We've all had a phone reach a premature death, running out of software updates well before the device is actually too slow to be used. Thankfully, the custom ROM community helps keep your old gadgets alive, and there's no better ROM out right now than LineageOS. The open-source project brought Android 11 to nearly 60 phones earlier this month, and two more are about to be added to the list. The OnePlus 6 and 6T have picked up Android 11 courtesy of LineageOS, with nightly builds for both now available.
Out with the old, in with the new: LineageOS cut support for Android 9 Pie earlier this year, and to make up for the loss, the open-source project has just released version 18.1 based on Android 11. It comes with official support for about 60 phones and tablets.
If you're an Android user, Google has a scary amount of information on you, and matters get worse if you're deeply embedded in the company's app ecosystem — getting locked out of your Google account can have serious consequences then. Thankfully, Android is open source, so it's possible to evade Google without having to leave the platform altogether — just look at Amazon's tablets or Huawei's Google-less phones. But if you'd rather be completely independent from big corporations, going for a free and open-source custom ROM built on top of Android's core might be the best solution.
The evergreen TeamWin Recovery Project received a sizable update to 3.5 back in December. Late last night they posted 3.5.1, which they're calling a "mini release," waiting for full support for Android 11. Most of the changes are housekeeping and small support additions, now split into two branches for Android 9 and 10.
Many older Android enthusiasts that dabbled in rooting or ROMing in the last decade may nostalgically remember Dirty Unicorns. Sadly, after today, all that will be left of the name are those memories, as Dirty Unicorns has decided to shut down.
If you've ever rooted your Android phone to modify system components, chances are, you've come across Magisk, which allows for systemless root access. Developer John Wu has constantly updated it to ensure it works just as well and goes undetected by Google's SafetyNet. The tool is now being updated to version 22.0, which introduces support for the Samsung Galaxy S21 series and kills the Magisk Manager as we know it.
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM around, as it has extended the life of many phones and tablets that would have otherwise been abandoned. Even for phones still receiving software updates from the original manufacturer, Lineage can sometimes work better than the stock software, and it's a popular option for 'de-Googling' Android devices. Since our last roundup, several more phones have been added to the official Android 10 build roster (and a few have been removed).
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM around, and for good reason. It has extended the life of many phones and tablets that would have otherwise been abandoned, and even for phones still receiving software updates from the original manufacturer, Lineage can sometimes work better than the stock software. Since our last roundup, LineageOS 17.1 has arrived on eight more devices, including the OnePlus Nord and 2013 Google Nexus 7.
TeamWin Recovery Project, or TWRP for short, is a custom recovery partition often used together with custom ROMs and/or rooting. It can help you create full device backups, install new ROMs, and troubleshoot broken software. TWRP v3.4 was released in June with limited Android 10 support, and now TWRP 3.5 is rolling out to all supported devices.