Good news for HTC One M8 owners – it’s now pretty easy to get the latest Google Play Edition Lollipop (5.1) ROM running on your device. This is all thanks to XDA forum members graffixnyc and loserskater, I’m just filling in a few of the confusing details that I ran into.
Installing this ROM requires a custom recovery (the latest TWRP is strongly recommended), ergo you need an unlocked bootloader. The easiest way to do this is of course to unlock using the official HTCdev process.
Have the most recent firmware for your phone
This is crucially important, because if you’re on an old firmware your WiFi will probably be broken after you upgrade. Firmware is generally backwards compatible, so if you install the latest Android 5.x firmware, you can still revert to a 4.x KitKat ROM if you want.The consensus right now seems to be that the latest 4.4.4 firmware works okay in Lollipop ROMs, but you might encounter some WiFi issues. Safest bet is to use a Lollipop firmware.So how do you get the latest firmware? There’s 2 options:
- If your phone is S-OFF, then you can flash the 5.0.1 firmware package that graffixnyc has posted. I’m always a little leery doing this method because you don’t know if the firmware you’re flashing is designed for your phone.
- Second option is to revert to a stock, non-rooted ROM for your device and accept the latest OTA. Obviously this is dependent on your carrier making a Lollipop ROM available for your device, but it’s also the safest way to upgrade IMHO.
Step by Step
So, assuming that you’re on a completely stock, non-rooted HTC One M8, here’s the steps:
- Make sure you have installed the latest OTA system update for your device. If you have no more updates available and your ROM is now 4.4.4 or 5.0.1 or greater then you’re ready to go.
- Unlock the bootloader if you haven’t already.
- Install the latest TWRP recovery.
- Download the latest GPE ROM from graffixnyc. You want the one titled “Rooted Flashable Stock Rom Build: 5.1”, and copy it to your phone.
- Reboot into TWRP recovery, wipe data and cache partitions
You definitely have to do a factory reset (i.e. wipe data and cache partitions) in TWRP if you’re coming from anything other than a GPE Lollipop ROM. You’ll lose all your apps of course (so make sure you’ve backed up using TiBu or equivalent), but it’s a must if you’re currently on KitKat or any Sense-based ROM.
- Optional: I always suggest using the TWRP file manager to delete the /sdcard/Android folder when upgrading to a new Android version. It can sometimes cause bootloops if you don’t. Chances are there is nothing in there that is important, but some apps do store backups and other non-transient data there. So please make sure you know what you’re doing before choosing to delete it.
- Reboot system.
Be warned, the first boot into Lollipop can take a looong time. Like upwards of 5 minutes. If 10+ minutes go by and you’re still stuck on the boot animation, hold the power and vol. up buttons to force a reboot, then immediately hold the vol. down key to boot into recovery. From there, try wiping data and cache partitions before rebooting.
Make Lollipop better
So, what should you do after installing Lollipop? Here’s a few suggestions:
- There’s now a version of the Sense camera that runs on GPE 5.x ROMs. Camera KK is still my goto camera, but if you like the Sense camera interface at least it’s an option. One caveat is that the HTC photo editor seems to crash for me on 5.1 whereas it did work fine on 5.0. Take a nandroid of the system partition before you install just in case you need to revert. Remember that the HTC photo editor works fine on the stock GPE roms, so you can still use the UFocus feature with any camera app you want.
- Install lyapota’s modPack. If you don’t feel like alpha testing Xposed, you can use this handy mod pack to apply some common tweaks (like adding the advanced power menu, battery percentage, etc). It also includes an insecure kernel mod to allow system writes from within Android.
- Install Xposed for 5.1. As you may or may not have heard, there is now a version of the Xposed framework for Android Lollipop. Unfortunately as of this writing, the version for Android 5.1 is still super alpha stage and most modules probably won’t work.
- Install a custom Kernel. Unfortunately there are no custom kernels for GPE 5.1 yet, but keep your eyes on the XDA forums – I’m sure it won’t be long.