Oct 132011

Beloved Internet,

(Watch the CyanogenMod Touchpad YouTube videos to better understand this greeting)

If you follow the news about the CyanogenMod and other Android custom ROMs, you probably already know about the just released version 7.1 functioning on many phones and tablets (soon to also include the HP Touchpad tablet – I’m already running its alpha test version on my Touchpad).

For those who want to install CyanogenMod on their EVO for the first time, there’s a different, “official” procedure described here (and with my complement here). The following text describes how I upgraded from the previous version.

Until last night my HTC EVO 4G was on CyanogenMod, but I decided to test my luck. The process was very smooth and didn’t require any connection to a computer (so past decade).

But let’s first recite my regular disclaimer: don’t do this just because I’ve done it, although I’ve done it just because. Rooting your phone and messing with firmware can void your manufacturer/carrier warranty or contract, or it can “brick” your device (render it useless) if you don’t do it properly, or if you’re just out of luck. This is not for the faint of heart.
Now that we got that out of the way, this is how I’ve done it:

– Found and opened the ROM manager App in my “CyanogenModded” HTC EVO (it’s preinstalled with CM7.0.3.1).
– Selected download ROM
– Selected CyanogenMod (NOT CyanogenMod Nightlies)
– Selected CyanogenMod 7.1.0 Download
– Selected Google Apps checkbox (so I don’t have to reinstall “Googleware” after the upgrade)
It took a few minutes to download this on 4G, so it may be longer on 4G
– When download was over, I selected the “Wipe Dalvik cache” checkbox and pressed OK to reboot and install (I skipped any backups because I did ClockworkMod backup a few days ago and Titanium a few hours ago, but you should always make sure you have some good backups in case the whole thing goes south).

The rest was automatic. Phone rebooted into recovery mode and flashed the ROM and Google apps, then booted back into CM7 and I’m writing this email to self on its email app two minutes later. All apps and data seem to be still there. The only exception is a shortcut to File Manager which is the typical green Android Market icon. Easy fix – just deleted that shortcut and created a new one – the app is still there.

The first noticeable goodness is the addition of the 4G toggle to the status bar, so now when I swipe it down I can toggle WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, ring/vibrate/mute/ring+vibrate and 4G connection. One thing to take off my power control widget and easy to access from within an app – love it!

That was my first impression, but I guess they just changed the default setting – soon I discovered that you can add and reorganize the whole enchilada of toggles on the status screen, so you don’t need to use the Power control widget at all any more, unless you prefer having this on the screen instead on the status bar. The Power control widget crams up to ten toggles on one screen, while the notification power widget lets you add any and all of them to the status bar. If you add more than six toggles you’ll just have to swipe the status bar right or left for the one you want.

The configuration of the toggles is accessible under Settings, CyanogenMod settings, Interface, Notification power widget, Widget buttons (and Widget button order). Having them and the option to change their order is just what I was missing for two main reasons – one, the Power control widget shows toggle buttons in order you add them to the list, so whenever I wanted to reorder these I had to take them off and add them one by one in the order I want them. Two, when the toggles are on the screen widget, you have to go out of the app you’re using to change the settings, while the status toggles can be changed on the run without leaving the app, which makes things as seamless as they should be. Yippee ki-yay… ! Efficient and optimized – the longer I’m using CyanogenMod, the more I like it.

Another new feature that didn’t exist in 7.0.x (but I read somewhere it was there in previous versions) is the battery percentage display on the status bar, available under Settings>CyanogenMod settings>Interface>Status bar tweaks>Battery percentage checkbox. I still prefer my Battery Indicator app because it offers more options and information about the battery, but this is good enough if you just want a simple indicator.

My strong impression is that the 4G now seems to be working better than on HTC Sprint stock or CyanogenMod I am getting over 7 Mbps download speeds in FCC bandwidth test app, and just earlier today I was getting barely over 1 Mbps at the same spot. It’s possible that Sprint has coincidentally brought up a new 4G cell tower in the hood, or that the current rain or low activity at night is improving the 4G signal, but not likely (double-checked in the morning with same results and found out that same areas of the house have weaker signal).

The GPS, Maps and Navigation seems to be working just fine and I just had to drive around to test them because of the GPS problem I had after installing version

The Android OS version is upgraded to 2.3.7. There are many other new features on CM7.1, such as Bluetooth tethering, screenshot capability (long hold of the power button brings the shutdown/screenshot menu) , etc. and you can find them all at http://wiki.cyanogenmod.com/wiki/Changelog.

Sweet and easy. That’s how I like my custom ROM upgrades.

(Not related to the CyanogenMod version upgrade but I just noticed a pattern with my bandwidth tests: I consistently get about 5 Mbps in landscape and about 7 Mbps download speeds in portrait. Tested several times to confirm. I guess it has to do with relatively weak signal and different location and direction of the antenna in either position.)

  7 Responses to “How To Upgrade HTC EVO 4G from CyanogenMod to 7.1”

  1. Thank you! I was hesitant to do it through the rom manager.. but I as well have had no problems since the update. A few issues i did have are now corrected. Since I am stuck with this phone till next june when i hit the Sprint 10 year mark and get the annual benefit back, I am glad that these guys can keep it up to date and semi “new” to me. The camera app that comes with cyanogenmod never did work for me. It always said “activity camera (in application Camera) is not respoding” that is still the case in 7.1. Strangely, the camcorder still works. So I use pudding cam for pics which works pretty well. I just miss the crisp pics I had with the stock cam…. that’s my only gripe so the pros outweigh the cons for me.  

    • I’m glad to hear that. I had no problems with the camera except in Skype, where it doesn’t work for video chat, but I guess that may be because Skype didn’t release a version for CM. I tested it first on CM7.0.3.1 and few more times on CM7.1 with no success. Thank you for the feedback.

      • i did figure out the camera problem. for some reason the dcim folder where the pictures are stored must have corrupted somehow. i renamed the original folder to 1dcim and made a new dcim folder and the stock camera application worked again. 

        • Is your camera working in Skype too?

          • i don’t use skype….but i did install it just now and it doesn’t seem to have any video. i tried it on my tablet as well….which has cyanogenmod on it and no video there either, so….either i’m doing something wrong or just not something that works. 

          • No, that’s normal behavior. I was hoping you got it to work together with your camera, but that was my wishful thinking. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. thank you for walking through the upgrade step-by-step. i was nervous about upgrading and couldn’t remember if i was suppose to wipe the dalvik. i’m a n00b at this, so your entry was v. helpful!

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