Here are a few rooting tips that I have for Android devices:
NOOB is short for newbie or new user. It is not intended to be derogatory but some “old timers” may assume it so. In my case, I use the term simply to help new users find this article and the help they need.
Rooting is the same as the iOS “jailbreak” and means that you are unlocking the operating system to allow you more control. Once you have “rooted” a device, you can even change the entire operating system ROM (Read Only Memory). It is like reformatting your computer and replacing Windows with Linux.
Carrier Unlocking is NOT the same as rooting. Cell phone carriers may lock a phone so that it will only work with their own service. And example, AT&T phones normally will not work on T-Moble’s system, even though they may use the same frequencies. When a phone is carrier unlocked, it can be used with different carriers if they use the same frequencies and protocols. This process is not directly related to rooting and can be done on both rooted and unrooted phones. Contact your carrier to see if they offer the service for free.
Device Unlocking is required when a manufacturer locks a device to make it more difficult to root. This is generally not a problem with Android devices but when it is necessary, the instructions will typically be included with the rooting instructions. And example is the Nexus 7 tablet.
Recovery is the program that allows you to install a new ROM or make other very low-level changes. It is similar to the BIOS of your computer.
Flashing is the term used for writing a new ROM to your device. There are many similarities among devices but the precise function is linked to a specific device. So, don’t use the instructions for your phone when “flashing” a rom on your tablet.
When you upgrade/flash a newer version of a custom ROM from the same developer, you can usually do a “dirty” flash. That means that you can simply flash over the existing rom. No need to wipe or clear anything. If the developer has any specific requirements, they usually state that you should do a particular type of wipe / clear.
In Recovery, the option to “Factory Reset”: means that all the old data on the INTERNAL emmc memory (setup, apps, data, etc) is erased and the device will be restored to the ROM that was last installed on the device. If you have never flashed a custom ROM, then it would literally be the “Factory” or stock ROM. Otherwise, it means the last rom you flashed e.g., a custom ROM. The Factory Reset includes both the Wipe Cache & Wipe Dalvik Cache. After executing this option, you will be required to do the initial setup & re-install any apps that Android does not restore. All application data is lost. (You may be able to restore apps/data with Titanium Backup if you previously backed up the data.) Using this option extends the boot time for the first boot (see Dalvik, below).
Wipe Cache: Clears old temporary data. Does not require you to set up again or re-install apps. Always safe – and recommended rather than a “dirty” flash. Could also be required to repair some issues when using Android.
Wipe Dalvik Cache: Clears the indexing that Android does on the first boot. This is also safe but it will extend the boot time for the first boot after wipe. You may notice a dialog something like, “Android is upgrading x of y” while it is rebuilding the index. Could also be required to repair some issues when using Android.
Wipe Battery Stats: Means nothing (except for “techies”) and does nothing of real value. If it is suggested by someone, just ignore it.