How to install LineageOS on Android

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One of the biggest advantages of the Android world is the freedom it offers to users. There are applications that allow you to modify the navigation bar, add functions that were not originally present, and even change the entire appearance of the home screen. However, even with all these possibilities, some need more. If you think you’ve reached the limit of customization, you may want to make the leap to LineageOS. But wait. What exactly are we talking about? What advantages does LineageOS offer? How can you install it? All these questions are resolved below.

What is LineageOS and what is it for?

LineageOS it’s a custom ROM which is responsible for replacing the ROM that is factory installed on your phone. Actually, LineageOS is based on Android, so we are not talking about replacing Android with another operating system. Rather, we mean changing the manufacturer’s version of Android to a different one.

The main objective to change the ROM of a device is to improve performance. Custom ROMs, such as LineageOS, remove most of the superfluous software that is installed by default on your terminal. This also applies to Google applications and services. If you want to use them, you will need to install them manually. Some users also replace the factory ROM with a custom one to increase privacy. Thus, they root out services specifically designed to track the user. In addition, the desire to fully customize their device, leads many to consider making the leap to an alternative ROM. Generally, ROMs like LineageOS are more flexible in this regard and allow more modifications to be applied to the operating system. Finally, they are ideal for installing the latest version of Android, even when the manufacturer has not officially released it.

If you are convinced to install LineageOS on your phone, just keep reading.

How to install LineageOS on my device step by step

Before entering the matter, it is important that we remind you that this process removes all content from the phone. Therefore, make sure you have a backup of all your data. In the event that you use your Google account to back up your photos, your contacts or any other type of information, you already have a backup in the cloud. Once the warning is issued, we get to work. To prepare this article we have used a Xiaomi Mi A2. Some of the methods we mention vary depending on the make and model. In that case, we will tell you before we start.

Unlock the bootloader

Attention: this process may vary depending on the make and model. Research how to do it on your device.

The first step is unlock bootloader. Only by opening access to this part of the system, it will be possible to install the necessary tools to obtain superuser permissions and, later, to install LineageOS. In the case of our device, it has been necessary to use an official tool called My Unlock. After downloading it from the official website, you need to put the phone in fastboot mode. In our case, we had to turn off the phone and then combine the power button with the volume down button. Next, we run the official Xiaomi tool in Windows 10 and connect the phone to the computer. Then we accept the terms and conditions.

Accept disclaimer on My UnlockAccept disclaimer on My Unlock

Xiaomi asked us to log into Mi Account.

Sign in with a Mi accountSign in with a Mi account

Finally, we use the button Unlock to unlock the bootloader.

Unlock bootloaderUnlock bootloader

After finishing, the phone was ready for the next step.

Get root permissions by installing TWRP

Attention: this process may vary depending on the make and model. Find out which files you should download in your case.

Once the device has the bootloader unlocked, it is necessary to download three files:

  • TWRP. It contains the bootloader that will help us install LineageOS. You can download it from your official website. You must get it in IMG format.
  • Magisk. This is the file in charge of getting root access. It comes in ZIP format and can also be found in the project website.
  • Minimal ADB and Fastboot. Command line interface to interact with the phone. It is an executable for Windows and you can download it right here.

Now, install Minimal ADB and Fastboot on your Windows PC. Also copy the Magisk files to your device’s internal storage. Next, activate the developer options on your phone. Do it from the settings, in the section About phone, by clicking several times on the build number.

Activate developer options in settingsActivate developer options in settings

So go to System and click on Developer options.

Developer options in settingsDeveloper options in settings

Enable the option USB Debugging.

Enable USB debuggingEnable USB debugging

From your computer, open Minimal ADB and Fastboot and run the command adb reboot bootloader. If it doesn’t work, see if a message appears on the mobile device screen. In that case, use it to authorize the computer.

Restart phone from PCRestart phone from PC

Copy the TWRP IMG file you previously downloaded to the path C: Program Files (x86) Minimal ADB and Fastboot. Then, in the same command line window, type and run fastboot flash recovery twrp-xxxx-xxx.img.

Install TWRPInstall TWRP

At this point, TWRP will already be available on your device. Exit fastboot mode and start the bootloader. To do this, you may need to use a specific combination of buttons. Once on the TWRP main screen, tap on Install.

Install file in TWRPInstall file in TWRP

Navigate to the folder where you saved the Magisk ZIP file and select it. If you need to install more than one file, repeat this process.

Select FileSelect File

Use the slider to install Magisk.

Flash ZIP with TWRPFlash ZIP with TWRP

To finish, click on Reboot to system.

Reboot the systemReboot the system

At this point, you already have root permissions and can install any ROM. Now is the time to install LineageOS.

Install LineageOS

To start the LineageOS installation, you need to download the image from your official website. Make sure you get the one that is compatible with your device. When the download is complete, transfer the file to the internal memory and return to the recovery, that is, to TWRP. There, tap on Wipe.

Initiate system wipeInitiate system wipe

On the next screen, tap Advanced Wipe.

Advanced eraseAdvanced erase

Check the boxes Dalvik / ART Cache, System, Cache, Data and slide the control called Swipe to Wipe.

Select partitions and start eraseSelect partitions and start erase

When the process finishes, go back to the main screen, tap on Install and, using the file explorer, locate the LineageOS ZIP that you previously downloaded.

Locate ZIP of LineageOSLocate ZIP of LineageOS

Click on it and use the slider to start the installation.

Install LineageOSInstall LineageOS

When finished, restart the device with the button Reboot System.

Reboot deviceReboot device

Finally, LineageOS will be ready to be configured from scratch.

How to install GApps on LineageOS

One of the good points of LineageOS is the privacy it brings. By default, it does not include Google applications or services. Rather, it has its own applications, based on AOSP experience. Thanks to them, you will be able to access your mail, manage calls, view text messages or organize your photos. However, if you cannot do without GApps, or what is the same, Google applications, we will teach you to install them easily.

On your computer, open the browser and access the page Open GApps project official website. Select your processor, the version of Android you installed and check the option Stock. To start the download, click the button below.

Download GappsDownload Gapps

Transfer the ZIP file to the internal memory of your device and restart the phone in recovery mode, entering TWRP. Tap on Install.

Install a ZIP in the recoveryInstall a ZIP in the recovery

Go to the directory where you saved the GApps ZIP and click on it.

Locate the ZIPLocate the ZIP

To finish, slide the lower control to the right.

Install GAppsInstall GApps

When the installation is complete, the Google applications will now be available on your phone and will have replaced the LineageOS applications.

Installing LineageOS on my phone: is it really worth it?

LineageOS is a very stable ROM, with a fast and efficient operation. Also, if you want to get out of the clutches of Google and have a completely private device, you should definitely consider its installation. However, keep in mind that the method described in this guide carries some risks. In the worst case, your device may be unusable, being necessary to resort to technical service. Yes, installing LineageOS is worth it and a lot, as long as you have a minimum knowledge. Only then will the process be successful and allow you to fully enjoy your device.