With my phone rooted and backed up, I was ready to make the first major change most people root their phones for: installing a new operating system. As I mentioned before, I was not a fan of Sprint’s stock Android operating system – there was just too much bloatware. I didn’t want Sprint having its own apps on my phone that I could not delete or modify.
Note: I have since learned there is software out there you can use to “debloat” your phone by freezing or altogether removing certain applications. However, you have to know what applications you are seeking to freeze/remove, and if you freeze/remove a “critical” application, certain aspects of your phone might stop working. This allows you to use the stock operating system, which has several advantages over custom operating systems believe it or not, without the annoyance of some of the applications. I decided against this route as I didn’t want to experiment with which applications I wanted to freeze/remove – I wanted a clean slate as it were.
Diving back into the xda forums and Google, I searched for custom operating systems designed to work with the LS990. There are not many. Sprint phones just don’t seem to get the attention that other carriers do. Verizon and AT&T phones have a lot of custom operating systems built for their phones, while Sprint and T-Mobile seem to have only a handful of developers dedicated to their phones. I researched a few of them and read the comments on the xda forums regarding bugs, battery life, performance, and general use. Based on reviews, I settled on OctOS.
OctOS is an AOSP (Android Operating System Project) based off CyanogenMod 12.1, which is probably the most well-known operating system for Android phones. The installation process is rather simple.
- Download the appropriate zip file containing the operating system for your phone.
- My phone, being an LS990, is located here: https://www.teamoctos.com/supported-devices/lg/lg-g3/sprint-lg-g3-ls990/
- Download the appropriate Google Apps package – the OS does not come with Google Services, and you’ll need these.
- OctOS recommends TK GAPPS (https://www.teamoctos.com/supported-devices/google-apps-gapps/)
- I used BaNkS GApps (http://fitsnugly.euroskank.com/?rom=banks&device=gapps) and have not experienced any problems I am aware of.
- Place both zip files on your phone’s external storage card. I created a custom folder called “ROMS” to house the files and subsequent updates as necessary.
- Boot your phone into recovery mode. If you don’t know how to do that, read my post about installing TWRP.
- It is highly recommended you do a factory wipe on your phone before installing any new operating system. This is the default setting for wipe and will clear out the phone’s cache and operating system/application data, but leave your internal storage in tact. The process only takes a few seconds.
- After wiping your system, go back to the TWRP main menu and go to the “Install” selection.
- Find the folder on your external storage card where you saved the .zip files. First install OctOS and then the Google Applications package. You do not need to restart your phone between installations. Technobuzz.net created a nice image of what this process should look like.
- Once OctOS and the Google Applications package are installed, reboot your phone. This will start the initialization process for your phone, which can take around 5-10 minutes to complete. Google and your phone will attempt to activate your cellular service, connect to WiFi, log into your Google account, select applications from the Google Play Store you want to restore, and apply some basic settings on your phone. After initializing, the operating system will attempt to optimize the loading of base services on your phone.
- Redownloading your applications from the Google Play Store can be frustrating. Yes, Google has a backup of all the apps you recently had installed on your phone, but downloading 50+ apps can be a nightmare. There is software out there like TitaniumBackup, which I will review in a later post, that can backup your apps (and their corresponding data) to your external storage and make this process a lot easier and more customized.
- Voila! New operating system.
Up next time, I’ll walk through OctOS’s features and give my thoughts on the operating system.