PINE64 Pinephone Pro

Pinephone Pro
Support level
Dedicated firmware storage
Tow-Boot repository
Product page

Installation instructions

NOTE: The SoC startup order for Rockchip systems will prefer SPI, then eMMC, followed by SD last.

You may need to prevent default startup sources from being used to install using the Tow-Boot installer image.

With the Pinephone Pro, starting with the Explorer Edition, this can be done by holding the RE button.

For previous editions, read the vendor documentation for test points to use, or neuter installed platform firmware from eMMC and SPI in any other way.

Installing to SPI (recommended)

By installing Tow-Boot to SPI, your PINE64 Pinephone Pro will be able to start using standards-based booting without conflicting with the operating system storage.

To do so, you will need to write the SPI installer image to a suitable SD card.

# dd if=spi.installer.img of=/dev/XXX bs=1M oflag=direct,sync status=progress

Once done, power-off your Pinephone Pro, remove its battery, and insert the SD card in the SD card slot.

Put back the battery in the Pinephone Pro, and power it on.

NOTE: Reminder that at this point you should be holding the RE button until the phone vibrates and the LED lights up red.

TIP: It may be easier to connect the phone to a power source via USB instead of pressing the power button.

WARNING: Make sure you are holding the RE button before either powering-on using the power button or by connecting to a power source.

When starting up with Tow-Boot, which the installer image use, the phone will vibrate slightly and the LED will turn red. After a short moment, the LED should turn yellow.

A few moments later the display will turn on with a blue colour, or will directly boot to the installer GUI.

Unless you know the battery is completely charged, it is recommended to connect the phone to a power source. Just in case.

In the installer GUI, select “Install Tow-Boot to SPI”. It is not necessary to erase the storage before installing. Erasing the storage can be used to uninstall Tow-Boot (or any other platform firmware installed to the SPI partition).

Once installed, remove the installation media, and verify Tow-Boot starts from power-on.

Installing to shared storage

NOTE: If a platform firmware (e.g. U-Boot) is installed to eMMC or to SPI, you will need to either hold the RE button, or uninstall them.

Using the shared storage strategy on the Pinephone Pro can be done by writing the shared.disk-image.img to an SD card or directly to eMMC.

 # dd if=shared.disk-image.img of=/dev/XXX bs=1M oflag=direct,sync status=progress

Device-specific notes

There is no display output for this device.

Additional features

The phone can be started in USB Mass Storage mode by holding the volume up button at startup before and during the second vibration. The LED will turn blue if done successfully. In this mode, the phone will work like a USB drive when connected to a host computer.

Booting an operating system from an SD card will require holding the volume down button before and during the second vibration. When done successfully, the LED will turn aqua.