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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How To Install A ROM Or App From Zip File To Android Device From Recovery

Please note that the terms ‘installing’ and ‘flashing’ can be used interchangeably here and will mean the same thing.
Disclaimer: Although we have done our best to make the following procedure as safe as possible, you should still follow this guide at your own risk.
Rooting your device renders its warranty void.
ALWAYS take backups before rooting or flashing a custom ROM or app to your phone.
Flashing a defective ROM or app to your phone might brick it so choose the ROMs and software that you flash wisely and never install a ROM or application from an untrusted source.
AddictiveTips will not be liable if your device gets damaged or bricked during the process.
AndroidOfficial ROM updates from device manufacturers or carriers are released in conveniently packaged installation files that you can run on your computer while your Android device is connected to it, and they automatically take care of updating your phone’s system. Similarly, most applications are available directly in the Android Market for easy installation, or come packaged as convenient ‘.apk’ files that you can just run on your Android phone to install. The case is not the same with most custom ROMs and several custom applications, which come in .zip files rather than PC installers or .apk files.
The idea of installing a customized operating system to their smartphone can be quite intimidating for inexperienced users. Though once they get used to it, some of them end up trying out different ROMs for their devices several times a day. While we don’t exactly recommend that you flash every new ROM that is made available for your Android phone, we are here to help you get over the fear of flashing a ROM that enhances the capabilities of your device so that you can use it to its fullest potential.
Here is a quick look at what we will be covering in this guide. Feel free to skip to the real deal if you already meet the prerequisites.
  • Before We Begin: Battery Check
  • Before We Begin: Unlocking the Bootloader (Stock Android Devices Only)
  • Before We Begin: Rooting
  • Before We Proceed: Installing a Custom Recovery
  • The Real Deal: Installing a Custom ROM to your Phone
  • The Real Deal: Installing an App From a Zip File to your Phone
There are certain steps that you might not require, and we shall be mentioning them in each section.
Before We Begin: Battery Check
Before you proceed with any of the following steps, make sure your phone’s battery level is not too low. It is recommended to have it at 50% or more. Do NOT take this lightly. If your phone’s battery runs out while you are attempting to flash a custom ROM, there is a significant chance of your phone getting bricked and becoming unusable PERMANENTLY.
Before We Begin: Unlocking the Bootloader (Stock Android Devices Only)
Note: This step applies only to Android devices with stock version of Android installed. At the moment, Google Nexus One and Nexus S are the only two such devices available. You may skip this step if you are using any other Android device.
Users of stock Android devices such as the Google Nexus One or Nexus S also need to unlock its bootloader before they can proceed. To do this, simply follow our guide on what is the bootloader and how to unlock it for stock Android phones. Once you have done this, you may proceed to the next step.


Before We Begin: Rooting
Note: You may skip this step if your device is already rooted, or if you already know how to root it.
Before you can install a custom ROM to your device, your phone needs to be rooted.  Rooting is basically administrator or root level access required to perform administrative tasks on your Android device. To root your phone, you can refer to our detailed guide on how to root an Android device. Once you are done with the rooting process, you may proceed to the next step.
Before We Proceed: Installing A Custom Recovery
Note: You may skip this step if you already have a custom recovery installed on your device.
Rooting grants you the necessary access level to execute administrative tasks on your Android device but it is the recovery that provides the tools necessary to actually perform those tasks. While every Android device ships with a recovery, the stock recovery is quite limited in what it lets you do, and you need a custom recovery image to perform advanced operations on your device. We have covered this process in detail in our guide on how to install a custom recovery to a rooted Android device that you can follow. Once you have a custom recovery installed on your phone, you will be ready to proceed to the next step.
The Real Deal: Installing a Custom ROM to your Phone
Now that you have a custom recovery installed on your phone, you can perform all sorts of wonderful advanced operations on your device and this includes the ability to flash a ROM or application from a zip file. The procedure is pretty standard for most ROMs, though there are certain ROMs which require additional steps for their installation. Since those steps differ from ROM to ROM, we shall be mentioning those in our reviews and guides on those ROMs, and feature only the standard instructions here.
There are two paths to follow from here. You can either use ROM Manager to specify the actions you need performed in Recovery, and it will take care of everything for you, or you may manually reboot your phone into recovery to perform the steps yourself. We will cover both methods here. If you used the ROM Manager method to flash ClockworkMod recovery, you already have it installed. If you used some other method to flash the recovery, or flashed a recovery other than ClockworkMod, you might not have ROM Manager installed but you can get it for free by searching for it at the Android Market.
  • Using ROM Manager
  1. Download the ROM from the link given in the article featuring that ROM. It should be a zip file.
  2. Connect your phone to your computer via USB and mount its storage card.
  3. Copy the downloaded ROM to the storage card. It is a good idea to place it on the root of the storage card.
  4. Launch ROM Manager on your phone.
  5. Tap ‘Install ROM from SD Card’
  6. Scroll down and tap on the zip file for the ROM that you copied to your sd card in step 3. You will be presented with a dialog box titled ‘Install Queue’.
  7. In case you want to install another zip file immediately after this ROM, tap ‘Add zip’ and select the next zip file that you want flashed. Skip this step if the ROM is all you want to flash for now.
  8. Tap ‘OK’. You will now see a dialog titled ‘ROM Pre-Installation’, with options to backup the existing ROM and wipe data and cache.
  9. ALWAYS check ‘Backup Existing ROM’ UNLESS you can afford to lose everything that’s on your phone at the moment.
  10. ALWAYS check ‘Wipe Data and Cache’, UNLESS the ROM you are attempting to flash is an updated version of the same ROM that you are currently using, and is compatible with the previous installation’s data. It is usually mentioned with the update whether you can install it over a previous version without wiping its data or not.
  11. Tap ‘OK’ and confirm any prompt that you get. Your device will now reboot into recovery and the selected ROM will be automatically installed. The new ROM will be booted once the installation is complete, though you might be prompted to confirm the reboot.
  • Manually
  1. Download the ROM from the link given in the article featuring that ROM. It should be a zip file.
  2. Connect your phone to your computer via USB and mount its storage card.
  3. Copy the downloaded ROM to the root of the storage card.
  4. Power your phone off and reboot it into recovery. This will involve using a combination of your device’s hardware keys. In case you don’t know how to do this, you can follow our guide on how to boot your phone into recovery. Once in recovery, you can navigate its menu using the volume up and volume down hardware keys or your phone’s trackball / optical track pad if it comes equipped with one.
  5. Use the ‘backup and restore’ feature of recovery to backup your existing ROM installation, software and data. This step is known as performing a nandroid backup. For more information on how to make and restore backups, see our guide on how to perform and restore a nandroid backup. ALWAYS perform a backup before flashing a custom ROM, UNLESS you can afford to lose everything that’s on your phone at the moment.
    Note: ALWAYS choose to perform the following steps 6, 7 and 8 UNLESS the ROM you are attempting to flash is an updated version of the same ROM that you are currently using, and is compatible with the current installation’s data. It is usually mentioned with the update whether you can install it over a previous version without wiping its data or not.
  6. Get back to the main recovery menu and use the option ‘wipe data/factory reset’. You will be prompted to confirm this action. Select “Yes – Delete all user data”.
  7. From the main recovery menu, select ‘wipe cache partition’. You will be prompted to confirm this action. Select ‘Yes – Wipe Cache’.
  8. From the main recovery menu, enter the ‘advanced’ menu. From this menu, select ‘Wipe Dalvik Cache’. You will be prompted to confirm this action. Select ‘Yes – Wipe Dalvik Cache’.
  9. Go back to the main recovery menu by pressing the back button and select the ‘Install zip from SD card’ option.
  10. Select ‘choose zip from sdcard’ to get a list of the files and folders on your SD card. Scroll to the ROM’s file that you copied there in step 3, and select it. You will be prompted to confirm this action. Select ‘Yes – Install file_name.zip’ where file_name.zip is the name of the zip file that you are trying to install.
  11. Wait patiently while the ROM is flashed to your phone via recovery.
  12. Once the installation is complete, head back to the main recovery menu if you aren’t there, and select ‘reboot system now’. Your phone will now boot into the newly installed ROM.
The Real Deal: Installing an App From a Zip File to your Phone
While most apps for Android devices are available at the app store for direct download and installation or as .apk files for direct installation, there are certain apps which are only available as zip files installable from recovery. Their installation procedure is the same as installing a custom ROM that we just featured above. However, there are a few minute differences.
  • When installing an app from a zip file, you do NOT need to perform the ‘wipe data/factory reset’ step so NEVER do that unless you know what you are doing, have a complete backup and want to start using your ROM as a fresh installation with the new app added.
  • You might or might not need to wipe the cache and the dalvik cache for installing apps from zip file. This varies from app to app and the developers of such apps as well as many reviewers including us mention when featuring an app whether it requires a cache and dalvik cache wipe or not. However, it never hurts to wipe these caches anyway, and it does not effect the data on your device or its storage card.

There you go, this concludes our guide on how to flash a ROM or app from a zip file to your Android device using a custom recovery. To try out the skills that you just learned, search our site for custom ROMs for your phone and start flashing, always remembering to take backups first!

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