Flashing Cyanogenmod Into A Nexus 7 2012 Tablet

I bought my Nexus 7 tablet a bit late in the game, in 2013, when everyone else was buying the new Nexus 7 2013 edition. Although being a model behind has its obvious drawbacks, the benefits can include a device with all the initial problems resolved (avoiding the first adopter’s problems with software and hardware), a cheaper price and usually a year’s worth of reviews and discussions to read prior to making the purchase. However, like everything else, one has to buy carefully.

There have been a couple of updates from Google on the software front since the tablet has been released, including the update to Lollipop (Android 5.1.1). This update, as you may already know, has caused a lot of grief to a lot of people, by making some tablets unusably slow, including mine (oh, why didn’t I say “no” to the update dialog). Far from making it a better experience (something one expects from a software update), it turns the tablet into something you do not want to use and there is no going back to previous version.

I have been leaving the tablet unused for quite a few months now, since it takes a few minutes just to get past the lock screen, so yesterday I decided to load a custom ROM, namely Cyanogenmod to make it my daily device again. This, as it happened, gave me a new set of problems to deal with, namely:

  • After flashing a new recovery image, namely TWRP-3.0.0-0-signed.zip, the device will boot into recovery, but cannot mount any of the partitions such as data and system, which results in a failed attempt to install Cyanogenmod and Gapps (Google Apps package).
  • I tried the multirom version as discussed in this web page, but it does not even boot (I think it was meant for the later models of Nexus 7).
  • I tried to flash a CWM recovery image for Nexus 7 as listed on this web page and it has the same problem mounting partitions as the TWRP recovery software.

So what to do? After a few hair pulling moments, I decided to give TWRP another try, this time, thinking that this device has been around for a while, I decided to flash an older version of TWRP, namely version 2.8.6. I thought, surely, if the newer version does not work, then the older version may not work? Wrong. TWRP version 2.8.6 recovery image worked perfectly. I was able to wipe the System partition, flash Cyanogenmod version 10.2 and Gapps (make sure you get the correct version of Gapps) and root the device successfully. Now I am looking forward to using my old Nexus 7 tablet as a daily device again.