As I have already told you, those of xda-developers released the new CM12.1 firmware for the HTC Desire 816. So, that means you can now install Android 5.1 Lollipop OS on your smartphone without waiting for the OTA release – however it is unlikely to see the Android 5.1 software rolled out for the Desire 816. Anyway, if you want to test this custom ROM in order to see how it runs on your phone, use the guidelines from below as there you will find everything that’s related to the flashing operation.

Unfortunately, the CM 12.1 system is still in development stage, this being only an alpha launch of the main Lollipop firmware. Due to same reasons, I recommend this guide only for advanced Android users or for experienced customers that are more than familiar with these types of update operations. The Android 5.1 OS in form of CM12.1 is still coming with bugs, lags and other software problems, though users reported that all the problems are minor and that the software can be safely used on a daily basis.

Other than that, the CyanogenMod ROM will tweak your HTC Desire 816 and you will be able to enjoy a great Lollipop experience. However, keep in mind that this is an unofficial release of CM 12.1 as the ROM isn’t provided by those of CM. Moreover, the update is not official and it shouldn’t be related to HTC or with Google. So, bottom line, if you choose to apply this tutorial, you will lose the warranty of your HTC Desire 816, as you will complete a complex, risky and unofficial process.

For example, if you mess things up, you can damage or even brick your Android device. And if that happens, you won’t be able to reclaim your phone’s warranty, thus you will probably have to learn how to manually fix your bricked device. Anyway, if you stay close and read all the lines from here, everything should go as planned, so you have nothing to worry about.

Now, as you might know, if you want to apply a custom ROM on an Android based device, first you have to take care of some things. For the start, you must root your HTC Desire 816 because the CM 12.1 Android 5.1 firmware will have to modify in built settings and features, an operation that can’t be completed on a locked smartphone. Then, the update file is provided in form of a .zip file; thus, on your phone you now need to install a custom recovery image, like CWM or TWRP recovery.

Also, the mentioned recovery image should be used on a Nandroid backup process. As already pointed out, this CM release is coming with some bugs and problems. So, if you will not find the CM12.1 OS the best choice for your Desire 816, you will be able to use the Nandroid backup for restoring your phone back to stock Android OS.

Along with this dedicated backup operation you should also save your personal data, info and accounts. The general backup is really not an option for you since during the installation guide a wipe will be implied – you can lose everything that’s saved on your phone’s internal storage memory if you skip the backup process. Therefore, take your time and just temporarily save stuffs like contacts, call logs, texts, market apps, internet settings, images, videos, audio files and so on.

CM 12.1 can be installed only manually on your HTC Desire 816. So, you need to use a computer and your phone’s USB cable. As always, when dealing with a manual update operation, on your phone you need to check the USB debugging option (from “menu – settings – developer options”) and you should temporarily turn off the antivirus protection that runs on your computer (sometimes, security options interfere with the download process).

A charging operation is also a must. In fact, you should just check the battery status first and if the battery power left will be lower than 60%, you should choose to plug in the charger before doing anything else. Finally, you shouldn’t forget that this Android 5.1 Lollipop built is compatible only with the HTC Desire 816 – don’t mess things up.

How to Update HTC Desire 816 with CM12.1 Android 5.1 Lollipop Custom ROM Firmware

  1. On your computer or notebook download and save the update file and the Google Apps package.
  2. You can get the CM12.1 firmware file from here.
  3. Google Apps will have to be flashed separately as it is not included on the Android 5.1 Lollipop update.
  4. Place these files on your computer but don’t unzip anything.
  5. Connect your HTC Desire 816 with your PC and transfer the downloaded files on your phone’s SD card.
  6. Then, unplug the USB cord, turn off your phone and enter recovery mode on your Android device.
  7. From recovery you first have to wipe the system of your phone and clear cache; these processes can be completed by choosing “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvik cache”.
  8. Next, from the same recovery mode menu you have to select “install zip from SD card” and “choose zip from SD card”.
  9. You can now pick the CM12.1 firmware file and you can also flash Android 5.1 Lollipop on your Desire 816.
  10. Finally, you need to repeat the update operation for flashing Google Apps package.
  11. When done, from main menu of recovery choose “reboot system now”.

That’s it; you have successfully installed CM 12.1 firmware on your HTC Desire 816. You should now take your time for testing the new Android 5.1 Lollipop update. See how the ROM works and share all the problems with us and with other users by using the comments field from below. We will update you with future updates as soon as something new comes out, so stay close.

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