The massive selection of custom ROMs are a huge reason why some people love a Nexus and today I want to show you exactly how to install a custom ROM on the Nexus 5X.

A custom ROM is like a brand new operating system that can be installed on your Nexus 5X. They will all be based on some flavor of Android(AOSP or CyanogenMod) but at the core, they are all just regular installs of Android itself. The key differences here are the amount of additional features and the type of performance and battery optimizations that have gone into the build.

Much like Xposed Framework lets you integrate various features into the stock Android firmware for your device, a custom ROM has some of these features built into the OS by default.

Some feel that this is a “cleaner” way of doing things when compared to Xposed Modules. I would say that if you’re adding in dozens of Xposed Modules then you could benefit from using a custom ROM if you can find one that gives you all of the features you want. However, if you’re the type that just installs one or two Xposed Modules then you will probably be better using them than a custom ROM. Still, this will all depend on how much you like or dislike about the stock firmware that you are running on your Nexus 5X. If you don’t like all of the Google apps that they install then a custom ROM with a small Gapps package is going to be better for you.


Before you can install a custom ROM, you’ll need to go ahead and unlock the bootloader of the Nexus 5X. Doing this will wipe all of the data from your device, so please be aware of that before you proceed. After the bootloader has been unlocked, you’ll want to install a custom recovery on the Nexus 5X and if you want,¬†you can root the Nexus 5X afterwards. At this point I would recommend you also create your first Nandroid backup of the Nexus 5X so that you can always restore from it if you don’t like how the custom ROM looks/feels/etc.

With all of that done, we can then proceed to download and install a custom ROM for the Nexus 5X.

Nexus 5X Install Custom ROM

  1. Download the Custom ROM You Want Onto the Nexus 5X
  2. Download the Gapps Package That Matches the Custom ROM’s Version of Android Onto the Nexus 5X
  3. Boot the Nexus 5X into Recovery Mode
  4. Tap on the ‘Wipe’ Option
  5. Then Tap on the ‘Advanced Wipe’ Option
  6. Make Sure the Following Partitions are Checked. . .
  7. Dalvik Cache, System, Data and Cache
  8. When Ready, Swipe the White Arrows at the Bottom to Proceed
  9. When Done, Tap on the Home Button at the Bottom
  10. Then Tap on the ‘Install’ Option
  11. Browse to and Tap on the Custom ROM ZIP You Downloaded
  12. Tap on the ‘Add More Zips’ Option
  13. Browse to and Tap on the Gapps Package You Downloaded
  14. When Ready, Swipe the White Arrows at the Bottom to Proceed
  15. Wait Until the Installation has Completed
  16. Tap on the ‘Wipe Cache/Dalvik’ Option
  17. When Ready, Swipe the White Arrows at the Bottom to Proceed
  18. Lastly, Tap the ‘Reboot System’ Button to Reboot the Nexus 5X
  19. If Asked, Do Not Let TWRP Install SuperSU


So, you’re going to need to download the custom ROM that you want to install. These can be found on the Nexus 5X XDA forums, by going into the Android Development or Original Android Development subforums on that page. Each custom ROM caters to a certain segment of the user base by offering certain features. It’s best to read through the whole forum thread for a custom ROM that you’re wanting to install, but these can get quite long at times. At the very least, read through the first few posts that talk about the ROM and what it offers in terms of features.

After downloading the zip file onto the Nexus 5X, you’ll then want to download the Gapps package that matches the custom ROM you just installed. As of writing this, there are just Android 6.0 and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow custom ROMs available for the Nexus 5X. If you’re reading this later, and you end up installing a custom ROM that isn’t Marshmallow, then you’ll want to make sure the Gapps package you download matches the version of Android that the custom ROM is based on. Failing to do this will result in a series of apps being force closed when you boot into Android.

With those two things downloaded on the Nexus 5X, you’ll want to boot up into Recovery Mode so that you can start installing things. This tutorial assumes you have install TWRP As your custom recovery, but you can install a custom ROM with any custom recovery(just not the stock recovery). You’ll just notice that these steps won’t match up because different custom recoveries can have different interfaces. Before installing a custom ROM, I like to wipe certain partitions so that we have a ‘clean install’ of the firmware. So I like to wipe the dalvik cache, system, data and cache partitions.

It should be noted that unless you wipe the ‘internal storage’ partition, things you have downloaded to the Downloads folder will still be there after this wipe(this is where your custom ROM and Gapps package zip files should be too). After those partitions have been wiped, tap on the Home button so that you can go back to the main menu for TWRP. From here, tap on the Install button and we’re going to be installing two things here. First, browse to and tap on the custom ROM that you downloaded, then tap on the Add More Zips button and then find the Gapps package that you downloaded as well. When ready, swipe those white arrows to the right and wait for the custom ROM and Google applications to be installed.

When done, go ahead and wipe the cache again by tapping on the button that pops up, and then swipe the arrows again to confirm. After that has been wiped, you should see a button that says Reboot System. Tapping on that will reboot the Nexus 5X from the custom recovery and back into the regular Android OS(which will be your new custom ROM). You first boot will take a while because Android has to set everything back up again and you’ll need to activate your Google account to the Nexus 5X again as well. I also want to point out that some(not all, but some) custom ROMs have a special section within the Settings that lets you configure some of the features that they offer.


  1. I ran into an error during the installation of the custom rom zip with the gapps package. As soon as I tap “Install” it goes into error and my phone wont boot up even after I restoreed from nandroid backup.

      • Well within the 4 hours of posting my comment I was actually able to solve the problem, but now I have ran into another problem. The exact custom rom that I’m attempting to flash in my Nexus 5X is the Pure Nexus rom. Once I get the rom and gapps zips to flash and then do a reboot, I get a prompt saying my vender image is out of date and then I’m asked for my google account password, then after that it says I have to “erase and reset phone due to unsuccessful decryption.” I have been looking through XDA Forums but haven’t been successful in finding a solution so I went back to the stock rom for now.

          • Okay, I believed I download the latest .IMG file of the vendor, but I might have been incorrect. I’ll give this new vender file a shot. Just a follow up question, do I flash all three zip folders together, or do I reboot after flashing each zip individually?


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