Installation from recovery mode

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Most Android devices have a "recovery" partition, on which a second kernel and initramfs can be installed. The recovery systems installed there allow overwriting the main OS with a special zip file, and it is possible to generate such a file for postmarketOS.


Create the recovery zip image

Similar to a regular installation, but add --android-recovery-zip this time. If your device supports full disk encryption (see the FDE column in Devices), you can add the --fde argument.

$ pmbootstrap init
$ pmbootstrap install --android-recovery-zip

By default, this will install to the system partition of your Android device. If you want to install to a different partition (e.g. because your system partition is too small), use the --recovery-install-partition parameter. For example, to install to the data partition:

$ pmbootstrap install --android-recovery-zip --recovery-install-partition=data


This allows downloading the zip file on the fly directly from your computer. If you don't want to sideload, you can also copy the generated zip file to an SD card.

  • Boot the recovery system
  • Unmount the partitions (Click on "Mount, then deselect all checkboxes)
  • Click on "Advanced / ADB Sideload", then "Swipe to start sideload"
  • Connect your phone to your PC
  • Start the sideloading process from your PC:
$ pmbootstrap flasher --method=adb sideload

Sideload without pmbootstrap

If sideloading with pmbootstrap fails (it was broken in #1638), you can do it without pmbootstrap as a workaround. Install adb on your host Linux distribution (usually in an android-tools package that you can install with your distribution's package manager), then run the following commands. The special cd is necessary, because adb can't resolve the symlink on its own.

$ pmbootstrap export
[07:48:04] NOTE: To export the rootfs image, run 'pmbootstrap install' first (without the 'sdcard' parameter).
[07:48:07] Export symlinks to: /tmp/postmarketOS-export
[07:48:07]  * initramfs-lg-mako (Initramfs)
[07:48:07]  * boot.img-lg-mako (Fastboot compatible boot.img file, contains initramfs and kernel)
[07:48:07]  * vmlinuz-lg-mako (Linux kernel)
[07:48:07]  * (Android recovery flashable zip)
[07:48:07] NOTE: chroot is still active (use 'pmbootstrap shutdown' as necessary)
[07:48:07] Done
$ cd $(dirname $(readlink /tmp/postmarketOS-export/pmos-*.zip))
$ adb sideload
loading: ''...
Total xfer: 1.08x

Copy the generated image to an SD card

Instead of sideloading, you can run pmbootstrap export and copy the pmos-*.zip file to an SD card. Insert it into your phone, boot into the recovery system, and select "Install". Then navigate to the zip file, and the postmarketOS installation should begin.


See also