User:Fxc/Software Draft

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At the time of the release, in late 2021, the PinePhone Pro is in an early development stage. That said, the device has benefited greatly from work done on the original PinePhone, which means that even early development images feature all core functionality, such as: functional UI, sensors and even the modem (to a degree).

The development is expected to proceed very quickly compared to progress done on the original PinePhone as much of the fundamental work can carry over to the new device. You can follow development efforts on Megi's blog, the dedicated PinePhone Pro Development section as well as on individual project’s Wiki’s and repositories.

Boot order

The PinePhone Pro's internal storage (called eMMC) has a higher boot priority than the microSD card (see boot sequence details for details regarding the boot sequence).

The Explorer Edition comes pre-flashed with an installation of Manjaro (using the Plasma Mobile desktop) on the internal storage. The pre-flashed operating system can be overwritten at any time and it is also possible to wipe the pre-flashed operating system to make the phone boot from a microSD card, please see the installation instructions for the details. The eMMC on the Explorer Edition can be bypassed by holding the RE button underneath the back cover for multiple seconds while booting. Please see the section bypassing the eMMC for details on how to do this.

The Developer Edition, which was an earlier revision intended for development, was coming with an Android factory OS preinstalled. For details regarding how to remove the bootloader and the preinstalled OS of the eMMC for Developer Edition, please see the relevant article. The eMMC on the Developer Edition can be bypassed by shorting two specific contact points, please join the community chat for any questions regarding the process.

Installation instructions

Please ask in the community chat if you have any questions regarding the installation.

As explained in the boot order section, the eMMC has a higher boot priority than the microSD card. On the Explorer Edition the default installation of U-Boot shipped by the factory points to the microSD card when holding the power key at boot. If the default installation was corrupted or overwritten by a differently configured bootloader, the eMMC may have to be bypassed to boot from microSD card and to alter the eMMC contents.

If the battery is fully drained U-Boot might fail to boot any installed operating system on the eMMC and microSD card due to a bug.

If that's the case please start your phone in Maskrom mode and let it charge in that for a few hours. To do that:

  • Remove any microSD card from the phone and keep it removed for the below procedure
  • Remove the battery, any USB cable and any serial cable
  • Reinsert the battery
  • Hold the "RE" button underneath the back cover of your Explorer Edition (or shorting the bypass contact points on the Developer Edition)
  • Connect the phone to an USB port of a computer, while still holding the button for some time
  • Check if the phone in Maskrom mode appears in the output of the Linux command lsusb on the computer
  • Let the phone charge for multiple hours

Note: If the device doesn't appear under lsusb please try again with a different known good USB-C cable make sure that there is no microSD card in the phone inserted.

It can be checked if the battery is charged or not by putting the phone into Maskrom mode and by removing the USB cable for 30 seconds and reinserting it into the computer. If the device reappears under lsusb the battery is not drained and the installed operating system on the eMMC is instead corrupted, in that case please see the following flashing instructions.

Flashing to microSD card

To install an image to the microSD card:

  1. Download your chosen image from PinePhone Pro Software Releases
  2. Extract the compressed file
  3. Write the image to your microSD card using your favorite method, examples:
    • Using dd: On the device you're flashing the microSD card from, find the correct device under lsblk and then flash the image to the microSD card using sudo dd if=pine.img of=/dev/[DEVICE] bs=1M status=progress conv=fsync. Make sure the target is the whole microSD card and not its first partition (sdc1 or mmcblk0p1 are wrong!).
    • Using bmaptool: Make sure to select the correct device using lsblk. Then run bmaptool with the correct device: Download the .img.xz and the .img.bmap files, then run bmaptool copy --bmap image.bmap image.xz /dev/[DEVICE]. This takes around 2.5 minutes to flash a 4 GB file.
    • Using a graphical tool: A graphical tool such as Gnome Disks under Linux or Etcher under Windows may also be used.
  4. Insert the microSD card into the top slot of the phone
  5. Boot the phone. If there is an existing bootloader on the eMMC (the eMMC has a higher boot priority) you need to bypass the eMMC at boot and you can wipe the bootloader from the eMMC to default boot from the microSD card by default in the freshly booted installation.

Flashing to the eMMC

Flashing to the eMMC can be simply done by booting an operating system from the microSD and to flash the eMMC from there:

  1. Boot an operating system from the microSD card. If there is already a bootloader on the eMMC installed see the section bypassing the eMMC to bypass it
  2. Download or copy the new image to the microSD card
  3. Check if the eMMC appears under lsblk. If it doesn't appear there you held the RE button in the eMMC bypass for too long (the eMMC didn't initialize then)
  4. Extract the image
  5. Flash the extracted image using sudo dd if=IMAGE.img of=/dev/mmcblk2 bs=1M status=progress conv=fsync
  6. Reboot the phone

Bypassing the eMMC

The eMMC can always be temporarily bypassed at boot to be able to boot from a microSD card:

On the Explorer Edition hold the RE button underneath the cover for a few seconds, while powering on the device (holding it too long will cause the eMMC to not get initialized after the boot).

On the Developer Edition short the eMMC bypass contacts while booting.

For details see the section boot order.

Wipe U-Boot from the eMMC

To boot from microSD card permanently, one of the methods is to wipe the bootloader from the eMMC. If no bootloader is found on the eMMC, the phone will boot to the microSD card instead. To wipe U-Boot from the microSD card:

  • Boot a GNU/Linux operating system from the microSD card by holding power at boot (or using the above bypass method if the bootloader was altered or the Developer Edition is used)
  • Type lsblk in a terminal on the phone to list the devices
  • Wipe the bootloader using sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/mmcblk2 seek=64 count=400 conv=fsync

The phone should now default to the microSD card at boot.

If there are any issues please join the bridged community PinePhone channel and explain your issue and what you've tried so far.

Software releases

The PinePhone Pro Software Releases page has a complete list of currently supported phone-optimized operating system images that work with the PinePhone Pro.