Everything About Firmware – You Better Need To Know This!

Many times we hear about the firmware of a device, but it is usually difficult to imagine or know what they are talking about. In this post, we are going to tell you what this piece of software is for and what you must know about it.

What is firmware?

Firmware is the basic program that controls the electronic circuits of any device. This program is a piece of code in charge of controlling what the hardware of a device has to do, and which makes sure that the basic operation is correct.

It is a kind of software too but is more closely connected to the hardware. That’s what makes it different from the software. It should be noted that they are written in assembly language only. It can’t be written in Java or C++ or any other language. 

It should be clarified that the firmware is not exclusive to smartphones. Any appliance, from a household appliance to a Bluetooth headset or a computer, is provided with this basic program that is used to control its electronic circuits and its components.

Examples of firmware

So, as I said, the firmware is responsible for starting the circuits and maintains their correct operation in the device. Let’s take an example of your TV remote. 

When you press buttons on your TV remote for certain functions, do you think those are happening only with the hardware of the remote? No, the firmware is there to control the working on the remote and make sure everything works right. It stores the information for which button in the remote will trigger what function. 

If you go on the ‘About phone’ section in the Android settings, you can notice that you can see information regarding them as well. 

Is BIOS a firmware?

BIOS in Computer

Firmware is present on almost every device. And, the firmware present in our computers is called the BIOS, or Basic Input Output System. The firmware instructions are usually loaded onto a ROM or Flash memory chip. 

Can We Uninstall Firmware?

So, you might wonder, since it is like software, can we uninstall it? Actually, no, you can not uninstall it. As this is present in the ROM, and we cannot change anything in it. Once the manufacturer has installed them on the device, you cannot modify anything in it. 

Why is firmware important?

Hardware alone can’t perform efficiently and correctly. They need someone to control all the functions in the device, and that’s what makes it so important. Manufacturers roll out the updates from time to time to make devices better and more efficient or to correct the bugs of the first versions.

What is the role of BIOS?

The BIOS of your computer is responsible for starting, configuring, and checking that the computer’s hardware is in good condition, including the RAM memory, hard drives, motherboard, or graphics card. BIOS is the first one to wake up when you turn your PC on. Without it, other components in your PC won’t be able to coordinate and work.

Does firmware exist on the android phone?

firmware in android

You might have heard about custom ROMs on androids. You can change the stock ROM on your android device after rooting it, which is basically changing the firmware as well. This case is exceptional. But normally you can’t modify the firmware of any device.

Can you update firmware on electronic devices?

You can obviously update them on devices like mobile phones and computers, which are really complex machines. But, washing machines, tv remotes, and other such devices, don’t usually need updates. You have to change the whole motherboard in such devices if any problem occurs. 

Why is a firmware update required?

The manufacturers of hardware components typically work on modifications to the software that runs its components. These firmware updates or modifications can add new functionalities to the originals of the component, or they can correct bugs. They can even increase the performance of the hardware overall. 

Sometimes, manufacturers stop the updates when you know the device’s hardware won’t support more functionalities in it. 

What happens if the firmware updates stop?

This normally happens in android, when you have a battery percentage below 20% you won’t be able to update the firmware. The same happens in the PC when the battery is below 50%. It will ask you to charge your device before letting you update it. 

This is because firmware updates are really an important thing for the devices. If anything happens wrong while in the update, your device can be dead or can go into a boot loop. So, make sure you charge your devices well before updating them. 

Stock ROM and custom ROM are firmware?

Yes, Stock ROM and custom ROM are actually the terms used to refer to them in mobile devices. You can change them in your android by installing custom ROMs after rooting your android device. 

How are custom ROMs made for android?

Since android is an open-source OS, developers make a team and modify the stock OS and add different features, functionalities, UI, and other things to make it look and work differently. And this they call it a custom ROM. 

FAQs

What happens if I install the wrong firmware?

If this happens, then your phone may be bricked or get into a boot loop. In simple words, it can become dead.

How do I check if my firmware is up to date?

In your phone, you can head on to the about phone section and check for updates. It will show you if you have updated it on your phone.

How to extract firmware from a device?

You can extract from a device by using applications, through bootloader, through JTAG, programming and debug headers, and by removing the Flash chip.

What are firmware updates?

It is a software program used to update them in these devices. These are available from hardware manufacturers.

Conclusion

Firmware is a piece of code in charge of controlling what the hardware of a device has to do, and which makes sure that the basic operation is correct. In this article, I have mentioned all about it and its importance.

I hope you like my article if you have any doubts feel free to drop a comment in the comment section.

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Satish Shah
Member of Team TJ - Tech Enthusiast, and Programmer

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