Are you looking for a way to give your Android smartphone or tablet device a complete overhaul? Hands down Lineage OS is one of the best ways to achieve that. Here we are going to describe everything about Lineage OS ROM and guide you with the steps for how to flash it on your Android phone.
Android ecosystem is very special for global users because of its customization abilities. Not only the normal customization, but it also lets you deeply tweak the settings and functionalities. Modding and custom ROMs have increased its customization possibilities to a whole new level. There were many custom ROMs for Android platform. However, CyanogenMod was the best one among all others. But it was replaced with a better one named LineageOS.
You can install the LineageOS on your Android phone with multiple methods. But before jumping onto the steps to install it, you have to understand the advantages, consequences, known issues, and the requirements for it. Frankly speaking, you have to make sure you want to install LineageOS on your phone. For this purpose, we have also included a detailed introduction of the LineageOS below.
DISCLAIMER: Rooting, modding, and installing custom ROMs is fun to try out. However, it can be really risky too. There are some chances of bricking your phone during the installation process. We have tried our best to include the safest methods in this article. Anyways, the publication is not responsible for any consequences while installing the custom ROM on your phone. Read the entire article before starting the process.
What is LineageOS?
As mentioned in the beginning, LineageOS came to the heart of global advanced Android users with all the best things from CyanogenOS. Not only that, LineageOS was much better because of the improved performance and functionality. However, it lacks some key features of Cyanogen, which includes the root access for all apps. Anyways, Lineage was accepted by everyone as a single solution for their needs.
The true power of LineageOS is that it can give you all the latest versions of the Android operating system, even if your phone is too old to support the latest Android version. It opens more possibilities on your phone and cuts the restriction line.
Many of you might have the question, is LineageOS a separate operating system or something like that? Well, the answer is very simple. LineageOS is a deeply customized custom version of the Android operating system.
Advantages of LineageOS
There is a long list of reasons to install LineageOS on your Android smartphone. That’s the main reason it stays as the favorite custom ROM for Android users globally.
Mainly, people use this custom ROM to enable root access on their phones while enjoying all the features of latest Android OS. You can easily enable root access on your smartphone after replacing your stock operating system with the Lineage version and then flashing a root file on top of it through recovery.
Not only root access but Lineage also has several other advantages too. Especially, it lets you unleash the true capabilities of your device without making any physical modifications to the hardware. Most of the smartphones come with preset values for each function. Manufacturers limit the speed, access, and some hardware features to avoid bugs and security issues. However, LineageOS lets you bypass all of those limitations and tweak your phone as per your liking.
The most important thing that makes LineageOS a publicly-loved custom ROM is its support for wide range of models. It supports most of the new and old smartphones without any critical issues. However, the support list is smaller than that of the Cyanogen.
Let’s suppose you are using an older smartphone with no OEM support and OTA (Over-The-Air) software updates. Then flashing LineageOS on your phone will let you enjoy the latest Android version and security patches on your phone without the brand’s authorization.
Disadvantages of LineageOS
You must read this section before diving into the installation process. You must be aware of the consequences and disadvantages of flashing LineageOS on your phone. Yes, you heard it right, LineageOS is not completely perfect. It has its cons and problems. But the awesome community of developers that powers this ROM is active in fixing major bugs and reported errors.
The most reported issue with the LineageOS is related to camera and Bluetooth. There are known camera compatibility issues and firmware problems in few models. However, you can easily fix such issues with the patches provided by the developers. Alternatively, you can try third-party camera applications.
The major consequence after installing LineageOS lies in your warranty sheet. Majority of smartphone brands hate rooting and unlocking the bootloader because it can damage the hardware and such modifications are not covered under warranty. So keep in mind that flashing a custom ROM on your Android device voids its warranty.
We want you to remember all these problems and disadvantages of flashing custom ROM before starting with the installation process.
Prerequisites: What do you need to install and run LineageOS on your phone?
Stories and mind-blowing features apart, you must confirm if your device supports LineageOS. Also, there is a list of prerequisites to get started with the installation and flashing process. You can verify whether your Android device supports LineageOS or not in the official list of supported devices. If your device is listed, you are good to go. Otherwise, we will recommend you stop reading this article right now.
Now, as you are reading this article, that means you have checked the list of supported devices and your device is capable of running LineageOS without any major issues. Let’s check out what you need before starting the process.
- Supported Android smartphone,
- A compatible USB cable,
- A working computer running Windows, Mac, or Linux, and
- Active internet connection.
Above mentioned are the basic things you need to have to install LineageOS on your device. You can’t skip any of the above things in the process. Once you are all set with the prerequisites, you are good to move forward to the next section.
Steps to install LineageOS on your Android phone
Now you are all ready to start with the installation. But that’s not enough. Patience plays an important role in this process. If you can’t handle the panic situations and pressure, you should avoid doing this. Because there are always chances for a technical flaw and human error during this. I am not dragging you down, but it’s basic advice that nobody will ever give you.
For you to understand the whole flashing process better, a glimpse of all the major steps have been listed below:
- Install the necessary tools and software on your PC.
- Backup your smartphone and set it up for flashing.
- Download the installation packages and required apps.
- Unlocking the bootloader.
- Flashing TWRP recovery.
- Flashing the ROM.
- Rebooting and setting up LineageOS.
These are the steps to complete the flashing process without any trouble. You have to stay calm, read as well as understand each step before trying them. A simple mistake or error in the process could permanently kill your smartphone, which is also known as hard-bricking. The risk is too high. But don’t worry, the flashing and installation method mentioned in this article is safe as long as you know what you are doing.
A) Install the necessary tools and software on your PC
You need to install several tools and applications on your computer. LineageOS strictly requires the use of a computer device. So make sure your PC has the necessary tools and software for this.
You need ADB tools installed on your computer. ADB is the short form of Android Debug Bridge by Google. As the name reveals, it creates a bridge between your PC and Android phone to execute some advanced commands and actions directly from the computer.
You can download the official installation files of ADB from the Android Developers page and extract it on your computer. Once extracted, you can open the ADB command shell in your PC.
In addition to the ADB tools, you will also need to download and install the USB drivers for your phone on your PC. Majority of the smartphone manufacturers release USB drivers for the computer so that owners can connect their Android device with their PC. You can easily perform a Google search for USB drivers and install it on your device. Once you are ready with required drivers and ADB tools, we can step onto the next step.
B) Backup your smartphone and set it up for flashing
Creating a backup of all the data stored on your device is an important step before starting the flashing processes. Your data is important and you should back it up. If you don’t care about your app data, stored files, photos, and settings, then you can skip this step. Otherwise, use a backup tool like Helium.
Alternatively, if you are not into the technicalities then you can always create a copy of all your files on your computer. Remember, any changes made to your phone cannot be reverted. Especially for storage, there is a great chance that you might lose all the stored data and settings. So make sure you have secured all your files before proceeding with the flashing process.
After backing up, you have to prepare your smartphone for the installation of LineageOS. For that, you need to enable USB debugging and OEM Unlocking settings on your phone. You can find these options under the Developer Options of your Android device. In normal case, you can’t find developer options on your phone. However, you can enable it by tapping multiple times on the build number of your smartphone, which is located in the About menu.
Once you are in the developer options, scroll down and find USB debugging and enable it. Then you need to find an option called OEM Unlocking. Enable that setting as well. Some smartphones may not have the OEM unlocking menu. If your smartphone does not come with that, just skip that step and enable USB debugging only. Now you are ready to go.
C) Download the installation packages and required apps
Now you are all ready to start the first step of installation. However, we need the software packages and other required applications to install on your mobile phone. There are plenty of package versions available on the web repositories. To ensure the complete compatibility and functionality, you have to download the proper version of the required packages. For that, you can choose the most recently uploaded file. That way it ensures that you install the latest version.
You can simply go to the LineageOS website and select your device. There will be multiple versions of the package available. Just choose the recently uploaded one and download it. Now you have the basic operating system files for the installation of LineageOS on your phone. But that is not enough. You have to download the custom recovery packages and GApps package (Google Apps Package).
There are two most commonly used custom recovery packages. The one we are using here is TWRP and the other one is CWM recovery. TWRP stands for TeamWin Recovery Project and it is the safest custom recovery package. You can download the correct variant of the TWRP from the official website of TWRP. There is a list of the supported models as well so you can see which package you should download.
For more information about TWRP and how to install custom recovery on your Android device, you can check this blog post.
Now comes another important section – Google Apps. You need to install/flash the GApps package along with the ROM package. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use Google services and applications on your device. So download the GApps package from the OpenGapps.org. Make sure you select the correct options in the download page of GApps.
Now you have all the necessary packages to install and run LineageOS with Google support on your phone. For your convenience, rename the TWRP, GApps, LineageOS files to twrp.img, gapps.zip, lineage.zip respectively. It will avoid unnecessary confusion in the process.
Make sure you copy the Lineage.zip and gapps.zip to your phone. This will make the flashing process easier later.
D) Unlock your bootloader
Unlocking your bootloader enables you to install and run custom recovery on your device. Most of the smartphone models come with a locked bootloader to maximize device security. However, here we are unlocking it for installing LineageOS.
As mentioned above, the bootloader is tricky in some smartphones. The process may become very easy in some models, whereas some models have the hardest process to unlock the bootloader. Also, note that some smartphones do not have any unlocking methods yet. If you are using a smartphone without bootloader unlocking options, there is no need to follow this step and skip to the next one.
We can’t generally explain the method to unlock bootloader. There are plenty of supported smartphone models and each of them has its own unique method to do it. Don’t worry, head over to the official LineageOS Wiki page to find your phone model’s method to unlock the bootloader. Once you have completed unlocking the bootloader, you can proceed to the next step.
E) Flashing TWRP recovery
As mentioned above, we need to install a custom recovery to execute several pro-level actions. Your OEM stock recovery does not support flashing so having a custom recovery is the best option when it comes to installing packages and flashing ROM to your Android device, which requires admin-level access.
We are using the TWRP recovery as it is the most popular one with support for a wide range of Android devices. In addition to that, TWRP has a great community of developers with a lot of solutions for all the problems you might experience during the flashing process.
We have already downloaded the required custom recovery package in the step C. Now connect your Android device to your PC with the USB cable and open the ADB terminal in the location where you previously installed ADB. Right-click on that folder and click on Open Command Prompt here option to open a command prompt in that folder. Usually, the folder is C:\USER PROFILE\adb-fastboot\platform-tools\
Now you are entering the most crucial stage of flashing so make sure you don’t mess up anything as it could be really dangerous for your Android device. Once you are ready, type and run the following command in the command prompt window:
adb reboot bootloader
This command forces your smartphone to boot into fastboot mode instead of the Android operating system. Once your smartphone restarts into the fastboot mode, run the following command:
fastboot flash recovery twrp.img
This command initiates the flashing of TWRP recovery on your smartphone. Once the execution is complete in the CMD, you are good to go.
Now you can boot into the recovery mode using the hardware keys. Different smartphone models have different methods to boot into the recovery mode. In most of the smartphone, you can enter into the recovery mode by pressing and holding Power + Volume Up + Volume Down buttons. You need to continue holding these buttons until you see recovery mode on the screen.
Unlike your stock recovery menu, TWRP has a user-friendly touch-enabled interface with easy options. You will love it more than your stock recovery environment.
The welcome page of TWRP will show an option to enable modifications on your phone. Right below that messages, there will be a slider named “Swipe to Allow Modifications.” Just swipe to allow modifications to your phone. Once you see the TWRP recovery, you are good to proceed with the flashing of LineageOS ROM.
F) Flashing the ROM.
This is the step where you will be installing LineageOS to your phone. As compared to all other steps, this one is the quickest but the riskiest. If you are ready, you may proceed to the steps:
On the home screen of the TWRP recovery page, tap on the Wipe option then press Format Data. Remember, this action will format all the data stored on your smartphone. But you don’t need to worry as we have already created a backup of all the files and settings.
Once the wiping process is complete, tap on the Advanced Wipe option located under the Wipe menu. Here you will see a list of options for an advanced wipe. Just checkboxes near these three options:
- Dalvik / ART Cache,
- System, and
Make sure you are NOT checking any other boxes than the ones mentioned above. Now swipe from left to right on the bottom slider which says “Swipe to Wipe.”
Now we are going to flash the Lineage OS files and GApps to the Android device:
- On the main menu of TWRP, tap on the Install button and it will list your storage contents.
- Navigate and select the Lineage.zip and GApps.zip files. Make sure the Lineage.zip is selected first in the queue.
- After selecting, use the bottom swipe option to start the flashing process. This process may take some time to complete the successful installation of the Lineage OS and associated apps.
Once the installation has been completed successfully, it will display a message in the log window. Now you will have to perform cache cleaning so perform the option Wipe cache/dalvik to wipe the cache files. Once done, reboot your phone.
G) Rebooting and setting up the device.
Now that you have successfully installed the LineageOS ROM along with the latest Google services. After pressing the reboot option, your phone will welcome you with a boot animation of LineageOS. If you are seeing that animation that means everything has been perfectly installed.
Though you have to be patience with the first boot of your phone with Lineage OS as it may take a longer duration to completely boot up your phone and set things up. During this process, LineageOS will install all the GApps and other tools that comes bundled with Lineage OS.
Once the boot logo is gone, a welcome screen will appear from where you can configure your phone settings and make personalizations. You can log into your Google account and start using your phone.
So that is how you are going to install LineageOS on your phone.
Enabling root access on your phone
This is the reason why I mentioned that you should read the entire article before proceeding with any of the steps. We have separated this section from the main process to avoid enabling root access for normal users. If you want to enable root access and enjoy more features and superuser (SU) access to your device, then you can follow this step.
You can download the root file named SU to flash along with the LineageOS package. It is available to download at LineageOS Wiki page. Choose your Android device variant and model number and download the SU files. Make sure you copy the downloaded file to your phone before the flashing process because you will then be able to easily flash the SU root file along with LineageOS ROM package in Step F.
That’s all about the installation of LineageOS on your Android phone and tablet devices. Now you know how to unlock the bootloader of your Android device, flash custom recovery, and a custom ROM.
You have just entered the world of custom ROMs and deep-level Android customization. Now you can go ahead and search for online communities and Android development forums to learn more about supported ROMs for your phone.
There can be some instances where the user does not love the LineageOS after flashing it. If you are one of them, we have a solution for that too. If you are searching for that then drop your comment below and we will update this article in the coming weeks with a link to the guide which contains detailed steps to rollback your Android device to the stock ROM.