How to flash CyanogenMod or another custom rom onto your phone without a computer

Android is probably the best and most versatile smartphone OS out there. It is also open source, which leads to the release of many Android mods including the famous (and amazing) CyanogenMod. CyanogenMod is basically a port of Android for many smartphones, and includes amazing features like a built-in DSP Equalizer, VPN, and Lockscreen Gestures, as well as performance enhancements and much, much more.

One problem with trying to get CyanogenMod onto your phone is trying to deal with the SDK and USB drivers for your phone. It is quite irritating, especially when you have an old Samsung Galaxy S Captivate like I do and can’t get the blasted thing to connect to any of your computers.

But if you’re having connecting issues like I did, fear not! You can put CyanogenMod (or whatever other custom firmware you want) on your Android device without even needing to pull out your USB cable! Here’€™s how. (These instructions are for CyanogenMod, but you can install any firmware zip using this method!) – Note: please read all the instructions through before actually following it. Also, use it at your own risk!

What you’€™ll need:

  • An Android Smartphone which supports CyanogenMod. For a list of devices with CyanogenMod, click here. Your device should have already been rooted in order to do this. (Google how to do it, it’s pretty easy!)
  • An active internet connection (I’d recommend using Wi-Fi, not your data connection, because you’ll be downloading some biggish files.)
  • The ability to contain the excitement of successfully flashing a ROM without having to worry about connecting to a computer (optional, but recommended)

Okay, let’€™s do it!

Step One: Download CyanogenMod for your device.

On your phone’€™s web browser, go to the CyanogenMod devices page and find your device. Click on it, and choose your build. Nightly builds are the latest builds, but they may not necessarily be stable. Experimental builds are probably not that stable, but have more features. Stable builds might be a bit behind on features, but you won’t encounter the crashes and bugs that may be present in the other two types of builds. Select your build and download the latest one. Save the zip file to a memorable location – I used a separate folder in my Download folder. Alternatively, you can download the file on your PC and transfer it to your phone via SD card or whatever else. There is no need to extract the zip file, just save it somewhere.


Step Two: Download the ClockworkMod ROM Manager Premium

Go the the Play store and download the ClockworkMod ROM Manager. It’€™s free, and it’s a handy tool for taking care of all your CWM needs. There’s also a Premium version without ads and with premium features. Install it, then run it.


Step Three: Flash ClockworkMod to your device

In ROM Manager, click “€œFlash ClockworkMod Recovery”€. There will be a popup which will ask you your phone’€™s model number. Make sure you choose the right one! Your phone will flash CWM and reboot. Run ROM Manager again, then click “Reboot into Recovery”€. Your phone should reboot into this cool little console from where we will install the CyanogenMod ROM.


Step Four: Flash CyanogenMod to your device

Most phones will let you use the volume keys to choose your options in ClockworkMod Recovery, and the power button to select it. From the main menu, select “€œwipe data/factory reset”€. Confirm this, and let it wipe the device to factory settings. Don’€™t worry, your files will still be there! Next, select “€œwipe cache partition”€ and confirm it. The device will clear it’s cache and ready itself for a new ROM. Then, go to “€œinstall zip from sdcard”€. You’€™ll see another menu here. Select “€œchoose zip from sdcard”€ and browse for the CyanogenMod zip file you downloaded in step one. The device will now flash your new CyanogenMod ROM to your device and then reboot. Et voila! You will boot into CyanogenMod. Congratulations!

You may want to take this time to flash the gapps package for your ROM at this time. The gapps package contains the basic Google applications (i.e. Google Play Store, Gmail, etc.) that come with Android. You can find the latest gapps package here:


Using this method saved me a lot of hardware when I was trying to install CM10 on my Galaxy S Captivate, and I really hope it will help you too! Good luck!

Edit: Thank you Kyer, I forgot to metnion to flash the gapps package! Cheers.

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October 16, 2012 at 6:59 am | Posted in: Smartphones, Tutorials | 1 comment

One response to “How to flash CyanogenMod or another custom rom onto your phone without a computer”

  1. Kyer says:

    Also, don’t forget to flash gapps for Google Play. You can get it for your version of CM here

    Just boot back into CWM Recovery and do the same thing you did for CyanogenMod, only with gapps instead.

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