Tuesday, 7 July 2015




Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! It’s great to see you as always! No! I haven’t abandoned you! At the moment I am taking time out to help a friend with his project! The diversion has come at a opportune time as it’s kinda quiet on the tech front... At a glance I see the same tired ol’ headlines, “Samsung Announces A Loss For The Second Quarter...” “Here’s a phone leak...” C’mon, Synapse Circuit Readers... That’s not news anymore...

You may have heard that Samsung UK have announced that they have no plans on bringing Lollipop to the Galaxy S3 and Note 2. Well, that bit of news comes as no surprise as the aforementioned handsets are long in the tooth – although the Galaxy Note 2 is still a powerhouse of a handset considering its age! As an owner of the Galaxy Note 2 I am not bothered in the slightest as Android just works! There’s always an app and / or launcher – such as Nova – that can bring some elements of the latest Android build / version. Read on...

#CyanogenMod #CM12POINTONE #Samsung #SamsungGalaxyS2


If you want to get the latest Android version on your old and beloved handsets then rooting your handset is the only option available to you! I’ve done some articles about rooting before and I recommend that you have a read to see what you are letting yourself in for... Rooting, if you haven’t rooted any of your handsets already, is a mix of panic, rage of frustration and elation!


I can think of many reasons to root and the foremost reasons are as follows:-

1. Your phone is buckling from the weight of a recent update... When I received an Android update for the Galaxy S and S2 I was very happy until the update slowed the handsets down considerably. And when my contracts were up I didn’t sell these handsets on... Uh-uh... I used the opportunity to tinker with them.

2. It goes with point one but if you have no desire to upgrade as you may be waiting for something substantial to come along you want to get maximum usage from your current driver (“driver” = your main or only handset that you use daily).

3. As linked with points 1 and 2, you want to further your knowledge that could lead to you doing your own coding! I haven’t reached that level yet... I want to learn to code at some point but at the moment my hands are full! There’s nothing like that triumphant feeling when you’ve performed a root and flashed (installed) a new custom ROM featuring the latest that Android has to offer.

As I have outlined... Rooting can be a strange game... I’ve rooted a number of handsets over the years:-

HTC Hero – after a few months it packed up! I never bothered to do anything to it again as I had moved on...

HTC Desire – same as the Hero; one minute it was working well and the next... Lol! Never mind...

HTC One X – this one is still going and I use it as my daily personal driver. It has the CyanogenMod version of KitKat on it.

ZTE Blade – after installing a CyanogenMod ROM the performance was still terribly slow and I managed to sell it on (to some sucker). No, I sold it at one of those computer exchange shops!

Motorola RAZRi – I had two of them... One died as it couldn’t hack (no pun intended) the notifications from busy social network apps. One is still working today and it is so slow!

LG L3 – this is a cute dinky handset that died on me after a few months of good functionality. As it was quite underpowered I just didn’t bother with it!

And, of course, my Samsung Galaxy S and S2... The original Galaxy S kinda functions but I reckon that a battery extension kit put an end to innards... I think the battery extension has done something untoward to the circuit board... I could boot it up and it just won’t function as it should. What a pity as it would’ve been nice to preserve it.

The Galaxy S2 is remarkably still going very, very strong! It’s only up until a week ago that I decided to put the unrooted Galaxy S4 in its place... I’m glad I did! Here’s the story...

One morning I woke up to see a notification that I had a CyanogenMod upgrade for my Galaxy S2! I was over the moon as it was a Lollipop update! So, without much thought – if any – I downloaded it and installed it...

Everything was looking sweet until it finished booting and I noticed that the Google Play Store app wasn’t working... Duh! I had forgotten to install the latest GAPP (Google App) and so I went on a bit of wild goose chase to find the appropriate one... I think I must have gone through about 4 or 5 different GAPPS to no avail...

I also noticed that the “SuperUser” icon was no longer in the app tray and it looked as though my Galaxy S2 had become unrooted in the process... Shock! Horror!

Then I tried a few solutions that included flashing a bootloader  - at least that’s what I think I done... And installed / flashed something called “Root Restore” that comes in a ZIP file like the CM12.1custom ROM as does GAPPS.

After about a solid day of trying just about everything that I could think of (in my limited capacity) I decided that it was a good time to use my Galaxy S4 instead and that I would come back to the Galaxy S2 when I wasn’t busy! Sometimes you have to know when to quit! Lucky for me I have a few spare handsets lying around! Tell a lie! I spent a day and a half trying to fix it... The following morning I called quits.

There’s nothing worse than the feeling of having “bricked” your phone... I thought, “Oh, no! I have destroyed my Galaxy S2!” It went from just about working to nothing working at all... I LOVE the Galaxy S2 as the design is great! Rather than to keep getting frustrated to the point where I’d smash it like I did the ASUS Fonepad 7 LTE I put the Galaxy S2 out of sight (out of mind) and concentrated on helping my friend with his project....

One of the most annoying things about rooting is that – in my experience – there hasn’t been a step by step guide on the process on the CyanogenMod website. If it is there I do apologise... In any event the rooting to flashing a custom ROM guides isn’t found on the CyanogenMod website where you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s there! Again, I do apologise if I have overlooked this matter...

Anyway, last night I decided to revisit my botched Galaxy S2 and see if I could find some more information...

It’s funny how I can forget the process of flashing a new custom Android version once I have become accustomed to downloaded regular updates of one particular CyanogenMod version, CM11 KitKit. I forgot totally that I had performed a ‘Format/System’ command to completely wipe the handset. That right there, ‘Format/System’ is the vital key to successful flashing of Lollipop with the CyanogenMod flavour!

So, if you are just about to bite the bullet and go from CM11 to CM12.1 then do not forget to perform a system format.

If you have messed up then all you have to do is the following:-

Your phone should be able to boot albeit without the Play Store functioning... Download the following:-

The latest version of CM12.1... For the Samsung Galaxy S2 International version you should be able to download it via your phone. If not you just download it onto your PC and transfer the file(s) across to the root folder on the internal drive “SD0”. Here’s the download page: CM12.1

You also need a GAPPS that is going to work with CM12.1. Download it here: GAPPS-5.1

Copy the GAPPS ZIP file to the root folder of your Galaxy S2 along with CM12.1 custom ROM.

The steps are as follows:-

1. After a system format you install the CM12.1 update. You should also “Wipe the cache”. It may not be necessary but that’s what I did.

2. Install the GAPPS in exactly the same way as you did the CM12.1 update. Again, “Wipe the cache” for good measure.

3. Reboot and when you get the message asking to “Fix Root” say “Yes”. And when your Galaxy S2 boots up everything should be working!

Oh, you might want to back everything up before you start the process as explained above. I personally don’t bother as everything is backed up via my Google account and anything important to me is saved to the following:-

Google Drive, microSD card, Dropbox, PC and USB stick – you can’t be too careful!

Anyway, I hope that I have helped you fix your bricked Samsung Galaxy S2! I reckon the system format routine is vital for all makes of phone but be sure to read up on your particular model! I know from experience how drawn out rooting and flashing a custom ROM on HTC handsets can be! I don’t think I want to go there again!  Let’s hope that CyanogenMod will make it easy to update HTC handsets... I think Lollipop will look good on the One X!

Remember: Synapse Circuit is rooting for you! Also there are different custom ROMs out there if you wish to give them a try! Don’t get angry. Don’t smash your phone. Use the Internet to get the answers! The truth is out there!

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!
Expect more reviews, news, opinions, competitions and more from Synapse Circuit

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