Few questions about rooting and stuff?

lewismayell

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 24, 2013
613
21
South West England
So, I'm wanting to get an Android device for messing around on, but I have a few questions that I can't seem to find the answers to.

What does cyanogen mod do? Is it like a proper version of Android or is there some other way of putting "pure android on an S3 etc.

How do you use ROMs properly? Like, can you have more than one on the device you can switch between, for example, operating systems etc, so if I run stock JellyBean or whatever and then swap back to Touchwiz, is that possible?

Are ROMs just themes or are they full OS' that replace the existing OS?

Is any of this possible on Mac? All the videos I see are on Windows based computers (I know this one is probably a stupid question)

and finally, if I can switch between multiple ROMs, would I have to wipe the whole device every time, or do I only do that for the initial change and can freely swap between OS'?

Thanks for any help I get :)

Also, is there any point in using cyanogen mod on a Nexus 4 if I get that instead of an S3?
 
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3bs

macrumors 603
May 20, 2011
5,426
19
Dublin, Ireland
So, I'm wanting to get an Android device for messing around on, but I have a few questions that I can't seem to find the answers to.

What does cyanogen mod do? Is it like a proper version of Android or is there some other way of putting "pure android on an S3 etc.

How do you use ROMs properly? Like, can you have more than one on the device you can switch between, for example, operating systems etc, so if I run stock JellyBean or whatever and then swap back to Touchwiz, is that possible?

Are ROMs just themes or are they full OS' that replace the existing OS?

Is any of this possible on Mac? All the videos I see are on Windows based computers (I know this one is probably a stupid question)

and finally, if I can switch between multiple ROMs, would I have to wipe the whole device every time, or do I only do that for the initial change and can freely swap between OS'?

Thanks for any help I get :)

Also, is there any point in using cyanogen mod on a Nexus 4 if I get that instead of an S3?
CyanogenMod commonly referred to as CM is a custom AOSP ROM(Android Open Source Project). I'm not sure what the difference between the stock ROMs on a Nexus device and AOSP but to me they're almost the same but with extra features not available on stock Android.

When you get a phone you might need to unlock it's bootloader if it isn't already. Unlocking the bootloader will factory reset the phone so if you plan on doing that I suggest just doing it as soon as you get the phone so none of your stuff is on it. After that you flash a custom recovery and then root the phone. The recovery is where you will be flashing ROMs kernels and some mods and themes.

You can swap ROMs but it will take a bit of time to do that it's not something you do daily but you can if you want. It's definitely doable and it's easy enough to do but you might need like 30 mins give or take.

ROMs are the full OS.

Yes it's possible on a Mac especially for popular phones and a somewhat older phone like the S3. You don't really need a computer after the initial process of unlocking the bootloader/rooting/flashing recovery. You might need it if something goes wrong and if you need Odin (Samsung phones only I think) you will need Windows.

You will have to wipe (doesn't wipe internal/external SD) between ROMs but you can use an app like Titanium Backup and restore your apps which are one of your SD cards so you'll have to only setup the phones settings not the app, the apps will be exactly how they are.

Yes there is a point, it adds extra features not on a stock Nexus 4.

There's a lot I haven't covered but don't worry it's by no means complicated. I am not a coder or anything like that but I've managed to root many devices (Galaxy Nexus, S3, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, HTC One and S4). I've had issues but I've managed to fix them. I'm currently having issues with my S4 but with time I'm sure things will be fixed.

Not all devices are the same so it does make a difference what device you get. It's always a good idea to check on xda and see what kind of ROMs are available and if there's a lot of activity in the section for the phone you want. It's kind of not that active on the AOSP front for the S4 (i9505 version).

Feel free to ask me anything and I'll do my best to help. If you get into this prepare to spend a lot of time on it :p
 
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lewismayell

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 24, 2013
613
21
South West England
CyanogenMod commonly referred to as CM is a custom AOSP ROM(Android Open Source Project). I'm not sure what the difference between the stock ROMs on a Nexus device and AOSP but to me they're almost the same but with extra features not available on stock Android.

When you get a phone you might need to unlock it's bootloader if it isn't already. Unlocking the bootloader will factory reset the phone so if you plan on doing that I suggest just doing it as soon as you get the phone so none of your stuff is on it. After that you flash a custom recovery and then root the phone. The recovery is where you will be flashing ROMs kernels and some mods and themes.

You can swap ROMs but it will take a bit of time to do that it's not something you do daily but you can if you want. It's definitely doable and it's easy enough to do but you might need like 30 mins give or take.

ROMs are the full OS.

Yes it's possible on a Mac especially for popular phones and a somewhat older phone like the S3. You don't really need a computer after the initial process of unlocking the bootloader/rooting/flashing recovery. You might need it if something goes wrong and if you need Odin (Samsung phones only I think) you will need Windows.

You will have to wipe (doesn't wipe internal/external SD) between ROMs but you can use an app like Titanium Backup and restore your apps which are one of your SD cards so you'll have to only setup the phones settings not the app, the apps will be exactly how they are.

Yes there is a point, it adds extra features not on a stock Nexus 4.
Perfect answers, thankyou so much, that's helped a lot

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If you get into this prepare to spend a lot of time on it :p
After my exams, i've got loads of time haha:)
 

lewismayell

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 24, 2013
613
21
South West England
Also, out of an S3 or Nexus 4 which would you recommend, or possibly any other device, not looking for a tablet so only a phone, and at the moment i won't replace my iPhone until I'm completely used to it and stuff

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Just thought of another question haha. Is 'CM' the only way of getting 'pure' android onto an S3 or are there other ROMs?
 

TheMTtakeover

macrumors 6502
Aug 3, 2011
469
7
Just thought of another question haha. Is 'CM' the only way of getting 'pure' android onto an S3 or are there other ROMs?
There are other ROMs. I would say that CM is the most popular though. Not all ROMs deliver an experience that is similar to vanilla Android.
 

3bs

macrumors 603
May 20, 2011
5,426
19
Dublin, Ireland
Also, out of an S3 or Nexus 4 which would you recommend, or possibly any other device, not looking for a tablet so only a phone, and at the moment i won't replace my iPhone until I'm completely used to it and stuff

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Just thought of another question haha. Is 'CM' the only way of getting 'pure' android onto an S3 or are there other ROMs?
No there are many others. AOKP (Android Open Kang Project) and PA(Paranoid Android) are 2 of the other popular ones. CM is considered one of the most stable AOSP ROMs but other ROMs usually have more features.

It depends on what you want from the phone. I currently have a Nexus 4 and S4 (i9505 version). The Nexus 4 is very very smooth and runs great but the screen can't compare to the S4. I also think the S4 feels nicer in the hands; more ergonomic IMO. Personally I wouldn't get an older version of a phone (S3) when there's a newer one out but I'm kind of obsessed with phones. I wouldn't advise getting the S4 right now if you want to root and mod it because everything is still in it's early stages and recoveries aren't even working properly at least for the i9505 version.
 

lewismayell

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 24, 2013
613
21
South West England
No there are many others. AOKP (Android Open Kang Project) and PA(Paranoid Android) are 2 of the other popular ones. CM is considered one of the most stable AOSP ROMs but other ROMs usually have more features.

It depends on what you want from the phone. I currently have a Nexus 4 and S4 (i9505 version). The Nexus 4 is very very smooth and runs great but the screen can't compare to the S4. I also think the S4 feels nicer in the hands; more ergonomic IMO. Personally I wouldn't get an older version of a phone (S3) when there's a newer one out but I'm kind of obsessed with phones.
I think Nexus 4 for me then, also it is a lot cheaper, just to re-iterate as well, did you say there is a point to rooting a nexus or there is a point to putting CM on a nexus?
 

3bs

macrumors 603
May 20, 2011
5,426
19
Dublin, Ireland
I think Nexus 4 for me then, also it is a lot cheaper, just to re-iterate as well, did you say there is a point to rooting a nexus or there is a point to putting CM on a nexus?
If you don't want to bother with custom ROMs there are still uses for rooting because some useful apps need root access.

The good thing about a Nexus device is there are a lot (probably the most) number of developers working on the phone and creating new things for it. Also, you'll be able to fix things a lot easier if you need to but you're less likely to have issues with a Nexus in the first place.

The Nexus 4 is a great device right out of the box but you can get a lot of nice features from custom ROMs that aren't available on the stock ROM.
 

lewismayell

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 24, 2013
613
21
South West England
If you don't want to bother with custom ROMs there are still uses for rooting because some useful apps need root access.

The good thing about a Nexus device is there are a lot (probably the most) number of developers working on the phone and creating new things for it. Also, you'll be able to fix things a lot easier if you need to but you're less likely to have issues with a Nexus in the first place.

The Nexus 4 is a great device right out of the box but you can get a lot of nice features from custom ROMs that aren't available on the stock ROM.
I see on videos and stuff, people downloading apps that require a rooted device from the play store, how does this work? Surely if google are allowing them on the play store the device wouldn't need rooting? Maybe this is completely wrong but
 

Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,212
728
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
I see on videos and stuff, people downloading apps that require a rooted device from the play store, how does this work? Surely if google are allowing them on the play store the device wouldn't need rooting? Maybe this is completely wrong but
Google doesn't police rooting. They just don't have it set out of the box because you can do funny things with it. It's a development tool really.
 

3bs

macrumors 603
May 20, 2011
5,426
19
Dublin, Ireland
I see on videos and stuff, people downloading apps that require a rooted device from the play store, how does this work? Surely if google are allowing them on the play store the device wouldn't need rooting? Maybe this is completely wrong but
Google aren't like Apple so they don't mind apps that need root to be on the Play store. You can download the apps but they might not work or might only work partially unless they can gain root access. Once your phone is rooted you will have an app called SuperSU or SuperUser. Any app that needs root access will ask for it and SuperSU/SuperUser will open up then you can choose to give that app root access or not.
 

lewismayell

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 24, 2013
613
21
South West England
Thanks guys.

Ok final question now.

When CM is installed will I be able to update Android when google release it? I don't if it works like iOS but i assume they just push an update to your phone and you press install?
 

3bs

macrumors 603
May 20, 2011
5,426
19
Dublin, Ireland
Thanks guys.

Ok final question now.

When CM is installed will I be able to update Android when google release it? I don't if it works like iOS but i assume they just push an update to your phone and you press install?
No you won't be able to because you'll be using a custom ROM. If you're on a Nexus device then the new version will be available on CM as well soon after it's released. CM has a nightlies program where they add new features to be tested by users for many devices where they issue a new build of the ROM every night which can include bug fixes and/or new features.

You don't have to use the nightlies, you can just use a stable version. I use nightlies because from my experience they're generally already stable and I like to test the new features.
 

lewismayell

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 24, 2013
613
21
South West England
No you won't be able to because you'll be using a custom ROM. If you're on a Nexus device then the new version will be available on CM as well soon after it's released. CM has a nightlies program where they add new features to be tested by users for many devices where they issue a new build of the ROM every night which can include bug fixes and/or new features.

You don't have to use the nightlies, you can just use a stable version. I use nightlies because from my experience they're generally already stable and I like to test the new features.
Ah ok so, it'll be out almost as soon as it released and then to update i go through the process you said earlier for changing ROMs, where it'll take half hour or so?
 

3bs

macrumors 603
May 20, 2011
5,426
19
Dublin, Ireland
Ah ok so, it'll be out almost as soon as it released and then to update i go through the process you said earlier for changing ROMs, where it'll take half hour or so?
I can't remember how long it takes for CM to release a new version of Android for a Nexus after Google releases it. For other devices it might take a while but for Nexus devices it's relatively fast.

The CM team will let you know if you need to wipe and then install the new version or if it's not necessary. Again, by wipe it's erasing the system and apps but not the data saved on the internal and external SD card.
 

viskon

macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2012
464
10
+1 to whatever 3bs has expressed. I just wanted to add my few cents.

One you have installed a custom recovery, you can make backups of your existing ROM, including data . So to your question on whether the new version of Android will be available on CM immediately, CM takes a week or two to update to the new version. However, other independent developers on XDA or Rootzwiki put out flash-able versions of Google's update within a few hours of release. You can always make a backup of the existing ROM (CM) and flash the new update to try out. If you like the update, keep it, else you can always revert to your backup and wait for the CM release. The whole process of backing up and flashing the update should not take more than 15 min.

Edit: To your other question of whether you can switch between ROMs , I know people who switch roms depending on the situation. Where power supply is readily available, they use full featured ROMs with battery hungry apps. When it is time to go to places where power supply is not readily available, they switch to their minimalistic backed-up ROMs with just the essential apps.
 
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Outkast27

macrumors 6502
Feb 16, 2012
317
0
Earf
Look up Flossy Carter on youtube, he has good reviews on all the latest phones, his videos should be able to help you pick a phone. I personally have a Note 2 and love it! With a note 2, no need for custom rom, it has everything you could want and more.

Also, out of an S3 or Nexus 4 which would you recommend, or possibly any other device, not looking for a tablet so only a phone, and at the moment i won't replace my iPhone until I'm completely used to it and stuff

----------

Just thought of another question haha. Is 'CM' the only way of getting 'pure' android onto an S3 or are there other ROMs?
 
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adder7712

macrumors 68000
Mar 9, 2009
1,923
0
Canada
If you have a S3, check out SuperNexus on XDA Developers. It replicates the feel of a Nexus device and I believe it's AOSP based.

CyanogenMod is also close to the stock Android experience but it adds some of their apps (like Apollo Player instead of the stock Android music player) but they flow well.
 

Explicitic

macrumors 6502
Oct 26, 2012
454
3
Undecided
No there are many others. AOKP (Android Open Kang Project) and PA(Paranoid Android) are 2 of the other popular ones. CM is considered one of the most stable AOSP ROMs but other ROMs usually have more features.
There's also PAC, if available on your device, that gives the best of all three worlds. It's Paranoid Android, AOKP and CM10(.1) combined into one ROM. Awesome stuff, I've been playing with it for about a week now.

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Ah ok so, it'll be out almost as soon as it released and then to update i go through the process you said earlier for changing ROMs, where it'll take half hour or so?
Updating ROMs should be simply flashing the zip and wiping the (dalvik) cache.

CyanogenMod replaces the phone's software update feature with its own so if your device is officially supported by the CM team, your phone should be able to automatically update through there.
 
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3bs

macrumors 603
May 20, 2011
5,426
19
Dublin, Ireland
There's also PAC, if available on your device, that gives the best of all three worlds. It's Paranoid Android, AOKP and CM10(.1) combined into one ROM. Awesome stuff, I've been playing with it for about a week now.

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Updating ROMs should be simply flashing the zip and wiping the (dalvik cache).

CyanogenMod replaces the phone's software update feature with its own so if your device is officially supported by the CM team, your phone should be able to automatically update through there.
I tried PAC once on my S3 and not all the features were working properly. They could have and probably have been fixed now.

CM's updater is one of my favourite things about it! I hope the S4 i9505 gets support soon.
 

beaniemyman

macrumors 6502
May 19, 2013
301
0
CyanogenMod commonly referred to as CM is a custom AOSP ROM(Android Open Source Project). I'm not sure what the difference between the stock ROMs on a Nexus device and AOSP but to me they're almost the same but with extra features not available on stock Android.

When you get a phone you might need to unlock it's bootloader if it isn't already. Unlocking the bootloader will factory reset the phone so if you plan on doing that I suggest just doing it as soon as you get the phone so none of your stuff is on it. After that you flash a custom recovery and then root the phone. The recovery is where you will be flashing ROMs kernels and some mods and themes.

You can swap ROMs but it will take a bit of time to do that it's not something you do daily but you can if you want. It's definitely doable and it's easy enough to do but you might need like 30 mins give or take.

ROMs are the full OS.

Yes it's possible on a Mac especially for popular phones and a somewhat older phone like the S3. You don't really need a computer after the initial process of unlocking the bootloader/rooting/flashing recovery. You might need it if something goes wrong and if you need Odin (Samsung phones only I think) you will need Windows.

You will have to wipe (doesn't wipe internal/external SD) between ROMs but you can use an app like Titanium Backup and restore your apps which are one of your SD cards so you'll have to only setup the phones settings not the app, the apps will be exactly how they are.

Yes there is a point, it adds extra features not on a stock Nexus 4.

There's a lot I haven't covered but don't worry it's by no means complicated. I am not a coder or anything like that but I've managed to root many devices (Galaxy Nexus, S3, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, HTC One and S4). I've had issues but I've managed to fix them. I'm currently having issues with my S4 but with time I'm sure things will be fixed.

Not all devices are the same so it does make a difference what device you get. It's always a good idea to check on xda and see what kind of ROMs are available and if there's a lot of activity in the section for the phone you want. It's kind of not that active on the AOSP front for the S4 (i9505 version).

Feel free to ask me anything and I'll do my best to help. If you get into this prepare to spend a lot of time on it :p
i'm also new to the rooting thing, your answer was quite helpful.:)
 

3bs

macrumors 603
May 20, 2011
5,426
19
Dublin, Ireland
i'm also new to the rooting thing, your answer was quite helpful.:)
No problem. Feel free to ask away if you have any questions. It's really not complicated at all but reading about it isn't going to show that, you have to either see videos of it or do it yourself.