Motorola Moto Z2 Play is a brand new device which will receive official support for at least one more year. So, knowing how to apply all the upcoming updates is a must, especially if you want to use a smooth and secured Android experience all the time. And, along with the official updates we can also discuss about custom ROMs, ported and tweaked versions of the stock Android software. Well, all these special update operations which can be completed on your Moto Z2 Play will be detailed during the following guidelines.
As you will observe, this tutorial will have more sections depending on the update process that will be detailed. So, first we will discuss about how a new OTA update can be smartly manage and applied on your Motorola Moto Z2 Play. Then, we will review the manual flashing process that will use the stock / official Android system and finally we will talk about how to replace the official Android OS with a custom ROM platform such as Lineage OS, AOKP or Paranoid Android.
Now, during each section you will be able to learn essential aspects that are related with these update operations. Mainly, you can review the advantages, the risks, the essential pre-requisites and the actual steps that must be followed. So, based on these aspects you will afterwards be able to choose wisely the update solution that best fit your Motorola Moto Z2 Play and your own needs. So, let’s see what it’s all about.
Applying OTAs on the Motorola Moto Z2 Play
Occasionally, theoretically on a monthly basis, Motorola should release OTAs for your Moto Z2 Play. Most of these updates are minor ones meant to address soft related issues, to add stability improvements and to bring security patches. However, you will also receive major OTAs that will come with important new features, apps and capabilities.
Now, each OTA will be offered in phases or gradually and for limited markets only. Therefore, it will take a while until the update is made available for all the Moto Z2 Play users – some will receive their Android notification sooner than others. Thus, a solution for this problem is manually flashing the full firmware package – that’s possible only if the Android firmware package is made available online. Another thing that you can do is to force down the OTA, or manually install the OTA, if it can be downloaded from online sources.
Another important aspect: the OTA can be received and also installed on your Moto Z2 Play only if your phone is running on stock Android OS and only if tweaks weren’t previously performed – for example, if your handset is rooted, the only way in which you will be able to install the new official update will be by completing a manual flashing process (see the next section of this tutorial in that respect).
Receiving and installing an OTA are official operations supported by your OEM and by Google. So, you won’t have to use third-party apps in order to perform this flashing operation and you won’t lose your phone’s warranty. Additionally, a backup isn’t required – your data should remain safe and secured while the OTA process is performed.
What you need to do is to verify the battery level displayed on your Moto Z2 Play. If the power left is lower than 50%, don’t hesitate and charge your handset before doing anything else.
Now, if you know that an OTA is available for your phone but you are still waiting for your Android notification, try to force it down by following:
- Power on your Moto Z2 Play.
- Also, enable a WiFi connection on your device.
- Tap on Menu and go to Settings.
- Navigate towards Software version.
- Under Software version you should be able to access a search engine which can help you find updates for your device.
- So, launch this search and if an OTA is available you will be prompted with the Android notification.
- From there, just follow on-screen prompts and complete the update operation.
- In the end, reboot your device and enjoy.
As already outlined above, you can also manually flash the OTA package but only if it can be downloaded from online sources. This manual flashing procedure can be performed in two different ways, both being described below. Note, for both processes a computer will be required and your phone and its USB cable must be also there. Good; so let’s get started:
Manually Installing the OTA via stock recovery image
- On your computer download the OTA file from your Motorola Moto Z2 Play.
- Save this package on desktop.
- Power on your smartphone and connect it with your PC – use the USB cable in that respect.
- Transfer the downloaded file on your phone and afterwards, remove the USB cable as the computer is no longer required.
- Switch off your handset and wait while the power off is completed; next, reboot recovery mode on your Moto Z2 Play.
- From recovery select ‘apply update from SD card’.
- Now, wait while the flashing process is completed and when done return to main menu of recovery.
- From there select ‘reboot system now’.
- That should be all.
ADB sideload the OTA package
- On your computer the Moto Z2 Play drivers must be installed.
- Also, the Android SDK toolkit should be there: so, learn how to install Android SDK on Windows or how to set up ADB on MAC OS X / Linux.
- On your computer download the OTA package – save it on desktop.
- Rename the OTA file into ‘update.zip’.
- Transfer the renamed file inside the Android SDK folder.
- From there open a command prompt window – press and hold the Shift keyboard key and while doing so right-click on any blank space and choose ‘open command prompt window here’.
- Power off your Moto Z2 Play and reach recovery mode on your Android device.
- From recovery choose ‘apply update through ADB’.
- Now, connect your phone with your computer via USB cord.
- In the cmd window type ‘adb sideload update.zip’ And press Enter.
- Wait while the update process is being automatically completed.
- In the end reboot your device and enjoy.
Manually Install the stock / official Android firmware on the Motorola Moto Z2 Play
As already outlined before, the OTA can be received only in special conditions. Now, if you are tired for waiting for your Android notification, or if your phone was tweaked, don’t hesitate and learn how to install the update manually.
This manual process can be used not only for keeping everything updated. You can also follow the steps from below if you want to restore your Motorola Moto Z2 Play back to its initial state – helpful if you need to revoke root access, reinstall the stock recovery, re-flash bloatware or relock the bootloader.
Additionally, this update operation can be used as a manual troubleshooting process. In that respect you can apply the following steps if you have to fix software related issues such as boot loops, lags, bugs, force close errors, battery drain, heating problems, signal strength issues, total blackouts and similar other malfunctions.
Meanwhile, you need to know that manually installing the stock Android firmware is an official process. Once more, you won’t have to use complex or risky programs during the update process that’s explained below. And, of course, the warranty won’t get void – so, from this perspective you have nothing to worry about.
However, you should save your personal data, info and accounts as such files can get corrupted or even wiped out during the flashing operation. On the Motorola Moto Z2 Play you can use built-in cloud storage services for saving everything that wasn’t there from day one. Don’t forget that a general backup can be initiated by syncing files with your Google Account or by downloading already tested apps from Google Play.
Since this is a manual flashing operation a computer will be required. On this computer you will save the update package and the flashing program. Now, on your phone you will have to gain Developer Options (tap repeatedly on Built Number until you receive the ‘you are a developer’ message) as from there you then have to check the USB Debugging field (Developer Options is located within Menu – > Settings).
Once more, don’t forget to charge your phone before doing anything else, if that’s implied – if the power that’s left is currently lower than 50%. Otherwise, you can just skip to the following steps:
- On your computer download the stock firmware file for your Moto Z2 Play – just make sure you download the right OS for your device.
- Save this file on desktop.
- On your computer install the Moto Z2 Play drivers.
- Download and install RSD Lite on your computer – you can get the flashing program from this page.
- Power off your smartphone and reboot it into fastboot mode.
- Then, connect your handset with your computer via USB cable.
- Run RSD Lite and just follow on-screen prompts for resuming the update operation.
- That should be all.
Install a custom ROM firmware on the Motorola Moto Z2 Play
If you want to customize, optimize and personalize the Android software that powers your Motorola Moto Z2 Play, you should try a custom ROM firmware. This will be an unofficial port of the stock Android software, a port that will bring a fully customizable Android OS which will be installed with features, apps and capabilities which cannot be found on the default Android build.
Through these third-party features you will be able to unleash the true potential of your phone as you will have full control over the Android functionality – you can bump speeds, upgrade battery life, improve general performance and further more.
But, replacing the official Android OS with a custom ROM is not an official process. In fact the ROM is developed by third party devs so it cannot be associated with Motorola or Google. So, if you choose to apply this particular update process you will lose your phone warranty – you can restore the warranty, if required, only by reinstalling the official Android OS (so, by using the update section explained above).
A backup is no longer optional. During the custom ROM installation process you will have to clear app data cache and initiate a hard reset. So, all your personal files will be removed. That’s why, you should first secure everything that might be required afterwards. Along with this general backup you should also apply a Nandroid backup process – in this way you will be able to save the current Android OS that runs on your phone. So, if the new ROM will not run properly you can choose to go back to stock by flashing the Nandroid backup package.
You must also complete the general pre-requisites that were described during the previous section of this tutorial: enabling Developer Options, checking the USB Debugging feature, charging your smartphone if it runs low on power and making sure that a computer can be used.
Moreover, before starting the actual operation you need to root your Motorola branded device because an unlocked Android system will be needed during the update operation. A custom recovery image is also required as the flashing operation can be applied only through such environment – in that respect I recommend you to install the latest version of TWRP recovery on your Moto Z2 Play.
- Download the custom ROM that you want to flash on your smartphone – download the update package from any source you prefer (you can get it from xda-developers.com).
- Optional: if required download compatible Google Apps.
- Save the downloaded files on desktop and meanwhile switch off your phone.
- Then, reboot recovery mode on your Moto Z2 Play.
- From recovery choose to wipe everything: select ‘wipe data factory reset’ followed by ‘wipe cache partition’ and by ‘wipe dalvik cache’.
- Reboot your device to Android mode when done.
- Connect your handset with your computer – use the USB cord.
- Transfer the downloaded files from desktop to your phone and unplug the USB cable.
- Return to recovery mode again.
- This time from recovery choose ‘install zip from SD card’ followed by ‘choose zip from SD card’. If TWRP recovery is used you just have to tap on Install.
- Load the custom ROM package and follow on-screen prompts for starting the update operation.
- Optional: when that’s done repeat the last step and install Google Apps.
- In the end, from main menu of recovery choose Reboot and enjoy.
Those are the most useful 3 ways in which you can update the Motorola Moto Z2 Play. You can use the comments field from below for sharing your update experience with us and you can also tell others which custom ROM to try (if you already tested such updates) in order to experience the best Android OS on the Z2 Play.