How to flash an Android smartphone

The smartphone has become “buggy”? Just want to upgrade it? The mobile phone can be reflashed. This article discusses methods that will help you properly prepare a gadget running on an android for flashing, as well as ways to change it through a PC or laptop. In addition, we considered the possibility of flashing a “smart” phone without additional “hardware”. Read on to resolve this issue yourself.

Preparing for firmware

Competent firmware requires certain preparatory steps. It is necessary to take into account the hardware stuffing of smart mobile phones: the type of firmware, the amount of RAM , the assembly series (kernel) and the number – the version of the system developed to interact with the device – the operating system. These indicators allow you to choose a firmware option, whose installation will not lead to functional impairments when working with the gadget.


Before starting the firmware, a Backup is mandatory (backing up data and returning it to its original state). This procedure is not difficult to do on your own.

First of all, unpack the two files that are contained in the corresponding archive on the SD card into a directory called “script”, which is located in the root section.

The drive must be reformatted to FAT32 (just FAT – not suitable for androids) and inserted into the “script” directory. Remember that the gadget must be disabled when formatting and transferring the backup script.

After that, the boot files will be downloaded to the flash card. The signal to complete the process will be displayed on the display about its completion, and the drive is allowed to be removed.

Then you need to transfer “u-boot.bin”, “wload.bin” and “env.bin”, and then – change two of them in the firmware – “u-boot.bin” and “wload.bin”, without changing the name …

Attention! You need to transfer data to a PC or laptop . They contain information that will be useful when downloading a new “firmware” version.

The user has the opportunity to automate the backup procedure using the appropriate software. In this case, there is no need to identify files by their importance, track their changes, and transfer to another device, which saves time.

There are many applications developed for this purpose, but to install some you need to spend money, while others may not work correctly, which may cause the phone to work worse after flashing. But there are applications that work like a Swiss watch and are available to the user for free.

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3 handy backup apps:

  1. Super Backup – fast and convenient software – will help you back up and restore data, applications and smartphone settings. Note that you may need root access to use it. In addition, you have to pay for the premium option, but this is not at all necessary. When paying for a premium, advertisements that “pop up” in the free version are disabled. Otherwise, they are no different.
  2. Helium App Sync and Backup is available in a paid and also available at no cost option. The first one allows you to use a cloud storage, plan a backup, and relieve the user of advertising banners. There is no need to pay for basic functions – SMS, call log reservation. There is no need for rooting for the application, however, “disenfranchised” users will have to install an additional program for the application to work.
  3. Ultimate Backup is a universal mobile software. Bonuses of the paid version are the scheduler and restore a copy from the cloud. The free version backs up files that are on the local storage, is equipped with an uninstaller, a task killer function that allows you to force the process to end, as well as clearing the device from the cache.

Note: when backing up, as with flashing a device, take into account the battery charge. It is recommended to put the device on charge, for example, connect it to the Xiaomi Mi Power bank .

See also: Android and iOS: 6 options borrowed from each other

Installing the software required for the firmware

To flash a gadget using a computer, you need preliminary preparation and an arsenal of software, plus drivers. All this is recommended to be downloaded from the official website of the company – the manufacturer of the flashing smartphone. Otherwise, the smartphone may “die”. Remember that you need to select the firmware in the same way as the drivers – exactly for the model of the “smart” phone .

One of the useful utilities for flashing is Mobileuncle MTK Tools. She requests developer access.

After obtaining the development rights, you need to download the “CWM-recovery” corresponding to the specific model that you need to flash. Then you need to “transfer” the downloaded archive to the device’s drive. In this case, the memory “sewn” into the phone is not a reliable storage.

Note: This application is tailored for the chipsets released by MediaTech.

Only after completing the above steps should you run the program, which will automatically find the previously saved “CWM-recovery” and ask for confirmation of the update. To confirm the action, click “OK”.

Further – just wait.

See also: How to unlock your phone: 5 ways that work

Flashing a smartphone on Android using a computer

It is more convenient to “flash” the gadget through a PC. For users who work with Windows , starting from the seventh version, it is easier to solve the problem. They are either not required to identify the device, or the system will offer to automatically find them on the network.

Important! Regardless of the brand of the gadget, be it Lenovo or LG, software downloaded from unofficial sources, during installation, can lead to the “death” of the phone.

When flashing a phone via a PC, you cannot do without backing up files. To carry out this operation, you must:

  1. Launch the previously downloaded CMW-recovery, sharpened for a specific smartphone model.
  2. Click on the option in the menu that allows you to save the current ROM.
  3. Wait until a window appears with the “name” of the forthcoming Backup identical to the creation date (the file name can be edited by the user if desired).

Then the device will automatically reboot. Next comes the process that does not require user intervention.

Note: Is copying taking too long? – Not scary: the time it takes to complete a task depends on the amount of information being processed.

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When the backup has finished, the user should go to CMW, find the “Backups” section there and select the appropriate file from the list.

Another useful program for PC is Mobogenie, it will help you save SMS, contacts and media files. Using this software is quite simple:

Install it on your computer ➡ Connect your smartphone via USB ➡ Wait until the device is detected and click “Backup” (after the files will be transferred to your computer) ➡ To restore data, click “Restore” and specify the path to store the file.

It’s time to install the “flashing” file. The phone battery must be 100% charged. The gadget (for example, Samsung Galaxy A7 2017 ) is turned off. The entrance to the new Recovery is carried out by simultaneously pressing Power + Volume Up (the combination may differ for devices of different brands).

In the “highlighted” window, you will need to click on “Reboot System Now”, then – “Wipe data / Factory reset”. After – confirmation, and then – clicking on “Wipe cache partition” and again confirmation.

In order for the firmware to start and start installing, the user should click on “Install from sdcard”, and then on “Choose zip from internal sdcard”. After that, you need to find the previously downloaded archive containing the firmware.

All that remains for the user is to click “ok” and wait until the installation is over, after which the smartphone (for example, Samsung Galaxy J5 ) will need to be rebooted. The first boot after flashing may take longer than usual. This is fine.

Interesting to read: TOP-10 smartphones with a powerful battery

Updating the operating system through the manufacturer

There is nothing difficult in installing official Android updates, unlike custom firmwares.

The user must determine the version of the software that is installed in his phone: for example, Samsung Galaxy J3 has 5.1 version. In order to find the information you are interested in about the device, you need to go to the settings, select the “system item”, find the section “about the phone” there. When the list opens, the user needs to find and view the operating system, and look into the directory that contains information about when the security system was last updated.

Please note: the names of the sections in different android generations may differ slightly.

Typically, the system notifies the user that there are updates for the corresponding model. But the notification may not arrive on time, or it may be accidentally deleted by the user – it doesn’t matter.

In the system options, you need to find the item “System update” and press the “ok” button, after which the updates will begin to be installed. Most often, the action takes place in the background. Upon completion of the process, the device will automatically reboot or ask for confirmation. After that, the updates will become available to the user.

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You may not be able to download the update. There are two explanations for this situation: updates for a specific gadget model are no longer released, or their latest version is installed.

Attention! If the system has not been updated, the smartphone owner is advised to wait for a second attempt. It may take more than one day.

The device will try to update the system automatically. As soon as updates become available, the user will be notified if this option is not disabled. If the user wants to try the update again on his own, then it is possible to do this according to the instructions given above, however, earlier than a day after the last attempt, it is pointless to do this.

Note: Manufacturer technical support for devices ends approximately 3 years after the release of the model. If the phone is “older than” 3 years old, then you should not expect updates from the manufacturer. In this case, those who want to upgrade their phone have only one solution – custom firmware.

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Installing custom firmware

To update the OS, the user needs to be rooted. This often requires unlocking a bootloader called the bootloader. An exception is cases of using additional applications, for example, “King Root”.

It will not be difficult for owners of phones from HTC, Huawei , Sony , Samsung to unlock the “bootloader” . The main thing is that the actions correspond to the instructions. But with products “made in China” and with devices that are tied to a specific operator, everything is much more complicated.

Attention! After independent “experiments”, there is a possibility that the smartphone (even if it is good as the HTC U11 4 / 64GB ) will no longer start. And even if the device is still under warranty, most workshops will evaluate such a breakdown as not guaranteed: the user will have to answer for the consequences on his own.

Before you start unlocking Bootloader, it is recommended to back up your data and save the resulting files to a laptop or PC in order to be able to return to the starting point and restore the system.

When the reserve is safe, you can proceed with the following actions:

  1. Download “Android SDK”: It is a free download from the official website.
  2. Install the necessary drivers: determined by the Windows system or searched on the manufacturer’s website.
  3. Find “SDK Tools” in the “Android SDK” program and find the required “archiver” (Zip format is preferable).
  4. Unpack the archive.

There is another, simplified version – “SDK Manager”, which is located in the utility directory. In the list that appears, click on “Android SDK Platform-tools and use” Install Packages “. The next window will pop up, you will need to accept the license. When the installation is over, you can close the window.

It is interesting to read: TOP-10 of the best Samsung smartphones – Rating of 2017

Note: if a software window appears and disappears immediately when you try to start it, you need to install Java from an officially confirmed site.

You will also need to download individual drivers (for example, for Huawei there is a utility called “HiSuite”, and for HTC – HTC “Sync Manage”).

What to do next:

  1. Enter “About phone” – the section located in the general settings.
  2. Briefly click on the displayed build number until the smartphone notifies the user that the options for the developer are open / available.
  3. Return to the settings and find the item that appears for developers there.
  4. It is recommended to select “USB debugging”, and if the option “OEM unlock” is also available in the menu, install it as well.

In order to unlock Bootloader, the user will need a code that is available on the manufacturer’s official website. To do this, the owner needs to enter the device ID. This information is indicated on the packaging of the gadget or in the documentation. In some cases, you will need an IMEI to get the code.

There is data – it’s time to “unlock”:
Turn off the gadget

Enter “Fastboot” -mode (for this you need to hold down “power” + “volume down”)

Connect the phone using micro USB to a laptop

Open “Android SDK”

Platform tools

Press and hold “Shift”

Open context menu

Go to command window

In the command window, designate the one that is suitable for a particular device, for example, fastboot oem unlock + personal code provided by the manufacturer – for HTC (for example, ONE X10 DS ) or fastboot flash unlock unlock.bin + individual code for LG.

If you need to confirm the manipulations done on the phone (for example, LG X POWER ), use the volume button to select the answer “Yes” and then press the power button without pinching it.

After a while, the Android icon will appear on the display. This means the bootloader has been successfully unlocked.

Use the “Vol” + “Power” buttons to select and confirm the reboot function. The device can turn on for 10-15 minutes.

To get the rights required for custom flashing, use applications like “SuperSU”, “KingRoot” or similar android software. For those who like to “use” custom versions of android firmware, this instruction + applications – “helpers” is a great option for upgrading technology.

Interesting to read: Review of the new Samsung Galaxy J7 2017 (SM – J730): a flagship among state employees, a budget employee among flagships

What to do if the phone does not turn on after flashing

The phone started up. The manufacturer’s logo appeared and that’s it. You shouldn’t “bury” your favorite gadget in advance. Sometimes you just need to reboot your smartphone again.

The result has not changed? – There are two solutions: 1) try to flash the device again; 2) return the smartphone (for example, Sony Xperia L1 G3312 ) to its original state using the previously saved backup for data recovery.

To use the “backup” files intended for recovery, you will need:

  1. Install drivers.
  2. Download the single-file firmware related to the official version.
  3. Download the program “ODIN” (works with both official and custom versions).
  4. Enter ODIN-mode (“Vol + Home + Power”).
  5. Wait for the download.

Single-file firmware is intended for the PDA part, which means that in the menu you should select the item corresponding to the “name” and indicate the path (path) to the “firmware” file. In the window that appears, check the indicated items and leave the checkboxes only for “Auto Reboot” and “F. Reset Time”.

It’s time to connect your phone to a PC via USB, for example, ANKER Powerline – 1.8m V3 . When the indicator of the COM ports glows blue, you should “start” (click on “Start”) and wait for the end of the process.

Attention! The described process for recovering information was tested on Samsung. Driver and software names may vary. Each model and brand of gadget requires a personal approach depending on the hardware component.

Read also: Review of the smartphone LG Stylus 3 M400DY – new in 2017

The methods discussed in this article will help you reflash a smartphone that works on Android, with or without a computer. Remember that all actions must be performed carefully and consistently: carelessness can lead to damage to the device. If you are not sure of the above, the owner of a “smart” mobile phone is better off contacting a service center. It’s better to check your strength on an old device.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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