Forgive me if I am stepping on toes, am unknowingly reposting, posting to the wrong forum, etc. I'm a n00b to android terminology and best practices. As such, I've become friends with the search command. Problem is, most answers I find are for specific phones. I'm hoping this thread will accumulate the constants between all (or most) devices. My questions and answers are in no particular order as of now, but may be at a later date. What is root? Administrator God-Mode Access. No safety-net. You know better than your OEM and carrier, so you want root. If this doesn't sound like you... maybe you shouldn't root. What is unlocking? Unlocking could mean unlocking your bootloader. This is a needed first step to load a custom recovery. Unlocking could mean Carrier Unlock. Take AT&T phone over to Sprint. Why unlock the bootloader? This will be a long answer. Android runs on Linux. There are multiple partitions and the bootloader is the first one accessed. It directs the boot process. To my knowledge, it is basically analogous to the BIOS or more closely the new UEFI scheme on PCs. The bootloader is locked so no program can screw it up. Unlocking it will remove user data. What data is lost? Unlocking the bootloader, when it wipes the device it wipes all user data so its in its factory state (but with an unlocked bootloader) What are the different backup options available so I don't ruin my device? Explain what the heck is a Custom Recovery\Clockworkmod\TWRP\etc. Some devices come with a backup app from OEM. These apps only backup individual applications- NOT A SYSTEM BACKUP. A Custom Recovery will let you boot into an OS that allows you to undo most SNAFUs you encounter. It also allows you to make a 'ROM Image' backup (VITAL IF YOU TWEAK). This backup is exactly identical bit for bit to your original device. Without this, certain threads can be missed, causing all sorts of strange inconsistencies. Custom Recovery Explained: As mentioned before, your Android uses multiple partitions. One is analogous to the recovery partition on your PC. By default, the OEM recovery is apparently useless for us. It requires crypto keys and other difficult to traverse territory. So we load a Custom Recovery. Clockworkmod and TWRP are distributed Custom Recoveries. Individuals volunteer to make the edits on these base files so that they work on more devices. These Custom Recoveries help users not need a PC all the time to make tweaks and edits. What is flashing? Does it have anything to do with flashing a BIOS upgrade on the PC? Sort of. Flashing in this sense means altering data in any otherwise read-only location. You want to edit root type stuff? Someone else already did it? You got their zip file to flash? You can stay dumbish and still make your phone elite with a custom recovery and someone else's tweaks in flashable file format. Screw up your ROM? Boot into your Custom Recovery and flash back to stock (or any backup you made).