All About Smartphones: How To Load A Custom ROM On Any Android Phone: Beginner's Guide

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How To Load A Custom ROM On Any Android Phone: Beginner's Guide

One of the areas that is so unclear to many Android users is the procedure to install custom ROM on Android phones. There are so many Android phones but the process of loading or installing custom ROMs on them is pretty much the same. 

In this post, I will break everything down so that you can understand what we meant be Custom ROM, Stock ROM etc.

1. ROM
To simplify things, ROM is known as Read Only Memory. This ROM is composed of 2 important things. First is your phone's operating system (e.g Jelly Bean 4.2.1 just like windows computer having Windows 7) and the second is your Boot loader. Boot loader is a small memory with instructions on how to load the operating system and drivers needed to load the operating system correctly so that phone will start working as intended.

2. Stock ROM
Stock ROM is what we refer to as the ROM that came with your Android phone from the manufacturer when you bought it. When you bought your Android phone, it may be running Jelly Bean 4.2.2, this is known as a stock ROM 'cause it came directly from manufacturer. It has all its boot loaders(drivers) and operating system intact.

3. Custom ROM
Custom ROM is what we refer to as the ROM created by individuals or group of people to suit their taste. Meaning that they have customized it to the way they want it to be. This is usually done by seasoned programmers and hackers. This custom ROM is not came with the phone initially.

What We want to Achieve
What we want to achieve is to remove the stock ROM (the one that came from the manufacturer) and put another ROM which is the custom ROM that came from another source.

The obstacles one will have to overcome to remove the stock ROM and replace with custom ROM are not much and I will detail them below.

Obstacle 1: Root Access
Manufacturers that makes Android phones don't want you to remove their own stock ROM so they put some restrictions in place. One of such restrictions is that you are given partial authority on the phone, not total authority to manipulate the phone or do anything you like. Its like giving someone a guest account on a computer. With guest account, you may not be able to even install softwares talk less of changing system properties. You can only do basic things.
So one needs to remove this restriction on any Android phone to have permission to remove the stock ROM. To remove this restriction, the phone must be rooted. Once its rooted, yo now have super user full, access to do as you like on the phone.

Obstacle 2: Flashing ROM
You cannot remove an operating system when it is currently in operation. You have to enter a separate mode. This mode is known as recovery mode. This mode allows you to remove operating system (ROM) and replace with another one (usually the recovery rom placed by manufacturer). The process of removing the ROM is known as Flashing and the process of putting another ROM is known as Loading. But, before you remove the stock ROM, you must be sure that the one you are about to put will work with your phone. If you remove this stock ROM and you put the new one and its not supported by the phone, the phone will not work (meaning its bricked).
To make sure your new custom ROM is supported by your device, you need to download an app like ROM Manager. When you download ROM manager, free version, it will tell  you if there is any ROM that supports your phone.

Obstacle 3: Recovery ROM
The recovery ROM is the one placed by the manufacturer of the phone. It is only needed when the custom ROM crashes. The recovery ROM is like a small operating system that is used to boot the phone to a level that will allow you to install a new custom ROM. However, since we need to put our own custom ROM, we need to also remove the recovery ROM and put our own custom recovery ROM that will work with our own custom ROM. ROM manager will help you flash the stock recovery ROM and installs its own custom recovery ROM. Although, warnings have gone out that one shouldn't flash stock recovery ROM with ROM manager instead Teamwin (TWRP) could be used. More research is needed in this area. This custom recovery ROM will give you the features and flexibility you need to flash the stock ROM and install the custom ROM.

Note: For some devices, you may need to extract boot.img. After flashing the CFW onto your phone, reboot back into the bootloader and connect your phone to your PC via USB. From the ZIP folder containing the CFW, extract "boot.img" to the same folder where your fastboot.exe is. Open a command prompt from this folder, then type:
fastboot flash boot boot.img
Press enter. Reboot your phone after the boot.img file is flashed, and you should be good to go.
Installing Custom ROM
At this stage, you already have root access, you also have made sure that the new ROM you want to load is compatible with your device. Furthermore, you have backed up your phone and apps and finally, you have flashed recovery ROM and have downloaded the custom ROM you are about to load up.

Steps to Loading Custom ROM
1. Plug phone to your computer 

2. place this newly downloaded custom ROM in sd card of the phone. Custom ROMs usually come in zips but you must NOT extract this zip file.

3.  Eject phone from computer and launch ROM manager again.

4. Select reboot into recover and wait for the phone to reboot. You can also do this manually if you know the combination for your phone model.

5. Once you are in recovery mode we talked about, use the volume keys to navigate to power or menu button to select Backup and Restore option.

6. Select backup so that it will save and backup your entire device. 

7. Now Select Wipe data/factory reset.

8. Select Flash zip from sd card and choose Zip from SD card.

9. Select the custom ROM zip you placed in the SD card. Confirm it and wait for it to finish flashing

10. Select Reboot Now. Once it reboots, you would have a new operating system or ROM on your device.

To load another kind of ROM, just follow the steps above.

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  1. i dont know of any custom rom for infinix is there any?

    1. I don't think there is. An investigation could shed more light on this.

  2. hi..Im college student, thanks for sharing :)


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