Custom ROMs are unofficial firmwares, often made by independent developers trying to get the most out of their Android devices. LineageOS (formerly CyanogenMod), Paranoid Android, ResurrectionRemix are few examples. These firmwares aren’t developed nor maintained by the manufacturer.
There are many reasons why someone would install a custom ROM:
- You can update your system to a newer version of Android in case the manufacturer does not offer an upgrade.
- Receive latest builds and security updates way before when the manufacturer release them.
- For low budget phone owners like me, it’s so important to find an alternative for the stock firmware because its user experience is so poor.
- Unlock a lot of features for customizing your device and get rid of the stock user interface and bloatwares (like TouchWiz on Samsung devices).
- Just for fun! Many enthusiasts around the world just enjoy trying and developing new things for their smartphones.
Can I just install one on my smartphone?
Well, that’s tricky. First, your must have an unlocked bootloader. How to do that is coming later in this paragraph. Second, there must be a custom recovery developed for your phone (eg TWRP or ClockworkMod). Finally, you need to find a custom ROM. To check all those, jump to xda developers website and use the search bar to look for the forum of your phone. For most devices, you’ll find a variety of how-tos and custom firmwares available for your device.
The process of unlocking the bootloader, installing recovery and installing a custom ROM is so risky. Also it voids your warranty. You may end up bricking your device forever (a state where a phone is, in simple words, dead). So you may want to think again before proceeding. And when you do, read the instructions and never skip any of them. In case you don’t understand a step, jump to the Q&A forum and ask for help. But NEVER SKIP ANY STEPS.
Why doesn’t my phone have any custom ROM?
Unfortunately, the people who are developing all of this are few and they don’t get paid to do that. So, not all phones have an active community. Other reasons may include: restrictions put on the device by the manufacturer, no kernel sources released, device’s unpopularity.
What to do in that case?
Xposed framework got you covered. Thanks to the GravityBox module, you can have most of these features on almost any stock-running device. But you still have to root your phone and thus, void the warranty.
Some ROMs may work best on some phones and not on others so the answer depends on the phone in question. But here are some of the most popular ROMs in no particular order: ResurrectionRemix, LineageOS, Crdoid, Paranoid Android, AICP, MIUI, SlimROM.ne