If you’re an Android lover, you’re most likely a tech guy like our Director of Development, Nathan Kinkead. I sat down with Nate to talk about custom ROMs, something I knew nothing about before he schooled me. But even for my non-technical brain, Nate’s explanation was easy to understand. In fact, I’ve since replaced my Samsung Galaxy S Captivate OS with CyanogenMod 7. Pretty nifty!
Here’s how to add a customized ROM to an Android platform, from a guy who knows his stuff.
- Root your phone. This process elevates your privileges to the highest they can be, enabling you to alter files that are otherwise protected. While you risk voiding your warranty by rooting your phone, there is typically a way to unroot.
- Unlock your bootloader. Some phone manufactures lock down the bootloader to try and prevent people from flashing custom ROMs. Fortunately, someone always finds a way around this and will share a method to unlock it.
- Flashing custom recovery. With the phone rooted and bootloader unlocked, the next step is to flash a custom recovery. The recovery is the place you can boot into that allows you to perform various tasks relating to backups and restoring, flashing custom software, wiping data/cache and much more.
- Find a ROM. Search the threads on the XDA Developers forum for your device and download the files required to flash your favorite ROM. Oftentimes, this requires downloading the ROM plus a Google Apps package.
- Boot into recovery. This is done in one of three ways: through an existing custom ROM that has a button for it, by using an app that has a button for it (for those that are rooted), or by turning off the phone and entering a special key combination.
- Install zip from SD card. Browse to and flash the ROM and Google Apps packages.
- Wipe data/factory reset to avoid app conflicts with the new ROM. If you don’t do this, you will likely experience lots of force closes.
- Reboot and enjoy!