How to Install Custom ROMs on Android Devices

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What’s the first thing to consider when buying a new smartphone? Well, beside its default capabilities (access to the Internet, use social networks, play games, run apps, take pictures and watching movies) you must be interested in tweaking its system. That’s the beauty of an Android based smartphone, or tablet: the possibility of customization and optimization. So, if you have an Android powered device, then you must learn how to install a custom ROM firmware into its system; and during this tutorial we will be checking on how to complete the same.

First of all, here are some essential aspects related to this step by step guide:

  • This is an universal guide which means that it will work (so it’s compatible) with any device that runs on the Android OS (the version of the system isn’t important therefore your handset might feature Gingerbread – unlikely though, ICS or Jelly Bean software).
  • Below you have only general guidelines that can take you through the update operation of a custom ROM software; for a more detailed procedure you should follow a dedicated method suitable with your device.
  • A custom ROM is an unofficial update, so this will be an unofficial operation – that’s why this tutorial should be considered risky and complex.
  • If something bad happens while you are trying to flash a custom ROM on your Android device, then you will be by yourselves and we shouldn’t be held responsible; you are on your own.

So, why to update with a custom ROM? Well, that’s easy: this is what you need to do when looking into powering up the performances of your smartphone / tablet. Furthermore, this operation must be applied if you wish to customize, optimize and personalize the Android OS and the internal system of your handset. As you know, the stock or official Android system isn’t offering too much, or the platform can became a little bit too “boring” at some point. So, in order to spice things up, you need to learn how to flash a custom firmware.

Custom ROMs on Android

Custom ROMs on Android

Actually, a custom ROM is a free aftermarket distribution of Android OS, which means that the software has nothing to do with Google. Also, usually, the ROMs are based on stock operating systems and comes with extra (that cannot be found in the default firmware) features and capabilities. In order to conclude the mentioned aspects, here is what you need to know so far:

  • This is an unofficial update that has nothing to do with Google.
  • The updates are being developed and offered by third party devs.
  • You need to prepare your smartphone / tablet for the installation procedure because a custom ROM can’t be flashed “just like that”.

Now, for preparing your device, actually you have to previously root its system because the custom ROM will have to access some internal files and then you will also have to install a custom recovery image because the firmware file can’t be installed by using the stock recovery that comes pre-installed on all the Android powered smartphones / tablets.

Be aware because while performing the mentioned operations, the warranty of your handset will get void. You can restore the same only if you choose to un-root the system, or to update (or downgrade) to official Android software. However, those were the pre requisites which means that now you can head to the proper installation method.

How to Install Custom ROMs on Android Devices

  1. First you will have to download the update file – be careful because you need to get a file that’s suitable with your smartphone / tablet.
  2. The file must be stored on a computer or notebook first.
  3. You mustn’t unzip the file.
  4. Also, some updates aren’t coming with Google Apps package included; so before going any further ensure that your custom ROM has the Google Apps featured, or download the same separately.
  5. Now, on your handset enable the USB debugging option and charge the battery.
  6. Then, use its USB cable and connect it with your computer.
  7. Transfer the downloaded files (the ROM and the Google Apps package) on your phone’s / tablet’s SD card.
  8. Remove the USB cable.
  9. Turn off your device and reboot it in recovery mode.
  10. Use the recovery mode for doing the following: first select to wipe the system – by selecting “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvik cache”; and then select “install zip from SD card” followed by “choose zip from SD card”.
  11. You can now select the update file from the SD card and flash the same on your device.
  12. When the installation procedure ends, all you have to do is to select “+++go back+++” and “reboot system now”.

Well done, you now know how to install a custom ROM on your Android smartphone / tablet. Stay close as during our up-coming step by step guides we will be showing you how to root, install a custom recovery image and also how to backup your Android powered handset. Also, use the comments section from below, or email us, if you have something to share with our team.

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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.