One of the nice thing about Pine64‘s Linux smartphones and tablets is that they’re configured to automatically boot from a properly prepared microSD card. So whether you buy a PinePhone with postmarketOS, Manjaro, or Ubuntu Touch pre-installed, you can try out alternate operating systems by loading them on a removable storage card.
But there’s a bit of a performance hit when you do this, because the data transfer rates for the PinePhone and PineTab microSD card readers aren’t very fast. So you may want to consider flashing a new OS directly to the device’s built-in eMMC storage.
That’s where JumpDrive comes in. It’s a utility that makes it easy to flash a disk image to eMMC storage, troubleshoot problems and more. Developer Martijn Braam has just released a new version of JumpDrive that adds support for newer hardware.
In order to use JumpDrive, just download the latest release, use a tool like balenaEtcher to flash the disk image to a microSD card, turn off your phone or tablet, insert the card, and turn your mobile device back on.
You should see the JumpDrive flash screen almost immediately, and you can either connect your mobile device to a computer using a USB cable to flash an OS to the eMMC storage, or connect wireless via ssh to troubleshoot.
Just keep in mind that flashing the eMMC storage will overwrite anything that’s currently installed, so you may want to make a backup or make sure you know where to download an image of the operating system you had been using in case you want to reinstall it in the future.
Up until recently, JumpDrive worked with PinePhones featuring 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. But now that Pine64 is shipping 3GB/32GB models as part of its “Convergence Pack” option, Braam has updated the utility to support 3GB PinePhones as well.
JumpDrive version 0.6 or later should also work with early adopter editions of the PineTab tablet.