While regular smartphone users who choose an Android device might not be as interested in customizing their mobile experience as more hardcore Android fans, there are plenty of buyers who chose Android over iOS or other mobile operating systems exactly because they have the liberty of doing more things on Android than on anything else, including rooting the device. However, this particular type of Android experience might forever change starting with Lollipop, as Google has made some important changes in Android 5.0 in the way Android is updated.
As Android Police reports, instead of Android over-the-air (OTA) updates patching each file on a system partition individually as before, in Lollipop the OTA script now updates the whole system as an “enormous block”.
That means that any modifications made to such files will practically disable future Android updates on the device. Therefore, Android tinkerers should always make sure they revert back to a clean stock version of Lollipop before applying any updates, and only then get back to rooting and/or customizing it once the updates are installed.
Even so, Android Police says Google’s way of applying updates is a step in the right direction.
“From a technical standpoint, the reason behind the change has to do with verified boot, which was first introduced in KitKat,” the publication says. “Even though Google has yet to enable this feature on a Nexus device, this move seems to indicate that the company could be preparing to go that route in the future. Even outside of verified boot, though, it makes all the sense in the world to do OTAs this way. Patching the system block directly is far faster than trying to patch a lot of individual files.”