How To Install Updated ROMs With Open Android Installer
A simple-to-use software to install custom Android ROMs, unlock the bootloader, and update your device. Every year 1.5 billion smartphones are sold globally. Still, an incalculable number is thrown away, often even in the face of a short useful life: the obsolescence of the software is responsible for the premature abandonment of an important number of devices.
An Android ROM is an image of the Android operating system that is already installed or installable on a mobile device. A ROM is a package of files containing the operating system, other applications, and files necessary for the device to function correctly. ROM stands for Read Only Memory: it usually indicates a type of non-volatile memory in which data is stored through physical and stable electronic connections.
In the case of Android, the term ROM refers to an area for storing data that generally should not be overwritten because it contains the operating system and system files. As highlighted in the article on the differences between ROM and internal storage, users can access system partitions by unlocking the bootloader.
Third-party ROMs can be used to update Android to a newer version, install features not available in the original operating system release, or remove some of the customizations enabled by the manufacturer. In some cases, it may not be safe to use an Android device that the manufacturer no longer supports:
- You do not receive security updates to fix critical vulnerabilities.
- Some apps stop working.
- You cannot take advantage of the latest features added by Google.
Custom ROMs are often used by advanced users who wish to bring a smartphone no longer supported by the manufacturer back to life, with all the consequent advantages in terms of life cycle extension and reduction of WEEE waste.
On the other hand, installing a custom Android ROM can also involve risks, such as loss of warranty (that’s why it is recommended to do it when a product is no longer supported and would otherwise be destined to be shelved…) and the possibility of damage the device ( bricking ) if the ROM is not adequately applied.
In general, Android ROMs can help customize your device, improve performance and operating system features, and get back to receiving security updates. However, before installing a custom ROM on any Android terminal, it is essential to follow the installation instructions carefully.
Because It Can Be Challenging To Update The Android Version Installed On Your Smartphone
- Manufacturer dependency. Most Android smartphones are manufactured by different companies using different operating system customizations. When Google releases a new version of Android, each manufacturer must tailor it to its devices and ensure it works properly with the custom software loaded on the device. This is a time-consuming and resource-consuming process, and not all manufacturers can provide timely and regular updates for all their devices. And the cheapest smartphones are usually abandoned to their fate (software obsolescence which we mentioned at the beginning).
- Hardware Limitations. Some versions of Android require specific hardware or newer, more advanced configurations – this means that some older devices cannot be upgraded to newer versions of Android due to hardware limitations. Even the developers of alternative ROMs at some point still tend to abandon the support of older Android devices by refraining from releasing new updates.
- User customizations. Many users personalize their smartphones with third-party apps, widgets, and settings. Switching to an alternative Android ROM involves losing your smartphone configuration, apps, and data stored therein.
Open Android Installer: Installing An Android ROM Made Easy
In the articles we mentioned earlier, we have seen that installing custom Android ROMs is often a complex and error-prone process. Open Android Installer is a solution that aims to overcome the obstacles that prevent non-technicians from installing Android ROMs. Thanks to a graphical installation process, Open Android Installer guides the user through the installation of customized versions of Android such as LineageOS, Pixel experience, Bliss Roms, and many others.
Free and open-source software, Open Android Installer supports all custom Android ROMs and TWRP recovery. Furthermore, it integrates into its package all the tools necessary for flashing the new ROM or replacing the version installed in the Android device: adb, fast boot, and Heimdall. Open Android Installer currently supports a few dozen Android devices.
Still, the project integrates an intelligent system of extensions that allows developers and technicians to add new devices to the list. Open Android Installer looks like a standard desktop application that can be booted on Linux, Windows, and macOS systems. While Windows and macOS are equally supported, the Open Android Installer developers suggest using a Linux distribution, preferably Ubuntu 20.04/22.04 LTS.
After launching the Open Android Installer, the application invites you to activate USB debugging and OEM unlocking in the Android Developer Options. You can connect your Android smartphone via a USB cable by providing USB debugging permission. The first screen of Open Android Installer also has the option to indicate to the program if you have already unlocked the bootloader.
It is then necessary to verify that the device uses the Android version indicated, that the battery has a residual autonomy of at least 80%, and that all startup locks have been deactivated (PIN, graphic sequence, facial recognition, Fingerprint,…). The following step involves selecting the ROM to install and the TWRP recovery. The procedure continues with the automatic unlocking of the bootloader, the smartphone restart, and the subsequent reactivation of USB debugging in the Android developer options.
The last step is to flash the new ROM authorized by pressing a key. The authors of Open Android Installer invite users to contribute to the improvement of the program: by examining the source code, anyone can modify, improve and share it. Instructions for extending the program’s capabilities and expanding support to other Android phones are posted on the Open Android Installer GitHub page .
However, the invitation is not addressed only to programmers: on the homepage of the project, it is clearly explained how one can contribute to the growth of a promising initiative, particularly commendable also in terms of digital self-determination, the right of people to have control over their personal data and online privacy as well as to use technology in an aware and responsible way.
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