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I have just bought an android phone and I want to get the latest OS. However, I must root and unlock bootloader and recovery.

I understand that to root something you gain administrative privileges. However, I've seen some drawbacks of doing this.

Can one of you explain what all of this does to my phone and point me in the right direction?

I am new to this, so it would be much appreciated if you guys could help me on this.

closed as too broad by bmdixon, Chahk, onik Aug 17 '15 at 21:05

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Ahh, since you have no knowledge regarding rooting and all I'll just explain in the simplest form. Imagine that you have bought a laptop from HP which Congress preloaded with a windows installation and some pre-stuff, I assume that a normal person would't be bothered by it and the extra useless stuff they install on your laptop. They prevent you from uninstalling them, blocks access to C directory and pretty much other things that some medium user would need. So what he does is install a new os, any os I mean windows 10 or 8 or linux. And so he removes all the bloats and gets acces to many things.

Now getting to the point, that to install a new os, or rom, in android's case, you first need to unlock it's bootloader. Now the bootloader does what it says and manages your boot preferences, just like the bootloader and bootmanager in laptops. As it doesn't need to be done in a computer or laptop, it is neccesary to unlock it to install a custom recovery for your phone.

Twrp is a custom recovery like cwm, and benefits of having a custom recovery are many, just like your windows recovery menu which let you reset your laptop or factory default it which just refreshes the window as it was just installed. So a recovery in a phone is just like the PC one, but having a custom recovery is necessary, as it provides a lot more features.

Now as got my meaning of bootloader and recovery, and if you still don't get something, you can just ask.

And now comes rooting as unlocking bootloader and installing a custom recovery doesn't need rooting your phone. Rooting your phone allows you to get admin privileges, just like in windows, and now you can even tamper with the internal files. You can root your phone with the android you got installed with your phone and don't need to install a custom recovery and all.

As I previously said that these things needn't be done for a laptop, but a phone needs it to be done in order to install a custom rom, or rather saying an unofficial update, or an official update which isn't available by some reasons. So that's why you need to do these things.

And by the way, could you tell us which phone are you trying to update, as then we can check and tell you if you can update without going through all this hassle.

  • Phone is the OnePlus One. Trying to get Oxygen OS without doing all of this stuff. – Asker123 Aug 7 '15 at 16:41
  • Appereciate that you understood that all, and since a fellow user of oneplus one myself, and being writing the answer and all via the same phone itself, I can assure you that there is no other way to update it to oxygen os without unlocking the bootloader and a custom recovery. Please refer to this link forums.oneplus.net/threads/… which tells you exactly what to do. You don't need to root but need to unlock bootloader and flash a custom recovery. – Hunter Aug 7 '15 at 16:55
  • And also you will get difficulties in connecting your phone with the PC in fast boot mode. And also would recommend installing a custom rom like pacman or exodus, using exodus really a great update, would have been using pac man if it got updated regularly. You can just decide for yourself. – Hunter Aug 7 '15 at 16:56
  • Why do I have to unlock bootloader it shows when I hold down power button? – Asker123 Aug 7 '15 at 16:57
  • Well a bootloader prevents you to flash a custom recovery on your phone, as it protects the phone's recovery to be overwritten by another recovery. So in order to install a new recocery, you need to unlock the bootloader. Also, lets say that if you wanted to update cm11 to cm12 or any cm official updates, then you won't need to unlock the bootloader and use custom recovery. Now as you are installing a new rom, oxygen os, which is not CM and that's why you need a new custom recovery, and to do that you need to unlock the bootloader. It's just a step by step doing that the original bootloader – Hunter Aug 7 '15 at 17:06
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Bootloader

The low level implementation of a system which can be used to flash software onto your phone's partitions. Often used to flash root privileges or Stock Roms.

Recovery

The recovery is another system used to manage/wipe/reformat your partitions. TWRP refers to a custom Recovery which allows you to install custom roms in a zip format. The recovery follows the directions which are contained in the rom zip file.

Rooting

Rooting describes the process of getting administrative privileges on your android phone. You need those priviliges to mount your system partition as read and write so you can modify the files and settings. Most of the time you will have to boot your phone into the bootloader and then flash a root file (like the one from ChainFire) from your computer but there are also apps which can enable the root access by a simple click for certain devices.

If you have further questions to a specific device then you can head to the xda forum for your device and read. It's the most important thing to do before attempting to mess with your phone's software.

  • Are recovery packages like TWRP meant to match a particular version of bootloader? For instance, can one flash TWRP on top of either a Kitkat or Lollipop bootloader, or does it have to match? – Normadize May 15 '16 at 4:07
  • Usually, in my experience (for Samsung smartphones + tablets and LG smartphones), they don't have to match. You can use an older TWRP version with kitkat - flash a lollipop/marshmallow based ROM and still use the same recovery. There may be differences between certain devices but generally the android version/bootloader should not affect the used recovery. – benjamin May 15 '16 at 19:36
  • I was unclear. I was referring to Odin packages that flash TWRP which appear to be made for a certain version of the bootloader. For example, there is a TWRP package for Galaxy A5 and Lollipop. It is not clear whether flashing that on a Galaxy A5 running Kitkat would result in bricking or a non-working TWRP. – Normadize May 17 '16 at 10:04
  • On a normal desktop/laptop, there is a UEFI or BIOS firmware that is stored on some sort of read only flash memory separate from any internal storage/disk. Then you can install bootloaders/kernels... etc whatever onto an internal disk. The UEFI/BIOS firmware boots these pieces of software, and then these pieces of software can further chainboot or be an actual OS. On an Android phone, is the bootloader part of the firmware or part of some separate internal storage? And thus unlocking the bootloader is like unlocking access to the BIOS/UEFI UI on a laptop. – CMCDragonkai Sep 12 at 3:59

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