RO-What now?

ROM, or Read Only Memory is a term that has been adopted by the smartphone modification community to mean an Operating System, or “OS”. An OS is the software you interact with to control your device. You may be familiar with Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS. The job of the OS is to translate between a human and a computer (smartphones and tablets are essentially computers). Android devices come pre-installed with a stock ROM (OS), containing the original operating system for that device. The manufacturers of devices often put their own spin on the Android operating system, which could be an example of a “custom” ROM, but since it’s bundled with the phone from the factory it’s still considered stock.

What Makes Custom ROMs Special?

The ROMs installed on Pyre Phone’s De-Googled phones, are custom ROMS developed by communities of mostly volunteers, that leave out the unnecessary big tech spyware that Google puts in on top of the open source android code. This is where the “De-Googled” term comes from. Because of the reduced bloat of spyware on the device, performance and battery life is often improved over the stock experience.

Due to the community-driven nature of custom ROMs, and the lack of corporate bureaucracy, developers are more in touch with the user of the software, enabling faster reaction to bugs that are discovered, as well as more frequent updates to protect you and improve your experience. This kind of attention leads to extending the life of devices well beyond what the original producers of the device intended, allowing upgrades to versions of android that were not around while the product was still being supported.

Most custom ROMs are completely free and based on open source software. Because of this structure, anyone can take a look at the code and contribute or review what is on offer. Donations and contributions are what keeps these developers going, and it’s inspiring to see the effort a community can put into a shared passion.

What Are The Risks of a Custom ROM?

When flashing a ROM onto a device, there is the chance that something will go wrong in the process, which can leave your device in a state fondly known as “bricked”, leaving you with a pretty expensive paperweight. Fortunately, it’s possible to reduce the chances of this with proper precautions. There are also methods that may restore a device from a bricked state.

Flashing a ROM requires wiping all data on the device, meaning you will lose all those dog photos, so back them up first.

There are of course the potential for bugs, which are also common in closed source stock ROMs from manufacturers. The upside is that there are more ways of reporting issues to custom ROM developers; usually a quick forum post gets the bug acknowledged and addressed by the actual developer.

Voiding The Warranty of The device

While there are some devices that allow you to install a custom ROM without voiding the warranty, the vast majority will happily absolve themselves of all responsibility for the device after you modify it. It might be a good idea to ensure the full functionality of your device before installing a custom ROM in case of the need for repair under warranty.

Cool! How do I Install a Custom ROM?

Have a look at Graphene or Calyx if you have a Pixel, or /e/ foundation and Lineage OS if you have something else. Check out their supported devices list and see if yours is supported. If so, give the installation a go by following their instructions. You could also buy a De-Googled phone from us. Or if you have a compatible phone, you can send it to us for De-Googling.