Rooting and modding an Android device was once a popular pastime for those who enjoyed customizing and tinkering to their heart’s desire. For some, it was the rush of adding new features and fine-tuning their experience, while others relied on certain unique apps that required full root access. Grabbing one of the best budget Android phones and installing a custom ROM can take your device experience to the next level. And although not as popular in this modern era of Android, installing a custom ROM still has its uses today by the power user community.

There are still reasons to unlock your Android phone’s bootloader (and immediately lock it back in the case of GrapheneOS). Improving Android’s privacy and security features are among the most important of these, which is where GrapheneOS shines. The team is also partnering with an unnamed OEM to bring a Google-less phone to the market, in case you didn’t know there was such a thing.

This guide assumes you have decided to install GrapheneOS on your mobile device and are ready to begin. If you want to learn more about this custom version of Android, check out our guide on what GrapheneOS is. It’s also worth mentioning that there are two official methods to install GrapheneOS: a WebUSB-based installer and a command-line installation guide. This guide focuses on the web installer since it’s the easiest and fastest method suitable for all users, advanced and beginners.

GrapheneOS preparatory check-list

Before installing GrapheneOS, double-check that you have enough space on your desktop and mobile devices. Once done, you’ll also need a compatible operating system on your PC listed in the requirements below. To install GrapheneOS, you need the following:

  • A compatible Android device. GrapheneOS only supports Google Pixel smartphones starting from the Pixel 4a. The Pixel 4 series is in extended support status and will lose official releases soon. The Pixel 3 series and below are now considered obsolete, so they no longer receive proper updates.
  • Enough storage space and memory. 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space. While these requirements refer to your mobile device, you still need a few free GB on your PC to download the temporary files necessary for installation.
  • A USB-C cable. This should be connected to a rear port on a desktop or the ports on a laptop and not a hub. If your computer doesn’t have a USB-C port, use a high-quality USB-C to USB-A cable.
  • An officially supported OS on your desktop/laptop. The GrapheneOS installer is compatible with Windows 10 and 11, and macOS Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey. On top of that, all major Linux distributions are supported, which is great for power users. It even supports ChromeOS, GrapheneOS, and the stock Pixel OS.
  • A compatible web browser. The installer works on Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Brave, Chromium (outside Ubuntu), Bromite, and Vanadium (in GrapheneOS).
  • Before installing GrapheneOS, update your web browser to the latest version. Also, avoid using Incognito Mode or other private browsing modes to prevent any issues that might pop up.

    Getting the installation environment ready

    Having all the tools ready and updated, this section has a few steps to help you install GrapheneOS on your device. These instructions are aimed at enabling the installation of non-original software on your Android device, which requires unlocking the bootloader. You’ll need to enable the OEM unlocking feature in the hidden developer settings menu to get started. To find this option, check out the following steps:

    1. Enable the hidden developer options menu. Go to Settings > About phone and tap the build number menu entry a few times until developer mode is unlocked.
    2. Enable OEM unlocking. Go to Settings > System > Developer options and turn on the OEM unlocking toggle.
    3. Make sure you have the correct drivers for your PC to recognize the phone in bootloader mode.
    4. On Windows systems, open Windows Update, run a check for updates, and then select View optional updates. From here, you can install the driver for the Android bootloader interface.
    5. On Linux systems, install the android-sdk-platform-tools-common package (Debian and Ubuntu) or the android-udev package (Arch Linux) using apt or its built-in official package manager, pacman.

    Flashing GrapheneOS on your Android device with the simple web installer

    Once your PC is ready to connect, you’ll need to return to your phone for the next steps. This part involves putting the device in bootloader mode. To do so, hold the volume down button while the phone boots/restarts. From here, connect the smartphone to your PC, open your preferred web browser, and go to the WebUSB-based installer for GrapheneOS web page.

    The installation process deletes all existing user data. Before starting the installation process, save any necessary personal files to avoid losing them.

    The following four steps are self-explanatory on the GrapheneOS site, and you can complete them by clicking the respective button. We include them here to give a complete overview of the installation process.

    1. Unlock the bootloader.
    2. After clicking the button on the browser, go to your phone to confirm the command. Use the volume keys to switch the selection and the power button to confirm your choice.
    3. Download GrapheneOS factory images. The Download release button obtains the custom ROM files from the GrapheneOS repository and temporarily stores them on your machine.
    4. Flash GrapheneOS. The Flash release button installs GrapheneOS onto your device. The installation process does a factory reset, wiping all existing user data, and installing a fresh GrapheneOS ROM.
    5. Lock the bootloader again. Relocking the bootloader is necessary when using GrapheneOS. Doing so gives you a fully verified boot environment, allowing you to pass SafetyNet checks, among other things. It also prevents using Fastboot commands to modify or erase storage partitions for extra security. Like the unlocking process, you must manually confirm the prompt to relock the bootloader from your smartphone.

    GrapheneOS: next steps

    That’s it. After relocking the bootloader, restart your device. Your phone automatically boots into a shiny new installation of GrapheneOS. Here are a couple of post-installation tips that are sure to be helpful:

  • Disable OEM unlocking (unless you’re a developer). This increases your device security.
  • Verify your GrapheneOS installation using the team’s Auditor app. GrapheneOS has a separate, dedicated guide for that, and you can find it on the Attestation app tutorial web page.
  • GrapheneOS comes with no Google apps installed. Installing is simple if you need them to use other apps that rely on Google Play Services. Open the Apps app (preinstalled in GrapheneOS) and tap Install next to Google Play Services, Google Services Framework, and Google Play Store.
  • To revert to the stock OS, remove the non-stock key using the button at the bottom of the GrapheneOS installation guide. Once done, you can tap into Google’s easy-to-use Android flash tool to reinstall the stock ROM with minimal effort.
  • GrapheneOS gives you more control over the privacy and security of your smartphone

    The reason for installing GrapheneOS may not be the same for all users, but this custom version of Android benefits your privacy and security. From isolating apps individually using sandboxing features to protect them from potential malware to stripping out the core Google apps and services, GrapheneOS gives you various options. Installing an Android custom ROM requires a lifestyle change that the average user is not likely to take. However, if you’re willing to give it a shot, your overall experience should be rock solid.

    GrapheneOS isn’t the only custom ROM for Android that allows you to remove Google apps and services to cut back on the amount of background data tracking. Learn how to go Google-less using various other options, including microG and the LineageOS custom ROM. We cover everything you need to know about why you might consider these alternatives if you think GrapheneOS might be too much for you.

    Conclusion on How to install GrapheneOS

    If you have any query let me know in comment section.