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 inside 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 every day. 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 onward: Click here
Backup Your Phone’s IMEI (Samsung Users Only)
When you install a custom ROM on your 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 a network signal. To avoid this happen to your phone, do not forget to back up the “efs” partition.
To back up your Samsung Galaxy phone’s IMEI or EFS data, read our guide by clicking the following link:
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 the recovery mode of a phone or tablet requires hard-pressing of a certain combination of hardware keys, doing it frequently can have a negative effect on the functioning of these keys. I have experienced it myself when I had a Galaxy S. Fortunately, there are several apps that can make booting into the 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 a 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 a 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 your 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 in 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.
Restoreing 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.
Installing a Custom ROM
Now here is my classic way of installing a custom ROM. I recommend it to all because it has proved perfectly successful and never hurled down my phones into a single bootloop so far. Always follow these steps in CWM Recovery:
- “wipe data/factory reset”
- “wipe cache partition”
- Go to advanced and “wipe dalvik cache” and “wipe battery stats”
- Go to mounts and storage and “format system”
- The go to “install zip from sdcard> choose zip from sdcard” and select the ROM file you want to install.
- In case, the developer has recommended installing GApps too, you should install it just after flashing the ROM (use Step 5).
- When it is installed, reboot the device.
Installing a custom ROM with these wipes has great advantages. Whenever you flash a new ROM, install it as a fresh copy. Fewer wipes mean more chances of old and new system files’ clash, resulting in poor performance, lags, and even a bootloop. While some enlightened giants might disapprove of the idea of wiping the battery stats of the old ROM, I still recommend to wipe it as it takes nothing. However, you should also listen to any recommendations of the developer whose ROM you are going to install.
Installing Google Apps
Most AOSP (Android Open Source Project), AOKP (Android Open Kang Project) and CyanogenMod based ROMs do not come with the Google apps pre-installed, so you have to install them separately. To download and install the latest and compatible Google apps to your phone, head over to our great collection.
Getting Signature Verification Error While Installing?
Well, it is an uncommon situation that while installing a custom ROM on your Android device you see installation aborted message because of Signature Verification error. Two possible reasons for this to happen might be-
- You are trying to install a custom ROM using stock recovery that comes default with all Android phones. Remember, a custom ROM or mod requires a custom recovery like CWM or TWRP installed on it. If you are getting a signature error, first of all, try to find out the type of recovery your phone has. Boot into the recovery mode and read the lines on the top of the screen. If it reads “Android System Recovery”, you need to install a custom recovery first.
- The most common reason for the signature verification error while installing a ROM is a badly downloaded zip. All custom ROMs and mods for Android devices come in ZIPs that are packed with an MD5 Signature. If a downloaded zip is corrupt, it is sure to have a corrupt signature. To fix this, you can take aid of a MD5 Signature verification tool. You can also try to extract the downloaded zip on your computer. One nice quality of a ZIP archive is that it cannot be extracted properly if it is corrupt. In the case of a bad zip file, you should re-download it and try installing again.
(Status 7) Installation Aborted Error
Another instance of installation of a custom ROM or mod aborted might be due to the presence an older or incompatible version of ClockworkMod Recovery on your Android device. In such cases, you will get the following message while installing the ROM:
– installing : /sdcard/xxxxxxxxx.zip finding update package… opening update package… installing update… assert failed: getprop(“ro.product.device”) == “m0″ || getprop(“ro.bulid.product”) == “m0″ || getprop(“ro.product.device”) == “galaxy s3″ || getprop(“ro.bulid.product”)== “galaxy s3″ E: Error in /sdcard/xxxxxxxxx.zip (status 7) installation aborted.
To solve this issue, you can try updating your CWM recovery. There is another solution to this too but it’s is a little tricky. In this method, you’ll have to edit a code line in the “updater-script” found inside the ROM .zip file without extracting it.
If you prefer to do this, remove the following lines found at the beginning of “updater-script” found at this path: ROM.zip> META-INF> com> google> android> updater-script:
assert(getprop("ro.product.device") == "m0" || getprop("ro.build.product") == "m0" || getprop("ro.product.device") == "galaxys3" || getprop("ro.build.product") == "galaxys3");
Upgrading Custom ROM without Losing Apps & Settings
We always recommend a full wipe before installing a new custom ROM for best performance. Doing this, deletes all the apps and resets the Settings of your device and this is certainly not a desirable thing. Nobody wants to install all apps and configure the device again and again. While you have no option but to wipe everything with a new ROM, things can be more pleasant if you are going to install a greater updated version of the same ROM.
You can upgrade your phone’s custom ROM without losing your installed apps, data, contacts, messages, call-log and settings. Here are the steps that you need to follow while installing the newer update package of a ROM over an older one:
- Copy the custom ROM in zip package to your device.
- Boot the phone in CWM or TWRP recovery.
- Wipe the cache partition
- Wipe dalvik cache (found under “advanced” option in CWM)
- Then install the ROM and when it is done, wipe dalvik cache again.
- Finally, reboot the device.
Installing an updated version of a ROM this way will keep your apps and settings intact.
Recovering from a Bootloop
Having performed the wipes recommended above, there are nominal chances that your phone might be stuck on the boot screen but in case you get into such a situation, what would you do?
Bootloop is a situation when your phone refuses to boot/start normally due to some system file clash or incompatible element that prevents it from booting. To recover from a bootloop, follow the steps given in this tutorial.
How to Install a Mod or Patch or Kernel:
If your phone is on the stock ROM with CWM installed or a custom ROM, you can find different Mods and patches and Kernel for your device. If you have to install any such file, do this:
- Boot your phone into ClockworkMod recovery mode.
- Again, do not forget to backup your current ROM before flashing anything on your phone.
- Go to “install zip from sdcard> choose zip from sdcard” and select the file you want to install.
- When the installation is done, go to “advanced” and “wipe dalvik cache” (not necessary in all cases).
- Finally, reboot device using “reboot system now” option.
Avoid Restoring Apps & Data Backed Up on Another ROM
Whatever ROM we install on our device, we want it to be quickly ready for our favorite apps and configuration. And therefore we keep all such data backed up so that they we can restore them in case we factory reset the device or install a new ROM. Restoring previously backed up apps or data is a a very convenient thing as it saves a lot of time and effort but this convenience might give rise to another inconvenient situation.
In fact, all such backup apps (Titanium Backup, for example) are meant to restore data on the same ROM on which the backup was created. Due to system file discrepancies among different ROMs, restoring apps and data this way might make your phone laggy and slow. Therefore, I recommend you to avoid doing this for better performance of the new ROM.
Fixing Battery Heat Up and Drain:
Better performance and battery-life is why most of us turn to custom ROMs. We keep trying from the available ROMs and stick to one that meets up to our expectations. Now there are two ways to find out how the battery performs- with the help of a battery monitor app (stock or third-party) and by taking note of the battery performance during the hours of a day.
If you feel that your device is not yielding good battery just because the battery monitor stats show it, you might be wrong in your judgment as most such apps sometimes lie to us.
Remember that with any ROM installed on your Android device, you will discover two things: 1. battery heat up, and 2. battery drain. And these issues, for the most part, are due to the process of your phone’s new software and battery sync. It usually requires 3-4 full charge and discharge cycles before things go to a normal state and after this, you will notice a great improvement in battery performance. So, do not be quick in concluding anything about the battery.
Let the battery calibrate and while you wait, try one more thing. Whether you get a new phone or new software on your old device, avoid putting your device into charging mode frequently. Turn off the phone, plug charger, wait till it is fully charged and then use it till it is fully discharged. Repeating this several times will improve the battery life of your device. I have tested it and it really works.
For more tips on improving the battery performance of your Android phone, read these articles.