So this is my rule of thumb on the age old question “Should I wipe before I install this?”
First, why do most people ask this question?
1. Most people don’t want to have to restore their settings…
2. Most people don’t want to have to restore their apps…
Both of these things can prove to be very time consuming and is a huge deterrent when it comes to making the decision to wipe or not to wipe.
I flash new ROMS to my phone about 4-5 times a week and sometimes as much as 2-3 times a day. I have a wife and 2 kids at home and I am a restaurant manager and also the IT person at my job. I work about 70-80 hours a week and still I find time to do all of this. (It’s an addiction) So I can feel everyones pain when it comes to wanting this to be as painless as possible.
So do I wipe when I install? YES, YES, YES…
I always wipe. It is always the safest way to go. Not only do I wipe but I wipe everything 3 times, then I install new ROMS. Why? Simple, I don’t want any leftovers getting stuck in the system as I am getting ready for the next greatness I am about to put on my phone.
Are there times when it is not necessary to wipe? Yes…
If you are doing a simple update to a ROM then it is not necessary to wipe.
Let us start with standard ROMS (the ones Google intends for you to have)(cupcake 1.5, donut 1.6, éclair 2.0 & 2.1, froyo 2.2, and gingerbread 3.0)
Google does a really good job of making all of these versions available through an OTA update. In many cases it is not necessary to do a wipe cause google has everything set and ready to go. In most cases. However, there is always glitches and sometimes we all see the comment “I did the update but now my phone is bricked”. Well let me tell you one thing. These have to be the hardest phones to brick. Most always it is very simple to flash a new ROM and recover from a “Bricked phone”. But that is another story.
So here is the rule of thumb. If you are staying within the same ROM version it is not necessary to wipe.
Example: If going from 2.0 to 2.0.1, it is pretty safe to be able to do this without wiping anything.
However, if you are going from one ROM version to another ROM version it is always good to do a wipe to just get a good clean start.
Example: if going from 2.0.1 to 2.2, it is a very good bet you will get a better install and better performance if you take the time to do a wipe.
Why you ask? Well it is simple. When moving from within a platform most updates are simple updates to fix minor issues that have been reported and don’t, in most cases change the actual configuration of the ROM.
When you go from one platform to another there are usually some major changes and new added features or changes to existing ones. So why should you wipe? Well all of your information and settings are saved on your phone, and when a feature changes, some of those settings will need to be different to work. Apps are a good example of this.
Example: You might have a flashlight app that works great with 2.0.1 but it won’t work with 2.2. Why? Cause the trigger for that app was moved to a different place in the system and the developer needs to update it so it will look in the right place.
The same thing can happen with your settings in your phone for the previous versions. Your setting are looking for something that is not there anymore or is in a different place and could cause FC’s and become very annoying. SO it is always a GREAT idea to wipe whenever possible, when going from one platform to another.
So what about Custom ROMS you ask?
Well you can still use the same rule of thumb as above, except we have to add one more.
Most Developers will tell you if you are coming from another ROM you should wipe. Or if you are from this version and up it will not be necessary to wipe. Well let me tell you, ALWAYS DO A WIPE IF YOU ARE GOING FROM ONE PERSONS ROM TO ANOTHER…
We are going to use Simply Stunning, and Sapphire as examples…(thanks Chevy and Sniffle)
If you are going from Simply Stunning 4.3 to 4.4 you should be ok to not wipe and just move up. Unless the developer tell you it is necessary. Most of the things going from one to another fall into the category of being within the same realm of not so many major changes that your phone will act all crazy.
However if you are going from Simply Stunning 3.1 to 4.3 you should wipe. Again going from on platform to another you should always wipe.
If you are going from one persons ROM to another you should always wipe. As stated above. Again ALWAYS WIPE.
Even though you might still be on the same platform, there are sometimes just too many changes in the code to still be able to call it the same.
Example: If you are going from Sapphire 0.7.0 to Simply Stunning 4.3 you need to wipe. They are both built off of the same source code but are different in so many ways it goes back to what I previously said. To many changes cause problems.
I am not bias, I don’t pick one ROM over another, I try them all, and I always wipe. EVERYTIME…
There are a lot of programs out there that make things easier when it comes to easily getting your apps from one ROM to the next. I use Astro File Manager and Root Explorer. But that is another story and another day.
Hope this helps people. These are my opinions and not the opinions of anyone mentioned.