How to use Android Flash Tool, the Google app to flash ROMs

Usually when we refer to ROMs we are talking about modified versions of Android developed by the community for certain phones or tablets. Although it is a term that is usually related to "cooked" versions of Android (custom ROMs), the truth is that a ROM is nothing more than an image of the operating system.

Of course, Google also usually publishes its own ROMs in the form of updates, constantly and every few weeks (or even days). Now, if we want to install one of these ROMs on our mobile, we will need a flashing tool, and that is precisely what Google has just launched: a utility to install Android ROMs in a simple way.

What is Android Flash Tool and why should I be interested in it?

The Android Flash Tool application is intended to facilitate the installation of AOSP (Android Open Source Project) versions of Android. An AOSP is nothing more than a "clean" version of Android, without any of the Google applications or services pre-installed in its source code. It is something like the template that smartphone manufacturers use to create their own adapted version of Android (stock ROM), with its customization layer and more.

On the other hand, the flashing tools usually vary depending on the chip of our device. Thus, if we have a Mediatek mobile, it is most likely that we will need the SP Flash Tool program to install a ROM, or the Odin application in case we have a Samsung mobile. What happens then if we have a Pixel or any other mobile manufactured by Google? Right, this is where the new would come into play Android Flash Tool. Until now to flash one of these ROMs we needed to resort to fastboot commands, so the birth of this utility makes our work much easier.

The interesting thing about all this is that, although Android Flash Tool for now is only compatible with Google Pixel and HiKey boards, it is expected that in the not too distant future it can also be used with other mobiles that have the approval of Google.

How to install an AOSP ROM with Android Flash Tool

Now that we have the concepts more or less clear, let's see how we would have to carry out the flashing of an Android AOSP image with this tool. The first thing we have to mention is that it is a web application, so it is not necessary to install it on our computer.

Requirements for installation

Before embarking on the adventure we must meet certain requirements both on our phone and on the computer (Windows, Linux, MacOS or ChromeOS) from which we are going to install.

  • Activate developer options: Opens the “Settings"Of Android and enter"System -> Phone Information”. Click 7 times in a row on the "Build number”. A message will automatically appear on the screen indicating that the developer options are activated.
  • USB debugging: Within the developer options, activate the "USB debugging" option.
  • OEM Unlock: To unlock the bootloader, enter the developer options again and activate the “OEM Unlock”. Important: If this is the first time you unlock the OEM, keep in mind that this will erase all your data from the phone. Make a backup before embarking on the process!
  • Install the Android USB drivers on the PC: If we work from a Windows computer, it is also necessary to install the Android USB drivers. We can download them HERE.

How to flash the device

Now that we have everything in place, these are the steps we must follow:

  • Connect the Android device to the computer from where we are going to flash.
  • From the PC, open the browser and go to the flash.android.com page. Click on "Get started”.

  • We accept the message that appears on the screen that says “Allow site access your ADB keys ...”.

  • Next, we select "Add new device", and we choose our Android device from the list of detected terminals.

  • From the Android mobile, we will authorize the connection through a pop-up window that will appear on the screen.
  • We return to the browser, and we will see how now the tool already gives us the option to flash the device.

  • Finally, a new menu will be loaded where we can select the "build" or version of Android AOSP available to install. Once selected, click on "Install".

As you can see, it is a very simple process that greatly facilitates the installation of new images in the terminal. A tool that will undoubtedly attract the attention of both developers and fans of this type of “fiddling” within the Android community.

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