Android being an Open Source operating system for mobile phones, offers limitless possibilities of optimization and customization as per your requirements. Half the charm of an Android phone lies in the root-based apps, beautiful mods and patches, and custom ROMs. If you have not rooted your phone yet, believe me you are not getting the most out of it. Rooting offers many advantages indeed but, at the same time it is also a little risky as it breaks into the wall of security build by the operating system.
According to a survey, 80% of Android phone users live happy with an unrooted device and the reasons for this are various- some people think of it as a sort of criminal activity, some are afraid of losing warranty, some are afraid of bricking their phone, while most people do not even know about the existence of a term like “rooting”. If you are one who has enclosed himself in side that great wall of security and have doubt in mind related to rooting, do not forget to read the following article:
Anyways, the procedures like rooting and installing a custom ROM is a bit risky and it’s true, but if you go through it carefully, no harm will ever done to your Android device. People brick their phone because they make some mistake. That’s the way accidents happen! As an Android blogger, I have to root, flash stock and custom ROMs, install mods and patches almost everyday. And believe me all my device are pretty healthy and sound. If you understand things, take precautions, create backups and do things carefully, you’ll never be caught into an uncomfortable situation.
Here are a few tips that that will help you keep things under your control and you will be able to not only keep all your data safe, but also restore your device to its normal condition.
Got TWRP Recovery on Your Device?
Do you think you are well familiar with all the features, functions and possibilities of the TWRP Recovery? Think again! Read our detailed and in-depth introduction to the Team Win Recovery Project: Click Here
Ensure Decent Battery Level
Whenever you have to install a custom ROM or mod or mod on your phone, try to be ready for the worst situations. Just imagine you are installing a ROM and your phones turns off in the middle of things due to low battery! You will have to charge the battery with an external charger because your device will not be able to charge the battery because it does not have any ROM that makes this function work. In such a situation, you will not be able to restart the procedure or even restore from a backup Therefore, it very important that your phone is amply charged before you set out on the adventure.
Backup Your Apps, Contacts, Messages, etc.
Whether you have rooted your phone or not, always backup your apps, contacts, call-log, messages, bookmarks, calendar entries, etc. The best way is to schedule regular backups, preferably to external storage of your device and your computer. Here are some nice free apps that will make this task easy for you.
Enable USB Debugging Mode
The term “debugging” is used in connection with development. Putting your Android device in debugging mode prepares it for direct connection with your computer via a USB cable without notification or read log data. Flashing/installing anything that does not come under official method, might be regarded as a development activity. It’s another thing that you did not developed the ROM you are going to install, but still it is a work of custom development.
That’s is why, whenever you perform any such task, it is highly recommended that you turn on the USB Debugging mode from Developer Options under Settings of your device. On Android phones with Jelly Bean 4.2 and higher, the Developer Options are hidden by default and can be made to show by tapping 7 times on “Build Version” from Settings> About.
Further, you should also install the appropriate USB Drivers on your computer as you can need them anytime. To download the compatible USB Drivers for your phone/manufacturer, visit our USB drivers collection page.
Detailed Guide on Enabling USB Debugging on Android 4.2 onwards: Click here
Backup Your Phone’s IMEI (Samsung Users Only)
When you install a custom ROM on you phone, sometimes it happens that the folder that stores your phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is wiped. As a result, your phone’s IMEI number is lost it does not receive network signal. To avoid this happen to your phone, do not forget to backup the “efs” partition.
To backup your Samsung Galaxy phone’s IMEI or EFS data, read our guide by clicking the following link:
In case you have a low/mid range Galaxy device from Samsung, you can use an app called Galaxy ToolBox for the purpose.
Download: Galaxy ToolBox.apk (187.15 KB)
Enter Recovery Mode Easily:
If you are a hard-core Android enthusiast who likes to play with new ROMs and mods every now and then, be careful or you might damage the hardware keys of your Android phone. Since booting into recovery mode of a phone or tablet requires hard-pressing of certain combination of hardware keys, doing it frequently can have a negative effect on the functioning of these keys. I have experience it myself when I had a Galaxy S. Fortunately, there are several apps that can make booting into download, bootloader or recovery mode very easy without being cruel to the poor hardware keys.
Here are some good free apps for you that will let you do this without touching the hard keys. If you have installed a custom ROM, you need not install any such app separately as most ROM developers integrate the boot options in the ROM itself. Besides, we have an vast collection of methods of entering Fastboot, Bootloader, Download and Recovery modes on most Android devices.
Backup Current ROM (Important)
Being able to install a custom ROM on your Android phone means that you have installed custom recovery like ClockworkMod or TWRP on your Android device. Well, having a custom recovery on any phone is a great advantage. It can perform all tasks done by stock recovery while adding lots of other useful options.
One such great feature is its ability to backup the whole ROM, custom or stock, on your phone’s internal or external storage. You can back as many ROMs as your phone’s storage can afford. I strongly recommend that you always keep a backup of your phone’s original/stock ROM. Before you install a new custom ROM, always create a backup of your current ROM. Scroll down to the “backup and restore” option and backup the ROM to the internal or external storage of you device. If you select “backup”, the ROM will be saved to internal storage. To save it to external SD card, select “backup to external sdcard” option.
All backed up ROMs are saved on a folder called “clockworkmod” on your device’s internal or external SD card, depending on what location you chose while creating the backup.
It’s is always better to store the backed up ROM on the external storage because sometimes the phone is caught in a bootloop, or the screen goes into a frozen state, or you may experience lags, or anything, and decide to reset/wipe your phone to get it back to normal. In doing so, all data stored on the internal storage is deleted. In certain situations you might have the opportunity to backup your data but in some cases you might not be able to do that.
How to Restore a Previously Backed up ROM:
As I said earlier, you should always keep a backed up copy of the rooted stock ROM on the external SD card of your phone. If the phone does not have an external SD slot, you can save the backup to the internal SD card (not safe though). If you frequently flash an AOSP, AOKP or CM based ROM, always keep a copy of the Google Apps flashable zip saved on your phone.
So if you installed a custom ROM and you are having problems with it or you just want to go back to the previous or any backed up ROM, do this:
- Boot you phone into CWM recovery mode
- “wipe data/factory reset”
- “wipe cache partition”
- Then go to “backup and restore> restore”, select the location (internal or external) of the backup.
- Select the file and confirm your choice by selecting “yes”.
So, this was a detailed tutorial to help you land safely whenever you install a ROM. I have tried to be inclusive but if feel that something is missing, do not forget to share with us via comments. I believe the tips given here will prove useful to you. Thanks for being with us! For more Tips & Tricks on Android, take a tour of our other tutorials.