Becoming an Android Expert: Android Rooting Terms

Rooting is a big part of Android. The fundamental premise of Android is that almost every element is customizable but occasionally some things require escalated privileges called root.

Rooting itself can be a big topic to get your head round and with it comes its own plethora of acronyms and terms that can seem daunting. We’ve therefore compiled a list of the top rooting terms you’re likely to come across on your customization journey and what they mean.

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Root

It seems only sensible to discuss what the term root actually means. As touched on previously, root refers to the act of obtaining escalated privileges on the Android operating system. Think of it as a super user that has all the permissions you’ll need to make modifications (and damage) the core system files. Obtaining root access can be a simple case or can require an exploit to be used if obtaining such access is prevented.

ADB

Standing for Android Debug Bridge, ADB is a command line tool installed on the system that allows a computer to communicate with your device. It’s extremely powerful and can be used to push and pull files as well as modify parameters. ADB is installed as part of the Android SDK and is used by many root tools and installing ROMs.

ROMs

Speaking of ROMs, think of these as system images. Complete operating systems that can be loaded onto your device that may decouple some bloatware or include system optimizations that are customized based on either AOSP or base Android included with your device.

Boot Loop

When your device reboots over and over you’ve found yourself a boot loop. This can occur due to corruption with the internal storage or an invalid ROM image so the system is unable to boot. You’ll need to head into recovery mode to re-flash a ROM.

Flash

Simple one but necessary. Flashing is the art of installing a ROM or Kernel via recovery mode. This tends to be in the form of a ZIP file.

Dalvik Cache

The cache is where frequently used files are held to improve the speed in which the system can read them. The Dalvik Cache is a directory tree for all apps. It holds all the pre-compiled.dex files created from installed apps and the created files are static and change only when the app is updated.

APK

This is the file extension given to Android applications that can be installed on your device. All apps downloaded from the Google Play Store come as APK files that are compressed and then unpacked when installed. You can also sideload an APK file by downloading it from a source outside of the Google Play store.

Hopefully this has helped expand on some of the common terms you’re likely to encounter when exploring the world of rooting. Knowing what some of these terms means will hopefully have helped you understand the rooting process just that little better. If you come across any other terms then please leave us a comment below and let us know.