Android Terminology

So you’ve already collected the courage to root your Android device but don’t know anything about the rooting terminology. Here is a dummies guide to complete rooting terminology with the easiest definitions and explanations for beginners. To practice safe rooting of your Android device, it is very important that you know all the rooting terms and their meanings. This will help you understand the rooting procedure and also help you understand various rooting guides over the internet. This will decrease the number of irrevelant questions, posted on forums by noobs, so before posting anything irrelevant, make sure you’ve done your home work.

Being an Android enthusiast, I tried to write simplify meanings and explanations of the following terms. I tried to avoid jargon as much as possible, so that even a newbie can understand it.

Note: This Article is Part 1 of a 2 Part series on Android Terminology. The below list only contains terms required by beginners, so if you’re a developer then this list won’t be of much help.

Read: PART 2 of Android Rooting Terminology

Android Rooting Terminology for Beginners

1. Root / Rooting

The process of acquiring root access of a device is called rooting. Certain system files are blocked by the manufacturers, and when we acquire the permissions to access those files, modify them or delete them, the process is known as rooting.

2. ROM

A flashable Android firmware which contains updates, new features, bug fixes or maybe a higher Android version which hasn’t been released for your phone yet. There are two major types of ROMS, Stock ROM and Custom ROM.

3. Stock ROM

ROM or firmware version released by the official manufacturer for your phone. The firmware which is installed in your device by default is stock firmware or ROM. Stock ROM does not require root.

4. Custom ROM

ROM or firmware version released by Unofficial developers with unofficial features, speed enhancements, no bloatware, new look and interface and other modifications. Custom ROMs require the device to be rooted and are not supported by the official company.

5. Bloatware

Unnecessary apps installed by the manufacturer which cannot be uninstalled. These apps are called bloatware and usually take a lot of disk space and memory, possibly slowing down the device.

6. Bootloader

Bootloader is a program which runs the code that’s necessary to start your operating system. Device manufacturers keep bootloader locked, making users uncapable of flashing custom ROMs and firmwares. In order to root your device, it is important that you unlock the bootloader first.

7. Flashing

Flashing means installing some package onto your device. The package can be anything like firmwares, custom mods, apps, tweaks, recovery, kernel etc. The package files are in .ZIP format and are flashed using recovery mode.

8. Recovery

Recovery or Recovery Mode is a mode where you can perform system-level tasks like flashing packages, ROMs, backing up ROMs, restoring ROMs, wiping cache, wiping data / factory reset and much more. Recovery can be accessed by pressing and holding Volume Up+Home+Power buttons simultaneously for few seconds when the device is turned off. In short recovery is a software which lets you do all the system level tasks without booting up you phone. In case of boot loops and software problems, recovery can be used to restore your device.

9. Custom Recovery

The stock recovery installed by the manufacturer by default cannot do much, so flashing custom recovery like ClockWorkMod or TWRP brings more features and gives you more control over your device.

10. Nandroid Backup

Backups made through custom recovery is called Nandroid backup, unlike other backups made by other third-party apps, nandroid backs up the ROM, settings, apps and everything. Nandroid backups are a must before flashing any custom ROM because if you mess up your device then flashing the nandroid backup will bring your device back to the previous stage (before backup stage) so in short it will restore your previous ROM, previous settings, data, system setting etc. making your device as it previously was.

So this was enough for now, the rest of the terminology will be included in Part 2 of this article. Stay tuned for that. Please leave your feedback and do share this post.

Read Part 2 here: PART 2 of Android Rooting Terminology

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