Difference of Rooting and Flashing in Android

A question was recently sent to us via The Droid Guy Mailbag which says, “I usually encounter the terms rooting and flashing. I read some articles in your website about unrooting and flashing Samsung Galaxy S3, but as a ‘non-tech-savvy person’, I can’t seem to get a grasp of what it means to root or to flash a device. Could you please explain to me in layman’s terms what the two processes are all about?”

Rooting and Flashing — A Quick Discussion of Their Differences

These two terms are usually associated with each other because they are parts of the special process to modify an Android device. However, these are two distinct elements in the customization process. Below is a quick discussion of their differences:

1. Rooting

When you encounter the term “root Android” or “rooting”, that simply means gaining access to the core elements of the phone (or simply its root) which are not usually open to users in its default settings. Basically, it provides what they call “superuser” access because of that reason.

2. Flashing

On the other hand, “flash Android” or “flashing” is simply modifying the version of your Android device’s operating system or OS. It is the process of installing a custom ROM, kernel or recovery to enhance an Android device to fit the preferences of its user. The process of flashing only comes after rooting has been performed.

3. ROM

Another important term that you should know about is “ROM”. For short, a ROM is a customized version of Android that may contain performance enhancements, extra features, a new version of the OS that hasn’t been officially released by the user’s carrier yet or other key modifications.


The processes involved in rooting and flashing contain certain risks if improperly done. It may void your warranty, cause bugs, cause loss of data or even brick your device. So, it is highly advised that you should familiarize yourself with the processes involved first and you should be careful in performing them as well.

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Sources: Android Update, Lifehacker

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