How to: YD206 Yotaphone 2: Flash Lollipop, Update to Marshmallow, Root, Set up Always-On Screen
I had always been interested in this phone since its launch, but the price point was the downside (400+ GBP was too much for a phone for me). Recently I’ve stumbled a post in Mobileread and XDA, saying that it’s been discounted to 100 GBP price point, which’s pretty rational, if I do say myself.
(Trivia: other than Yotaphone 2, apparently there are other dual-screen phones in the market right now, such as OUKITEL U6 , Siswoo R9 Darkmoon, Siam X7, almost-there Hi-Sense A2, and un-launched Mi2. Price-wise this Yotaphone 2 price’s a steal though.) (update: as of 2019, Hi-Sense has a few e-ink models Hi-Sense A2, Hi-Sense A5 (e-ink only, Hi-Sense A6 and A6L (I’m very tempted to buy this, but my Yotaphone still works alright, so no for now thankfully))
Here it went, I bought the phone (even though my old one still worked properly. OK, it’s pretty old already and the battery life’s not stellar, but still. Aaaah, don’t make me regret my decision (def not though)).
After that decision to get one, there came the research spree (as usual). Apparently, there weren’t exactly discounted, the price point for this series of Yotaphone 2 (YD206, which’s shipped with Chinese firmware + Kitkat) had gone to 100 GBP, as proven with my googling to other sellers. There’s another variant (actually there’re others, but these two are the most common ones sold online), YD201, with European firmware + Lollipop. Other than the obvious KitKat vs Lollipop, apparently both support different bands. YD206 can’t exactly support all European LTE bands, that’s why YD201 is preferred internationally. You can check the bands for your country and carrier here.
After I rechecked though, fortunately, the carrier I’m using now (Three in the UK, and not with other carriers in the UK) is in the correct LTE band, as well as most carriers in Indonesia (which is good).
At first I was a bit wary on flashing Russian firmware + Lollipop on it, but apparently, it’s very easy, I just followed the guide in this xda post (don’t forget to copy the radio folder from the Chinese firmware), and voila, Lollipop. The stable version of Marshmallow has been rolled out since 29 March 2017, update to Marshmallow before rooting!
How to Upgrade Your Yotaphone 2 to Lollipop
What I did (basically a rehash of what virtuanemo‘s done though):
Disclaimer: I’m on Windows 8.1! (I don’t know how to do this on Mac). I just followed other people’s guide so I don’t think I can help if your phone gets bricked.
Note: Don’t forget to backup all your data. Apparently, the books available on the KitKat Yota didn’t available on other firmwares. Not significant for me, but your other data are.
Make sure that USB debugging is on. (Settings > About > Tap Build number about 7 times (you’ll know when it happens), then check USB debugging). Also ensure that battery is enough, the fuller the better.
Better to be connected to Wi-fi
Download Qualcomm and ADB Drivers from gsmusbdriver site. You can watch the videos on how to install those two. For Qualcomm, just double-click, next, next, until it finishes.
- For ADB Drivers, open Device Manager, Action > Add Legacy hardware
Next, install manually
Next, choose Have Disk, and go to folder where you put usb_driver (don’t forget to unzip the folder)
Install Yotaphone Flasher. Download 5.0.0-HK1.1.66.zip (Latest HK firmware), 5.0.0-RU1.1.124.zip (latest RU firmware), 4.4.3-S01-003-CN126.96.36.199a.zip (latest CN firmware) (seems like recently (as in April 2017), the server hosting the files is down. Download all the necessary files from this torrent instead. Don’t forget to untick files you don’t need before downloading. It’s 35 GB in total but we only need 1.6 GB)
There should be a yotaphone_flasher folder under (C:\Program Files (x86)\yotaphone_flasher). Create a firmware folder. Copy all the files from 5.0.0-HK1.1.66.zip (if you want HK build. 5.0.0-RU1.1.124.zip for RU build) to firmware folder (not as 5.0.0-RU1.1.124 folder but as radio+boot.img+….+userdata.img). Delete the radio folder. Copy the radio folder from 4.4.3-S01-003-CN188.8.131.52a to the firmware folder instead.
Turn your phone off (don’t connect to your computer yet). Enter download mode by pressing power and volume button together, wait for about 5 seconds before “Downloading…” appears. Now connect to the computer using USB (from what I read, better to connect to USB 2.0 port, some people failed with USB 3.0. I successfully did mine with USB 3.0 port though.)
Open YotaPhoneFlasher. Select 1. If it asks you about flashing, answer y. After it says success, you can close the prompt window. Your phone will reboot. Wait until it restarts. Better to wait until it’s all booted up before you disconnect the phone from your computer.
After that, initialise your phone and install all updates. You’ll have HK latest build here.
For RU firmware, similar method (4-8) applies, but the files you copy to firmware folder become the files from 5.0.0-RU1.1.124.zip. You’ll have RU latest build here.
As the Marshmallow update has been rolled out, you should update your phone before rooting and doing anything else. As I didn’t, I rooted my phone first, I updated using adb sideload.I rooted the device combining method from gsm obzor site mostly, with the help of the android soul site (that I tried first but ended up failed).What I did, from what I can recall (and from my CMD backlog):
How to root Yotaphone 2 with TWRP
Disclaimer: Same with the one above, but let me reiterate. I’m on Windows 8.1! (I don’t know how to do this on Mac). I just followed other people’s guide so I don’t think I can help if your phone gets bricked.
Note: Don’t forget to backup all your data. Apparently, the books available on the KitKat Yota didn’t available on other firmwares. Not significant for me, but your other data are.
Make sure that USB debugging is on. (Settings > About > Tap Build number about 7 times (you’ll know when it happens), check USB debugging) and installation from unknown source is on (Settings > Security > Unknown Sources). Also ensure that battery is enough, the fuller the better.
I think when you installed the YotaPhoneFlasher you’ve installed ADB and fastboot already (CMIIW), so no no need to do this step. But in case you didn’t do the YotaPhoneFlasher flashing, install ADB and fastboot from this downloadmirror (15-second ADB installer). Just answer y for every prompt. (Even after you’ve installed YotaPhoneFlasher, reinstalling doesn’t hurt)
Download SuperSU. Copy SuperSU to your phone (as there’s no micro SD, you definitely just copy to the internal storage). Download TWRP_Yotaphone2. Unzip TWRP_yotaphone.
Open command window in your TWRP_yotaphone2 folder (Shift + Right-click, open command window)
I forget what I did in this step, but if I’m not wrong, you should unplug. there should be options appearing on your screen ( (if not, pressed the power+vol up again, I guess). Choose TWRP (with volume up). Then OK with power.) Will boot to TWRP Project.
From TWRP Project, just install the SuperSU by choosing Install, then selecting the UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.46.zip you put in your phone.
After you’ve finished, just swipe
Hopefully, everything goes well. Phone should’ve rebooted and root is complete. You can check with RootChecker.
Update to Marshmallow after Rooting
If you have previously rooted your device but don’t want to lose all your data, you can use adb sideload.
- Make sure that USB debugging is on. (Settings > About > Tap Build number about 7 times (you’ll know when it happens), then check USB debugging). You also need to have ADB on your PC and TWRP in your phone. Also ensure that battery is enough, the fuller the better.
- Download the file to sideload in the xda forum. Make sure you choose yotaphone2-user-RU1.1.47-from-RU1.1.134 if you have updated your Yotaphone 2 to RU Lollipop. Move the files to your adb folder.
- Connect your phone to computer.
- Go to your adb folder in command line (shift + right click, open command window) adb sideload yotaphone2-user-RU1.1.47-from-RU1.1.134.zip
- After you finish, unplug.
- Volume up+power to boot to TWRP
- Choose Advanced, ADB Sideload.
- After you’ve finished, just swipe.
Other Setup and Impression
YotaMirror CFG is good to set up your EPD.
My yotahub settings will be really happy if there’s an aeroplane mode widget:
Other apps setup for easier e-ink experience and what I did to mine:
Pocket is working nicely, especially with its swiping gesture. I am still looking for browser and RSS Reader with swiping gesture but for now, I am content with what I have.
The music player widget recognises TTPod (a rather obscure Chinese music player), FB Reader TTS+, and @Voice (Voice Aloud Reader) which so very nice
At first, I had some problems with FBReader and TTS+ but after I upgrade my FBReader it worked fine?
The always on-screen doesn’t have a front light, a privilege of front light e-readers I already forget for years. I guess you could just flip the screen, but if you have USB OTG, you can also plug in a USB reading light, resulting in this weird and inconvenient setup.
With silicone case, it can actually fit rather snugly inside my previous phone flip case (Galaxy Grand Duos, pictured above). I’m a big fan of flip covers, but I don’t think there’s one designed with Yotaphone 2 (with flips for both sides) in mind. I’m thinking of either holing hole on this flip cover for the always-on screen or screwing the silicone case to something to make a flip-like cover. As for now, this goes. The earphone and micro-USB holes fit rather alright too.
Update: I already screwing the silicone case to some flip cover.
Downsides (because nothing’s perfect). Especially compared to my old one:
No more dual SIM-card (If you have this once, you’ll miss this so much)
Micro SIM-card (you need to order or cut them if your carrier doesn’t provide multiple one)
No dual-screen flip-cover existed (there’re only a few silicone cases, bumper case, this only-one-side flip cover). I made one for myself.
No removable battery (I blame Apple and gadget trends for this)
No micro-SD card slot ((again, I blame Apple and gadget trends for this. Fortunately it supports USB OTG (which my old phone lacks), so I can just plug a USB flash drive))
No compatibility with fake Samsung earphone (a. k. a. no on/off volume up/down buttons for me for a while until I buy a compatible pair or using the Yota ones. Pretty sad as they’re the cheapest ones in the market with buttons. Update: I bought a new pair with on/off button, yay. Also update: moved to Bluetooth earphones now.)
Rant Section (ahaha)
Actually, this phone has also been launched in Indonesia early this year. But, the marketing’s totally all wrong, sigh.So what if you told people’s that it has two screens. Why it needs to have two screens, that should be the emphasis. People not appreciating e-ink (always-on screen), will be disappointed with the price point. The price point’s far from what people expected in Indonesia (def the original price, 440 GBP, which is also expensive even for people appreciating the EPD. Update: down to 100 GBP now). Moreover, from what I’ve seen from the reviews and the snippets, they used the EPD screen to play games, watch videos, etc., which definitely didn’t justify the point of EPD screen.
Anyway, I sound like a preacher here, haha, but years (not really) of e-ink experiences after being a convert made me want to spread the goodness of e-ink to everyone (haha again), so, for people not knowing what’s so special about EPD in general and this phone especially
- It consumes low battery. With the bigger and bigger size and processing of new generation phones and the static progress of battery, the longest battery test result of flagship 2016 phones gave you about 9h of uptime. Compare with Kobo and Kindle which boast 2 weeks-1 months of uptime and old call-and-text-only phones which can last until a week. That’s a really short time. Anyway, haven’t checked the real uptime of this phone, but with the EPD Yota promised 5 days.
- It’s better for your eyes than AMOLED. OK, maybe this is not a claim for everyone, but my experience with e-ink give me better sleeping schedules out of my reading screen habit so I can vouch for myself.
- It performs the best when you’re outdoors with the sun. Have you ever travelling outdoor with your phone? You need to access Google Map. Because of the sun, you need to pump up your phone backlight to the max. Because of that, it costs you your batteries. You haven’t even reached your destination, but your phone’s died already. AASDFGHJKL:@X. With the EPD, it’s easier to read under the sun. The screen will get updated when it needs it. In the end, battery. (my ultimate reason)
- It works fine even when wet. Do you know how frustrating it is to check your phone looking for a map when it’s pouring heavily with no dry cloth in sight? Phone touchscreen doesn’t play well with water drops, e-ink screen does.
- It also works quite okay with gloves. No cold hands, no special gloves.
- As long as you don’t change what’s on the screen, it’ll stay. This is also good for the battery, but you’ll be thankful for the always there text, map, tickets with QR codes, even when the phone’s died.
The good things about this phone, again (if, for example, compared to other dual-screen phones. (spec-wise I definitely leaning for Hi-Sense A2, Siam X7, or Oukitel U6 dual-SIM card-ness and micro-SD slots more)
- About the front camera. OK, 2 MP will definitely be bad for videochat, but you can always mirror the screen and ended up with 8 MP “front camera”
- The widgets and the links between the front-and-back screen (let me watch reviews for the other phones)
- The NFC, Wireless charging support, USB OTG support which helps
- The quite good official supports for firmware and tinkering
- The non-shiny finish of the e-ink screen (looking at you, Hisense A2)
- The price, definitely the price
Seriously, one media even wrote that “even one screen sucks up a lot of juice already, what about two then” and another said “e-paper is not as responsive as the main screen and it’s B/W). That’s the way e-ink work! (OK, I definitely want colour e-ink to but yeah). (Source 1 Source 2)
The way they promote this should be in outdoor events, battery-conscious and at the last, reading community. I think this is one of the hardest parts of the promotion, I guess. The e-book reading community is not that high in Indonesia, unlike in Russia (which’s why this phone existed), or in the US for example (as Kindle’s kingdom).
Review-wise, I definitely not a user who looks for latest processor (won’t run heavy apps on it, not a gamer, so not really the first priority), the best and highest resolution-camera (as long as the picture is decent), so this phone’s enough for me, even without the e-ink (OK, I still want micro-SD and dual-sim capabilities). If you’re someone with a penchant for e-ink and worrying about your phone battery life, or just want a phone to start a conversation with (I’ve managed to get countless of people confused) I guess this will be the phone for you now. I am still wary of what happens if it has some problems though.
So, what if you don’t want Yotaphone 2, which Dual-screen phone I suggest you to get? I already mentioned about the specs beforehand, but based on the EPD screen, I lean more to Siswoo R9 Darkmoon and Hi-Sense A2 because they have mirroring function. The other EPD sadly only able to do notifications and some basic functions.
Even endorsed by Putin! (OK, definitely not something good, but notable).
Posted on December 23, 2016, in Personalizing, Plugging, Reading and tagged e-ink, phone, reader, Reading, root, yotaphone. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.
This post was really helpful ..
i got 2 yotaphone2, and i was following up each step simultaneously, it was fun doing this twice ..:)
Thanks again, every thing went fine ..
Good that it’s helpful then. I’m glad. Enjoy your 2 Yotaphones!
thank you for this guide
a now have latest RU firmware
cheers form Croatia
Glad that I can help. Cheers from me as well.
Ссылка на flasher не работает, где мне можно его еще скачать?
Hi ! Thank you for the tutorial 🙂
Unfortunately the ftp link doesn’t seems to work (although I can successfully ping the IP adress)
Thanks for the info! Apparently the link doesn’t always work, linking to torrent file instead.
Thanks a lot for this fantastic guide! I’m solved all my problem of my Yota YD206. It is updated to MM and works perfectly for all the bands. Thank you !!!
Good then, thank you for telling me that the guide helped! Enjoy your phone!
The torrent download is 35Gb, it’s correct?!
35 GB is for every Yota-related files! No need to download everything! You can choose which files to download, a CN firmware (for radio) is about 600+ MB, an RU/ EU/ HK firmware is about 1 GB, yotaflasher is about 10+ MB. If you want to root, TWRP + SuperSU will be about 15 MB. Should need about 1.6 GB.
please help me , how can I choose each file to download?
ok, I got it !!
Hi, within de torrent files I can see higher versions of the firmware, for instance 6.0.1-RU1.1.30.zip. Is that save? Is the Marshmallow versión? Thanks for your post!!
Hello, Yeah, they should be fine. The Marshmallow update has been stable since March this year.
Rooting your Yota YotaPhone 2 https://mobilexfiles.com/phones/yota/yota_yotaphone_2/root/
bonjour, une fois connecté à yotaflasher et en mode dowloading… il y a écrit waiting for device… mais rien ne se passe… comment pourrais je faire?
hello, once connected to yotaflasher and dowloading mode … there is written waiting for device … but nothing happens … how could I do?
Hello, not really knowledgeable about this, but maybe you are connecting to a USB 3.0 port. Have you tried connecting to USB 2.0 port?
If that also doesn’t work, how about rebooting the phone and trying download mode again?
Also, there is a thread on something similar here , you can also try what they’ve tried.
thank you for your quick response))
I have usb ports 1 and 2. my pc date of 2006 and under windows 10 ..
Hello y’all, i have the same problem than netber. on windows powershell and nothing happens… (win 10, usb 2.0)
I have managed to upgrade to Android 5, thanks to you. Thank you.
I am trying to root the phone, and I am stuck at stage 4, I cannot “Unlock bootloader by typing “fastboot oem unlock”.
Do I have to type the “…”? With or without them, I just get “waiting for device” (my phone is plugged via USB2, and I have tried rebooting it, as you have suggested).
Have you got any detail?
Thanks in advance.
I have also tried the 2 links in the other comments, but they did not fit my problem.
At the end of the chapter: “How to Upgrade Your Yotaphone 2 to Lollipop”, you write: “you should update your phone [to Marshmallow] before rooting”.
But the title of your 3rd chapter is: “Update to Marshmallow after Rooting”.
What is the correct sequence?