and pre requisites before going any further with this step by step guide.

Good; now you know everything about this step by step guide. So, let’s see how to install CM 12.1 on your HTC Desire 816 in order to test the Android 5.1 Lollipop OS on your own smartphone.

How to Update HTC Desire 816 to Android 5.1 Lollipop with CM12.1 custom ROM

  1. You have to download the update package on your computer; you can do that by accessing this page.
  2. You also have to download Google Apps package from here.
  3. Don’t unzip these files; connect your handset with your computer via USB cable and place the downloaded files on your phone’s SD card.
  4. Then, remove the USB cord and turn off your device – and enter recovery mode on your HTC Desire 816.
  5. In recovery select “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvik cache”.
  6. Remember to backup your data first.
  7. Also, from recovery pick “install zip from SD card” and “choose zip from SD card”.
  8. Now select the CM 12.1 firmware file and just install Android 5.1 Lollipop on your Desire 816.
  9. Do the same thing and flash Google Apps package.
  10. In the end, select “reboot system now” and enjoy.

Test the CM12.1 OS and see how Android 5.1 Lollipop runs on your HTC desire 816. Feel free and share your experience with us.

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Andy Stevenson

Andy is a senior editor here on Android Flagship and you can surely rely on its experience as the Android subject is more than a hobby to him. Andy is currently focusing on developing dedicated and detailed tutorials, tips and tricks, so you will be able to find its work through the “how to” section of our website. Also, don’t hesitate and contact Andy if you have questions or if you want to hear a second opinion about anything that’s related to the Android OS.