Android ROM Series: What is Root, Custom Recovery, and Custom ROMs – Part 1

When you buy a new Android device, you don’t just get what it comes preloaded with. You also get a number of things you really haven’t thought of before. Android is customizable to a large extent, and that’s what the third-party developers have leveraged – to cook up some of the great goodies for the devices. Root, Custom Recovery, and Custom ROMs are three of the customizations you should definitely make use of when you get an Android device. These are the things that make your experience with Android much smoother and faster. First off, you should know exactly what these things are and what they do, then you can move forward and get them on your device, right? Read on to learn more.

Rooting an Android Device


Root refers to the administrative access to the system files on your Android device. In simple worlds, it means once you are rooted, you can access (and modify) those system files that are usually restricted by the OS. You might wonder why you would ever need access to system files. Well, there are various reasons for that, some of them being:

  • You might want to change the appearance of your device
  • You might want to remove some apps that have come preloaded on your device
  • You might want to do some tricks with your phones

On the other hand, one of the main disadvantages of rooting a device is voiding the warranty. Yes, as soon as you root your device, your warranty gets voided and the only way to get it back is to unroot your device. Unrooting refers to the process of removing root from your device and it is NOT possible to unroot all available devices.

Custom Recovery


Each Android device that you buy comes with a recovery, and it’s called stock recovery. A custom recovery refers to the recovery that has been developed by third-party developers and not the device manufacturer. There are some limitations attached with the stock recovery, and therefore to get full access to your system, you need a custom recovery.

There are a number of custom recoveries available for Android devices with ClockworkMod and TWRP being two of the popular ones.

A custom recovery lets you:

  • Install custom ROMs that are available in ZIP format
  • Backup and Restore your system image
  • Format your device
  • etc…

You can flash a custom recovery only after unlocking the device. By means of “lock”, we are referring to the internal mechanism that prevents anyone from modifying the internal system of the phone. Once unlocked, you will be able to root the phone and flash a custom recovery. After you have a recovery up and running on your device, switching between various ROMs would be a breeze for you.

Custom ROMs


An Android ROM (aka system image) is basically a file that contains the executable instructions to run the Android OS. A stock ROM is the one developed by the device manufacturer and comes shipped in the phone. The good thing about Android is that it is open-source, and everyone can access the code. When someone takes the code, adds in their own stuff and distributes it, that is known as a custom ROM. There are a number of custom ROMs available for Android devices. Here are some of the popular ones:

1. CyanogenMod

CyanogenMod is one of the best custom ROMs available out there for Android devices. With its unique features and appearance, it has largely been accepted by a wide population of Android users. It’s a great ROM and is available for a lot of Android devices.


MIUI claims it redefines Android, and that’s true for the most part as the ROM does offer a number of features and enhancements that are lacking with the stock ROMs. It customized almost every part of the Android and made the user’s experience much smoother and faster.


Android Open Kang Project, often abbreviated as AOKP, is a third-party custom ROM that lets you enjoy more on your device than what you get with your stock ROM. It offers features like ribbon, navigation ring, and vibration patterns that I think are more distinctive than the ones we find in other ROMs.

4. Paranoid Android

Ever wanted a ROM that provides a clutter-free experience on your device? Paranoid Android is the one you should be using. The ROM, like any other ROMs available out there, has a number of features and unique customizations that enhance your user-experience as well as lets you have something new and cool on your device. It is worth giving a try to this ROM.


An Android device can’t do everything out-of-the box but it does have some capabilities that can be unlocked by using various customization options mentioned above. Feel free to give a shot to all of these customizations and let us know how it worked for you!

Mahesh Makvana
Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who's written thousands of posts about various tech topics on various sites. He specializes in writing about Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android tech posts. He's been into the field for last eight years and hasn't spent a single day without tinkering around his devices.

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