Bootloop after OTA update

If your Android fails to boot after an update, don’t panic! Hold the power and volume down / volume up key (depending on phone) to boot into fastboot mode. From here, you can flash an update that fixes the issue. If no such update is available, you likely have to wait for it.

Now, on LineageOS recovery you can click on „Apply update“ and then select ADB. This allows you to use adb to „sideload“ the update file. Just download the latest image and type adb sideload <filename>.

Don’t flash the update again! You will lose your other flash bank, too. This error doesn’t come from the system update but rather files that got corrupted.

From fastboot mode simply switch back to the alternate flash bank by typing fastboot --set-active="a" if you have slot B active or fastboot --set-active="b" if you have slot A active. Check the active slot („current_slot“) with fastboot getvar all.

Chances are that your phone might boot again :0


Flashing Android custom rom

Why bother? Because your stock Android phone probably comes with a sh1tload of applications you don’t need and is infested with Google spy tools. Many custom roms build on top of AOSP (Android Open Source Project) and tailor it for your phone’s hardware. My favorite project is LineageOS, the successor of the now defunct CyanogenMod. But to be honest, I haven’t tried much else.

AOSP roms come without any Google applications (short: GApps) to begin with. But since life without Play Store and Play Services is going to be difficult, you’re going to want to have a minimum set of GApps. To get those, right after flashing your custom rom*, flash a GApp package. There are different packages out there, NikGapps, MindTheGapp, OpenGapps. I highly recommend going with OpenGapps because it allows you to restore your Google Backup! Also note that.

* If you accidentally reboot into system after flashing the custom rom, do a factory reset (only resets the new OS), then go directly back into TWRP and flash your GApps package.

Phone Stupid

How to brick your Android phone


  1. Make sure your phone is encrypted
  2. Unlock the bootloader (OEM unlocking)
  3. Erase user-data partition

Not enough! Your device seems bricked, but since you can enter recovery mode it can be saved by reformatting the filesystem (ext2 -> ext4, repair system).

To actually brick your device:

  1. Boot your phone into fastboot mode
  2. Make sure the bootloader is unlocked
  3. With the fastboot command flash a new boot.img to the boot partition
  4. Done

Interesting facts about Android:

  • When unlocking the bootloader all your data gets wiped
  • Does not let you downgrade to older firmware versions

Also don’t ever rely on the Google backup function:

  • Google backups can only be restored on initial system setup
  • Google backups don’t contain any app data (so what’s the point of this backup?)
  • Google will sync your phone contacts into your Google account, the contacts you backed up can not be restored otherwise
  • System settings are all lost even if you backed them up

Instead, backup your data using OEM tools (OnePlus Clone, Samsung whatever ..).


How to unbrick your Android phone

If you’ve completely bricked your Android phone and the screen stays black, don’t give up just yet! There’s still a chance. Because all Android phones use a Qualcomm processor it is possible to directly communicate with the chip the „EDL“ (emergency something…) mode. Then you will need a special tool and a decrypted firmware file to flash. If you’re lucky, you can find all of this in the interwebs for your phone model.

So what’s needed?

  • Windows… with signature verfication turned off („Test Mode“)
  • Qualcomm Driver
  • Decrypted Firmware (.osp)
  • MSMDownloadTool to flash the firmware

To put your phone into the EDL mode the simplest way I found is this: Turn off phone, hold both Volume Buttons while plugging in the USB cord.

Once that’s done you will have a phone that’s gone through a true factory reset. Now you have a stock phone with the firmware it originally came with. Next surprise: once your device back up running you won’t be offered any system upgrades, at all. Why? Because the update servers deliver incremental updates, and they no longer host updates for your outdated phone. It gets better: If you manually try to upgrade to the latest OS and the version difference is too high, the upgrade will fail.

The solution is that you do incremental updates to latest version manually starting from your current version (the way your system usually is updated), e.g. Android 8 -> 9 -> 11. You can find the OTA (over-the-air) update files online. At least for OxygenOS you can also use the „Oxygen Updater“ App, it downloads the OTA’s in the correct order for you.