Motorola was the first company to have Lollipop OTA updates after Google looked after many of their own services. It’s fair to say Motorola are well-connected now since being a Google company last year. The break up didn’t end badly it would seem, as the Mountain View company are still looking after them supremely. That said, don’t expect Lollipop on the Moto G just yet as it’s not the flagship so the new software update will take time to find its way to the rest of the Motorola line-up. That means only one thing: install a new custom ROM after tinkering with the operating system and opening it up away from the factory restrictions.

The Moto G is the prime candidate for rooting since it’s affordable on the right phone carrier network. It keeps much of its looks from its big brother in the Moto X but comes much cheaper. Snapshot ROMs are not as stable as some others but they are stable enough to see monthly incremental updates. That means you can install this custom ROM on your daily drive with confidence if it holding up. There are some bugs, but it’s closer to a final version than most people think.

Moto G

Of course, you can run an unofficial ROM without having root access. That means you must follow another guide on rooting the Moto G before starting the steps. In case you didn’t know, rooting is a specific process whereby we open up the internal system. That means there’s generally a new guide for each model number. Occasionally, you can get lucky and find a guide that works for all types such as how to root Motorola Moto G with superboot. Other times you must be more specific. You can learn how to root the Moto G XT1063 On Android 5.0 Lollipop.

After finishing the rooting process it’s time to run through some of the essentials. That way you know what to expect, the risk involved in performing such an operation, how to get out of trouble if it finds you and more.

  • The first thing you should know is you will wipe the data from the phone during the installation. Most of the time when installing custom ROMs this happens because we have to wipe the ROM before installing the new file. Those of you with the unchained operating systems should take a Nandroid backup of the phone. Now you have the ROM saved. Next you ought to back up the data. That data includes anything from SMS texts, pictures and videos you don’t want to lose, music files, MMS messages, market applications and anything else. Titanium is a great way to back up that’s only available to those with the system internals unlocked. It’s the equivalent of what Helium is for those running official Android software.
  • The guide is to be followed by users who wish to skip the waiting queue and run an unofficial version of Lollipop software instead of waiting for the official over the air update. Doing so allows you to see some of the features, design elements and more. The custom ROM is just as smooth as fast so you don’t have to worry about reliability.
  • You must enable USB Debugging Mode first. Visit the Developer Options menu off the Settings menu where you will find the USB Debugging option. Check the box inside.
  • You must have the up to date USB Drivers. Check that the drivers aren’t working already to save yourself the time. Since this is a Motorola smartphone, you would visit the Motorola website for the drivers. Alternatively, you can download them from third-party source. As I said before, you should connect the phone to the computer and try accessing the data first. If you are opening up the pictures, you know the drivers are working.
  • You ought to stop any antivirus, malware and adware protection from the computer and Android OS. That way nothing interferes with our own programs. Sometimes our files come up as a virus when in fact they are not. We do not own the file here, but we know it as a trusted source that’s now being flashed by many Android enthusiasts.
  • Speaking of which, you must be an advanced Android users to follow this guide. Don’t start the steps unless you have some experience with flashing or customizing phones.
  • You must have a computer for transferring files over to the mobile. It’s the safest way of installing. Do not transfer the file directly to the phone from the website.
  • It doesn’t matter which OS the computer users so long as it has the USB slot mounted in the side and is fit for connecting the mobile device.
  • You should charge the battery enough so it doesn’t shut down. Most modern mobiles such as the Moto G have USB charging as a stock feature. That means the USB cable works as a charging wire when connecting to a computer. However, some people don’t have the USB charging working. Those who don’t must reserve at least 50% battery power.
  • Correspondingly, if you are using a notebook or laptop that isn’t plugged into the power outlet, you must make sure it has enough power to last without shutting down. You don’t want the computer or smartphone shutting down during the flashing.
  • The ROM comes with one problem: you might struggle playing back music from the Moto G like you did before. The solution is part of the steps. If you don’t want to fix the music playback problem, you don’t have to flash the zip file. It’s labelled appropriately during step two.

Update to CM12 Android 5.0 Lollipop on the Moto G

  1. Download the unofficial ROM from here.
  2. Download the Music Playback zip file here.
  3. Download the Google Gapps package here.
  4. Attach the phone to the computer using the USB cable.
  5. It will start reading the device if the correct drivers are installed.
  6. Transfer all the zip files over to the internal storage.
    – do not use the external storage SD card.
  7. Disconnect the phone from the computer.
  8. Turn off the Moto G
  9. Boot the phone in recovery mode.
    – Volume Up + Volume Down + Power keys at the same time.
  10. Hold the keys for a few seconds before releasing when the boot menu is on the display.
  11. use the volume down button to scroll through the list and stop when you reach the recovery option.
  12. Now you will see the Android Logo. Hold the Volume Down and volume Up keys for five seconds. then press the power key.
    – You are in the recovery mode now.
  13. Note: it’s officially your last chance to back up the data and ROM before everything is wiped.
  14. Select “wipe data factory reset” from recovery options.
  15. Hit the advanced key and wipe the caching options. You’ll find three including the Dalvik cache. We recommend clearing them all: System, data and Dalvik cache.
  16. Go back to the main menu and select “Install zip from SD card,” then “Choose zip from SD card.”
  17. Pluck out the CM12 Lollipop zip file and upload the same.
  18. Repeat the steps but this time flashing the Google Gapps pack.
  19. Optional: Flash the music playback zip file for those looking for the fix.

Go back to the main menu after it finishes flashing and select the “reboot system now” option.

If you don’t like the custom ROM experience you are having you can restore the backup and that’ll have you back on the same ROM before you started. However, understand that if the backup you took before has root access you still have the same. If you want to return back to official stock Android like your phone was out of the box you should use the root checker and unroot pro version. It costs you money to return back. You may find cheaper options around the web. We don’t own the application, but any time you can make a system change by installing an application is usually the easiest way to go.