What Is The Difference Between Custom And Stock ROM?


In the course of using Android, you can come across words like stock ROM or custom ROM, especially when you start thinking of ways to customize your device for it to have an extra or a new look, features and functions. If you’ve ever come across such words and you’re wondering what they mean, then worry no more for you’re at the right place. We have even provided download links for both stock and custom ROMs at the bottom of this page.

What Is Stock ROM

Also, known as stock firmware or simply firmware, this is the original OS installed on an Android device by the manufacturer. To cut things short, it is the preinstalled OS that an Android device comes with out of the box. Manufacturers (OEMs) here refers to companies that make Android devices like Tecno, Infinix, Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc. OEM means original device manufacturer. Manufacturers provide support for their devices for a given period of time after being released (usually two years for most manufacturers, though high-end devices can be given a longer support period). This means within the stated period of time, you’ll be receiving monthly security updates, OS upgrade (maybe) and help if your device run into issues (provided such issues are not out of the scope of the warranty). A manufacturer’s warranty is when you buy something, and the manufacturer issues a promise to repair or replace your purchase if necessary – within a specific timeframe (see a sample of Samsung’s warranty here).

Advantages Of Stock ROM

• Device is highly secured.

• Device receives support and updates from the manufacturer as far as the device is still within the length of time specified.

• Your warranty is intact (provided it hasn’t expired yet)

• Stock ROM is very stable compared to custom ROMs.

• SafetyNet will always pass. You can run all apps that won’t run if SafetyNet fails.

Disadvantages Of Stock ROM

• Device might come with useless preinstalled apps or bloatwares. This might cause the device to run slowly or drain the battery more.

• Manufacturers may introduce ads into the OS.

• UI is usually not awesome like those of custom ROMs.

• Device is limited to only what the manufacturer wants.

• Device won’t receive support, security/system updates or OS upgrades if the support period has expired. Custom ROMs become the best options in such situations.

Why You Need Your Stock Firmware File

Your stock firmware file, also known as factory image or flash file is the final bus stop in case your phone faces any software issue and especially if there’s no other method that can fix the issue. It will take you back to the original state of your device. However, flashing your stock firmware file is a factory reset process – but what else would you have done. You can get the flash file by backing up the stock firmware on your device or downloading it online. Below are its advantages:

• It can be used to fix your phone in case it is bricked.

• You can use it to fix your phone in case your phone has started not performing well or you face some issues.

• Whatever software issue your phone faces, your stock firmware file is the final solution especially if all other methods have fail.

• You can use it to get back to stock If you are on custom ROM. You can then enjoy all the privileges you lost when you switched to custom ROM.

• Having your stock firmware file, you get hold of your various partitions files which you might need for whatsoever reason.

• You can flash your stock firmware file to restore factory default settings.

• You can remove virus/malware from the device by flashing your stock firmware file.

• You can completely unroot your device using the stock firmware file.

• Reset FRP.

• Fix IMEI and baseband issues, etc.

What Is Custom ROM

The open-source nature of Android allows for a lot of customizations. However, these customizations at times are to an extent limited because the manufacturers want you to stay in the environment they have provided, first for security reasons and second, for their own reasons.

However, since Android is an OS that gives the user a lot of rights, there’s a ‘small door‘ that almost all manufacturers have preserved in case you want to take full control of your device and customize it anyhow you want. This is where words like unlocking bootloader and subsequently, others like verified boot (DM-Verity), force encrypt, rooting, custom ROMs, flashing files, custom recoveries, custom kernels, modules, Magisk, etc come in.

Trying to change or switch from what the OEM has provided to you means you’re accepting to bear whatever risk that arises in doing so. What I’m saying here is that if you’re trying to modify or replace the stock firmware the OEM has provided with a custom one, then the trust, support and warranty your device had might be taken away. You’ll have yourself to blame in case anything happens to your device.

All in all, what I have been saying so far regarding custom ROMs is that since your manufacturer has placed some limitations on your device, the only way to break these limitations and switch to an environment with endless possibilities is by replacing the stock ROM with a custom one.

There are tons of free custom ROMs out there and every ROM is unique in its own way (though some share many features in common). Some score high instability while others focus greatly on customization. So which ROM is the best depends on what you want.

You don’t necessarily need to root your device before flashing a custom ROM and the process is not that complicated the way people exaggerate it. But as a newcomer, you’ll likely face some challenges and may at some points brick your device (however, there’s always a fix even when all other ways to fix your malfunctioning device fail: just reflash your stock firmware to take you back to the original state of your device).

Below are sample photos of a custom ROM, the DotOS (V5.1, based on Android 11)

Advantages Of Custom ROM

There are tons of advantages associated with flashing custom ROMs.

• They provide you with a plethora of features like various themes, customizations, ability to change navigation shades and customize the status bar, change DPIs, enable Camera2API, ability to modify the Recents menu, just to name a few. Try out these custom ROMs and explore their full capabilities. 

• Many users hate the UI of the stock OS that manufacturers present in their devices. To counter this, the best bet is to install a Custom ROM. Most custom ROMs have awesome UI.

• Some manufacturers like Xiaomi, incorporate ads on their device’s Settings page. Even some Tecno phones are fond of popping up ads. Install Custom ROMs to take away such rubbish.

• Also, no matter which device you have, you will stop receiving Android system updates after a short while (usually two years for most devices). With custom ROMs, you will be able to receive security updates (get latest security patches), OS updates and most importantly Android version updates.

• With custom ROMs, you can remove pre-installed bloatwares or any system app especially the ones you don’t want.

• With a Custom ROM, you get to modify anything. Yes anything like any part of the system files/apps, etc.

• Your phone will be smooth and responsive especially if the custom ROM is a good match for your phone.

• You can enjoy root applications (applications that only work on rooted devices).

• Improved gaming performance (You can install custom kernels of your choice).

• Long-lasting battery as you can remove apps you don’t want.

Disadvantages Of Custom ROM

• No matter how stable these Custom ROMs are, there is a chance of your device getting bricked. In an attempt to fix the device, you might likely lose data (including all third-party apps and various tweaks that you earlier had). But at least you will get your device back to the working condition – what else could you have done even.

• Once you switch away from stock ROM, your phone no longer becomes secure. Warranty will be gone. You’ll no longer receive support from your manufacturer or stock system updates unless you turn back to the stock state.

• Custom ROMs may contain several bugs (issues) but that too depends on which ROM you are using. It’s hard to find a custom ROM that will work stable and almost flawlessly like stock ROMs.

• Some apps won’t work properly. Here a very useful feature called SafetyNet comes in. Once you switch to a custom ROM, for your phone to pass SafetyNet is a matter of luck (but it might depend on the ROM too). If your phone fails SafetyNet, then you won’t be able to run apps like Netflixsome banking apps, etc.

• Installing a custom ROM sometimes involves wiping your phone to get back factory settings (factory reset), so you will lose your data and need to start all over. You will lose saved settings, app data and installed third party apps. 

• Camera quality is most likely to be affected. This issue might not be clearable by re-rooting or resetting the phone. So, choose the best-reviewed ROM to avoid the issue with camera. 

• The custom ROM you choose may not be optimized for your phone’s battery.  Therefore, the battery can drain faster when using a custom ROM than the official stock ROM. You can use hibernation manager apps to control unnecessary battery drain issues however.

NB: Actually, there’s a little difference between stock ROM and flash file. The flash file contains all partitions, including the system partition where the OS (stock ROM) is found. Stock ROM, therefore, is simply the OS and it’s found in the system partition in the flash file. The system partition is also where the custom ROM (which is of course a custom OS) goes into in the device. So in flashing a custom ROM, it replaces the stock ROM in the system partition (in the device). Also, there’s a little difference in the way a stock ROM and a custom ROM are being flashed. A custom ROM being an independent OS can be flashed directly into the system partition but the stock ROM is found in the flash file (system partition), so flashing the flash file installs the stock ROM alongside all the other available partitions like the stock boot, recovery, etc (custom ROM doesn’t have these partitions). You can flash a custom ROM through a custom recovery, fastboot or Flash tool but you can only flash the flash file through a Flash tool because it contains several different partitions. But if you are to flash the independent partitions of the flash file, then you can use all the other methods used to flash a custom ROM.

AOSP-based and Stock-based Custom ROMs

When choosing a custom ROM, you have to choose between AOSP and StockAOSP means Android Open Source Project and is the freely accessible Android source code. A custom ROM based on the stock firmware, on the other hand, means that the respective original system of the device has been modified. In addition to these two variants, there is also the vanilla Android. This means the original ROM from Google. Vanilla usually don’t have Google apps or services included, else they become the Gapps variantMicroG variant is an alternative to the Gapps variant.


— Stock Firmwares

Follow any of the links below to see databases of and download stock ROMs for Android devices of many manufacturers. If you still can’t find that of your device, try searching online. If you want the exact version of the firmware on your device, and can’t find it through the links, search online using Build Number of your device. If you still can’t find your firmware online, learn how to backup a phone’s firmware. Most of the downloads contain flashing guides. Stock ROMs files can be used for fixing your bricked device, updating/upgrading OS, Downgrading OS, and keeping hold of your firmware partitions.

• Link 1 (free but you need to create an account, stock)

• Link 2 (free, stock)

• Link 3 (free, stock)

• Link 4 (free but you need to create an account, both stock/custom)

• Link 5 (free, LG and Samsung phones, stock)

• Link 6 (free, stock, Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi)

• Link 7 (free, stock)

• Link 8 (free, stock)

• Link 9 (free, stock)

• Link 10 (free, stock)

— Individual Stock ROMs Partitions

• Link 1 (free but you need to create an account, stock)

— All Stock Firmwares + More Download (free but you need to create an account, stock)

• Link 1 (iOS, Android, Windows)

— Custom ROMs

• Link 1


These ROMs can be used on any Android device provided the device supports project treble. All you need to know is the specific variant that your device needs i.e arm, a64 or arm64 (chipset architecture) and if your device is A-only or A/B. Download Treble Info app by Hackintosh Five from Play Store to verify your chipset architect, which GSI your phone needs and if your device supports project treble.

• Link 1

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