Being a lower cost Android phone has its pros and cons. The affordability makes it a phone of choice for cost conscious users who do not need the most highend phone like the Galaxy S2 or Galaxy S3. I know of a couple of Galaxy Ace owners who are quite happy with their phones and have no immediate plans to upgrade despite its relative slowness. Well, there is some good news for Galaxy Ace owners. The CM team has enabled official support for CM7 on Galaxy Ace. While this isn’t quite the latest ICS, it does bring some CM love to Galaxy Ace owners who were without official CM support.
A question I get most often is: What is the benefit of upgrading to a custom ROM / Why should I upgrade? While the answer differs from person to person, generally speaking, a custom ROM, especially one of repute like CM’s, bring less clutter, enhanced usability, improved stability and increased battery life. However, mileage does vary from person to person. Generally, I see CM as one of the best ROM for an Android phone. Its stability, performance, power consumption, variety of settings and general look and feel is really quite something. I do recommend each person to test out a CM ROM for their phone if possible. You may decide that it is not the ROM for you but you may be impressed with certain bits and pieces about it.
There have been several custom ROMs and unofficial CM ports to Galaxy Ace since quite some time ago, but I was never confident enough on those to ask my sister or my girlfriend to update. So I waited patiently. It helped that neither of them were techies like me. But now that the official CM nightly has begun and released for Galaxy Ace, I figured it was about time to give updating it a try. So I asked my sister if she was willing to upgrade. After some persuasion and backing up of data, the test began.
CAUTION: The steps are relatively simple and if followed carefully, should not result in any unexpected and unwanted outcomes. However, I do not assume any responsibility for any bricked devices. As usual, flashing a phone is done at your own risk and there always exist a chance that something could go wrong. If you are worried of doing something wrong, read the steps, find reviews, ask your friends and read the steps again. Once you’re comfortable, then only attempt it. Another way is to get a friend that you trust to do it for you. I’m sure that there are plenty of friends who would do it without a cost just so that they can experience upgrading it for themselves. If you’re in Penang, you can even look for me and I’ll upgrade it for you at no cost.
1. Have at least 60% battery life remaining on your phone before attempting this.
2. Have 600MB – 1GB of space in your phone’s SD card before attempting this.
1. Backing up your data.
– Personally, I sync my contacts to my Google account so I don’t have to backup my contacts. I can simply re-sync them from my Google account anytime I need to.
– For SMS backup, I used to use SMS Backup & Restore. I feel that it is a pretty good backup and restore app. You may prefer others. A warning here: My sister used Super Backup to backup her contacts and SMS. After flashing, her SMS were unable to be restored while the contacts were fine. This could have happened for a few reasons. Maybe the messaging format was different between stock Samsung ROM and the CM7 ROM. Maybe the Super Backup app was not updated prior to doing the backup, resulting in format difference when trying to restore using a newer version of the app. I’m not exactly sure which is the cause so just be careful and make sure you keep your apps updated. You may want to use SMS Backup & Restore which worked the last time I tried moving between different ROMs.
– Some applications may also have a data import/export option so that you can created a backup copy on your SD card. I highly suggest you create a backup and then save the backup onto a separate device/storage just in case the SD card needs to be wiped. This doesn’t usually happen, but might as well prepare for the worst case.
– You may also want to use an application like Titanium Backup to backup the apps and data, however restoration of apps and data using Titanium Backup may cause system crashes and is not guaranteed to work. If you do use it, try not to restore any system data. Apps are usually fine but there still exists a risk. Use at your own risk.
3. Put all the downloaded files into your phone’s SDcard. Usually I’ll create a folder like “/sdcard/All_<phone>_ROMS” and place all the files I need in there. I prefer to use a folder starting with A so that you don’t have to scroll too far later on. If you don’t know how to copy files into your phone, you really shouldn’t be doing this update yet. I suggest you go look at the user manual here and make sure you know how to copy files first.
4. Turn off your phone. This is done by holding down the Power button until the menu pops up and selecting “Power off” from the menu.
5. Boot into recovery mode. This is done by holding down the Home button and then holding down the Power button. Hold both until the Samsung word appears on screen then let go. You should boot into recovery.
6. (Note: Skip to step 8 if you already have CWM recovery.) In recovery mode, use the Volume keys to navigate up and down the list, the Home button is used to select/enter while the Power button is used to go back a level. Select “Apply update from SDcard“, navigate to your folder and select the CWM kernel file.
7. Once the update completes, restart the phone and then boot into Recovery again using steps 4-5. Now, you should be in CWM recovery.
8. (Note: This step is optional. Skip to step 9 if you want to.) Navigate to “backup and restore” to create a backup. This can take some time so don’t be alarmed.
9. Navigate to and select “Wipe data/factory reset“. This is done to wipe the old data from the Samsung ROM.
10. Navigate to and select “Wipe cache partition“. This is done to wipe the old data from the Samsung ROM.
11. Navigate to and select “Install zip from sdcard“, then “Choose zip from sdcard“. Now navigate to your folder and select the Galaxy Ace CM7 package. This can take some time so don’t be alarmed.
12. (Note: This step is optional. Skip to step 13 if you want to.) Navigate to and select “Install zip from sdcard“, then “Choose zip from sdcard“. Now navigate to your folder and select the Gapps package. This can take some time so don’t be alarmed.
13. When the installation is completed, restart your phone. The first boot up will take some time but eventually, you will reach the Google account setup screen. If you didn’t install the Gapps package, you will not see this.
14. Congratulations. Your Galaxy Ace is now on CM7. Restore all the SMS, contacts and any other data that you need to your phone and enjoy your new custom CM7.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I will do my best to help.