Android Roms, Recoveries and bootloaders – All you need to know

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With the most of the companies allowing root access on their devices, many people have started trying custom ROMs, recoveries, mods and all these things. But often as a beginner or an enthusiast one simply cannot understand which part of the Android puzzle fits where.

Even if you want to install a new custom ROM to your device, you may be left confused with the different words/processes that are involved.

So today in this article let us talk about all the different terms associated with Android exploration.

Roms

Roms are the operating system that you run. They will be based on Android of course but there are a variety of different Roms to choose from. Primarily there are 2 Types of Roms –

Stock Rom and Custom Rom.

1. Stock Rom

This is the ROM that comes with your phone. When you buy a new phone and power it on, your smartphone runs on this ROM. This ROM has been made by the company who made the phone itself.

android miui stock roms

They created the phone and made their ROM to best work with it. Since the company is making it, they test everything very carefully before releasing it hence updates are usually late.

2. Custom Rom

This is also a ROM that will work on your phone. The only difference is that it was made by someone else, maybe a group or an individual who had that phone and wanted to customize it more and more. They do not have a large infrastructure or testers hence they release updates frequently to test new features and bugs. This allows for major updates ridiculously faster than stock ROMs. There are dozens of custom ROMs to choose from. Some famous ones are Resurrection Remix, Lineage OS, Colt OS and MIUI.

Note: For a Oneplus user, oxygen os will be a stock ROM and MIUI will be a custom ROM. Similarly, for a Xiaomi user, MIUI will be stock whereas oxygen will be a custom ROM.

Also read – How To Root Oneplus 2 Using Windows or Linux (OEM Unlocking)

Recovery

Some people have compared Recoveries to bios in a computer system, though they operate very differently. With a Recovery, you can update your rom, wipe your device, take and restore backups and much more, There are basically 2 types of Recoveries.

1. Stock Recovery

It is the recovery that comes with your device pre-installed, It is very basic in nature and you cannot use it for advanced tasks. It is usually able to update your device from a rom package. And Reset your device.

miui custom recovery

Note: You can only update your stock ROM with stock recovery. Stock recovery cannot be used to install/update a custom ROM.

2. Custom Recovery

TheThere is hardly something you cannot do with a custom recovery. Custom recoveries are maintained and created by teams mostly, the stability of a custom recovery is a lot more than that of a custom ROM. Simply because it has more number of testers. This is due to the fact that there are dozens of custom ROMs to choose from but only a handful of recoveries available. They include Philz, Carvalic, Clockworkmod, though unofficially TWRP(Team Win Recovery Project) is more or less the industry standard for recoveries and most widely used.

twrp custom recovery

Features:  Flash individual partitions, wipe individual partition, Backup and restore your current ROM. Enable ADB, Flash packages made by any party.  You can even use the file manager and mount it to access files via a computer.

Bootloader

A bootloader is the first piece of software that runs every time you switch on your device. It tells your phone what to do after starting up and instructs the phone on where to find the android ROM to start the system. It also does a hardware check and tells the system about any device failures. Bootloaders are usually not to be messed with, however, if you want to do any type of exploration with your device, the first thing that you will have to do is to unlock its bootloader.

unlock phone with fastboot

This is done by contacting the company and requesting a bootloader unlock token. Not all companies allow you to unlock your bootloader since they do not want you to mess with your system. However, companies like Xiaomi fully support bootloader unlocking and do not void your warranty on doing so.

Conclusion

We read about stock recoveries, stock ROMs, custom recoveries and custom ROMs and finally bootloaders. The first thing to do is to unlock your bootloader, Then you will have to install a suitable custom recovery for your phone and using that custom recovery you can flash a custom ROM for your choice.

Still feeling confused, Just drop in a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

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