There are two ways to install a Project Treble Custom ROM and today I’ll be showing you how to install it via the custom recovery TWRP.
Along with TWRP, we can also install one from the command line if you wanted to. I’ll be going over this method in a future tutorial but find that the TWRP method is much, much easier for most people. A lot of the mods we talk about can be done via the command line but TWRP just makes things so much easier. Now, to use a tutorial like this then you need to know about the requirements of these Project Treble Custom ROMs. They’re made to be as universal as possible so you may find some exclusive hardware that doesn’t work.
For example, the external Essential Camera add-on will not work on a generic Project Treble Custom ROM and will need something that is built specifically for it. There might be a Project Treble Custom ROM that is made specifically for the Essential Phone (or any other) that resolves this issue though, so stay updated with the forum for your device over on XDA. The phone or table that we’re installing onto will also need to have its bootloader unlocked so that we can install the generic system image file.
That’s really all you should know though. If you want to install the GSI with TWRP, then of course, you will need to have TWRP installed. But again, it’s not required and I’ll be covering the command line method soon.
How to Install a Project Treble Custom ROM with TWRP
- Find out if your device supports Project Treble
- Find out if your device CPU is 32-bit or 64-bit
- Download the Project Treble Custom ROM that matches your setup
- Copy or move that IMG file to the device you want to install it on
- Now boot up into Recovery Mode
- Tap the Wipe button at the TWRP main menu
- Swipe the white arrows to perform a factory reset
- Tap the Home button once that completes
- Then tap the Install button at the TWRP main menu
- Browse to where you have the IMG file
- Tap the Install Image button
- Tap the generic system image IMG file we downloaded
- Select the System Image partition
- And swipe the white arrows to the right to install
- Then tap the Reboot System button to reboot into Android
Note – when I tried booting the Redmi Note 5 Pro into LineageOS 15.1 from this guide, I was instructed to enter a password. I have never had a password setup so to get around this I booted back into Recovery Mode (you may need to boot into Recovery Mode again from the Recovery Mode so that the /data partition can be mounted) and tapped the Wipe button at the TWRP main menu. I then tapped the Format Data button and confirmed the format before tapping the Reboot System button again and successfully booting into LineageOS 15.1. You will also want to install a Google Apps package after installing the Project Treble Custom ROM if you want those apps as well (which most people do).
Project Treble is still in its infancy and the idea behind it could evolve as time goes on. This is a feature that the enthusiast Android community has been asking about for years as it makes it infinitely easier to get a custom ROM booted on a smartphone or tablet. Again, remember that these are meant to be universal so there may be a feature or two that doesn’t work properly. You’ll want to check out the XDA device forum for your phone or tablet to see what other people are experiencing and/or how to fix it.
To start out, you’ll want to download the generic system image for the Project Treble Custom ROM that you want to install from XDA. Once you have it downloaded, move or copy the IMG file to the smartphone or tablet where it can be easily found. We can now boot the device into Recovery Mode (this is different for certain devices, search this site to see if I have a guide up for your phone) which should be TWRP. First of all we want to do a factory reset so tap the Wipe option and then swipe the arrows at the bottom to initiate it.
Once done, tap the Home button to go back to the main menu of TWRP and then tap the Install button at the top left. You can then browse to the folder that you put the IMG file in but you won’t see it at first. Instead, we need to tap the Install Image button at the bottom right so it will display IMG files. You should see it appear here and you’ll want to go ahead and tap the filename when you see it. You’ll be asked where you want to install this file and we’ll be installing it into the System Image partition.
Once selected you can then swipe the white arrows to the right to begin the installation and then wait patiently for it to complete. It shouldn’t take very long and you will see two buttons appear at the bottom of the screen when it finishes. Here, you likely want to install some Google Apps so you’ll want to tap the Home button to go back to the TWRP main menu and then install these Google Apps like you normally would. For everyone else though, just tap the Reboot System button when it appears and wait.
During my first boot with my Project Treble Custom ROM (LineageOS 15.1) and my device (Redmi Note 5 Pro), I was asked to enter a password. But I hadn’t put any password on there so there wasn’t anything to enter. Instead, I rebooted back into TWRP and then rebooted from TWRP back into TWRP again (I needed to do this so that the /data partition was mounted). Then I just proceeded to format data from the Wipe section of TWRP and then boot right back into LineageOS. This second attempt worked as it should and I could setup the Project Treble Custom ROM like you would expect.
Also, unless this generic system image was made specifically for your device then you could run into some bugs. This could be certain hardware that doesn’t work (like a fingerprint scanner or modular piece), or you could see random bugs appear. For my setup, I noticed that touching the fingerprint scanner was the same as touching the touch screen. I haven’t heard of this being a feature in LineageOS so I can only assume it’s a bug with this specific combination. If I looked for a Project Treble Custom ROM that was made specifically for my device then the developer would have likely fixed that ahead of time.
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