How to Install Android on Raspberry Pi 4? (with Play Store)

install android on Raspberry Pi 4

Installing Android on Raspberry Pi is a dream that is difficult to achieve. Perhaps you already tried it unsuccessfully? Me too, many times ๐Ÿ™‚
I already made a tutorial on this topic by using Emteria and a Raspberry Pi 3 (link here). But Emteria is a paid software, and the whole system was a bit slow and unstable on Pi 3
How does it work now with a better Raspberry Pi and OS? We’ll see this today in this post

How to Install Android on Raspberry Pi 4?
Installing Android on Raspberry Pi become easier each day, but it’s still not as simple as with other operating systems
The core system is easy to install, but then you need to do several steps to enable all the services and install Google Play Store

In this tutorial, I will guide you through all these steps with LineageOS, a good alternative to run Android on Raspberry Pi 4

What is LineageOS?

Introduction

LineageOS is a free and open source operating system, as often when I introduce a new system on this website
The first thing to understand is that LineageOS is made for smartphone and tablet, it’s not an emulator or something specially dedicated to single board computers

LineageOS was created in 2016, and is a fork from CyanogenMod
LineageOS comes with a few basic applications (browser, calendar, calculator, etc.), but no Google applications or useless preinstalled software
If you are interested, you can get more information on their website

Does it work on Raspberry Pi?

As you can imagine, I will not write here on something that doesn’t work on Raspberry Pi ๐Ÿ™‚
So yes, there is a way to make it work on your Pi, but it’s not with the official release

As you can see on the download page here, LineageOS is available for many devices (Samsung, Huawei, Sony, etc.) but not for anything other than smartphones and tablets

But there is an unofficial version available on this website for Raspberry Pi 4
It’s not the latest LineageOS version (it’s Android 9 – Pie), but it’s pretty good for the moment
So, I’ll show you how to install this version on your Raspberry Pi 4
There is also a version available for Raspberry Pi 3 if you use this model

Android installation

Prerequisites

Ok, so you’ll need to download several things before starting the installation process
As it’s not always easy to download it directly from the Raspberry Pi, I recommend downloading it from your computer
I will explain what to do with each file later

So, download all these files on your computer :

  • Balena Etcher
    We’ll use it to flash the SD card. It’s available on any operating system
    You may already have it or prefer another tool, no problem
  • LineageOS for Raspberry Pi 4
    or LineageOS for Raspberry Pi 3
    You can check if there is a more recent version available, but I’m doing this tutorial with this one
  • OpenGapps
    The alternative to install Google Apps on a custom Android device
    Choose the ARM platform, Android 9.0 and the “pico” variant

I recommend copying the “OpenGapps” file to a USB key
It’s easier than downloading it from the Android system
I’ll show you in the last part how to install them

Flash the SD card

Next, we need to prepare the SD card
As usual on this website, I’m using Etcher to do this :

  • Install Etcher if not already done
  • Start it, you’ll get something like this :
    etcher menu
  • On the left, pick the LineageOS image file from your Downloads directory
    The insert your SD card in your computer, Etcher should select it automatically
    And finally click on “Flash!” to start the copy

A few minutes later, your SD is ready and you can insert it in your Raspberry Pi

First boot

Start your Raspberry Pi
The first boot is a bit longer, probably to configure everything
Once done, you get a first wizard to finish the setup

Choose your language, time zone and wireless connection
Then you can configure the other options as you want (privacy, security, etc.)

Once done, the Android desktop shows up
Depending on your goal, you already have something working with basic apps (browser, file browse, etc.)
To access them, scroll up the bottom bar

But you’re probably not here to use only the email and browser apps, so let’s move to the Google Apps installation

Install Google Play Store

This is always the most complex part on an Android installation, whatever the device or system
As we don’t use an official Android image and device, there are additional steps to enable Google Play Store

Enable Developer options

We’ll need to go in recovery mode to install additional packages
To do this, we need to enable developer options and run a command as root

Let’s do this :

  • Go into the Settings
  • Go at the end of the list (with the keyboard arrows) and find “About Tablet”, click on it
  • Then find “Build number” and click several times on it
    After 5 times maybe, a message appears to say that you enabled the developer options, it’s fine
  • You can now come back to Settings and open the “System” menu
    In the “Advanced” part, there are the developer options
  • From here, there are two things to enable :
    • Local terminal
      We’ll need to use a command to reboot in recovery mode
    • Root access, we need it to run the command
      Choose “Apps and ADB” in the list
  • Reboot the Raspberry Pi
    Press and hold F5, and click on “Restart”

Ok, you are ready to move to the next part
We need to go in recovery mode

Reboot in recovery mode

Back in Android, you should see a Terminal app available

Open it and enter the following commands :
su
rpi4-recovery.sh
reboot

Allow all asked permissions
If you are on Raspberry Pi 3, there is probably an equivalent, something like rpi3-recovery.sh

The system will now reboot on recovery mode
Swipe to allow system modifications, you should get this screen :

We can now move to the Google Apps installation

Install Google Apps

Once in recovery mode, plug your USB key with Google Apps on it
Then follow this procedure :

  • Click on “Mount”
    This is where you can choose which partition to mount
    We need to mount the USB key, so check it in the list (USB-OTG in my case, I don’t know if it’s my USB key model or always this)
  • Then, back to the main menu, click on “Install”
  • Click on “Select Storage” and choose the USB key
  • Finally, your files appears
    Click on the Open Gapps file to install it

    Swipe to confirm, there is nothing else to change
  • Don’t reboot after the installation as it will come back to the recovery mode

If everything is OK, you can now restart in normal mode, check the next part

Reboot in normal mode

As to enable the recovery mode, we also need to run the command to change the boot to normal mode

  • From the recovery mode menu, go again into “Mount”
    Check that the boot partition is checked, or do it if it’s not the case
  • Then go to Advanced and Terminal
  • Enter almost the same commands:
    rpi4-recovery.sh boot
    reboot

That’s it, your Raspberry Pi will now restart in normal mode
Once on the Android desktop, you can see that Play Store is available in the apps

Sign in on Play Store

The last step is to sign in on Google Play, as for any Android device
Open the Play Store app and try to sign in with your Google account


You may get some error messages during this process, asking if you want to close or wait



Keep choosing “Wait” until you manage to log in

Once logged in, you can close the app and reboot the device
After the reboot, everything should be fine
You can now install any app or game you want on your Raspberry Pi ๐Ÿ™‚

Video

I have recorded the process in video simultaneously. You can watch it here if you want :

Check the RaspberryTips YouTube channel to receive new videos in your feed :

Conclusion

That’s, we finally found a way to have Android working better than ever on Raspberry Pi
And it’s not so difficult to install, we don’t need any account (except from Google), and it’s free ๐Ÿ™‚

I didn’t play with it too much after that, so if you have any other opinion or issue, let me know in the comments below

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1 Comment

  1. Esa Karjalainen Reply

    Cool. Why didn’t you go for the 64 bit variant, though?

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