A lot has changed in the Android Operating System from the time when it first launched in 2008. So many features baked by the people at xda-developers.com, made their way into the official android that stock android is what most people will ever need, to use their phones. Additionally, stock android runs faster, smoother and technically, consumes less power.
Nonetheless, most of the android phones still face a major issue, i.e. UPDATES. To solve this problem we have custom ROMs. These are ROMs developed by 3rd part developers which can give us a taste of the newest android version on an older phone running on an older android version.
Let’s take the example of my OnePlus 3T which is 2 years old. Although OnePlus has announced that they will update it to Android Pie 9.0, we don’t know when. It gets the latest security patches every month but still runs on Android 8.0. Yes, 8.0. Not even 8.1. That’s sad, right? Somewhat!
There are plenty of stable custom ROMs running on Android Pie 9.0 available to download for OnePlus 3T but since Oxygen OS that ships with the phone is very close to stock android I decided to install Pixel Experience on my 3T.
In case you’re unfamiliar, Pixel Experience ROMs is ported from Google’s pixel devices. So, they have most of the features and design from those phones’s software plus some 3T specific features like gesture controls when screen is off for flashlight, camera and music playback.
Then, there is an option to configure the audio profile switch (three way slider on the left, above volume buttons).
I can’t stop talking about how good the stock Android ROM looks and feels and, I’m really sorry if you got bored. Let’s get into process of flashing this awesome ROM on our equally awesome 2 years old phone. The steps mentioned in this article will work for OnePlus 3 too, since it has almost the same internals as 3T. (Everything is same except an over clocked processor and a bigger battery)
Things we’ll need:
- A Computer running Windows or Linux (Commands are same for both) with ADB installed. If you don’t have ADB installed on your computer follow this guide here: 15 Seconds ADB installer – XDA
- TWRP recovery – Download from here: Official TWRP page for OnePlus 3/3T
- Pixel Experience ROM – Download from here: Pixel Experience ROM for OnePlus 3/3T
- Of course a OnePlus 3 or 3T with at least 50% battery left (WARNING: Do not attempt to flash this ROM on any other phone, not even if it’s a OnePlus phone).
How to do it – Steps to install Pixel Experience ROM on your OnePlus 3/3T:
Step 1 Move all files to one folder:
Move all downloaded files to one directory (folder) from where it’ll be easy to access the files. Let’s call it “Android Pie”.
Step 2 Unlock the boot loader:
This method is pretty straightforward for OnePlus phones. They initially launched their phone in 2014 with a custom OS – Cyanogen Mod (now, Lineage OS) so, it’s understandable that they’re a bit soft on locking down their phones unlike Xiaomi and other Chinese Companies.
NOTE: This step will wipe your data so make sure to backup any important files, messages and call logs before proceeding.
To unlock the boot loader, open settings and scroll to the bottom. Tap on about phone and scroll to the bottom again. Then, tap on Build number about 10-12 times. This will unlock the Developer options in settings. Go back in the settings app, there you should find Developer options above about phone. Tap on it and scroll down a little. There you’ll find OEM unlocking and advanced reboot options. Turn them on. Then press and hold the power/lock button. Select reboot from the menu that appears. Two more options will appear. Tap on reboot to boot loader. Then, your phone will reboot in fastboot mode.
Now connect the phone with a computer and open command prompt (on Windows) or terminal (on Linux). Then type “fastboot devices” this should display a list of connected devices. If you see something like this picture you’re good to go.
Then type “fastboot oem unlock” your phone should accept the command and ask you to confirm unlocking the device. On your phone press the volume keys to highlight the yes and no options. There once yes is highlighted press the power key to select it. Your phone should now unlock the bootloader and perform a wipe. Let it boot. Then, set up the phone.
If you see a message like this appear during the boot, it means that your phone is successfully unlocked.
Step 3 Installing and booting into TWRP:
Assuming that you have downloaded and moved all necessary files to a directory (folder) called “Android Pie”. Now, open the folder and press and hold the shift key. While holding the shift key, right click anywhere on the blank space of the window. Then, click on “open command prompt here”.
Then, connect your phone to your computer in fastboot mode. To do that, you have to first open settings on your phone and scroll to the bottom. Tap on about phone and scroll to the bottom again. Then, tap on Build number about 10-12 times. This will unlock the Developer options in settings. Go back in the settings app, there you should find Developer options above about phone. Tap on it and scroll down a little. There you’ll find advanced reboot option. Enable it. Then, press and hold the power button and select reboot followed by reboot to bootloader. Then connect your phone with your computer via USB cable.
Then, on your computer type “fastboot devices” to test whether the device is connected properly. If it’s connected, type “fastboot flash recovery RECOVERY_FILE_NAME_HERE.img” (Replace RECOVERY_FILE_NAME_HERE with the name of recovery file, in my case it was twrp-3.2.3-0-oneplus3.img). Now we want the phone to boot into this recovery so we’ll give this command “fastboot boot RECOVERY_FILE_NAME_HERE.img” (again replace RECOVERY_FILE_NAME_HERE with the name of recovery file). The phone will then boot into TWRP. Swipe the slider that says swipe to allow modification. Don’t disconnect the USB cable yet. We’ll need it in the next step.
Step 4 Installing the ROM:
This is the final step. Tap on wipe option in your phone and then select advanced wipe. There check Dalvik/ART, Cache, Data, System and Internal Storage. Then, swipe the slider to wipe. After that, go back to the home screen of TWRP. Then, type “adb devices” on your computer. This will display a list of connected devices. If it does, then type “adb usb”. This will connect your phone to the computer in usb mode. Then, type “adb push ROM_FILE_NAME.zip /sdcard” (Replace ROM_FILE_NAME with the file name of your ROM. In my case it was PixelExperience_oneplus3-9.0-20181018-1635-OFFICIAL.zip). This process might take some time since it involves transferring about 900 MB of data. After it completes you should see a message like this.
Go back to TWRP home and tap on install and select the Pixel Experience ROM file that we pushed. Then, swipe to flash. After it finishes, go back to home and select wipe then advanced wipe and check Dalvik, Cache, Data and Internal storage. (Don’t check system and USB OTG) Finally, swipe to wipe and then reboot to system.
Pixel Experience ROM should now be installed on your phone. Enjoy the new ROM!
If you face any difficulty while performing the above mentioned steps, feel free to write a comment below and we’ll try to help you.