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this is our extremely newbie-friendly help and FAQ section, where we hope you get most of your questions answered.
No one of us started at an expert level. There was a time when all of us were just starting to learn, grasp and try out new things. This page is made keeping that in mind! If you have any other doubts than these, please shoot them to us via our social DMs, we will be more than happy finding the answers for you!
PS: Some of these answers might link you to more descriptive articles/videos.
What is an Android ROM?
Android is an open-source operating system based on the Linux kernel, developed by Google for touchscreen devices like smartphones and tablet PCs.
ROM here just means Operating System and is NOT related to computer ROM (Read Only Memory).
So, Android ROM = Android OS
More information on Wikipedia
What is a Stock ROM?
A stock ROM means the version of Android OS made for a specific device by the manufacturers of the device. In layman terms, the OS you interact with when you take a new device out of the box, is it’s stock ROM. Stock ROMs are different for every device and they often include features intentionally implemented by manufacturers of the specific device. Here’s everything about stock ROMs, and why they might be better than custom ROMs in some cases.
What is a Custom ROM?
Android is an open-source software, which means, anyone can decompile it, add or remove features and then recompile and publish it for use. These tweaked or modified versions of Android, made by a person or a group of people are called custom ROMs. Like stock ROMs, custom ROMs also vary from device-to-device.
What is AOSP?
The Android Open Source Project (or AOSP) is the most barebone version of Android, with just the necessary applications and features, without any 3rd party ones. AOSP was earlier included with Nexus devices, but now, it is difficult to find devices running pure stock AOSP ROMs. Thanks to ROM developers though, AOSP is ported to and used in many devices.
What is Root?
Rooting (in Android) means getting access to privileged system level settings, files, and options (also known as Root Access), that are not accessible without root; to change, tweak, and/or modify the OS as per one’s liking. Rooting comes with many benefits, and also, many compromises. More information here >
What is Superuser?
Superuser is a term used to refer to apps that can utilize root access to perform several tasks. You will need an additional app to allow/deny root permissions (superuser access) to apps. Two of the very popular superuser controller apps are SuperSU & Magisk.
What is ADB?
ADB, or Android Debug Bridge, is a command-line utility tool included with Google’s Android SDK package. It helps a user to take control of his Android device on a computer via USB. Also, ADB can help perform many root-only tasks, like running shell commands, batch install/uninstall of apps & more, without rooting the device. More information here >
What is a Bootloader?
A Bootloader (or HBoot) is the first checkpoint in the boot (or start) of the OS. It is responsible for checking the security of both the hardware and the software while a device boots up. The bootloader in Android is like BIOS in PCs. It includes a set of instructions and information to boot the OS. Most of the manufacturers select to sell their devices with a locked bootloader, which makes it impossible to run custom ROMs. Users have to unlock the bootloader in order to flash and use custom ROMs. Here’s much more info about Android bootloaders.
What is a Recovery?
Recovery, or Recovery Mode, in Android refers to a bootable partition on the device that has the recovery console. It does what its name says: recovery. In case of a system failure, or lockout, it helps the user regain access to the OS by various methods. Like ROMs, there are two types of recoveries: stock and custom. Stock Recoveries come pre-installed with the stock ROM, and custom ones, you guessed it, are made by 3rd party developers, just like custom ROMs. More information here >
What is a Kernel?
A Kernel is kind of an interpreter that transfers commands between the software and the hardware. It is the medium through which software and hardware interact with each other. In layman terms, a kernel converts software level language into hardware level language and vice-versa, which makes the execution of various operations possible. Any operation that is carried out on the device, any, goes through the kernel. Kernels are available for other operating systems too, like Windows & iOS.
Again, there are basically two types of kernels: stock and custom. More information here >
What is a Mod?
Modified Apps are referred to as Mods, in the world of Android. Many times, there is an App that isn’t compatible with some devices or has lesser features and options for some devices. In such a case, the app is modified to work equally on such devices, by altering some codes. Those are called Mods, or Modded Apps, or Modified Apps.
What is a Port?
Ported Apps and Features are referred to as Ports, in the world of Android. Apps and features from a certain device are ported (extracted from its system) and made available for other devices. More often than not, a ported application also has to be modified for it to work on other devices.
What is a Tweak?
Tinkering with options on devices to achieve certain benefits (e.g., longer battery life, better performance) is called Tweaking. We also call them tips and/or tricks.
What are GApps?
A proprietary set of applications made by Google that come pre-installed all verified Android devices are called GApps. These include common Google apps like the Play Store, Play Services, Gmail, Maps, etc. Due to licensing restrictions, GApps are no more included in (most of the) custom ROMs. You will need to flash GApps if your ROM does not come with GApps included. More information here >
What is an OTA (update)?
Over-the-Air updates are called OTA in short. It is a self-explanatory process, meaning, distribution of software update packages ’over the air’, or, wirelessly. Devices can receive OTA updates with the use of a special OTA app built into the ROM. However, not all ROMs have OTA support, thus, the user has to download the update package by visiting an external download link. Here’s a more detailed post on OTA updates.
What is a Brick?
A brick is a cuboidal shaped material used in the construction of buildings and walls. Well, this is, however, not the definition of brick in Android’s dictionary. A bricked Android device means a device that does not boot (or startup) properly. There are two kinds of bricks- soft brick and hard brick. Failure of boot because of failure/errors in the software (or OS) is called a soft brick, whereas failure of boot due to hardware errors/failure in the hardware (motherboard, buttons, etc.) is called a hard brick. More information here >
What is a Reset?
A reset, commonly referred to a Factory Reset or Data Reset, is a process of erasing all the user’s app, data and/or personal files, and start the device as a brand new one. There are, again, two types of Resets – soft reset & hard reset. Resetting the device from within the device’s software (settings) is called soft reset, whereas doing so from its recovery is called a hard reset. More information here >
What is a Wipe?
A wipe in the ROM dictionary, means a hard reset, to keep it simple. When we flash new ROMs, or ROM updates, it is recommended to do a wipe. Unlike a full reset though, we can chose what partitions we want to wipe (in recovery), which makes two type of wipes, i.e., full wipe and partial wipe. More information here >
Why do I need a Custom ROM?
Because you would want to experience the benefits custom ROMs bring with them. Maybe your device is running a 2-year old version of Android, and your device manufacturer has stopped pushing out updates for it. Maybe, your stock ROM sucks, lags or has issues that hamper your daily use of the device. Maybe you like a particular feature in a custom ROM and you want to try it out. The reasons are many, but it definitely is not all positive. Here’s all that you get and lose when you flash a custom ROM!
Why do I need Root?
This is an evergreen question, and wait, there is an evergreen answer: “because it is your phone, or tablet, or whatever, and you should have the complete control over it, and not the manufacturer.” Rooting your smartphone really unlocks your phone’s/tablet’s potential, provided you know what all you can do after gaining root access. From uninstalling bloat to increasing system performance, and/or battery life, there is a lot you can do after you root your device. We’ve listed all the benefits of rooting an Android device in a separate post. But, but, but… There will be some compromises too. Here’s why you might not want to root your phone.
How to find a Custom ROM for my phone/tablet?
It is as easy as a Google search. Just type in your device model, and add ’custom ROM’ at the end of it and perform a web search. For example, if we were to find a custom ROM for OnePlus 5T, we would search ’OnePlus 5T Custom ROM’, and a slew of results would pop up. Also, if you would like a particular version of Android, just add that to the search terms as well, like, ’OnePlus 5T Custom ROM Oreo’. Then, just head over to a trustworthy site, like XDA, and download your ROM! Simple, ain’t it?
Alternatively, you can also search for a custom ROM on our site, using the Search function. Just type in your device name, and you shall be shown the ROMs available for your device. Pretty darn simple.
How to install a Custom ROM?
This one is a level above finding a ROM. You have to first install a custom recovery, and then you shall be able to flash/install a ROM. Device-specific guides are available on our site! How about using the search button!
How to unbrick my phone/tablet?
Sad? But don’t worry, there’s always a solution. First of all, you will have to identify what type of a brick it is (either soft or hard). In most cases of a soft brick, you can easily get your device alive by flashing the stock firmware. In case of a hard brick though, you’d mostly have to visit the manufacturer for a servicing.
How to install/revert to Stock ROM?
Reverting to the stock ROM is easy as well. You just have to flash the correct stock firmware (ROM), and that should do it. However, for most devices, you’ll need a computer, as stock (unrooted) ROMs can’t be flashed via custom recoveries. We have device-specific guides for this too, so use the search button!
How to root my ROM?
One of the most searched queries on Google. Rooting your device includes 3 basic steps. 1- Unlocking your device’s bootloader, 2- Flashing a custom recovery, & 3- Installing Superuser core module and companion controller app. That said though, there might be additional steps for some devices. Once again, we have device-specific guides, so please check them using the search button!
How to remove root from my ROM/ How to unroot my phone/tablet?
This process is called un-rooting, and basically, it’s the reverse process of the above one. You remove the core root module and the companion app. You can stop here and leave your custom recovery untouched if you want to flash custom ROMs or mods in the future. Or, if you want to completely unroot your device, you either have to flash the stock recovery if it’s available separately for your device or the entire stock ROM. Yet again, we have device-specific guides, so you know what to do!
Are Custom ROMs also available for iPhones?
Nope, there aren’t. The reason being, Android is an open-source OS and iOS (used in iPhones) is not. It is, thus, not possible for developers to modify iOS’s source codes. However, there have been some skinned iterations of iOS, like whited00r, in the past. More information here >
Are Custom ROMs better than Stock ROMs?
In most cases, yes. People flash custom ROMs only because they’re better than the stock ones. They often have more features, or better battery life, or better update process, or better memory management, or all of them and more. That said though, we can’t be sure how good a custom ROM is unless we try it out. For this, we have introduced ROM reviews, where a regular user can share his review of a particular custom ROM, to help other users. You can check ROM reviews on a particular device’s page!
Which are the best Custom ROMs?
Depends on a lot of factors. We can’t just pick a ROM and call it the best. Every ROM has different developers who work differently. Every ROM focuses on different aspects. Take for example, Lineage OS is built for stock Android lovers, who wouldn’t mind some extra features on top, whereas Pure Nexus ROM is for Pixel’s Android UI. That said though, we do compare and rank our favorite custom ROMs based on many aspects.
Should I root my Android device?
Do you want to uninstall the bloatware your device has? Do you want to add extra functionality to your device? Or, do you want to increase battery life and/or stability of your smartphone? If yes is your answer for any of these questions, you sure should! Here are our reasons why you should root your device, and why you shouldn’t!
My Custom ROM has issues, what to do?
Most ROM developers do accept bug reports and work on eliminating them. In case your ROM has a bug, you can report it to the respective developers on the ROM’s forum. Here’s how you generate a logcat for a bug report.
I want a feature in my Custom ROM, what to do?
Ask the developer. If many users want a feature to be included in a ROM, more often than not, developers will happily work on getting those features included.