In recent months, the developers of the Android OS have been working on Android “N”, even as Marshmallow/ 6.0 had just been released to the public. Android “N” now marked as 7.0 or Nougat is the latest in the long line of Android OS upgrades. But should you upgrade your HTC One? Here, we take a look at why you may want to, as well as how to do so.
Why Upgrade to Android 7.0 ?
Unlike Android 6.0 Marshmallow, 7.0 isn’t a gigantic leap forward in terms of Operating System features or design. But, this hardly means it should be ignored, because what it does lack in innovation in these two departments, it more than makes up for in efficiency, security, and plenty of other minor improvements.
After updating to Android 7.0, you may notice that your phone will use less battery as well as less data from your network. One of the biggest issues to be resolved from Android Marshmallow was the tendency for the phone running it to run “hot” due to repeated callback attempts. This would happen when an app stopped functioning properly, or when synching did not occur in the expected manner. Users who have had short battery lives as a result of this may discover a charge lasting hours longer than before, and those gigabytes of data lasting at least a little longer than they had in previous months.
In terms of security, Android 7.0 Nougat offers two significant upgrades over its predecessor.
The first is that on the development side, more apps aimed at Android Nougat will have less permissions. Instead of letting apps have essentially free reign over your phone, many developers will have their apps limited only to folders within the phone that would be needed. For example, with android Marshmallow and before, if you gave an app permissions to access photo folders, all would be accessible. This would mean if you had an SD card full of photos, and just a few on internal storage you wanted to use for the app, both would be available to said app. In Android Nougat, with what’s called “Scoped Directories”, the app in question would be only able to access the internal storage unless explicitly stated otherwise.
The second is more on the user side, where Direct Boot has been implemented. Direct Boot more or less allows apps to function even after a reboot has occurred and you’ve yet to re-sign into your phone. Now, this does not mean that data encrypted by your login is available for either apps or users, in fact, that’s the major improvement for both security and functionality; Key features can still be accessed even if you don’t realize a reboot has occurred, while keeping your data safe at all times.
Now that we have covered some of the key features that may make you decide on upgrading to Android 7.0, let’s take a look at how to do so with your HTC One.
Step Zero: Back Up Your HTC One
Whenever you plan to do anything that messes with the files of your device, it is often a wise idea to back it up. For HTC users, this is a particularly easy thing to do, as you have two options that are both equally great. The first is using the HTC Backup utility on the phone, which secures your information into a Dropbox account. This account will carry all your app information, passwords, and anything else you may need rather quickly. To use HTC Backup utility, go to your main Settings page, then select Backup and Reset. After this, select your HTC account and if needed, sign into Dropbox. I would recommend enabling the “back up daily” option, as this is a quick process and makes sure all the information lost is never more than a day’s worth of work. For added peace of mind in terms of billing, I recommend also ensuring that this setting only backs up on a Wi-Fi connection.
The second option available to HTC One users is use the HTC Sync Manager, accessed by plugging in your phone to your PC via USB cable. Simply follow the on screen guide and you will be backed up in no time.
Method One: Wait for HTC One to Get an OTA Upgrade (Available on Select Models)
The good news is for the owners of the HTC One A9 or HTC One M9, waiting for the Nougat upgrade should not take much longer. In fact, recent reports say that most carriers which allow for the use of HTC phones should be providing the update before January of 2017. To implement the upgrade after this date, go to Settings, then tap More, About This Device, and press Check Now under the Software Update selection. Make sure that your WiFi connection is turned on, as the update could eat your data cap in a very short manner.
What’s the bad news? Anyone whose phone falls outside of this pair (for example, the HTC One M8) will not be eligible for this upgrade, as formal support for these models have been put to an end. So, if you have an older model of HTC or for some reason you find yourself unable to get the Nougat update properly, check the next method out.
Method Two: Obtain a Custom Nougat
For those of us who aren’t fond of waiting, or don’t see the point of upgrading our phone hardware every year, there is yet another option available. In fact, for those who have the HTC One M8, it would appear this is the only option available at this time. That being said, even though this is an option that takes a bit of technical work, it is very rewarding. In this tutorial, we will use CM 14, a custom ROM based off of Android Nougat’s architecture, which retains plenty of the key features of the new OS, as well as even allowing for some improvements.
Before we can go and get the latest custom ROM, we have to first make a path for installation, and make the device be able to load the ROM without issue. To do so, we need to unlock the bootloader of your HTC One, and install a program called TWRP, which will allow us to load a recovery ROM, which will be our new OS. As a final warning, now would be a good time to back up your phone. This process will wipe data from the device, and such events will occur multiple times through this method.
First, to download Fastboot on the PC we will use to modify the HTC One. It has been shown that the most stable interactions occur with HTC One models through the Android Studio, which should be downloaded here and whose installation prompts should be followed. Next, after full installation, you have to find the Platform Tools, and then the Fastboot within the program files. This is typically found under Appdata>LocalSDKPlatform-Tools , though depending on your PC, the path may differ. Once found, either right click inside the same window to open the Command Prompt, or navigate from within your command prompt to the same subdirectory.
Now, while the SDK is downloading, this would be a fine time to enable developer options on your HTC One. This will allow us to get deeper access to the phones core files and allow us to shake things up a bit. To do this, first go to your main Settings page. Then tap About, Software Information, More, and tap the Build Number until a prompt appears congratulating you on becoming a developer. Next, go back to your Settings menu and select the Developer Options button. On the top right corner, a switch should appear. Make sure it’s turned on, and that USB Debugging is allowed. After this is enabled, feel free to plug your phone into your PC via USB, and download any needed drivers to ensure full interactivity between the devices.
With these steps out of the way, visit the command prompt we had previously opened. Type in the following (each new line indicating where you should press enter):
adb reboot bootloader
fastboot oem get_identifier_token
Now, copy the token code. Next, go to the HTCDev Bootloader Unlock site and select the All Other Supported Models option on the right hand corner. Follow the on screen prompts as needed and enter in the token number when requested. This should then cause your phone to reset. After it is done rebooting, go back into the phone and re-enable Developer options if they have been disabled.
The bootloader should now be unlocked, so we can go on to download and install TWRP, a custom recovery suite. First, download the latest compatible version of TWRP for your device from here. Make sure the downloaded files get transferred to the same location as the ADB and Fastboot tools within the SDK folders. Next, plug in your phone and open the command prompt yet again, typing in:
adb reboot bootloader
fastboot flash recovery twrp_version.img
twrp_version.img should be replaced with the exact file name downloaded. Once downloaded, make sure the device reboots properly, and then shut it down. To test to make sure TWRP is properly installed, hold the volume down and power buttons until such time as you see HBOOT. Then navigate to Recovery and tap the power button to select it.
Now, we are finally ready to install our custom Nougat version onto the HTC One. First, find a custom ROM that is both HTC One version, and suits your needs. Personally, I recommend searching the XDA forums development for customs that use Android 7 architecture, as these forums are regularly updated with new versions and nightly builds full of improvements, and new versions are added nearly daily. One you have found your desired package, download it to the same location as all other items listed so far. Next, if you have a penchant for google apps, it’s recommended that you download a Gapps application package (these can vary from ROM to ROM) as many customs don’t carry native Google functionality. After you are finished, open the command prompt again and enter the following command, with “file.zip” to be replaced by the exact name of your custom ROM zip:
adb push file.zip /sdcard/
Do this for any other application packages you decided to download as well; It simply puts all that data in a place where the phone knows how to access and install during recovery. We need to now put the HTC One into recovery mode by pressing and holding the Volume Down and Power buttons until HBOOT appears yet again. Go to Recovery, and press Power once again. Select Wipe, then Factory reset, and Install. Now, be sure to go to the SD card location, and select your ROM .zip. This should give you an installation process on the phone itself. After this is completed, the phone may reboot several times. After this, repeat the process if needed for additional packages, and reboot after each install.
With any luck, this will allow you to use the newest Android version, even if your HTC One isn’t the most recent. On a personal note, I recommend backing up often, especially when using nightly builds, as these, while great Operating System choices can occasionally throw a bug that is usually patched within a matter of days. As a result, regularly browsing for new versions of your Nougat ROM is always highly encouraged.