Recently, I side-loaded the latest nougat release on my nexus 6p. Which was almost identical to how one would go about flashing via recovery. This brings me to the question- is there any off the hand differences between side-loading a zip file against flashing it?

  • 2
    If you're speaking of adb sideload (which I assume), AFAIK the difference is you save yourself some steps: instead of manually copying the .zip to the device, booting into recovery, selecting "update from zip", navigate to the zip and finally select it – you simply tell the device to perform all those steps automatically by adb sideload rom.zip.
    – Izzy
    Aug 28, 2016 at 12:16

1 Answer 1


ROM Flashing refers to flashing the OS ROM. Usually involves installing a new image of the OS.

Side-loading usually refers to installing a single app that is not delivered from the Google Play Store (or whatever the app store your device is setup to use.) It can still flash ROMS, but it requires the process of using adb. Good for devices with limited storage, since the ROM can be on the PC with adb rather than the device, but sorta identical to Flashing otherwise.

  • 1
    While this was my first thought, "sideloading" is rather an ambiguous term. What OP most likely referred to was using the adb sideload command – not "installing apps from unknown sources" :)
    – Izzy
    Aug 28, 2016 at 12:11
  • Hello Izzy - yes. adb sideload
    – blueren
    Aug 28, 2016 at 16:36

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