How to install a custom ROM on Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite
Installing a custom ROM on an Android phone used to be a walk in the park. However, some newer phones, like Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite, have what’s called an A/B partition layout. This facilitates an update process on stock ROMs, however it makes it harder to install and develop custom ROMs. You can read more about A/B partitions here: https://www.xda-developers.com/how-a-b-partitions-and-seamless-updates-affect-custom-development-on-xda/
The upshot is that Mi A2 Lite doesn’t have a recovery partition. Instead, when you install TWRP, it gets installed to the boot partition. Which means that every time you install or update a ROM, you will need to re-flash the recovery ZIP. One more thing to keep in mind is that the ROM always gets installed to another slot. Meaning, if you’re currently in the slot B, the ROM will be installed to the slot A, vice versa.
1. Install the stock ROM
- Install fastboot and adb on your computer
- Put all the prerequisites in one folder on your computer
- Turn off your phone, wait for 3 seconds, then press volume down and power buttons simultaneously until you see the fastboot logo (you won’t miss it)
- Connect the phone to the computer (do it fast, because the phone will turn off after a few seconds without being connected to the computer)
- Back up all of the data on your phone, then go to the folder with stock firmware (daisy_global_images_V10.0.3.0.PDLMIXM_9.0)
- Double click on
- Wait for the process to be finished
2. Flash the custom ROM
- After your phone has rebooted successfully, turn it off and go into the fastboot mode again. Connect the phone to the computer
- Launch the command line and go to the folder where you put all the prerequisites (
- Boot the recovery image:
fastboot boot twrp-daisy-3.3.0-0-offain.img
- You will see the recovery on your phone, prompting to enter the password. Choose “Cancel”
- In the main menu, choose “Wipe”, then tap “Format Data”. Type “yes”.
- On your computer, copy all the ZIPs you’ve downloaded earlier using adb:
adb push *.zip /sdcard
- On your phone, tap “Install” and flash the files in the following order:
- Custom ROM
- TWRP ZIP
- ForceEncryption Disabler
- Don’t install Magisk, GApps or anything else yet, we will do that later!
- After everything is done, DON’T TAP REBOOT YET. Instead, go back to the main menu, choose “Reboot”, change the slot (e.g. if it says “Current Slot: A”, tap “Slot B”, vice versa. Quit the menu and tap “Recovery” in the reboot menu.
- Copy anything you would like to install on your phone (Magisk, Gapps, modules, etc.) and flash it the usual way.
- Reboot your phone
Dirty flashing / installing updates
Installing ROM updates is also somewhat complicated on A/B phones like Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite. However, if you follow these steps, you should be good to go:
- Download the update and copy it to your phone (in case of crDroid OTAs, you obviously don’t need to do that since the updates are downloaded directly on your phone
- Reboot into the recovery mode and flash the ROM ZIP.
- Here’s where the fun part begins: since we’ve just overwritten the boot partition, we don’t have TWRP anymore, so we need to flash it again.
- Once again, after you’re done, don’t tap on “Reboot” yet, instead, go back to the main menu, change the slot, tap “Exit” and then “Recovery”.
- Once the phone boots into recovery again, flash Magisk and Gapps.
- Reboot the phone.
Yes, developers and maintainers are aware that this process is ridiculously convoluted and makes no sense, and we’re working on that. A/B devices are still relatively new and it will take some time for the developers to come up with a better way to flash custom ROMs. Be patient and use this guide. Thank you!
Seamless updates on ResurrectionRemix and LineageOS
LOS Updater (which is also used in ResurrectionRemix) downloads the ROM ZIP automatically and installs it to the inactive slot, which spares us the need to reboot into recovery. However, there are a few gotchas:
- After the OTA is installed, DON’T TAP ON “REBOOT”. Instead, go to Magisk Manager and install a module called “TWRP A/B Retention Script” (you should be able to find it in the “Downloads section”)
- Then, go to the Manager’s main menu, tap on “Install” and choose “Install to inactive slot (After OTA)”
- After the installation process is completed, you can reboot.
You have to repeat the process every time you get an OTA if you want to keep Magisk and TWRP on your newly updated system.
Q: I can’t unlock my phone after flashing an update!
A: Reboot into recovery and delete the file
/data/system/locksettings.db and similiar files with different extensions (locksettings.shm, locksettings.wal, etc.)
Q: I can’t enroll a fingerprint! When I touch the sensor, nothing happens, or it goes almost until the end and then says “Enrollment was not finished”
A: This happens when the fingerprint database is full. Reboot into recovery and delete
/persist/data/finger_0_x (finger0_1, finger0_1.bak, finger0_2, etc.)
Q: I still can’t enroll a fingerprint
A: Flash this fix: https://forum.xda-developers.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=4745543&d=1555675395
@33bca for the device trees and TWRP
@Saksham033 for Camera2 API fix