If you have a previously-owned Android smartphone or a newly bought one, and you’re interested in trying something new with the powerful device in your hands, you may want to try out a custom ROM on it. Whatever the reason may be: being bored with the stock ROM, keeping your smartphone’s Android version updated, or irritated with how the device works, a custom ROM can be the solution for the miseries of stock ROM.
Additionally, you are uncertain of the specific changes you’ll experience in the new realm of custom ROM and stock ROM. Some say that stock ROM is better for security, while others believe that more features in custom ROM are better. To rescue you from the dilemma, we will deliver the difference between Custom ROM and Stock ROM in brief and comprehensive points suitable for your quick understanding.
Is Custom ROM better than Stock ROM?
Everyone has their preferences on what OS they would like to install on their device. Someone who loves simplicity and minimalist design can opt to remain in the stock ROM, but custom ROM remains something to excited about for those who desperately love to tinker with their Android device. Well, we are not here today to pick sides, but help you realize what choice is beneficial according to your current situation based on seven crucial factors of controversy – Privacy & Security, Customization, User Interface, Updates, Performance, Stability, Installed Apps & Features. These significant sections highlight the difference between Custom ROM and Stock ROM as below:
Privacy & Security
People generally believe that stock ROMs are more secure than modified ones. However, we’d argue that this is not entirely accurate. Numerous instances of manufacturers accessing and transmitting sensitive user data through their stock ROMs have been documented. Even if they claim it’s for R&D, it’s still an invasion of user privacy.
Android’s virus-proof Linux system doesn’t allow Android to get infected. SafetyNet security support is accessible in stock ROM and custom ROM through Google’s GApps. Android now natively supports encryption of user data, so you can be confident that no third party can access it. So, your smartphone is only at risk of being ‘infected‘ by malware, bloatware (standard in specific stock ROM), and adware (some stock ROM have these by default). Custom ROMs are generally bloatware-free, malware-free, and adware-free unless they are derived from closed-source forks.
It’s also possible to get rid of GApps installed by default on all stock ROMs. By doing this, you may avoid GApps altogether and keep Google from monitoring you by replacing significant google services with their open-source alternatives. Moving on, the bottom line is that custom ROM is just as safe and, in terms of privacy, is really superior to stock ROM.
Another significant distinction between a stock ROM and a custom ROM is the absolute flexibility to customize Android to suit one’s requirements. We’re not just talking about aesthetic customization here; we’re talking about the fundamentals, features, and tiny changes that significantly impact the user experience. Certain stock ROMs are brimming with features, themes, wallpapers, and other handy tricks that are not accessible natively on custom ROM. Another stock ROM that arrives without fancy modifications or features is simply loaded with the essential applications and services required.
That said, with your stock ROM, you have a limited degree of customization (or none at all). Custom ROMs often offer the user the ability to modify almost every element of the operating system. If you don’t need a feature, you won’t have that functionality adding to the system’s burden. Are you tired of your phone’s default aesthetic appearance? Super-theme the operating system using applications such as Substratum! Do you need a particular feature? Custom ROM will provide a module or service. Thus, the ability and extent of customization available on stock and custom ROM are distinct.
The stock ROM prevalent in your device might showcase fonts, icons, and boot animations that are the trademark of any particular Android device manufacturer. These UI elements remain the same for every branded firmware of stock ROM. Whereas custom ROM offers a highly customizable UI, every aspect of the UI can be changed, from boot animations to the whole theme engine. So, if you are bored with the plain-looking stock ROM, or if you dislike the hassle of extra UI customizations available in custom ROM and want something ingenious, you can make your own choice.
While it is true that system upgrades have been more rapidly sent to stock ROM by manufacturers in recent years, a healthy update schedule is essential since it ensures your device is up to date, so you don’t have to deal with bugs or glitches. The accuracy of this process varies by manufacturer and ROM. Some companies move on to the next major Android release, while others provide no upgrades at all. Some customers deploy security fixes every three months, while others push them monthly.
While some companies stop supporting their older devices, custom ROM will keep your Android OS up to date, including regular security fixes. Bug patches and feature requests are more frequently delivered on custom ROMs due to the smaller user base and less thorough testing. Although in custom ROM, installing updates is hectic, but can be speeded up via root apps.
The single most prominent reason why people convert to custom ROMs is that it offers substantial performance enhancements, such as CPU, GPU, RAM, battery, camera, and audio/display-related improvements via overclocking or changing ingrained features. Your choice of ROM may cause the system to run faster or slower depending on how many apps and features are installed. Some custom ROMs may have a slight performance drop because of extra features, making the ROM load more slowly; other ROMs see no change in speed. Firmware can be changed entirely after rooting and combined with a suitable custom ROM, it can offer a punch of power.
While stock ROMs undergo extensive testing by developers and private software testers, custom ROMs rely heavily on community testing. If there are more users on the majority of custom ROM, the ROM will have fewer problems. In general, the amount of issues in custom ROMs is inversely proportionate to the user base. Most custom ROMs are less stable than their stock counterparts. Having said that, this dependence on stability varies per device and ROM. On specific devices, even stock ROMs are problematic and unstable, whereas custom ROMs are stable in other situations.
Installed Apps & Features
A stock ROM and a custom ROM vary in the number of applications and functionality they have. ROMs like MIUI are packed with apps and features consumers would likely never use. You’ll find your standard Google applications and MIUI apps (those are literally just alternatives of GApps and do basically the same stuff). They’re there because they have nothing better to do. However, the stock ROM on Pixel smartphones, for example, includes only the essentials and has many Google applications pre-installed.
The same holds true for custom ROM. Some versions come with many pre-installed programs and functions, while others have only the most basic capabilities. Custom ROM prioritizes your freedom, and you can manage how many apps there are before installing the custom ROM. Your experience with a custom ROM will depend on whether you are a regular or advanced user.
Can we install custom ROM without rooting?
There is absolutely no relation between rooting an Android device and installing a custom ROM after replacing the pre-installed stock ROM. Root features might provide some additional features based on the custom ROM in question, but having root binaries installed in your device is not compulsory. The real hassle for installing a custom ROM arrives while unlocking the bootloader, for which different manufacturers have a separate process.
So here you have the detailed comparisons between stock ROM and custom ROM presented right to you. While these are the major differences, there are still other less-considerable factors that have been amalgamated together into these 7 topics. You will notice these once you start using a custom ROM and Stock ROM side-by-side. We hope that the differences mentioned here will help in your learning process, and feel free to leave a comment below on your experience in this regard.