How Do You Get Lineage OS On Your De­vice?

The gen­eral over­all process looks like this; we’ll go into tools and de­tails shortly


[ Step 1] Back up your de­vice

If any­thing goes wrong, you’ ll want an escape plan.

[ Step 2] Get the tools and driv­ers [ Step 3] Un­lock your de­vice

This wipes ev­ery­thing. [ Step 4] In­stall a new re­cov­ery ROM

Typ­i­cally, this isTW RP.

[ Step 5] Copy LineageOS and Gapps to the de­vice

[ Step 6] Wipe the cache, flash the de­vice, re­boot

[ Step 7] Wait...


If some­thing goes wrong, and you’ve backed up your de­vice, you can re­store it back to its ex­ist­ing state, data, apps, and all.

For the lazy, you might just want to back up your data with an app. We rec­om­mend My Backup ( de­tails? id= com.rerw are. an­droid. My Backup ), which has free and paid ver­sions. If you know how to root your de­vice, Ti­ta­nium Backup (­tails?id= com.kerami­das. Ti­ta­ni­umBackup) is more com­pre­hen­sive.

Do you use Two Fac­tor Authen­ti­ca­tion ( TFA) or Google Authen­ti­ca­tor? Stop now. You’ll lose ac­cess and need to re-en­able all your TFA-pro­tected ser­vices. If you have rooted your de­vice, you can use Ti­ta­nium Backup [ Im­age A] to save off the keys, then re­store them af­ter­ward. Oth­er­wise, list your TFA-pro­tected ser­vices, and ei­ther save off the keys or turn TFA off un­til you’re back.

For the su­per-lazy, Google backs up your de­vice to the cloud to a de­gree; when LineageOS is in­stalled, you’ll get the chance to log in to your Google Ac­count and have it re­store the apps and set­tings. Great in prin­ci­ple, a bit hit and miss in prac­tice.

Do you want to back up your text mes­sages and call his­tory? Then use a ded­i­cated backup tool. An­other good one is SMS Backup & Re­store (­tails?id=com. r it eshs ah u.S MS Backup Re­store ).

Full sys­tem im­ages are pos­si­ble, but only via a suit­able re­cov­ery ROM, such as TWRP (we’ll cover this shortly) or Clock­workMod. How­ever, un­less you al­ready have one in­stalled, in­stalling one re­quires the de­vice be­ing wiped in the first place. Thanks Google!


With a suit­able backup done, you’re ready to scoop out the brains of your de­vice, and re­place them with some­thing al­to­gether bet­ter. To per­form such a del­i­cate op­er­a­tion, you need the right tools. This tends to be eas­ier on Linux, but we’ll use Win­dows here for sim­plic­ity.

The two core com­mand-line tools used to monkey with An­droid de­vices are Adb (An­droid De­bug Bridge) [ Im­age B] and Fast­boot. You can down­load th­ese from Google at https://de­vel­­­leases/ plat­form-tools.html. There’s a bunch of other junk in the ZIP that you can safely ignore. Adb is de­signed to in­ter­face and con­trol the An­droid OS—in other words, An­droid needs to be run­ning on the de­vice to work. Fast­boot is a low-level tool that con­trols the ba­sic re­cov­ery mode ac­cess, known as fast­boot, on powerup—like your PC’s BIOS.

The An­droid ADB driver for Win­dows is used to rec­og­nize the An­droid de­vice in de­bug mode, so you need the cor­rect driver. You can get a generic one from https:// github. com/ koush/ sup­port- wiki/ wiki/An­droid- ADBDrivers. If your de­vice isn’t rec­og­nized, Google main­tains a list of OEM-spe­cific driv­ers you can try at https://de­vel­oper. an­­ers.

XDA de­vel­op­ers have created an all-in-one tool and driver in­staller ( https://fo­rum.xda-de­vel­op­ /showthread.php?t=2588979). You may want to opt for that to save your san­ity!


Now we’re all primed, the first ma­jor step is to un­lock your de­vice. This wipes ev­ery­thing, re­set­ting the de­vice back to fac­tory de­faults. You have been warned. An­noy­ingly, it seems that ev­ery man­u­fac­turer pro­vides a dif­fer­ent un­lock mech­a­nism—see the “De­vice Sup­port” box­out on the pre­vi­ous page for more de­tails. We’re go­ing to fol­low the de­fault An­droid sys­tem that is used by Google and OnePlus.

To be­gin, we need to ac­ti­vate De­vel­oper mode, and switch on USB De­bug­ging. In An­droid, se­lect “Set­tings > About,” and tap the build num­ber seven times. A mes­sage an­nounces that De­vel­oper mode is un­locked. Se­lect “Set­tings > De­vel­oper op­tion switch on USB de­bug­ging.” If there’s a OEM un­lock­ing op­tion avail­able, se­lect that as well.

Once USB de­bug­ging is on, you’ve in­stalled the ADB driv­ers, and un­zipped the tools, con­nect your An­droid de­vice. A se­cu­rity mes­sage ap­pears on the An­droid de­vice—al­low the con­nec­tion.

Se­lect “Win­dows,” type “CMD,” and press Re­turn. “CD” to where the tools were ex­tracted. For sim­plic­ity, you can copy Adb and Fast­boot to your desk­top, and just work with “CD desk­top.” To re­boot into re­cov­ery, type “adb re­boot boot­loader.” To un­lock, type “fast­boot oem un­lock.” A warn­ing ap­pears [ ImageC]— read this, and ac­cept the re­spon­si­bil­ity, or run scream­ing into the hills.


ROM You’ll want to re­boot your An­droid de­vice and log in—don’t worry about ac­counts, this is just so we can copy over re­cov­ery im­ages, LineageOS, and so on. At this point, we’re con­cen­trat­ing on adding a cus­tom re­cov­ery ROM. This is ac­ces­si­ble when a de­vice is first pow­ered up via a key com­bi­na­tion, such as Power and Vol­ume Up or Down. You can also re­boot into it via the Adb tool. Us­ing the cus­tom re­cov­ery ROM, we’re then able to flash a new OS and do com­plete sys­tem back­ups.

The most com­monly used re­cov­ery ROM is TWRP (Team Win Re­cov­ery Project), so head to De­vices, and down­load the cor­rect ROM for your de­vice. If one isn’t listed, you should try search­ing for a Clock­workmod re­cov­ery im­age for your de­vice. Copy the re­cov­ery im­age into the same folder as the Fast­boot com­mand.

If you know how to re­boot into fast­boot re­cov­ery, do so. Oth­er­wise, put the de­vice back into USB De­bug­ging mode, as ex­plained in the pre­vi­ous step, and in a com­mand prompt, type “adb re­boot boot­loader.” To flash the re­cov­ery im­age, type “fast­boot flash re­cov­ery im­age file name>.” Se­lect to start re­cov­ery, and en­ter TWRP. At this point, you can boot back into “Sys­tem,” aka An­droid [ Im­age D].


As dis­cussed, down­load the LineageOS build ( https://wiki.­vices) for your de­vice. Cur­rently (early 2018), we rec­om­mend v14.1, which aligns to An­droid 7.1. An­droid 8 Oreo is v15, and is likely some­what ex­per­i­men­tal at this stage, but read the logs and any fo­rums re­ports to make up your own mind. At this stage, you can also grab your faux Google Gapps pack­age [ Im­age E] from http://open­— see the box­out be­low-left for more de­tails on that. Copy both ZIPs to the de­vice—into the “Down­load” folder, say— and no, you don’t need to un­zip them.


Re­boot into TWRP Re­cov­ery. Type “adb re­boot re­cov­ery” if you have a com­mand prompt to hand, or power down, and use the Power and Vol­ume combo. Wipe the Data, Cache, and Dalvik/ART Cache (this is the de­fault), tap “Wipe,” and swipe to go. Not do­ing this can cause the in­stall to re­turn an er­ror. Re­turn to the main menu and choose “In­stall.” Se­lect “Down­load” and the LineageOS ZIP. Choose “Add More Zips,” and do the same for Gapps [ Im­age F]. Swipe to flash, and kiss good­bye to old An­droid. Once done, do a de­fault wipe again, then re­boot into An­droid. The first boot can take five min­utes or so.


Wel­come to LineageOS [ Im­age G]. If you want to use the cloud re­store linked to your Google Ac­count, there’s an odd quirk at the time of writ­ing. To log on to a wire­less net­work, you need to first choose to not re­store from an­other de­vice/the cloud, set up a wire­less con­nec­tion, then step back, and re­store. Oth­er­wise it doesn’t set up a con­nec­tion, mak­ing it tricky to down­load from the cloud.

Once LineageOS is work­ing, you’ll have ac­cess to the Google Play Store. If your Google Ac­count is up and run­ning, apps are slowly re­stored with some set­tings in place. Check Se­cu­rity set­tings, tweak the No­ti­fi­ca­tion drawer, and per­haps get a new launcher; Nova Launcher is our fa­vorite.

We’ve men­tioned “root” ac­cess—this is ad­min­is­tra­tor level ac­cess to the An­droid sys­tem. It’s gen­er­ally not re­quired, and con­sid­ered a se­cu­rity risk, which is why it’s off by de­fault, and hard to turn on. If you want root ac­cess for backup rea­sons, Lineage OS makes it rea­son­ably easy.

Grab the Su­per User pack for your de­vice’s ar­chi­tec­ture from https://down­­tras. Copy it to your LineageOS de­vice, re­boot into TWRP, and flash the Back in LineageOS, en­able De­vel­oper mode, if you haven’t al­ready. You’ll see an op­tion called “Root ac­cess”—se­lect “Apps and ADB mode.” Now apps can be given root ac­cess.

De­pend­ing on your de­vice, you could find you’re get­ting LineageOS up­dates once a week. Don’t feel you need to in­stall them. You can fol­low the re­cent changes up­date log for your de­vice at https://down­, along with any changes that will be merged into the next build.








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