What is the ROM in a smartphone and what does it do?

Demystifying smartphone jargon

What is the ROM in a smartphone and what does it do?

In the world of mobile phones, ROM (read-only memory) is a permanent storage medium that stores system and firmware files, which allows a device to function. On the other hand, RAM (random access memory) is volatile and temporary. In this article, let us know what ROM is and what it does.

What is the ROM in a mobile phone?

A ROM, which serves as a primary storage medium on a mobile phone, can retain data even when the device is powered off. Since it is a read-only type of memory, it cannot be overwritten or modified. Don’t confuse it with the device’s internal storage, sometimes wrongly referred to as “ROM” in marketing materials. The end user cannot access the ROM, but they can store personal files, apps, photos, videos, and other data on the internal storage.

Here’s a look at the types of files stored in the ROM.

1. Bootloader:

During the boot-up process, the bootloader program initiates the device’s hardware components and loads the operating system into memory. It ensures that the device starts up correctly and facilitates the transition from hardware initialisation to software execution.

2. Kernel:

Kernel is the main component of an operating system, which is responsible for managing system resources, processes, and hardware interactions. During the boot-up process, the kernel loads into RAM from the ROM. The kernel facilitates communication between software applications and the device’s hardware components.

ALSO READ: Best gaming smartphones under Rs 30,000

3. Firmware:

The firmware consists of low-level software that controls the device’s hardware components, such as the processor, memory, display, camera, and connectivity modules (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular). Device manufacturers periodically release firmware updates to enhance performance, add new features, and address security vulnerabilities.

4. System apps:

The ROM also stores system applications that come preloaded on a smartphone. These include apps like the dialler, contacts, messaging, browser, and settings that are essential for basic functionalities like making phone calls, sending messages, browsing the internet, and customising the device’s settings.

Different types of ROM on a smartphone

Here’s a look at the different types of ROM that are available on smartphones.

1. Stock ROM:

The stock ROM refers to the original firmware and operating system that a manufacturer makes available on a smartphone. The device preloads it with a customised version of the operating system (Android or iOS), which includes apps, features, and drivers unique to that specific phone model.

2. Custom ROM:

A custom ROM is a modified version of the stock ROM developed by independent developers or communities. The custom ROM offers extra features, customisation options, and performance improvements compared to the stock ROM. Furthermore, it enables users to personalise their device’s software experience beyond what the manufacturer provides.

ALSO READ: 8 types of phones you can buy today

3. Recovery ROM:

Recovery ROM is nothing but a recovery image, which is a set partition in the ROM that contains the minimal version of the operating system designed for system recovery and maintenance. It allows users to perform tasks such as installing software updates, performing factory resets, and backing up or restoring system data.

Importance of ROM in smartphones

The benefits of having an ROM on mobile phones are as follows:

1. Stability and reliability:

The ROM ensures stable and reliable operation by storing essential system files and firmware.

2. Security:

It enhances security by preventing unauthorised modifications to the operating system.

3. Customisation and flexibility:

Users can customise their devices with custom ROMs for added features and performance.

4. Firmware updates:

The ROM allows for firmware updates, which improve performance and security over time.

5. Recovery and maintenance:

It includes a recovery partition for troubleshooting and maintenance tasks such as updates and backups.

It is quite clear now that the ROM is a critical component of a mobile phone that stores important files, such as system files, firmware, and the operating system. While you might not directly see or use the ROM, like your favourite apps, it is the backbone of your smartphone experience.

Unleash your inner geek with Croma Unboxed

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the latest articles and updates

You are almost there

Enter your details to subscribe


Disclaimer: This post as well as the layout and design on this website are protected under Indian intellectual property laws, including the Copyright Act, 1957 and the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and is the property of Infiniti Retail Limited (Croma). Using, copying (in full or in part), adapting or altering this post or any other material from Croma’s website is expressly prohibited without prior written permission from Croma. For permission to use the content on the Croma’s website, please connect on contactunboxed@croma.com


Leave a Reply
  • Related articles
  • Popular articles
  • Smartphones

    How to optimise your iPhone storage

    Khevna Pandit

  • Smartphones

    10 hacks to free up storage on your Android phone

    Atreya Raghavan

  • Smartphones

    10 best free cloud storage services for backup

    Anvinraj Valiyathara