Custom ROMs : What are they, Why would you need and How To install

What is a Custom ROM

If you are an Android user, you might have heard the word ‘custom ROM’ often. A ROM is nothing but the operating system software. As Android is open source platform, anyone can develop their own ROM based on Android. A custom ROM has a base most of the times. It may be based on stock firmware(the firmware shipped with your phone or available as an update) or on a third party (eg. Cyanogenmod). Generally, custom ROMs provide a better performance, enhanced features and cleaner software compared to stock ROMs.

Also Read: 6 Best Custom ROMs for Android Smartphones

Why would someone need a custom ROM

Some people might dislike the factory software because of lack of desired features or issues in the software. Others would want to explore the possibilities with their phone, try out new software or try out a beta custom ROM as a tester. Following is an inexhaustive list of benefits of custom ROMs.

  1. If the custom ROM features low/no bloatware, you get more free storage space, more free RAM, lower startup and reboot time and cleaner UI.
  2. If the custom ROM is stock based, it may include tweaks and optimizations for better performance compared to your stock ROM.
  3. Sometimes, Non-stock based custom ROMs offer you an upgraded Android version which is not offered in official updates.
  4. Non-stock based custom ROMs may solve bugs that would otherwise be considered as unfixable flaws in the official ROM (eg. a device having smaller system partition could NOT run apps above 100MB size until a third party ROM was installed, which repartitioned the internal storage thus solving the flaw).
  5. Some Custom ROMs may offer cosmetic customizations like theme engine.
How to install a custom ROM

The following set of steps is generally followed and are applicable to most of the Android smartphones

  1. Root your phone: Google search for tutorials on how to root your specific smartphone model.
  2. Unlock your Bootloader[?]: Google search for tutorials on how to unlock the bootloader of your specific smartphone model.
  3. Install a custom recovery[?]: Google search for tutorials on how to install a custom recovery (TWRP and CWM are the most preferred recoveries) in your specific smartphone model.
  4. Search for a custom ROM: This is a heavenly site for doing this. Search your device’s name (let us say xyz) and look for a result saying ‘ROMs, Kernels, Recoveries and other Development for xyz smartphone’. Browse the links marked [ROM] through the list.
  5. Install: Download the ROM if you like its features. Watch this before proceeding if you are new to custom Recoveries. Installation instructions are also mentioned by the uploader of the ROM.

Some smartphones may have different procedures for doing this entire thing. But the essence remains the same. If you found this article helpful let us know in the comments section below and share it with your friends.

Also Read: 5 Best Android Alarm Clock Apps to Help You Wake Up


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