Custom ROM is a way of updating your Android device to the latest Android version available even though your phone manufacturer has not officially made it available for your device.
For many years now, probably since the inception of Android, custom ROMs have helped numerous Android enthusiasts to update their device to the latest Android version with the most recent security patch along with adding a lot of tweaks and customization options to their device.
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While different users have different reasons to install custom ROMs on their device, like wanting to get a stock Android experience, removing bloatware, getting better performance and battery life and so on, the one problem majority of Android users face is not getting official Android updates as soon as they are released officially, unless they are the owners of a Google Pixel device.
So, if you are someone who is looking to install a custom ROM on your Android device and have finally found the right one for your device, you might be wondering how to proceed and what are all the steps you should be performing before actually installing the Custom ROM and updating your device to the latest available Android version and security patch updates.
5 Things to do before installing an Android custom ROM
This post will help you with the prerequisites and precautionary steps you should be doing before installing a custom ROM on your Android device. So, here is a list of 5 things you need to do before proceeding to update your Android phone with the latest available version of Android.
Take a Complete Backup of your device
While a lot of custom ROM installation process not necessarily format your device or require you to factory reset it before installing, some ROMs might have this as a requirement and instead of losing all your apps and downloading them again from the Play Store, which is not only time consuming but also requires a lot of data based on the number of apps you need to install and losing all your messages and images, it is better to backup all of them as a precaution before proceeding.
There are multiple options for backing up the data on your Android device. If you are looking for backing up all your apps, messages and contacts, you can try installing the Super Backup & Restore app on your device.
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It has options to backup all your apps, call logs, messages and even your contacts and calendar entries. Once you have backed up your data using the app, you need to transfer the backup files to your PC or laptop.
After you have installed the custom ROM on your device, you can copy these files back to your Android device and use the Super Backup & Restore app to restore all your data to your device with ease.
If you want, you can also copy your images, videos and other media files on your device to a computer before proceeding to install the Custom ROM, although it might not be necessary in most cases and might end up time-consuming if you have a ton of media stored on your Android phone.
Install USB drivers for your Android phone
Since part of installing a custom ROM involves in flashing a custom recovery to your Android device, you might have to install the relevant USB drivers for your Android phone on your PC, if you have not already done so.
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A simple Google search with your phone model number and manufacturer name would be enough to find the necessary USB drivers for your Android device. Just download and install it on your PC before proceeding further.
Enable USB debugging and OEM unlock
Some Android devices might require the USB debugging option to be enabled to be able to perform any USB related operations through other devices. To enable the USB debugging option on your Android phone, you need to enable the developer options on your device first.
To do that, head over to the settings app on your device and open the About phone section which will usually be at the end of the app. Now go to the build number information and tap on it repeatedly until it says the developer options are now available. You can go to the main settings page now and open the developer options.
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Once you connect your Android phone to your PC using your USB cable, you will be given an option to enable USB debugging. After you have enabled this option, you need to allow USB debugging on your Android device for the connected computer.
After you have enabled the USB debugging option, you might also need to enable the OEM unlock option on your device, which is also present under the developer option in your settings app.
Check Compatibility of the Custom ROM
Now, before you download the custom ROM for your device, it is important to note that besides the model number and the manufacturer details, there are several other distinctive aspects of each Android device, like single and dual sim variants, different firmware or model versions and so on.
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Therefore, it is highly recommended that you make sure that you are downloading the custom ROM that is compatible with your device. Because installing an incompatible custom ROM might end up soft or in some rare cases hard bricking your device ultimately rendering it useless.
You can make sure that you are installing the right version of Custom ROM on your device by reading through comments in forums or reviews for the exact model of your device.
Install a Custom Recovery
This is the most important and an essential part of installing a custom ROM on your Android device. A custom recovery, as opposed to the stock recovery on your Android device, comes with a lot of features and options which helps you flash the custom ROM of your choice.
TWRP is the most popular custom recovery and it is compatible with the majority of Android devices. You can download and install the TWRP recovery compatible for your device from the official TWRP website over here. You can find the instructions to flash the custom Recovery on your device specific page at the XDA Developers forums.