Installing CyanogenMod 9 using Mac OS (for dummies)

Installing CyanogenMod 9 using Mac OS (for dummies)

A few months ago I switched from iOS to Android. Why did I? Well basically for the wrong reasons! My iPhone was stolen and an Xperia phone is 3 times cheaper than an iPhone.

Its hardware is pretty decent, nice screen, cool body, two cameras… Its software, on the other hand, is nearly detestable.
Switching to CyanogenMod seemed mandatory.
Because the guys who did it thought of what someone could really need and did not just implement what they thought would be cool while supposing it would please the operators. They made a phone that works fast with long battery life and most importantly with no stupid-dum-useless-apps-that-you-cannot-remove.

Hammer & Screw

Hammer & Screw

The major questions I had were:

  • How do I do that using Mac OS? (I would always get the same answer: “You don’t, you just use Windows”).
  • How does it work?
  • What do I need to have?
  • Where do I start?
  • What should I do?

Many websites would briefly tell you what to do, without getting into the details. They would say: “Download this file, click on it.” etc.
To me, it always felt like reading a book telling you about how to use a hammer when trying to twist a screw.

How do I do that on Mac OS? / “You don’t, you just use Windows”  (Is there a good reason for that?)

There is not.
But there is most certainly a bad habit shared by many people around that: people use the do-everything-and-maybe-add-a-virus-to-your-computer.exe all the time without trying to know what they are doing.

How does it work?

CyanogenMod is a “Custom ROM for Android”.
I don’t know why they call it a “ROM” and obviously it is not.
(It looks more like a custom OS to me).
To install it, you need to change the Bootloader: custom bootloader will read the custom ROM which you will have to copy on the SD card before installing it.

What do I need?

  • The ability to read (very important), I mean to read long and carefully.
  • An Android phone that is supported by CyanogenMod, with an SD card.
  • The CyanogenMod ZIP file for you phone
  • The Android SDK with Java SDK
  • A USB cable, obviously.
  • Optional: Google Apps ZIP file for the device.

Where do I start?

Say goodbye to your phone as if it was going to have a general anaesthesia.
Download these files and verify you have Java SDK installed:

So what should I do?

  • Read carefully the tutorial given by CyanogenMod (eg. Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray: Full Update Guide)
  • Copy the CyanogenMod and Google App files (eg. and to the root folder of the phone’s SD card.
  • Follow the procedure to unlock the boot loader.
  • Switch your phone off
  • Plug your phone to your computer
  • Push your phone unlock button (“Volume Up” on Xperia Ray), this will switch the phone on
  • Unzip the Android SDK (eg., then go to tools folder and run
    $ ./android sdk
  • Check the tools and install packages.
    Android SDK Manager

    Android SDK Manager

    Have a coffee.

  • Go to platform-tools folder that was just created by running android sdk, and run
    $ ./fastboot -i 0x0fce getvar version
    version: 0.3
    finished. total time: 0.001s
  • If this worked then you can unlock the boot loader:
    $ ./fastboot -i 0x0fce oem unlock 0x725F6390BDABCDEF
    (bootloader) Unlock phone requested
    (bootloader) Erasing block 0x00000a00
    (bootloader) Erasing block 0x00000b00
    (bootloader) Erasing block 0x00000c00
    (bootloader) Erasing block 0x00000d00
    (bootloader) Erasing block 0x00000e00
    (bootloader) Erasing block 0x00000f00
    OKAY [ 6.117s]
    finished. total time: 6.117s
  • Now you can change the boot loader. Get the boot.img file from the CyanogenMod files (eg. and run:
    $ ./fastboot -i 0xfce flash boot boot.img
    sending 'boot' (4894 KB)...
    (bootloader) USB download speed was 9195kB/s
    OKAY [ 0.551s]
    writing 'boot'...
    (bootloader) Download buffer format: boot IMG
    (bootloader) Flash of partition 'boot' requested
    (bootloader) S1 partID 0x00000003, block 0x00000148-0x00000179
    (bootloader) Erase operation complete, 0 bad blocks encountered
    (bootloader) Flashing...
    (bootloader) Flash operation complete
    OKAY [ 0.953s]
    finished. total time: 1.504s
  • Reboot the phone:
    $ ./fastboot -i 0xfce reboot
    finished. total time: 0.001s
  • We are now going to install CyanogenMod on the phone using the new boot loader.
    After reboot, select the option to Wipe data/factory reset.
  • Select the option Wipe cache partition.
  • Select Install zip from sdcard.
  • Select Choose zip from sdcard.
  • Select the CyanogenMod zip file
    CyanogenMod 9

    CyanogenMod 9

  • Reboot system now
  • Et voilà.
    CyanogenMod 9

    CyanogenMod 9

  • Remember that CyanogenMod is Community Powered. Consider joining or donating if you like it!

Disclaimer: If you follow this tutorial, keep in mind that you do so at your own risk. We are not responsible for any consequential damages.


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About the Author

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Benjamin Bellamy

Paris, Beirut, NYC & Agen // e-commerce, social media, open-source & geek // follow me on twitter: @benjaminbellamy.

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  1. you such a geek !

  2. I have the phone rooted and unlocked but it when i flash boot says that i need to root the phone (which i already have done and checked) I’m on a mac. Please help!

  3. What phone model do you own? Was it locked by operator? How did you unlock and root it? What is the exact error message?

  4. I have downloaded my CM10 for Samsung Galaxy S. Was poking around to see any good step by step guide :) looks like this is a nice post. I have some ideas now :)