The Raspberry Pi isn’t short on operating systems. There are plenty of choices, but most are Linux distributions, and they have certain limitations.
Android, on the other hand, has more compatibility with third party apps and services, especially streaming ones. Android also has tons of apps, like games, that could benefit from being run on a full screen, and the Pi is a great way to do that.
In the past, the Pi hasn’t had good Android support, and it’s still somewhat shaky. Independent developers have made a lot of progress, though, and there are builds available that can take advantage of some of the great features Android brings.
LineageOS is the top Android ROM. It was forked from the hugely popular Cyanogenmod project and carries on that tradition of an entirely independent Android. LineageOS doesn’t limit the capabilities of your device, and development tends to move at a much faster pace than most traditional Android builds, making it the ideal candidate for the Pi. In this article we will show you how you can install LineageOS on Raspberry Pi 3.
What You’ll Need
Before you start, there are some things that you’ll need to get your Raspberry Pi set up.
- Computer w/ MicroSD reader (preferably running Linux)
- Raspberry Pi 3
- MicroSD card
- Micro USB AC power cable
- USB Keyboard
- USB Mouse
- Monitor for Pi
There’s nothing official about this build, so it should be considered experimental, but it works. Download it and unzip it to get to the “img” file.
The build was created by and is maintained by Konsta. If you like it, give credit where it’s due.
Etcher is a free and open-source disk-writing utility. It’s available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Head over to the project’s website, and download the right version for your computer. Install it, following the instructions provided by the installer. It’s very simple.
If you’re on Linux and prefer to use
dd, ignore this part, and use
dd. It works just as well.
Flash the MicroSD
Insert the MicroSD into your computer and open Etcher. Make sure there is nothing that you need on the SD card because it will all be erased.
Select the LineageOS image first, then select your MicroSD. When you’re sure everything is right, write your image.
Boot into LineageOS
Connect your Raspberry Pi to the USB mouse and keyboard. Insert the written SD card, and then connect it to the monitor. When everything is set, plug it in.
It will take several minutes for the Raspberry Pi to boot. Unlike most Android installations, it won’t prompt you for a bunch of information. It has no Google content by default.
Through the “Settings” app, you can connect to your WiFi, enable root, and gain access to the developer options.
Google Apps/Getting Apps
There are a few ways to handle apps, and which you choose depends heavily on what you want to do. You don’t need to install the Google Apps at all. You can get apps from a site like APKMirror and sideload them. That works much better from Linux, but it can be done on any computer that has the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) installed.
There are a couple of scripted options to install the Google apps that you can try, too. The one from RTAndroid has proven to be a good option in some cases. Again, it requires ADB.
There are also options that require you resize the filesystem on the memory card before you boot and copy pre-installed packages into the default Android directories. This may be your best option on Windows, but beware, the contents of these files haven’t been verified.
Again, these options are all experimental, so take caution and be patient. Things might not always go as planned. In any case, you do have a working LineageOS installation to try out and configure on your Raspberry Pi.