What is an Android Custom ROM?


What is a custom ROM and Why install it?

Custom ROM is a modified Android Operating System so you can get extra features from your phone otherwise not possible on stock.  Think of it as upgrading your tiny wheels on your rice beater to 21” rims, or maybe even putting a Corvette engine in it.

So, what features can custom ROM bring you?

First, Wifi Tethering and Hotspot – You don’t need to pay your carrier such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile TWICE for the same internet you already for.  Most countries outside of the U.S. provide tethering as a basic feature on your data plan but in the U.S., carriers like to charge you for it.  Install a custom ROM and you can get free wifi tethering working easily as most custom ROMs support wifi tethering out of the box.

OTA updates

You can manually install OTA updates or even downgrade to an older OTA update.

Last week, Android 4.3 was released for many Nexus devices.  While some of you weren’t rooted and waiting for couple days or even weeks for Google to push out the OTA updates, many of you who rooted simply grabbed the latest Android 4.3 custom ROM zip file and installed it the day it came out.  I remember a bunch of people tweeting me, “oh Max when is Android 4.3 coming on my stock phone?” and I was like, “wait you are still waiting?”

Did your carrier give up on upgrading your Android OS?  No worries, you can get many custom ROMs that bring you the latest Android OS.

Remove bloatware

You can install custom ROMs with every possible/imaginable bloatware removed completely from your system, even government spyware.  Some of these custom ROMs even offer AROMA graphical installer to remove just the ones you don’t want and keep the ones you like.

Change Operating Sysytem

You don’t like TouchWiz or Sense?  No worries, you can root and install AOSP custom ROMs or even convert your phone into a full Google Play Edition phone easily with custom ROMs.

There’s even hybrid ROMs, that bring you the best of TouchWiz/Sense and pure Google OS. Get the best of both worlds, take control over your phone, but don’t let your phone control you.  Heck, you can even install Ubuntu Edge mobile system, and even completely move away from Android.

Enhanced Audio

Many custom ROMs offer a high level of audio tweaking for bassheads, purists, and alike.  By using DSP Manager, ViperFXAudio, VoodooSound, and many other aftermarket audio tweaks, you can customize the sound on your phone.

Make it super loud, tweak the bass/treble, and adjust the sound just the way you want it. Of course, you can do this on many stock phones but custom ROMs offer additional layer of tweaking and customization otherwise not possible.

Performance and Battery Life

Just like installing aftermarket parts on your car to make it go faster, you can do the same by installing custom ROMs.

Is your phone slow or laggy?

Most Custom ROMs provide improved performance and battery life out of the box. And you can even overclock your phone or undervolt it to get great battery life.

For example, you can overclock your phone when playing graphic-intensive games or underclock when you are going on a full-day trip without a charger in handy.

Custom Themes/Customized UI/MODs

Many custom ROMs offer custom themes that will change the way your whole phone looks.  ROMs like MIUI even come with a TON of themes; you can even make your phone look like an iPhone, Windows, and more.

Aren’t you tired of looking like the guy next to you who has the same phone as you do?

Well, next time you can tell him you’ve got a Jedi X ROM with Galaxy S4 theme on your Note 2 and you don’t need to buy a Galaxy S4.

With custom ROMs, you can change everything from your battery icon, clock, status bar, drop down menu, carrier name, even add ribbons that appear from left or right, and more.

These customizations also can include cool shortcuts like screen-off Torch where you can easily turn on your LED by pressing volume up while your phone is off.  There’s many MODs that come with custom ROMs including Volume Music Skip MOD, higher-quality camera MOD, and many more.

Theses are just several examples of why you should install a custom ROM.

If you agree with me and you are on a custom ROM and enjoying the future already, share this with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ so you can help me educate the world about custom ROMs.

And as always, stay “HIGH” on Android!

Have a question?

Please post all your questions at the new Android Rehab Center at HighOnAndroid Forum, thank you for understanding!

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.