There is a LOT of technical terms used when hacking, rooting, jailbreaking, etc. (all three of those should even be defined better, right?). So we’ve put together an ever growing list here, a glossary of terms if you will, for all the common terms that may come up while navigating our site and forums that have to do with hacking technology and their definitions. If you have any other terms you’ve like us to define or have found an error in one of our definitions, please use the contact us form on the right side of the site and we’ll elaborate on them here so others can learn from it too (don’t worry, guarantee you’re not the only person who needs some clarifications on these things).
We’re trying to fill this up, so please shoot us suggestions using the contact us form to the right. Hopefully we can create a decent glossary to help people understand better. Thanks!
- Amon Ra – Frankly it’s the name of an Egyptian god, but for all intents and purposes here, it’s the pseudonym used by a developer who has been around since the beginning of Android’s inception. He is mainly known for developing one of the first custom recovery images and a few of the first ROMs for devices like the HTC Dream/G1 and HTC MyTouch.
- Bootloader / Bootloader Mode- Part of phone’s internal memory that’s main function is to load up the operating system. When the device first starts it uses the bootloader to do the basic commands of setting up and loading the operating system. We use this in rooting to alter things in the operating system before it loads (similar to recovery image, see below).
- Bloatware – These are apps/services that have been pre-installed on your device by your manufacturer or carrier before you purchased the device. These can include things like apps that the carrier has agreed to include for a price to the app developer (i.e. Yellow Pages, certain GPS providers, Flipboard, ESPN, etc. who have all paid or made an agreement to be pre-installed on the device as sort of advertising for their product or service). It can also include apps/services that your carrier or manufacturer actually make themselves that they decided would help you or that they could make extra money from you when you use them (i.e. myAT&T, AT&T Navigator, Verizon Tunes, T-Mobile TV, etc.). These are usually installed in the system folder of your device which means you are not able to uninstall them like you are apps you download from the Play Store. Once you have root access, you can then use certain apps to delete these apps and free up your phone’s memory.
- Chef – Now, we all know what a chef is at a restaurant; someone who is in charge of creating the food, cooking it, and putting it together. Same goes for the world of ROMs. A chef is someone who “cooks” a ROM together. The term mainly comes from the idea that most ROMs are a collection of different things, ingredients if you will, that someone then puts together to create a complete ROM.
- Clock Speed – Term for how fast, or what Ghz, the CPU/Processor is running at. Can be changed once you have root access on some devices to make the CPU run faster for better performance or slower for more battery life.
- ClockworkMod Recovery – Name of a popular custom recovery created by developer Koush that is available for a lot of devices.
- Cooking – When someone makes a ROM, they are said to have cooked up a ROM.
- CPU – Computer Processing Unit. This is the part of the device that is used to to do any processes. Anytime you use your device, the CPU, aka the Processor, jumps into action to process any commands you’ve given (even things as basic as touching the screen, etc.). The higher the power of the CPU (usually determined in Ghz and called the clock speed) the faster it can process commands and the faster the device runs.
- Cyanogen / CyanogenMod - Cyanogen is one of the most recognized developers of ROMs for Android devices. He originally started making ROMs on his own and now has a small team of devoted developers that help him build ROMs for various devices. CyanogenMod is the name given to his ROMs (usually followed by a number denoting the version of Android it’s running on, 9 for ICS, 10 for Jelly Bean, etc.)
- Flash / Flashing – Term used for loading a custom ROM, recovery image, or anything else that essentially erases a section of the phone’s memory and then replaces it.
- Fastboot – A mode, similar to recovery, that is built in to recovery and allows someone (originally intended for the manufacturer) to connect to the device via USB and load a new version of Android onto the device. We use this mode frequently to flash new versions of recovery or entire ROMs onto the device once we have root access.
- iOS – This is the name of Apple’s mobile operating system. This runs on all iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches.
- Jailbreaking – For the full explanation, head here.
- Kernel – The most basic part of the Operating System of a device. It essentially takes anything you do from touching the screen to changing the brightness, etc. and translates it into an action for the hardware. To put it another way, you interact with the shell of the device which sends the commands to the kernel which then sends the commands to the hardware. We can change the kernel by flashing new ones to change more basic functions, i.e. changing the kernel to change the speed of the processor is a common tweak.
- Odin - Odin is the program that Samsung internally use to flash devices that have been “bricked”. We use it generally to flash a new ROM onto a device (as opposed to the normal way of flashing it through a custom recovery) or to root a device/load a custom recovery image in the first place.
- Odin ROMs – These are generally pretty rare, but occasionally there are ROMS for devices that MUST be flashed via the Odin program instead of flashing them via custom recovery like the majority of ROMs.
- Operating System – This is the system that your device runs on. Just like Windows or Mac may run on your computer with Windows and Mac being the operating systems that the computer runs on, same goes for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, etc. on mobile devices.
- Overclock – The act of increasing the speed of a CPU to make the device perform faster. This is usually done with a custom kernel.
- Processor – Another name for the CPU, see above.
- Radio - Part of the device’s software that controls it’s reception and radio transmissions.
- RAM – Random Access Memory. This is the part of memory of a device devoted to running programs/applications. It is cleared whenever the device is turned off. Essentially the more RAM you have in your device (usually denoted in Mbs or Gbs), the more applications you can have running at one time before the device begins to slow down.
- Recovery / Recovery Image – This is the part of your device that is normally used by the manufacturer or repair company to recover a broken device. The recovery image is a separate partition in the ROM of your device (See ROM below). Because it is a separate partition and the operating system sits on another partition of the memory, your entire operating system can crash but the recovery image will remain intact. Then you can boot the device into recovery mode and access the device’s basic functions from there to either wipe it or reflash the operating system. You may also see this term used as in “flash a custom recovery” or “boot into recovery and flash the ROM”. When referring to it like that we are referring to a custom recovery image. This is a recovery image that a developer has tweaked to allow us to do other things in recovery mode (ranging from backing up the entire operating system and user data, to flashing ROMs that are not made by the manufacturer). This is usually done after rooting a device and most of the time is done so that you can flash a custom ROM and change the device’s operating system.
- ROM – Read Only Memory. Essentially this is the part of the device’s memory used to store things that don’t change and are only “read from”. This includes things like the Operating System, the bootloader, the recovery image etc. You may also see this term used as in “download a ROM for your device”. This is referring to a custom Read Only Memory that a developer created for your device to replace the current operating system, bootloader, and/or memory that your device came shipped with. We use these custom ROMs to change the things that would otherwise be unchangeable (the version of Android, remove bloatware, etc.). Check out our ROM repository for ROMs for your device.
- Rooting - For the full explanation, head here.
- Shell – Term used for a program that provides an interface between the user and the operating system. We use it to issue commands when in terminal (command prompt).
- Tether - Usually used when describing the ability to share an internet or data connection with another device. An example would be Wifi tethering or sharing a data connection via a Wifi signal or Bluetooth tethering which is sharing that data connection via Bluetooth.
- Tweak – A small change.
- TWRP – Also known as Team Win Recovery Project. This is the name of a popular custom recovery image that is available for various devices (similar to ClockworkMod Recovery).
- Underclock / Undervolt – Bringing down the speed of the processor/CPU. Usually this is done using a custom kernel that will lower the voltage of the processor when the device is idle in order to save battery.
- Unroot – The process of undoing the rooting of a device. Generally means bringing it all the way back to a stock, out of box state. Most times you will unroot a device when you need to send it back for warranty or want to sell it.
- Voltage – A measure of the electricy going through different components on the device. Usually used referring to the CPU. I.e. lowering the voltage of the CPU can increase battery life.