LineageOS on the Galaxy SII: a new life for your old phone
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LineageOS on the Galaxy SII: a new life for your old phone

Coya Vallejo Hägi
Zurich, on 09.03.2021
Translation: Patrik Stainbrook
Thanks to an alternative operating system, Android 11 can even run on a 2011 Samsung Galaxy SII. A developer has made a port for the legendary Samsung smartphone based on LineageOS.

The Samsung Galaxy SII was launched a decade ago. Now a software engineer known as riNanDo is breathing new life into this dusty smartphone veteran using fresh software.

It uses the alternative Android software LineageOS. This system is a modded version of the official Google operating system. This way LineageOS mirrors the official Android experience almost equally. However, the tweaks in the background of the operating system are supposed to give users more options on the appearance and security settings, as well as offer faster runtime.

Galaxy Note 10+ (256GB, Aura Black, 6.80", Hybrid Dual SIM, 16Mpx, 4G)
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Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (256GB, Aura Black, 6.80", Hybrid Dual SIM, 16Mpx, 4G)
Galaxy Z Fold2 5G Snapdragon (256GB, Mystic Bronze, 7.60", Single SIM, 12Mpx, 5G)
As good as new + tested
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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G Snapdragon (256GB, Mystic Bronze, 7.60", Single SIM, 12Mpx, 5G)

A roundabout way to update

The freely accessible operating system, run by a team of volunteers, offers the latest Android versions. LineageOS 18.1 is based on Android 11 and has been adapted by developers since the end of 2020.

It should be especially interesting for users who want to use an older device with up-to-date software, even if the device is no longer officially supported with fresh system updates – as is the case with the ten-year-old Galaxy SII.

Officially, this model was only supported up to Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow). The fact that Samsung served the SII at all until this update is already remarkable. However, you can bring the SII back up to date with the Android 11-inspired LineageOS 18.1 version.

A twelve-step program

But installing brand-new software on the old device isn't without its difficulties. If you want to get LineageOS 18.1 running on the old phone, quite a number of steps have to be taken. riNanDo describes guides you through them here.

After that, the most common functions such as audio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, IMEI, touch keys, photo and video, the hardware encoder/decoder and the display should work fine. On the other hand, features such as the GPS, screencast, FM radio and audio control for voice calls aren't supported. Which is why riNanDo constantly reminds the community, «Of course it isn't perfect and there will be bugs or instability. I'm no Samsung, just a DIY.»

Tinkering at your own risk

With this unofficial tweak, you can get your old Samsung out of that cardboard box in the basement and put it directly on the fast lane in terms of software. Currently, certain smartphones of the year are still waiting for their Android 11 update.

But beware – even riNanDo warns against hasty resuscitation manoeuvres for the old smartphone in their xda forum: you should inform yourself well before tackling the twelve steps and tinker with the device – at least if damage is to be avoided.

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Coya Vallejo Hägi
Coya Vallejo Hägi
Editor, Zurich
«I want it all! The terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles!» – these words spoken by an iconic American TV celebrity could have been mine. It's a take on life I also apply to my job. What does this mean in concrete terms? That every story has its charm; no matter how small, large, exciting or trivial. The more eclectic the mix, the better.

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