My Attempt At Simple Instructions to Root and Install Cyanogenmod

Goodspike

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Aug 18, 2015
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I finally rooted my first Android device yesterday, and part of the reason for not ever having done it before was the lack of clear instructions anywhere. I did it on my 2012 Nexus 7 which had been virtually unusable since the Lollipop OS was updated, so I figured I had nothing to lose. The problem with instructions I noted was everyone using terms of art which didn't make any sense to those not familiar with the process. So here is my attempt at easy instructions, and the sources I found useful.

Before beginning anything, you need to turn on "USB debugging." That requires turning on "Developer Mode" which is done by going to Settings/About Tablet and then hitting "Build Number" 7 times (it's different in the CM OS). From there you can back out one menu level and see the developer mode menu. Turn on USB debugging."

Next you need to unlock your bootloader and then root the tablet. This old CNET article was very useful, and I used the Nexus Root Toolkit described in there. How to root your Google Nexus 7 - CNET

Note that without USB debugging turned on that app won't find your tablet. The process I used in order was first creating a backup, then doing the "initial setup" process, then unlock, then root. That app provides excellent instructions along the way, so I won't even try to explain them. The "initial setup" took the most time. When you're done with that you then have your tablet rooted.

Next you have to get your Cyanogenmod ROM (or alternative) which you can find here:
CyanogenMod Downloads

You want the Build zip file (a recent one), not Recovery. My process was to download that to my computer, and the copy into the tablet via USB. Copy it into the "Internal Storage" folder. That zip file will install your new ROM.

Next you need to install your new ROM. The unlock/rooting process installed (I think) the TWRP recovery program. You access it by turning off your tablet, hitting power and down volume at the same time until the screen awakens, then hitting down volume 2x (or more) until you get to "recovery mode" as the option, then you hit the power button. This site will guide you well from there:

How to Install a Custom ROM using TWRP Recovery - Androiding.how

But in a nutshell you need to hit Wipe and then swipe at the bottom to start that process, then hit "Install" and select the ROM you copied over and then swipe, then wipe again, then reboot. This will then install the CM Rom when the tablet reboots and you can set it up as if it's a new tablet.

The final thing is to download the Google apps, like the Play Store, Chrome, etc. Apparently CM can't legally have those installed as part of the ROM. I found those here: Google Apps (Gapps) - Download Latest Gapps for Android (I hope that's a safe site--unlike some other rooting sites there were no warnings).

You have to select the correct GAPP for the OS used, and then copy it to the same place you copied your ROM zip file. Go back into recovery mode and then select "Install," select the GAPP file, swipe and when complete reboot.

I hope this helps. If anyone more experienced sees errors in that approach, please post. I realize there might be alternative ways (e.g. downloading files directly to the tablet rather than copying, etc.), but this worked well for me.

One final thing. I had my Google account's 2 factor authentication setup with the new Prompt system. That created problems signing into Chrome and with the Play Store, so I had to revert back to the old text code system (at least temporarily).
 
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