Cyanogen OS Alternatives For OnePlus One Users; How To Unlock Bootloader, Flash Custom Recovery And Install Custom ROM


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Soon after Google launched Android OS in 2008, an open-source community ‘Cyanogen‘ introduced an aftermarket firmware, CyanogenMod, in 2009 with an aim to build better version of Android OS. CyanogenMod CEO Kirt McMaster once said ‘we’re attempting to take Android away from Google.’ While CyanogenMod did gain the popularity of being one of the favorite among custom ROM flashers, the company failed to kill Android. After some layoffs in OS development arm in July this year, the company has finally put the nail in the coffin by announcing the shutting down of its service and OS development.

Cyanogen partnered OnePlus in 2014 to offer Cyanogen OS on OnePlus One. The company later entered into an exclusive tip up with Micromax‘s sub-brand YU to offer Cyanogen OS on its smartphones, forcing OnePlus to launch its own operating system. Both OnePlus and YU pulled off the partnership – with YU going for stock Android, and OnePlus coming up with its own OxygenOS for OnePlus 2 and OnePlus 3. Cyanogen had also tied up with Lenovo‘s sub-brand ZUK and the company’s Z1 runs on CyanogenMod 12 (Lollipop). The company has also announced update for CyanogenMod 14 based on Android Nougat, but now things seems to have gone in jeopardy.

ALSO READ: Cyanogen OS, services to shut down by December 31

If you own a OnePlus One or ZUK Z1, there is hardly any hope for future updates. But, one of the best things about having an Android smartphone is the ability of tweaking the device to your liking. Thanks to Android’s Open-Source nature and some crafty developers community, there is a ray of hope to get the latest OS in the form of custom ROM.

ALSO READ: Lenovo ZUK Z1 review: A mighty powerhouse that doesn’t cost a bomb!

A quick look at XDA Development forums page of OnePlus One, and you have a lot a custom ROMs to choose from, including different variants of Android 7.1.1 Nougat ones too. You have the likes of Android Ice Cold Project ROM, DarkobasROM, hyperUnicorns, Reserruction Remix and more to choose from. But before you could install one on your OnePlus One, there are a few key requirements.

How to root, unlock and install custom ROM on OnePlus One

To begin with, head over to Settings > About Phone > and tap for 7-8 times on Build Number to unlock Developer Options. Then go to Settings > About Phone > Developer Options and enable USB Debugging.

Next, download and install the OnePlus One USB drivers for your smartphone from here, followed by ‘Minimal ADB and Fastboot’ from here. Unpack the .zip file on your desktop. Open this folder, hold ‘shift’ button on keyboard, right click and click on ‘open command window here.’ Next, connect your OnePlus One with your PC using the data cable, type adb devices in the command prompt window and hit enter. Here, your device should show under ‘connected devices.’

Step 1: Turn off your OnePlus One and enter into ‘fastboot mode’ by holding down volume up + power. On the screen, your phone will display ‘fastboot’ text.

Step 2: In the command prompt window, type fastboot oem unlock and hit enter. Once the process is complete, type fastboot reboot and hit enter. This will reboot your device.

Step 3: Download TWRP custom recovery from here. Rename the file as recovery.img and save in the Minimal ADB and fastboot folder.

Step 4: Once again enter the fastboot mode by holding the volume up + power buttton, and then, in command prompt window, type fastboot flash recovery recovery.img and hit inter.

Step 5: Download Super User file from here, rename it to SU.zip and pur it inside the Minimal ADB and fastboot folder. In command prompt, type adb push UPDATE-SU.zip /sdcard/ and hit enter.

Now you have your OnePlus One bootloader unlocked, rooted and a custom recovery. Next, download any of the custom ROMs from this page along with the corresponding GApps, and save it to the root of your phone’s storage.

Step 6: Turn off your OnePlus One, and hold the volume down + power button to enter recovery mode. First choose wipe data / factory reset, followed by install (locate the ROM file) and swipe to confirm installation. Next, install GApps, and reboot the phone.

Now, if you’ve done all the steps correctly, your OnePlus One should reboot with the custom ROM. Do note that the first boot after installation may take about 12-15 minutes.

The process for installing custom ROM on ZUK Z1 and YU devices is quite similar. You need to look for custom ROMs on respective Android development pages, find TWRP recovery and super user file root it.

Disclaimer: Be very careful while flashing the custom ROMs and recoveries as even a single mistake could brick your device. Proceed at your own risk.

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