Thursday, 10 October 2019

How to Upgrade Your Smart Phone or Tablet To Latest Android

Before anything, I would like to be clear I am just sharing my experience and I shall not be responsible for any thing wrong that may happen on your tablet or phone. When visiting sites I mentioned in this blog, I am not responsible for the security of your device.

In 2012 I bought my tablet Samsung Note 10.1 2012 WiFI only, GT-8013 model. This is a decent gorgeous tablet with a pen. This has a very good review during its time. The one I bought is even better because is the first Quad-core first version and has Android. My tablet's specification from manufacturer: https://www.samsung.com/us/support/owners/product/galaxy-note-10-1-wi-fi#productInfo

But as all things in technology advances, now that hardware can handle more complex software, Android improves its version like any other. When Android 7, was released, I noticed apps in my tablet do not get updated anymore. The new apps and new updates requires Android 7 and mine is only in 4.1. Apps starts to lag especially when connecting to the WiFi. I do not remember what came to me, but I started searching the web for possibilities to upgrade my tablet. I found that is possible to change its Android to an open Android release version 7. I found LineageOS 14.1.

Honestly, this decision is for a brave soul. Upgrading a phone or tablet to latest Android is not an easy one for me. I am a total ignorant about it. Thank you for the people who posted their experiences and edited software, I was successful. May I expressed, that reading their blogs doesn’t mean it is successful straight away. It took me three days of working on my tablet on the first time. The next upgrade which is OS and GAPP and installing other apps took me just less than a day, still in a confuse state. This is why I wrote this blog to share and have this as a guide when I upgrade LineageOS in my tablet to 17.1 or higher.

Here is a how to upgrade your phone or tablet.
  1. Log or save a picture of your phone tablet specification. Make sure you save the detail information of your tablet or phone. These information be very helpful to collect the right version of software/apps to upgrade. Mine is Samsung Note 10.1 2012 WiFi only, GT-8013 model. 
  2. Back it up.
    • If your phone/tablet can have a SD card, make sure it has one and backup here. 
    • Also, back it up in a PC. It can’t hurt to have many backups.
    • If you can enable Google Backup, it is worth doing this. This save information about apps installed in your phone/tablet, which is will install automatically (with is latest versions available from play store) when do a restore. I have not used this to bring back the apps into my phone after an upgrade, but to reinstall my phone when I forgotten my password.
    1. Base on the specification, download the software for upgrade.  Again my phone / tablet is Samsung Note 10.1 2012 WiFi only, GT-8013 model. So, I will need, the specific for it.
      1. Stock ROM firmware / TWRP  / ClockworkMod Recovery (CWM Recovery)
        Note: ROM is Read-Only-Memory of any computing device. Stock ROM is the default firmware that comes with any Android device. TWRP is for Team Win Recovery Project, also the name given to Stock ROMs.
      2. Odin to flash Stock ROM this from PC to phone/tablet.
        This is a software that you download and run to your PC, so you can connect the PC to your tablets/ phone's "Odin Mode".Note: Flash means to install a firmware into the ROM of a computer device. I got Odin, Stock ROM (or TWRP), and Rooting app from Unified_Android_Toolkit. These can be download via from https://skipsoft.net/skipsoft-unified-android-toolkit/. From Unified Android Toolkit choose 37 for device Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2012 to download files needed. After going through the options, these will be in recovery folder. I would like to suggest to donate to them if you are successful in using Unified_Android_Toolkit. These is what I used on my tablet. It may also work on yours or may not.   
      3. Samsung Kies or USB drivers to enable debugging tool.  The Odin may not work, this could resolve this issue. 
      4. Rooting software is required to free the tablet from manufacturer’s access and enable a user to access the firmware. Rooting is a process that allows you to attain root access to the Android operating system code (the equivalent term for Apple devices id jailbreaking). It gives you privileges to modify the software code on the device or install other software that the manufacturer wouldn't normally allow you to.
      5. Android OS, the LineageOS (Android OS that will work for the model of your phone/tablet).
        At this time of creating this blog, the only Android works on my Samsung Note 10.1 2012 WiFi only, GT-8013 is LineageOS 14.1 from https://forum.xda-developers.com/devdb/project/dl/?id=26049.
        Where you can download Android OS for your device:
        --- https://www.theandroidsoul.com/download-lineage-os/
        --- https://www.lineageosrom.com/2016/12/list-of-devices-getting-official.html 
        --- http://www.lineageosdownloads.com/get-google-assistant-lineage-os/
      6. GApps is a bundle of Apps from Google, it also has PlayStore.
        For LineageOS 14.1, the GApps version is 7.1. You can download it from https://opengapps.org/. My Samsung Note 10.1 2012 WiFi only, GT-8013 has a 64GB SD card. I am able to copy the Aroma GApps into the SD card and installed it using TWRP, which was successfully flashed by Odin.
    2. Setup the phone/tablet for upgrade.
      I learned that, this "setting up stage" is not all about the device. It is also about how prepared I am to accept that things can go horribly wrong. Commitment is required to make it happen too. I am saying this because I almost give up because I thought I bricked my tablet. But I thought I keep going, because what else could it go wrong?
      Brick, bricked – this a description when things go very wrong, that your phone or tablet froze and nothing seems to work. Soft bricked, is when bricked phone is just a temporary state. This is common to experience at first when learning.   
      When things are going wrong, you might need to keep on trying to de-brick your phone tablet. I had a different experience in upgrading my tablet. I manage to wipe out my table and Adroid 4.1 OS of my tablet. I have no backup. So, I have no choice but to try to make it worked. After so many trials of pressing the button I got into Odin part of my tablet. I connect my tablet to my desktop which is running in Windows 10. My desktop won’t see my tablet. Out of the blue I decided to setup my laptop (which is also in Windows 10) to connect o my tablet. This immediately see my tablet and I am able to flash the. 
      1. When settled and still determine to do the upgrade, Install Odin in your PC. Connect your device via USB and boot your device in Odin mode
      2. When done, flash the Stock ROM / TWRP. This link has a detail illustration how the Odin works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIap2E1DYTY is how to flash firmware. Another one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYBs98R9rTs
        The Stock ROM I had successfully installed in my Samsung Note 10.1 2012 WiFi only GT-8013 model is recovery-twrp-2.7.0.0-n8013.tar from SkipSoft.net. I think this is a good guide to install TWRP into a tablet like mine, https://www.android.gs/install-twrp-recovery-galaxy-note-10-1-n8013.
        You only need to flash the Stock ROM once. After a success on this, you never need to do it again, unless it is required to flash a different one, to install a new version of Android.
    3. Upgrade the Android in your device. Install the appropriate LineageOS version on your device. The only sound open Android OS I found is LineageOS (was CyanMod before).
      There are two ways to do this:
      1. If your device has an SD card slot, copy the OS file here. The OS should be in .zip with or without .md5 file. Boot your device in TWRP / Stock ROM or CWM Recovery. Use this to install from SD card.
      2. Flash the the new Android OS to your device using ODin if your device do not have extended / external storage card. See How to Install Lineage rom using CWM Recovery from https://www.lineageosrom.com/2016/12/how-to-install-lineage-os-rom.html
    4. Install GAPPs. If your device uses SD card to extend its storage, you may be able to install the biggest Gapp package - aroma. After you downloaded this into your PC, copy this to the SD card (via SD card reader off course). Put the SD card to your device. Reboot your device to TWRP / CWRM / Stock ROM, to install aroma GApp.
      Important! The big packages of GApp like the aroma will have options that you have to deal with. There will be a menu that you will need to go up, down, left right using the volume, on and off button. Going through the options in GAPP aroma bundle can be more the most difficult of the upgrade. Try to choose not to list options, so GAPP aroma installation is more automated. 
    After I had reinstall the latest Android possible my Samsung Note 10.1 to have (because I forgot my password). The responsiveness of the screen is much better. I still look forward for LineageOS 17.1 for my tablet.

    But this must not make you think, all are easy. Good for you if it does. But if you are going through it like me, here are some additional notes links about how people get around this issues.
    Thank you for reading this blog. I hope it had help you in what you would like to do with your phone, whether it is worth the hassle of learning all these to upgrade it yourself or just buy a new one.

    I apologies if links for your phone are not provided. But this blog is for the purpose of describing the process as well as to remind me on what to do until the next upgrade.

    For those who find this site useful, feel free to comment and add your device and where you get the firmware/software/apps that you had successfully flashed/installed.

    Thank you.

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