Ultimate Android Rooting, Fastboot & Custom ROMs Guide

Guide to Android Rooting, Custom ROMs and Apps

Android and iOS are the most popular mobile operating systems on the market. Both offer a variety of apps and settings but, eventually reach their limits at a certain point. Rooting or Jailbreaking your phone (or tablet) will offer you thousands of tweaks, skins and new apps that you should not miss out on. It will also help you to remove bloatware.

Android Launchers and lock screen widgets are great tools to customize your Android experience without rooting your device. You are also able to root your device and customize it with a launcher and widgets afterwards. If your Android device is rooted but you don’t want flash a custom ROM, Xposed Framework might be the perfect solution for you. You are, however, also able to add new features to your custom ROM with Xposed. With the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop Google replaced the former Dalvik cache with ART. Luckily, Xposed was adapted to Android 6.0 Marshmallow and now works with both Android 5.0 and 6.0.

This guide is based on Google Nexus devices, but most of the things also apply to other Android devices. Some might require more work while others can be rooted quite easily, but in the end it’s no rocket science. Rooting and customisation is especially easy on Nexus devices as factory images are freely available on the Google website. However, many other popular devices like the can easily be restored using different tools available on XDA developers. I would suggest to have a quick look at the forums and I’m pretty sure that you’ll find help for your device.

Android Rooting Terms You Should Know

Before we get started, I would like to explain a few terms because the terminology can get complicated and confusing. This will help you to understand other device specific guides. I’ll try to keep it short and not go into (technical) details. Please share any questions regarding this in the comments below – I’ll do my best to answer them.

ART

ART stands for Android Runtime and replaces the formerly used Dalvik cache. It was introduced in Android 4.4 and has completely taken over in Android 5.0. I don’t want to go too deep into technical differences, but ART is said to improve battery life and app performance, amongst others.

Bootloader

The Bootloader is your phone’s software foundation. It’s basically what runs before your operating system starts (like a PC’s BIOS). As many manufactures don’t want you to modify your phone’s OS, it needs to be unlocked before you are able to root your phone or install custom ROMs (explained later).

Brick

This is something you don’t want to happen to your Android device. Like the name already implies, a bricked phone (or tablet) can only be used as a paperweight or nice decoration for your apartment. Bricked devices are irreversibly damaged and won’t work anymore. This can, for instance, happen if damaged ROMs are installed or wrong firmwares are flashed. Always make sure to read instructions and verify checksums (a set of numbers that identify the file) to make sure nothing goes wrong. If you’re lucky and your device is only soft-bricked, meaning that it does not boot but still turns on, you might be able to get it back to life.

BusyBox

Android, being based on Linux/Unix, offers a limited amount of UNIX commands (which most users won’t need anyways). BusyBox will implement more commands that are necessary for some root apps to work properly.

Custom ROM

A custom ROM is a modified version of the Android operating system. Tweaks, additional features, different themes or an enhanced performance are usually included. Custom ROMs also offer the possibility to use a newer, unreleased, version of Android on your phone that might usually not be available for your device because of restrictions from manufacturer or providers.

Dalvik

Dalvik is a virtual machine that processes Android app code. Consequently, it is responsible for translating app code into actions on your Android device.

Fastboot

Fastboot is a diagnostic- and engineering tool which offers you several features such as launching in recovery mode or flashing image files.

Kernel

The kernel is the brain of your phone that controls how the system and hardware interact. It’s basically the lowest level of your operating system that manages memory and hardware.

NAND partition

NAND stands for “Negated AND” or “NOT AND” and describes the hard drive partition that stores all system relevant information like the bootloader, recovery mode or the kernel.

NANDroid backup

A NANDroid backup is a complete system backup of your Android device. This backup can be restored later and might save your phone after flashing a faulty ROM or theme.

Radio

The radio is responsible for sending and receiving voice and data. Using an optimized radio can improve your phone’s reception or increase battery life.

Recovery Mode

Recovery mode offers you the possibility to perform system-level tasks (like formatting, defragmenting, etc.), backing-up your devices or install custom ROMs. Android offers a limited stock recovery function. More sophisticated recoveries like ClockworkMod Recovery and TWRP Recovery offer additional features and are easier to use.

Root

Rooting will give you full administrator access of your device. It might also void your warranty (depending on the device and your place of residence), so make sure to handle your device with care after rooting it. You are always able to revert this process by simply flashing a stock-ROM (the original ROM installed by your phone’s manufacturer). Doing this will also “restore” your warranty.

S-OFF

S-OFF means that the NAND partition of your Android device is unlocked. This mostly applies to HTC phones.

Superuser

Rooting your phone will create a new “account” with complete administrative permissions. This superuser account is used by some apps and functions.

Xposed Framework

Xposed Framework is an app that can be installed on a rooted Android device which offers custom ROM like features on stock Android. It has been updated and is now fully compatible to Android 5.0 and Android 6.0.

5 Reasons to root

With Android becoming better and better, many people ask themselves if it’s still worth rooting. For example, you’re not able to use Android Pay if your Android phone is rooted. The same applies in other cases, where App developers decide to not support rooted devices for security reasons.

In addition to that, Android M will come with many features like “Doze” which basically replace root apps such as Greenify. So what exactly are reasons to root in 2016?

  1. You have an old(er) Android device. With root access, you’re able to flash a custom ROM with the latest version of Android. Because of this, you don’t rely so much on your device manufacturer to keep you up to date.
  2. AdAway. While I’m all-in for supporting developers, some apps don’t offer an ad-free paid version. With AdAway you’re able to get rid of all unwanted ads which is simply not possible without root.
  3. Titanium Backup. Android M will bring Auto Backup for Apps, but unfortunately it’s still up to the developer if he/she wants to implement it or not. Titanium Backup is a simply but powerful tool that backups simply everything.
  4. Change DPI. With many devices coming with high-res displays nowadays, some people prefer to have more screenspace than big app icons. While changing DPI can also be done without root, it often breaks different apps.
  5. Remove bloatware. This one is easy. Remove all the crap your mobile carrier put on your device. Who doesn’t want to do this?

How to Fully Backup Your Device Without Root

If your Android device is not rooted yet, you won’t be able to perform NANDroid backups. I wouldn’t suggest to root your tablet or phone without having a proper backup, because there is always a chance of error and you don’t want to brick your device.

Simple ADB Backup let’s you create a full backup of your device without root access and is the perfect solution for users without root access. The free program also offers a restore function and runs on Windows and Linux.

If you’re already rooted, make sure to check out our guide on performing a NANDroid backup.

 

How to Root Your Android Device

The rooting process differs from device to device which makes it impossible to give general instructions on rooting here. I’ve linked guides for some of the most popular devices below. Using the terms described earlier should make the rooting process easier for you. If your phone or tablet is not on the list, you most certainly can find a guide on the XDA-Developers forums.

Google Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10
Google Nexus 6P
Google Nexus 5X
Oppo OnePlus 2
Samsung Galaxy S6
LG G4
Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Always make sure to perform NANDroid backups of your devices to be able to restore your phone or tablet to a working state. I would also recommend to validate checksums and carefully read through the instructions to avoid bricking your device.

Most Important Fastboot Commands

When confronted with Android rooting, you often have to work with fastboot. Fastboot is part of Google’s Android SDK and is mostly used to re-flash partitions on your Android device, similar to (custom) recovery mode. You usually use fastboot in the following manner:

fastboot [ <option> ] <command>

Here’s a list of all options and commands:

Options

-w erase userdata and cache
-s <serial number> specify device serial number
-p <product> specify product name
-c <cmdline> override kernel commandline
-i <vendor id> specify a custom USB vendor id
-b <base_addr> specify a custom kernel base address
-n <page size> specify the nand page size. default: 2048

Commands

update <filename> reflash device from update.zip
flashall flash boot + recovery + system
flash <partition> [ <filename> ] write a file to a flash partition
erase <partition> erase a flash partition
getvar <variable> display a bootloader variable
boot <kernel> [ <ramdisk> ] download and boot kernel
flash:raw boot <kernel> [ <ramdisk> ] create bootimage and flash it
devices list all connected devices
reboot reboot device normally
reboot-bootloader reboot device into bootloader

Now that we’ve covered all existing fastboot commands and options, let’s have a closer look at the most important ones and what they do / mean:

fastboot oem unlock

 

This is a special command and not part of the initial list. Using this command, you can unlock the bootloader for Google Nexus devices.

fastboot flash recovery recovery.img

 

This command will flash a custom recovery to your Android device. Depending on the file name, you need to change the bold part of the command. Please not that this only works with *.img files

fastboot -w

 

Caution: This command will completely wipe your device

fastboot update filename.zip

 

This command will update your ROM based on the provided *.zip file

Custom Recovery Mode

The standard Android recovery mode is very limited and does not offer many features. That’s where replacement recoveries like Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP) and ClockworkMod Recovery (CWRM) come in place. They offer the possibility to flash custom ROMs which is not possible with the stock recovery mode. Other features include a file browser for update.zips, adb shell and NANDroid backups. Without a custom recovery you won’t be able to flash a custom ROM.

It does not really matter which replacement recovery you install, just go with the one that suits you most. In some rare cases the root script or custom ROM installation only works with either TWRP or CWM. Nowadays, TWRP is the king of custom recoveries and would be my suggestion for you to use.

TWRP – Team Win Recovery Project

Team Win Recovery Project‘s custom recovery offers an easy and touch driven user interface. It includes all typical recovery features needed to install custom ROMs, kernels, other tweaks and many more. You are also able to backup and restore your device using TWRP.

TWRP

CWM – Clockworkmod Recovery

ClockworkMod Recovery used to be one of the most popular custom recovery modes. However, in the last 2 years TWRP took over the throne and became the most popular recovery. It also includes all advanced recovery features like installing custom ROMs and other files, as well as a backup and restore function. You can control the CWM UI via touch or key-input.

CWM

 

Understanding Custom ROM Versions

As Custom ROMs are constantly improved, they usually come in four different categories: Nightly, Milestone, Release Candidate and Stable. This is what you can expect in every stage:

Nightly

Nightly versions are usually generated every 24 hours and can be highly experimental and unstable. Especially early versions of a new custom ROM can have many bugs and missing features. If you want to have the latest features while risking instability – go for nightlies!

Milestone Snapshot

Milestone Snapshots are basically nightly versions that have reached a certain milestone. They can be regarded as being quite stable, but may include certain bugs and issues. Since they are only created every few weeks (or months), they won’t have the latest features that might be included in the nightly versions. If you are looking for the latest features while having a rather stable system, check out milestone snapshots.

Release Candidate

Release candidates, as the name already implies, are one of the last builds before the stable version of a custom ROM is released. RCs are mostly stable but might have a few minor issues. If you’re looking for something stable and ready for daily use, I would recommend to go with release candidates!

Stable

Stable versions are (obviously) the most stable versions around, with all or nearly all problems fixed. Some stable ROMs may still include some smaller issues or certain things not working. Stable versions are definitely the safest way to go, but it might take months before a new stable with new features or fixes is released.

Official, Unofficial & Combined Releases

It is also important to say that custom ROMs are often available as official and unofficial releases. Later use the source code of the official release (if publicly available) and adapt it to devices not supported by the main developers. Unfortunately, this often leads to a delay. In addition to that, many developers combine features of different custom ROMs.

Custom ROMs

Custom Roms offer you a variety of new features, tweaks and visual enhancements. The best source to find a working one for your device is the XDA-Developers forum. Many custom ROMs are based on the two big releases: CyanogenMod and Paranoid Android. The easiest way to find the best custom ROM for you is to compare their features or simply test them for a few days. To make your start easier, I’ve written a few words about the major custom ROMs below.

I’m only able to give you a limited overview in here. If you really want to dive in I would recommend checking out your device specific sub forums on XDA developers. With Android modding becoming more and more popular, you’re often able to find many different custom ROMS for your device, especially if it’s one of the more popular phones or tablet.

CyanogenMod

CyanogenMod Logo

CyanogenMod looks very similar to stock Android, but offers several enhancements and tweaks. Besides increased system performance and reliability, it includes many interface enhancements and integrated features. CM is one of the most popular custom ROM solutions as it brings a stock Android experience to many devices that come with a heavily-skinned Android version such as LG or Samsung Galaxy devices.

CyanogenMod Features

  • OpenVPN integration
  • Lockscreen gestures
  • Expanded quick settings
  • DSP equalizer
  • Complete Theme engine including own theme store
  • Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and USB tethering
  • CPU over- & underclocking
  • Based on Stock Android

Latest CyanogenMod Version

CyanogenMod is usually up-to-date and uses the latest Android version. The latest version available is:

  1. CM 13.0 – based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow

A quite unique feature of CyanogenMod is it’s installer which makes installing the custom ROM quite easy. Besides flashing the ROM it will also root your Android device and will guide you through the whole process. Unfortunately, the installer is currently only available for Windows.

CyanogenMod is available for the majority of popular Android devices. You can find a list of supported devices on the CyanogenMod website.

BlissRom

blissroms

BlissRom is a new kid on the block. They basically take CyanogenMod as a source and add some magic to its. While updates are not as frequent as with CyanogenMod, the team covers the most important stuff and usually releases up-to-date stuff.

BlissRom Features

  • Based on CyanogenMod (= all of its features)
  • Audio Improvements
  • Endless list of visual improvements
  • Global gestures
  • Modified power menu

Latest BlissRom Version

The latest BlissRom version is based on CM 12.1 and is called BlissPop and still running Android 5.1.1.

BlissRom is available on a range of devices. You can find a list here.

ParanoidAndroid


Paranoid Android Logo

ParanoidAndroid is completely different to CyanogenMod and one of the “newer” custom ROMs out there. It’s currently my favorite custom ROM as it’s fairly close to stock Android while adding cool features like Peek and Hover. Next to CyanogenMod it seems like PA is king in the custom ROM scene. Unfortunately, the team only supports a small range of devices (Google Nexus & Oppo, OnePlusOne). There are, however, so-called Legacy versions available which support other devices.

ParanoidAndroid Features

  • Floating notifications & multitasking
  • Hidden Navigation PIE mode
  • UI customization
  • Gesture controls
  • CyanogenMod themes support

I was running PA on my Nexus devices and really loved it. It’s stable, fast and battery life is great. I can highly recommend this ROM.

Latest ParanoidAndroid Version

The latest PA version is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. PA usually works with nightly version that are quite stable and frequently updated. Unfortunately it has not been updated to Marshmallow yet. It also seems like the official version for Oppo devices is maintained more frequently than the legacy versions.

ParanoidAndroid Availability

An overview of officially supported Google Nexus, OnePlusOne and Oppo devices can be found here. Legacy devices are listed here.

Device-specific custom ROMs

The custom ROM scene developed itself into a certain direction in the last year, especially with stock ROMs including more and more features. As device manufacturers often don’t publish official drivers, custom ROMs like CyanogenMod are not able to support all features. Because of this, custom ROMs are often developing in a direction of adapting ads to devices. Because of this, I cannot give you great recommendation for all devices. I would personally suggest to either go with the big players like CyanogenMod or look for a popular specific ROM for your device. The XDA Developers forums should do the trick for that.

Flashing Custom Kernels

Kernels are the brain of your Android device and communicate between software and hardware. Therefore, they are responsible for managing things like CPU / GPU clocking speed, screen sensitivity / colors or voltage. By using a custom kernel you can not only improve battery life, but also increase system performance.

Many custom ROMs already come with their own kernels. This is done to implement software communication of the custom ROM with the hardware of the device and also to ensure a better performance. Nevertheless, you are often also able to flash custom kernels to custom ROMs. If you decided to stick to a rooted version of stock Android, flashing a new kernel can offer you additional performance with the convenience of a stock OS. Unfortunately, there are no “big” kernel releases that work for multiple devices and it’s hard for me to give any suggestions here. I would suggest to check the dedicated XDA-Developers forum for your device and have a look for yourself.

After downloading the custom kernel, you usually have to reboot to recovery and flash it from there. That’s it! Always make sure to check compatibility of the kernel with your ROM and device, because flashing a wrong kernel can brick your phone!

Apps

Rooting your Android device will offer you many benefits. Besides the features mentioned above, you can also install great apps that require to go deep into the system. Using them with an un-rooted device is not possible. Below I’ve listed a few apps that I like and use on an everyday basis. Feel free to share other apps in the comments section below!

Titanium Backup

Titanium Backup is a great backup tool for Android devices that offers tons of features. It provides the possibility to backup your data, settings and apps. Scheduled backups are also available. The paid pro version offers lots of great features like syncing backups with cloud-based storage providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Box. In my opinion this is one of the best root apps and a must-get. Especially if you’re a flash-a-holic, performing and restoring quick backups of all your apps (incl. settings and save games) is really easy and convenient with Titanium Backup.

 

ROM Manager

When you constantly switch between custom ROMs, ClockworkMod’s ROM Manager is one of the essential apps to get. Besides flashing ClockworkMod recovery, it will help you to organise and install your custom ROMs and backing-up your Android device. The paid premium version includes additional features like automatic backups, web connect and incremental ROM downloads.

AdAway

I struggled a little bit when deciding to either include AdAway or not, because it’s great for users but bad for app publishers and marketers. Google removed it from Google Play but you can still get it on the AdAway website. Like AdBlock Plus on your computer, the app modifies your Android devices hosts file to prevent apps and browsers to display advertisements. This will not only improve your app usage experience, but also increase battery life and decrease mobile traffic. Be fair and purchase paid versions of apps or donate a small amount to developers to make sure they will keep on programming great apps!

Google has recently begun to remove certain apps that violate their distribution agreements from Google Play. If you’re still interested in installing AdAway, please refer to the AdAway website.

Xposed Framework

Xposed Framework is a great app that offers the possibility to add features to your Android devices without flashing a custom ROM (or in addition to it).  You’re able to install modules which offer visual customisation or battery improvements, amongst others.

Greenify

Greenify is a great app to improve battery life and system performance because it puts selected apps in hibernation mode. Not having tons of apps stored in RAM or running as system processes will make your Android device faster and increase your user experience. Please refer to full review for more information.

Frequently Asked Rooting Questions

1. How can I restore stock Android?

To get back stock Android, simply flash a stock ROM suitable for your device. This way you’ll get an unrooted, stock Android version with restored warranty.

2. What happens to my settings, contacts and apps when I install a custom ROM?

It’s always recommended to wipe your device before installing a custom ROM for the first time. If your Google account is linked to your phone, contacts, emails and apps will automatically be downloaded after launching the custom ROM and logging in to your Google account. You can backup your settings with apps like XYZ.

3. How can I upgrade a custom ROM?

Most custom ROMs offer a update function, some directly integrated to the OS, others using a specific app. You can also use ROM Manager to update certain custom ROMs.

4. Is it possible to just root a phone and not install a custom ROM?

Yes, simply use a stock ROM and root it. If you update it, your root-access will be gone, though.

5. Do I need to go step-by-step to upgrade my Android device or can I directly go to the latest version available?

You can usually simply flash the latest ROM and are good to go. Custom ROM updates usually come in a full package, meaning that you have to download the complete ROM to update it. The downloads are usually about 100-200 MB.

6. Is there a special order to flash a ROM or kernel?

I would suggest flashing the ROM first as they often include their own custom kernels. Afterwards, boot your phone with the custom ROM, go back to the recovery mode and flash the kernel. Also make sure to check whether your custom kernel is supported by the ROM.

7. Can I update or change certain parts of Android without flashing a ROM?

Not in terms of getting a newer Android version. However, you should have a look at Xposed Framework as it brings many custom ROM features to your Android installation.

8. Do I have to downgrade my phone to flash ROM XYZ?

No – as long as your bootloader is unlocked and you have a custom recovery installed. With some devices, you need to downgrade to be able to do that. Custom ROMs usually don’t require a certain Android version because everything OS-wise is overwritten anyways.

9. Is there a custom ROM for my phone / tablet?

I would recommend to head over to the XDA developers forums and perform a search query there. If you’re using one of the popular devices there are usually many custom ROMs available. You can always check out Xposed Framework to add some more features to your Android device if no custom ROM is available.

 

Final Words

Do you have any questions about the rooting process, custom ROMs, tweaks or apps? Do you maybe want to share other great apps that I might have forgotten? Feel free to do so in the comments below!

Are you interested in more Android related guides?
Have a look at our Android knowledge database.

Philipp Greitsch is a mobile enthusiast with great interest in the latest trends and developments in mobile, technology and things that make our everyday life awesome. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter.
  • aamir

    can i flash new rom on my phone without rooting

    • http://www.philippgreitsch.com/ Philipp Greitsch

      Yes, but you need to have an unlocked bootloader and a custom recovery installed.

      • Sandeep

        Hi Philipp Bro, me using Micro Max Canvas Duet AE 90. Android Version 4.1.2 Jelly bean version with build No: AE90_V1_8 and Kernal version 3.4.0.. My question is can i update my software to kitkat version or some hing like that. what i have to do? why to do flashing and what the use of it brother.

  • Sharlette Belisle-Jacobs

    i root my phone i updated it and i lose the root now i cant reroot my phone lg c800 Q slide

    • http://www.philippgreitsch.com/ Philipp Greitsch

      Do you still have access to the custom recovery?

  • Prashant Borate

    I need to flash Cynogen Mod ;but I have Omni rom installed. Can you please guide me for this?

    • http://www.philippgreitsch.com/ Philipp Greitsch

      Download CM, wipe / factory reset in recovery and flash CM. Let me know if you need any more help!

  • djidji

    Can i root my HTC DESIRE 500 single sim?

  • Westcoaster

    Great blog, thanks for doing this. One question. I have a Nexus 4 on stock 4.3 and Rooted. I upgraded to CM 10.2 stable and couldn’t get our of a boot loop. So I re-flashed back to stock and rooted again. What did I do wrong? Is it a wipe-Dalvik cache issue?

    • http://www.philippgreitsch.com/ Philipp Greitsch

      Thanks for the kind words! Did you wipe / factory reset your N4 in recovery before installing CM? That might have been the issue.

      • Westcoaster

        Thanks Philipp, that did the trick. You da man…

        • http://www.philippgreitsch.com/ Philipp Greitsch

          Glad I could help!

  • Saad Agha

    Thanks for a great guide.

    • http://www.philippgreitsch.com/ Philipp Greitsch

      You’re very welcome!

  • chris

    Do you know of any Roms for the hisence sero 7 pro? Since it is almost a nexus 7 can I use a nexus 7 ROM ?

  • Pritish S Nair

    Can i change themes and UI in my stock rooted ROM using any app??

  • Max Harper

    hi everyone. went everywhere looking for help to re root my D4. the recent jan update removed it. i read elsewhere that the original method that worked(razr_blade) would still work. no success after several tries. curiously, i only get to phase 4 during an attempt if im in usb mass storage mode, which of course the instructions say not to be in . I cleared the cache on everything, including the smart action. tried different USB ports etc,.any suggestions?

  • JW

    I’m locked out of my tablet, it is not accepting the password I entered, tried every possible combination I could have made by mistake. Would installing a custom rom allow me to keep all of my files on it?
    I use it for school and nothing is synced to my google drive… Please help!

  • Pritish S Nair

    Hi Philip, its not about rooting or ROM but my default equaliser is not working now. Showing that “musicsfx is not responding”. Please help…

  • rapooty

    My tablet don’t boot, it stop in the Windows android, I do hard reset, ‘have got the android with exclamation. will you help me ?

  • Justin Taylor

    Hi Philip,
    Can I root Samsung galaxy s2 plus and flash CyanogenMod 10.1? Could you guide me, I don’t want to brick my phone – cpukid00 [at] hotmail [dot] com

  • burhan

    I’m completely new to Android world. I want to update my HTC Desire HD to ICS, I don’t want it bricked. That’s why I need step by step information.
    and does it need to be rooted for ICS update, if yes then how can I root it?
    Please aslo tell me ” will the ICS update make my Desire HD better or worse.

  • Jason Jai Leong

    I have had a read, but I would like to know how you tell which customROMS you can use on what model etc. i.e I have a S4 LTE Telstra Australia i9505 XXUAMDE/JFLTEXX & the 4.4.2 has been based on XXUFNA5. What is involved in checking this prior to just throwing the ROM BRICKING or finding out you have no radios etc?

  • Suyash Salunkhe

    thanks for a great info help, was looking for it. i have Sony Xperia s LT26i, Would you tell me a good trusted Rom and kernel for me, that will give me a good performance and features? How can I check if the Rom is matching the Kernel?

  • anish

    I’m using nexus 4 4.4.2 version..I want to flash pacman ROM 4.3..do I have to downgrade?

    • http://www.philippgreitsch.com/ Philipp Greitsch

      You’ll have to wipe / factory reset your Nexus, but downgrading shouldn’t be necessary. Just make sure to perform a NANDROID backup before you start!

  • terryevans11

    Can I root my samsung tab 3 sm t210 without a pc

  • terryevans11

    And I there a custom rom for this model?

  • Brett V

    Hi Philip, this a great read and has help me understand the whole ‘customizing’ thing so much more. I have a question regarding the ‘baseband’ modems. I recently upgraded to CM11 (4.4.2) but my baseband is still the original one that came with my phone over a year ago. Does the baseband not get upgraded along with a ROM install? Am I safe to go ahead and upgrade the baseband to the latest supported baseband for my carrier for myself? Or does something have to match up?

  • Limane Boukar Limane

    hi everybody i flashed cyanogenmod 11 and gapps and after that i made a
    wipe data / factory reset. the rom is great but now i have only 2.75 Go
    free in internal storage . can you help me please.

  • dev

    hey man what happens to the built in apps in my pre-root phone??
    what if i want to keep them too

  • robin

    Hi Phillip thankyou for the learning curve here but hopefully you can give me some advice my Samsung S4 has been doing nothing but getting very hot. And not turning on.I was just trying to put some life into the battery a last attempt before taking it back to coastline to put it in for repair on the warranty when an Android Green graphic Man came up and Android OS was displayed and started downloading saying Do not turn off target this has now been running for an hour but the phone is not getting hot, I am scared though about forfiting my warranty, As in the top left corner.is oddin , product name GT-19505,current binary Samsung official System status:official, Knox kernel lock 0x knox Warranty Void:0 x0, CSB-CONFIG-LSB: 0X30, WHITE PROTECTION:Enable, eMMC BURST MODE enabled.
    I don’t know what to do shall I turn it off and takebit back to Vodafone and say nothing about it or let it run.? robinrobin [at] yahoo [dot] com

    • robinrobin929

      Hi once again Philipp I hope the other message with my username you some how managed to connect up the dots to, and that there connected, It’s just I was presuming an answer would have been found underneath my first message of 7 minutes ago but it isn’t would it be somewhere else as at first if sent to my email I accidently forgot to add 929 on the address.

  • robinrobin929

    Hi Philip this is robinrobin back I posted the message 20 mins back about the Samsung S4 bieng bricked where it is downloading the OSAndroid by its self but I hadnt joined your community and forgot to add 929 on the end of my user nameStill nothing had changed it still says downloading do not turn off target but I have an hour still to make it down to Vodafone. What would you do after reading my other post. Am I still in my warranty as I never even turned this on. But apart from the phone showing an empty battery symbol even when full and telling me is a Samsung Galaxy S4 and getting extant got when that was on or attaching it to charger it is the only thing that’s happend without it overheating will I void the warranty, shall I then it off, just take it back where is covered in a 5dtar red band plan. I’m grateful for a advice here as am at a real n lose

  • Bekci M Daarud

    hoping this link is still up and running…two quwstions: first, I have a DROID3 2.3.4 that has superuser and root checker says im rooted yet still unable to allow TB superuser permissions…what am i missing and where? Second, which ROM would best help me get most out of battery life? Currently, I can plug it in until it claims to be full, unplug it and leave it sitting on table, screen off, yet within 90 minutes its down to 5% and shutting itself off…..its going to meet an untimely death if i cant fix it.

    • carrie harlow

      it sounds like you need a new battery. charge the new one fully and drain it completely on the first two or three uses. as for the root, i had to reflash with odin and update supersu in the google play store and then all was well.

  • Duuuuuk

    Hi.I rooted my phone using permaroot and when i check it in root checker it said that my device is now rooted.But my question is What is the next steps so i can change my rom into some custom roms.My android version is 4.1.1 and im seeing custom roms with android 4.1.2 and 4.0.1 Does it need to be the same so that i can use that custom roms ? I really need some help so i can change the rom on my phone.Please I will be thankful if u can help me.Thanks in these very informative post in your blog.

  • shirish nagansurkar

    i am using i ball mobile which is not listed in any device lists out there for ROMs, can i still go for a rom?

  • Anderson

    How do I know if my android is already custom-flashed?

  • Mark

    Can I update/add only certain parts of the android and keep the existing apps as they are?

  • jonny2

    Is there an app to tell me if i am being followed or stalked

  • lawrence

    i change my custom rom? if i update my android version ..my custom rom will be gone ??

  • John

    hii, can i straight install rom after flashing a kernel?

  • Shiv kumar Basail

    can i flash a new custom kernel without flashing a new rom

  • Mr. Mischief

    Hi Phil, i have a samsung galaxy s2 skyrocket rooted, running jellybean 4.1.2. Since i upgraded from gingerbread it ahs been running laggy and i read if i backup my data and do a factory reset, this should quicken up the phone a bit.
    If i do a factory reset will i lose the rooting? I’m using a locked-rooted phone so if i lose the rooting, i dont want to end up with a locked phone.

  • ayush

    I want a custom kernel for my rooted gingerbread(2.3.6) which can support swap and oc…but I was failed..to flash another one..if u could help me…then plz email- me(ayushkumar23949 [at] gmail [dot] com)…plzzzzzz

  • shaan

    hi all,
    i recently rooted my Galaxy S2 and installed whizcat rom. I am trying to restore my data from kies however, its not recognizing my device. Wud highly appreciate if some1 plz help me in that. i am not a tech savvy chap like you all. Hence request u to update in a layman term. Regards

  • Jonathan Fernandes

    iv backed up my lg p700 using cwm. its was running android 4.1.2 and iv flashed it with a custom rom 4.4… im planning to restore back to the 4.1.2 and install 4.2 or 4.3 would i brick my phone by doing so??

  • Robby Nightmare

    Thanks Philipp for the wonderful article. I unlocked my bootloader, installed a custom recovery, but my SuperSU would not flash, I tried many times, to no avail, I even went onto XDA and tried a different way, and it would not work either. My Nexus 5 was showing as unlocked, the whole time. I have the Google Play store edition, in Canada. I used TWRP. I finally gave up, and flashed my phone with the Paranoid Android 4.4-BETA1, and Gapps. It worked like a charm! I love this ROM. I don’t know why it wouldn’t show my SuperSU before, but no matter, all is well now. Thank you so much for your time, to research all this, and share it with us all. You are awesome!!

    Rob

  • Shekhar Adhikary

    How can I update my CWM Recovery? I have cwm 2.5.0.7 running in my HTC Desire. Please, can you explain me step by step. Thanks a lot & sorry for trouble.

  • Sahil bahri

    which is the best custom rom for galaxy s duos my friend suggested me pmp ultra rom v 8.5.1 being the latest version of it, SHOULD i install it plzzzz suggest

  • Julian Teng

    What if i boot my phone and i installed the software which require to unlockboot the phone, after i installed then i lock the boot back, does the software still functional ?

  • Keshava Murthy

    Hi. I am using Galaxy S2 (I9100) with CM 11 version.. I frequesntly using google now.. If I connect my bluetooth headset (Samsung HM1000) to my phone and open Google now.. It freeze the sreen (hangs) i can not do anything further for 1 min.. what should i do to fix this.. please help me..

  • karan kumar

    I had a unique question! Is it possible to flash any custom rom on any device? Eg – Custom rom designed for s4 working on s3? Is this possible! plus i’ve heard of the term ‘cook your rom’ What is it about?

  • Hannes Holmquist

    I’ve spent three days now trying to activate xposedinstaller unsuccesfully on my LG-D280
    My version seems to not be available anywhere
    I know the root has been successful because when I try to re-do the process I get a message saying it’s done already
    Yet xposed installer claims it fails to get root access
    ‘Makesure you device is rooted properly and you have not blocked shell commands’

    I’ve installed software after software that is supposed to help this
    Busybox,busyboxinstaller, app ops, superuser, SU update fixer and freegee
    and my phone is STILL not letting me install xposed framework
    Help me please someone

  • Freax187

    i forgot to enable developer debug settings before i started with the rooting process using Odin 3.07 icw TWRP 2.7 recovery, now my Galaxy Tab 3 (210) doesnt want to start up anymore, it IS still able to get to download mode, is there anything i can do to get this working again?

  • sai krishna bollapragada

    please help me for kitkat rom on karbonn titanium s5 plus?

  • Riki Brown

    Any info on custom ROM for star n3+

  • mandy

    Is it possible to install ios on my android phone rooting it ?

  • Forgetfull

    While downloading photos to my pc from my Moto x, I accidentally deleted or corrupted my “camera” folder, and lost all of my camera photos and videos. I’ve tried a couple of recovery and undelete apps on my pc, but they can’t even see the phone, which doesn’t have USB mass memory mode & has no separate USB card. Will rooting allow me access to find deleted files, and what apps will I need on my phone or pc? Or is there some way to recover files without rooing this phone?

  • SrujanSujju

    Clear , thanks :)

  • Akash Sharma

    to download a new custom rom on my device do i have to come back to stock rom first

    • Rob

      no idownloaded Carbon rom nightly while i was still on CM11

  • Rukantha Pigera

    Thanks you!

  • Sam

    thanks great read and very clear and concise .. Truhelp!

  • Phil

    Hello Philipp. I have not been able to find any information about how installing a custom rom affects affects automatic updates for apps. Does it still happen, and if not, how to manually update them? It’s one of the things holding me back.

  • Krishanu

    Hi could you please advise how to root a China made tablet. What all info is needed to root and install a suitable stock ROM. I want to install stock android on it.

  • ervin

    Helo sir, i having a problem.. I rooted my phone then i download apps.. But when turn off my phone and turn it on again.. The downloaded apps after i rooted are not installed, so i have to download it again and everytime i reboot my phone, the same things happen too.. Why?

  • Zabii

    Is there a way to root your android, install a custom ROM and disable root so that the security may not be so much of an issue. If not, what would happen if we attempted it.

  • raghav

    Great blog bro

  • http://androidjinni.com/ Haroon Aejaz

    any new ROM?

  • just_a_random_guy

    Hey I’m just a random guy really needy for a custom rom but looks like my phone does not support any. I own a xolo Q2500 could you suggest me some compatible custom roms please? Thanks in advance…

  • http://www.ultimaterootingguide.in/ eliteextremez

    http://www.ultimaterootingguide.in has step by step Android Rooting guides and Android ROM guides with Live Chat Support. We even help you to solve your tech related queries

  • bdfnexussch1515

    **Your website has been very helpful! Thanks to all who worked and participated in putting this website together.**
    QUESTION:
    I have a Samsung nexus sch-1515 jelly bean 4.2.2
    I recently had some videos and pictures recently deleted by accident.
    If I root my phone, will i be able to recover them somehow?
    Can I recover them without rooting?

  • karthik

    is it possible to install custom ROM without rooting?

  • shreyash

    hey, an u tell me which rom i should install on my nexus7(2012) . which one of the roms are the best —— cm11nightly , paranoid , aokp(nightly) ,c-rom i like customisation

  • shimil cp

    I want a custom kernel for my rooted gingerbread(2.3.6) which can support swap and oc…but I was failed..to flash another one..if u could help me…then plz email- me (shimil [dot] cp [at] gmail [dot] com)

  • idunno

    Hi! I rooted my phone and then I made a huge mistake and updated my phone. I knew root access will be gone(and it is) but I cant root my phone anymore. Can someone please help??

    • Vamper

      You can install supersu and in its options near bottom is full unroot so you can reroot it is used mostly or tr rooters(I know its permission/Root access ignore that) you can unroot then reroot but using a different root might be best.

  • Danny Montgomery

    Question,will i have the ability to modify/freeze what happens when my phone is docked?

  • Kristy-Lea

    I have bought a secondhand s4 i9505 and when I go to about device and device status it says device status is custom….I have reset many times and just want it back to official…is there any way possible I can achieve this?

  • azam

    hello i had root my phone and i had install a app but that app need to be install some fail to my phone and i just install it but suddenly ny phone turn off then i turn my phone on back but my phone just showing its logo on the screen for an hour and run of battry now i cant restart my phone anymore pls help me T.T

  • Bitmap20k

    Duvida:

    I just want to know: If I flash my device too much times, will it downgrade my devices’s speed. It’s like: When I factory reseted my old device, he became even more slower… And I want to know If that will happen with my device…

    Sorry for my bad English, I’m Portuguese :)

  • brittney

    hi i have my phone rooted, and i am not sure i go about installing a custom rom. i have a samsung galaxy s3, straight talk brand ( if u need to know this ) sch-s968c. it is running on 4.1 i would like at least 4.3 if possible. if u can help me please comment back or email with steps. i’d appreciate it.

  • Ketan

    Was much helpful…though I have flashed custom roms for a ling time now…i didnt know this much….but a question haunts me….does flashing many number of custom roms or switching back to stock rom frequently affect any hardware…..or may it cause any kind of issues???

  • Luian Figueroa

    How can I unlock the bootloader of the razr i xt890??? Pleas help!!! :(

  • Prabhu Kulandaisamy

    Hi I have a Samsung tab s … Need to root the it so that I can install apps on sdcard…and control where the app stores data…

  • Biswajit Das
  • nick wylie

    Is there a custome rooted ROM for tm785ch

  • Desiree Vazquez

    Hi I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 android version 4.2.2 I would like to upgraded to 4.4.2 can someone help me and let me know how I can do it I Dont have emoji support. And would love to have them

  • Duffer

    Can I install a custom rom on note 4 running Kitkat and be able to ota to Lollipop with out having to re root and re install?

  • John

    Wish I had seen this two weeks ago. This would have saved me a lot of the work it took me to go from total-noob to still-really-very-noobish. Even after having learned most of this, it’s very reassuring and instructive to see it in such a concise format. Kudos and thanks!

  • Russell Haley

    Good article. You could possibly include the definition of Baseband with Radio? Also, AOKP has Cyanogenmod Theme support as well. I see in the comments that you can flash a ROM without rooting. That never occured to me!

  • http://www.ultimatexbmc.com/ Ultimatexbmc.com

    One word – FREAKTAB, Android Rom dev heaven

  • raheel

    Hi,

    I am using samsung galaxy s3 I9300.

    The mobbile is stuck at samsung logo.

    And said that its software are crash.

    I am trying to custom rom.

    But before custom rom I can root the set.

    But set donot start, Then how can I roo it.

    reply

    thankx

  • arryan

    i flashed sony xperia tipo with a ROM but it is now not even starting what should i do?

  • ErrorTech

    I would like to disagree with the paragraph “Brick”. You state “Bricked devices are irreversibly damaged and won’t work anymore.” That is false, I do a lot of messing around with devices and computers and their software and do a lot of testing and in the past have intentionally had to have bricked my phone in the past. It is quite simple really to “unbrick” Your device. I will not go into detail but if you wish to look it up, YouTube is Your best answer for these kind of things.

    • FPG

      Really all you have to do is flash OFW from your sammobile with Odin and you’re pretty good!

  • jesse

    Do you need a computer to complete this process?

  • Tarun George

    Hi all, I have a rooted nexus 6 5.0.1on stock with Franco kernel. Before flashing the OTA to 5.1, do I have to remove Franco/unroot my phone?

  • Tayang Gyati

    Will rom of s4 mini gt-l9190 support s4 mini gt-l9192. Both has the same hardware but gt-l9192 is dual sim

  • Yash Meena

    visit this site there is more information on rooting and more cool stuff http://androidgeekhub.blogspot.in/

  • Balram Kumar

    i need to help sir my mobile is karbonn a7+ and the custom rom is mobiistar s01 i download cm11 zip file and update from it but my mobile is not work properly its show the xperia z soni android after show android the screen will stop my phone does’nt any motion plz advise me what should i do ?

  • jay

    Hi,after rooting any company’s rom install in my anroid device?
    which are possibility damage main rom?
    plz ans me.

  • http://www.mortalkombatxinfo.com Shurtian

    Can we install the custom roms without rooting

  • Steve

    By far the best article I have read about rooting and learning what everything means, thank you.

  • SHAILESH BHOSALE

    i am installing cm12 rom on my grand 2 phone . but its taking too much time.
    i forgot to wipe cache and dalvik cache.
    is it feasible to remove the battery and reinstall the ROM ?

  • shekhar

    hai i have a micromax canwas w121 windows phone. i want to android on this phone. can anyone have direct link ?

  • Aray

    I’m very new to rooting and roms, one thing I’m already stuck is about my model as it seems I can’t find anything for it. It’s a Samsung Mini GT-i8200. Am I overlooking something?

  • Veena Chawla

    Please help anyone. I have galaxy grand quattro running on 4.1.2 I have rooted my phone and have a custom rom to flash. But in the recovery mode it is not showing the rom. No custom recovery is compatible with this device(gt i8552). Please help.

  • Luke Mcvicar

    hi im from wollongong australia and i just finished reading your page and it was a dam good read, your web site must be the only site that give you detailed info in all the area’s. my Q is there any roms and or kernals out there for my s6 edge SM-G925IDVU2COGA on telstra

  • rajkumar

    i need a custom rom for vox kick k7 with android version 4.4.2. i had rooted the phone, and i am unable to know which rom is installed, so i am not sure to download which rom and recovery software for my device.

  • Maxi Di Pasquale

    I have a question that i couldn’t get answered by the search. Is there any ROM compatible with multiple devices? I mean. I had been looking for CyanogenMod downloads but you have to download a ROM for a specific device, I haven’t seen an unique download for multiple devices. Do I explain myself?

  • Bilal Ahmad

    I have got Grand Prime and planning to root it. I have never done that before. but done somethings like flashing lollipop rom, cyanogen mod and flashing apps. Should I root it? I just want to customize interface. just got bored with the stock rom. and can I add features of other devices like camera modes gestures in it? thanks in advance? great post

  • http://getiqandroid.com/ iq android

    This is a great article on rooting android and custom rom. Your details on the adb commands is very useful. I’m in Alexandria, VA near Washington DC and have a lot of experience with rooting androids and installing custom roms.