- ROM: A ROM is a modified version of Android. It may contain extra features, a different look, speed enhancements, or even a version of Android that hasn’t been released for your phone yet.
- Kernel: A kernel is the component of your operating system that manages communications between your software and hardware. There are a lot of custom kernels out there for most phones, many of which can speed up your phone and increase your battery life, among other things. Be careful with kernels, though, as a bad one can cause serious problems with your phone and possibly even brick it. One of the most popular kernels is franco kernel, it works on all Nexus devices.
- Radio: Radios are part of your phone’s firmware. Your radio controls your cellular data, GPS, Wi-Fi, and other things like that. They are normally not importeant for the average rooter, but if you somehow flash a wrong radio by mistake, you may break things, like mobile data or GPS.
- Flash: Flashing essentially means installing something on your device, whether it be a ROM, a kernel, or a recovery that comes in the form of a ZIP file. Sometimes the rooting process requires flashing a ZIP file, sometimes it doesn’t.
- Brick: To brick your phone is to break it during flashing or other acts. There is always a small risk with flashing, and if your phone becomes unable to function—that is, it basically becomes a brick—you’ve bricked your phone. The risk is very small, however, and more often than not people say “brick” when they really mean “it turns on but doesn’t boot properly,” which is a very fixable problem. There are to kind of “Bricks”, soft bricks and hard bricks. Soft bricks are very easy to resolve by formating cache/data/dalvik cache or by flashing a new ROM/Stock Rom. in case of a hard brick you are basically fucked 😀
Check this video out to get more information.
- Bootloader: Your bootloader is the lowest level of software on your phone, running all the code that’s necessary to start your operating system. Most bootloaders come locked, meaning you can’t flash custom recoveries or ROMs. You will have to unlock it in order to root your ROM.
- Recovery: Your recovery is the software on your phone that lets you make backups, flash ROMs, and perform other system-level tasks. The default recovery on your phone can’t do much, but you can flash a custom recovery—like ClockworkMod or TWRP—after you’ve unlocked your bootloader that will give you much more control over your device.
- ADB: ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge, and it’s a command line tool for your computer that can communicate with an Android device you’ve connected to it. It’s part of the Android Software Developers Kit (SDK). Many of the root tools you’ll find use ADB, whether you’re typing the commands yourself or not. Unless the instructions call for installing the SDK and running ADB commands, you won’t need to mess with it—you’ll just need to know that it’s what most of the tools use to root your phone.
- S-OFF: HTC phones use a feature called Signature Verification in HBOOT, their bootloader. By default, your phone has S-ON, which means it blocks you from flashing radio images—the code that manages your data, Wi-Fi, and GPS connections. Switching your phone to S-OFF lets you flash new radios. Rooting doesn’t require S-OFF, but many rooting tools will give you S-OFF in addition to root access, which is nice.
- What’s the difference between rooting, unlocking, and flashing a ROM? This can be confusing, since the three practices are often performed at the same time. We’ve detailed some of this above, but briefly: Unlocking your bootloader is usually the first step in the process and allows you to flash a custom recovery. From there, you can then give yourself root access or flash a ROM. Root access isn’t required to flash a ROM, but almost all custom ROMs will come with root access built-in.P
- Can I unroot my phone? Yes. If you decide you don’t like being rooted, you can often find instructions on unrooting your phone as well. Usually it involves flashing an RUU, SBF, or something similar to return the phone to truly stock settings.P
- Is rooting illegal? No. Technically, it once was, but exceptions to the DCMA have made it legal for most phones (but not necessarily tablets). Either way, it’s hard to imagine anyone actually enforcing this rule.
- Will rooting void my warranty? Yes. Unlocking your bootloader will void the warranty on your phone, even if your manufacturer provides a way for you to do it. That said, if you need warranty service for a hardware issue, you can sometimes unroot your phone and take it in for service with no one the wiser. However, some phones have a digital “switch” that flips when you unlock your phone that is very difficult or impossible to revert, so do your research before unlocking if you want to preserve your warranty.
- Could rooting brick my phone? It’s possible, but pretty unlikely. As long as you follow instructions well, you probably won’t brick anything (but we’re not responsible yadda yadda yadda). Flashing custom kernels and radios is a little riskier than just rooting or flashing ROMs, but again, if you follow directions you should be okay. Keep in mind that bricking means your phone means it won’t turn on or function at all—if you’re stuck in a boot loop or boot straight to recovery, your phone is soft bricked, and this can be fixed….
- Will I still get over-the-air (OTA) updates? Will downloading them break my root?If you root your phone without flashing a custom ROM, then you will likely still get OTA updates from your carrier, and they will break your root.
- Will rooting speed up my phone? Rooting allone won’t spped it up, but there are many tweaks which will make your phone faster.