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This guide explains how to switch from Froyo (Android 2.2) to CyanogenMod 7 (Gingerbread, Android 2.3) on your Motorola Defy. Installing other ROMs and Android versions works along the same lines.

Main advantages of running a custom ROM:
- Newer improved Android version;
- Your phone may run faster and your battery may last longer;
- No bloatware from your carrier of phone manufacturer;

Main disadvantages of running a custom ROM:
- They may have bugs (but so does the stock ROM);
- You'll have to remove all traces and go back to the stock ROM if you need your phone fixed under warranty, which may fail if your hardware breaks down;
- You'll lose some built-in apps like Kodak Perfect Touch and your Motoblur address book, and it may be difficult to get Swype back the way you want it.

Custom ROMs explained:

To install a custom ROM on your Motorola Defy:

• Read all the instructions, open the links, download all the required apps and files, and make sure you understand all the steps before you start. You don't want to get stuck halfway down, and you don't want to find out that some download links have died while you're in mid-flash.
• Print this page so you have all instructions available even if your computer crashes while flashing a ROM.
• Charge your phone battery and unplug your USB cable before you flash a ROM.

1. Update, root, backup your apps and data

• If you don't have Froyo (Android 2.2) yet, update to Froyo with Motorola Software Update:
• If your phone is not rooted yet, root it with Gingerbreak:
(even though it's called Gingerbreak, it also works on Froyo).
If Gingerbreak doesn't work for you, try Super OneClick tailored for the Defy:

• Your custom ROM won't have Motoblur, so if your contacts are stored in your Motorola address book move them to Google before replacing your ROM.
• Backup your apps and settings with Titanium Backup and MyBackup. The free versions of these apps will do the job. Use both apps, because two backups is better than one. If you flash a new phone without any data, make a backup anyway. Your phone may have some apps preinstalled that you want to keep.
• Backup your entire SD card to a computer.

• Enter the Android settings, open the "About phone" page, check which software version your phone runs, and download the matching stock SBF from: or
If you can't find a suitable SBF on these sites, Google for it. Do this before installing a custom ROM, because you can never be sure that the download links will work forever. You'll need the right SBF to get your phone back to factory state if you want it repaired under warranty. If you can't enter recovery mode, flashing an SBF is the only way to get your phone working again.
Use RSD Lite to restore your stock ROM from an SBF:
More info on the difference between Nandroid backups and SBFs:
More about SBFs (warning: geekspeak) on
More on RSD Lite, the app to flash SBFs:

2. Install 2nd init, backup your phone

• Install 2nd init to bypass the bootloader and install ClockWorkMod recovery:
Warning: custom ROMs install their own boot menu. Do NOT install 2nd init on top of CyanogenMod or another custom ROM, or else your phone will not boot. Only install 2nd init from a stock ROM.
• Enable USB debugging, run the second init app, and disable USB debugging.
(Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging)
• Reboot your phone, press the volume down button when the blue led lights up, and enter the "custom recovery" from the 2nd init boot menu.
• Choose "backup and restore" and make a Nandroid backup of your stock ROM;
• Store a copy of your Nandroid backup in a safe place outside your phone.
Although Nandroid backups store your apps, settings, and data, it's good to have Titanium and MyBackup backups for those things. You don't want to do a full Nandroid backup just for last weeks SMSs or a handful of apps when a quick MyBackup or Titanium job will do.

3. Install a custom ROM

CyanogenMod is the most foolproof ROM for first time ROM flashers. Info and downloads here: and
If this is the first time you flash a custom ROM, use the stable version of CM7 from

You can install other ROMs, like MIUI, modified Defy+ ROMs, or experimental CyanogenMod "nightly builds." Many custom ROMs break your camera if it is of the old "green lens" type unless you flash a patch called GreenBreadMod.

Installing a custom ROM wipes all your apps, settings, and data from your phone, so double-check that you have backups of everything that you don't want to lose.

• Put the custom ROM zip file on your microSD card. Don't unzip it.
• Make sure USB debugging is switched off (Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging);
• Reboot your phone, press the volume down button when the blue led lights up, and enter the "custom recovery" from the 2nd init boot menu.
• Wipe the cache partition (cache and Dalvik cache), and wipe the data partition;
• Install ("restore") the custom ROM (zip file) that you downloaded;
• Reboot your phone.
• Booting your phone the first time takes longer than normal because the Dalvik cache needs to be rebuilt.
• If your phone won't boot, pull the battery out, reinsert, boot into the custom recovery, clear the cache, Dalvik cache, and data partition, and reboot.
• If your phone still won't boot, scroll down to "disaster recovery."

4. Restore your apps and data

• CyanogenMod doesn't have the Android Market (Google Play store) and other Google apps included. You can install them from packs like these:
Make sure you choose the right version: don't install a CyanogenMod 9 package on CyanogenMod 7.
You can also restore Google apps from your Titanium backups, but you may end up with old Froyo apps on your new Gingerbread ROM.
• To get Swype back on a custom ROM, download the official Swype beta:
• You can download and reinstall Connected Music Player, but you'll lose the option to save radio stations.
Instead of using Connected Music Player, you can replace its features with WinAmp (does ShoutCast radio too), SoundHound, TrackID, or Shazam.
• If you install a custom ROM you'll lose Kodak Perfect Touch, and there's no known way to get it back:
The best free alternative for Kodak Perfect Touch and Motorola's built-in image editor is Easy Photo Editor:
• If you install non-Motorola ROMs you'll lose Motoblur, but most people consider this an advantage.

• Restore your apps and their settings with Titanium, then reboot your phone.
Don't use the batch restore feature with everything selected. You don't want to replace your new Gingerbread apps with old Froyo apps, or restore Froyo system settings to Gingerbread.
If you backed up security apps (antivirus, LBE Privacy Guard, etc.), restore them after everything else. Otherwise they'll rescan every app, which makes the restore process very slow.
• If there's any data missing, restore it with MyBackup, but don't restore your old system settings on your new ROM.
• If you restored backups of apps like DroidWall or LBE Privacy Guard, go through their settings again. The UIDs of your apps may change when you restore them, in which case DroidWall and LBE start blocking the wrong apps. The same may happen with the firewall of avast.
• Titanium and MyBackup won't restore your widgets, so you have to rebuild them if your widget apps didn't come with a backup feature. Tip: make screenshots of your widgets before you flash a new ROM so you know what goes where.

5. Network and camera

• You may need to run Baseband Switcher and choose the network frequencies for your phone radio, because they vary by region. What matters is the region of your "official" phone stock ROM, not the region where you are located.

The Defy comes with two camera modules. Old batches have a green lens, new batches have a red lens. The green lens cameras don't work with the all the latest ROMs, but CM7 is a safe ROM if you have a green lens Defy.

• If you boot from the 2nd init boot menu your camera may not work. Reboot the normal way (without pressing the volume button) to make your camera work.
Details here:

If you turn in your Defy to have something repaired under warranty, Motorola may give you a new (or refurbished) phone instead of trying to repair your old handset. The replacement phone may have a different camera module. If you're lucky Motorola may replace your green lens Defy for a red one. The new red lens camera module gives you more custom ROM options than the old green lens camera, so don't accept a green lens replacement if you get your red lens Defy repaired.
More on green and red Defy camera lenses:

6. Disaster recovery and more info

• Once your custom ROM works the way you want, enter the 2nd init boot menu and make a Nandroid backup. This way you can easily restore your custom ROM setup when needed without having to start from scratch. Don't throw away the Nandroid backup of your old stock ROM. You never know when you may need it.

• If you get strange errors after installing a custom ROM, boot into the 2nd init recovery mode and wipe the cache partition and Dalvik cache.

If you need to turn in your phone for repairs under warranty:
• Make a Nandroid backup and Titanium/MyBackup backups so you can quickly get your phone back the way you want after you get it back;
• Enter the custom recovery, wipe the cache partition (cache and Dalvik cache), and wipe the data partition;
• Put a stock ROM SBF in C:\ and rename it to r.sbf or another short name (don't keep the original long name or flashing your phone may fail;
• Restore your stock ROM SBF with RSD Lite;
• Do a factory reset to remove all traces of root apps from your Android log files, and to make sure the repair center employees can't snoop in your private data;
• If RSD Lite says it failed, reboot your phone to check if it really failed.
• If you restored your stock ROM but your phone won't boot, enter the stock Motorola Defy recovery mode, wipe data and cache, and reboot.
• If flashing an SBF went wrong and your phone won't respond to any button, don't panic. A "dead" phone usually responds to RSD Lite, so reflash it with another ROM.

Never flash an SBF for a higher version of Android than the latest official ROM for your phone/carrier/region combo, because you can't flash back to a lower version. Flashing a wrong SBF can permanently void your warranty. Nandroid backups don't have this problem, so only flash SBFs if you really can't avoid it. Whenever possible, flash the "lowest" stock SBF you can get, and then run Motorola Updater to get the latest official Android version straight from Motorola.

To unroot your stock ROM:
• use the unroot feature of Gingerbreak:
• or unroot with Super OneClick:
• or unroot manually by deleting these files with a root-enabled file manager like ES File Explorer or X-plore:

For lots of Motorola Defy tricks, app downloads, and more, check out xda.
Motorola Defy forums at xda:
Motorola Defy wiki at xda:
Motorola Defy guide at xda:
If you ever need to take your Defy apart (kills your warranty):

Unofficial Motorola Defy forum:

Official Motorola forum:
Official Motorola Defy forum:
Motorolas own (pretty useless) Defy support site:
Motorola upgrade plans (or lack thereof):

Enter the Motorola Defy bootloader:
- boot your Defy while holding the volume up button

Enter the Motorola Defy recovery mode:
- Boot your Defy while holding the volume down button;
- Touch the bottom right corner of your screen when the green Android robot appears.
- Alternative: push volume up and volume down at the same time when you see a yellow triangle on your screen.

Don't forget to check the tricks page.

If you get stuck, ask for help on the xda forums. This is where the developers of many custom ROMs hang out.

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