Mobile OSs 5 - Installing LineageOS


Author: InvisibleUser Team

Installing LineageOS or any other custom ROM is actually very easy. We will explain the process in simple terms. The process is called “flashing” and you use special software for it. All you need is a custom recovery image like TWRP, Android Debug Bridge (adb), a universal adb device driver and the ZIP file of the custom ROM.

Since mid-2018, the world uses mobile devices more than desktop PCs (including laptops) computers. That makes mobile OS privacy even more important than privacy on the desktop platform.

In this and the following posts, we will introduce mobile OSs. They are widely used and it is therefore important to bring privacy to your handset. In this series, we will review the OSs iOS, Android, LineageOS and other custom ROMs with privacy features in mind.

This article is part of a series, all 6 parts are here:

Installing LineageOS (Flashing)

Now, let us head back to installing LineageOS. The guide you should use is the official installation instructions for your device, they can be found on the LineageOS website. There is a great documentation and explains the process for people that have never done it before.

On the website, there is also a list of all officially supported devices. Tips for installing LineageOS can be found on the XDA Developers Forum.

Installation Steps

We will now outline the process. The steps you need to take to install LineageOS are:

  1. Download an official LineageOS build, a custom recovery like the TWRP Recovery and adb platform tools (Android Debug Bridge) . Optionally download OpenGApps and the SU add-on to root the device.
  2. Activate USB debugging and OEM unlock in the advanced options in the Android settings. The process depends on your device, but often includes tapping the Build Number 7 times, which makes the advanced options appear.
  3. Go into fastboot mode (bootloader), unlock the phone, by enabling OEM unlock with adb. This will reset the phone. Reboot the device and enable USB debugging again, return to fastboot mode.
  4. Boot into a custom recovery (e.g. TWRP). Use Wipe and Format Data, after that, go to Advanced Wipe and delete the system partition.
  5. Go to TWRP>Advanced>Sideload and activate by swiping. Now, enter the sideload command and the path to the LineageOS package on your PC. That will flash the custom ROM. Wait for it to finish installing LineageOS!
  6. Reboot into fastboot mode and then reboot the custom recovery. Now you can optionally flash GApps or the LineageOS SU (super user) add-on to root your phone. Flashing GApps means that you install Google apps, so this is optional. If you would like to do so, we recommend OpenGApps. With OpenGApps, it is possible to choose which and how many GApps you want, Play Store only or up to all GApps ever created. They have a package called “pico”, which only installs the bare minimum of Google apps. The “pico” package includes the Google Play Services and Google Package Installer, so you should do it if you need apps that are only available on the Play Store and not on F-Droid or other resources. For good privacy apps like the Signal Messenger or the ProtonMail app, you do not need it, since you can get them from ApkMirror. You can delete the Google apps afterwards if you have rooted your phone.
  7. Finally, reboot the system and enjoy!

This is not a guide you should follow exactly when installing LineageOS, just a rough overview. The installation is different for each device and there are elaborate and easy-to-use guides available for your device on YouTube or the XDA Developers Forum. We just want to explain how it goes in general. Please consult the LineageOS website and read the instructions for your specific phone.

If the official guide is too brief for you, there is more verbose documentation available on Android Authority. You can also search for videos on the internet that show the process for your Android device. Here is a video with general info, not specific to any device.


Mobile OSs 4 - LineageOS Apps


Mobile OSs 6 - Android Alternatives and custom ROMs