I noticed that exists currently as a synonym of . I know there was a request to merge these tags previously: Merge stock, stock-android, vanilla; define "stock-android"

I'm curious, though, if this is actually correct or if it's confusing. Lie Ryan's answer to that request sums up my personal understanding of "stock" vs "vanilla" rather well:

I think a better definition for "stock" is a manufacturer/carrier-blessed ROMs for a particular device, including upgrades. I prefer to define it this way because some people may not realize that they have an upgraded ROM due to automatic OTA upgrades.

And "vanilla" are ROM which attempts to be as close as possible to original AOSP ROMs (e.g. by removing carrier/manufacturer customization and adding none of their own customization). A vanilla ROM may or may not be produced by a third-party.

In particular, only "Pure Google Experience" phones (e.g. G1, Nexus One, Nexus S), had a ROM that is both stock (comes with the device) and vanilla (no manufacturer/carrier customization).

Now the above has always been my understanding, too, with "stock" referring to "the ROM your device was stocked with" (i.e. off the shelf). However, the tag wiki itself for seems to be unable to decide what "stock" is either. The summary states:

Broadly, the Android OS that shipped with your device or as updated by your carrier or the manufacturer.

...but then the extended tag wiki says:

This is in contrast to devices with custom operating systems or after-market applications that dramatically change the user interface.

This seems entirely contradictory, since in many cases the OS that ships with your device does dramatically change the user interface.

Can we please find some consistency here? I've personally never attributed "stock" to mean unomodified Android from source so I'm not entirely sure where it got conflated with that definition, but either way this is currently just...confusing.

  • 1
    The conclusion did seem to be that they were different. For the moment, I've deleted the vanilla synonym. I'd say it, aosp-rom, and vanilla-rom should be made synonyms of vanilla-android, or something like that. Then we can add good tag wikis that distinguish it from stock and watch the usage for a bit. Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 5:28
  • @eldarerathis The extended tag wiki doesn't seem contradictory to me, it's a case of making sense in context. Reading the tag excerpt together with the extended as a following sentence, I read it like this: "This is in contrast to devices with custom operating systems or after-market applications that dramatically change the user interface [from the stock interface supplied with the device]." In this case putting a vanilla/AOSP ROM onto a device supplied with Sense/TouchWiz/MotoBlur would be changing the interface from stock to vanilla.
    – GAThrawn
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 11:36
  • @GAThrawn: Hm, okay, I could see that interpretation. I really did not read it that way myself, so maybe some clarification is needed in the wording. Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 14:25
  • @eldarerathis True, does look like it needs editing to remove any ambiguity. Not even sure why that needs to be in two parts, it looks short enough to all be in the Excerpt.
    – GAThrawn
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 15:13
  • I can't seem to find any tag related to AOSP Android, Vanilla Android etc any more, has someone killed them? All I can see is stock-android (with a stock synonym)
    – GAThrawn
    Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 11:30
  • Have updated the Stock-Android tag's wiki as below (currently in the review queue) but as we don't seem to have any vanilla/aosp tags any more have left that off?
    – GAThrawn
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 15:02
  • @GAThrawn vanilla was a synonym, it didn't have any questions tagged independently. We're going to have to retag as appropriate unfortunately. I've added vanilla-android to all the questions containing the word "vanilla" that should be tagged as such; probably just ones improperly tagged stock-android left. Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


Following from Lie Ryan's definitions, to get a less confusing set of tag wiki's I'd propose something like this:

wiki excerpt

The version of Android originally on the device as supplied by the manufacturer or phone network, including any customizations, alternative interfaces and updates.

Full wiki

Stock Android can be thought of as the software that was loaded on the phone while it was sealed in a box in a phone shop's stock room, or what would be installed if you sent it back to the shop/manufacturer for servicing, or official updates.

Various manufacturers have their own custom interfaces and collections of modified apps that they install on the majority of their devices as part of that device's stock OS, these include HTC's Sense, Samsung's TouchWiz, Motorola's Blur and Sony Ericsson's Timescape and Rachael interfaces.

For a "Pure Google Experience" phone such as one of the Google Nexus devices, stock Android will be just the plain, vanilla Android OS.

If you have rooted your phone or installed a custom ROM you no longer have a stock version of Android on your phone.


An unmodified version of the Android OS that is as close as possible to the open source AOSP Android version. A vanilla version of Android will use the original Android UI and won't have any modified apps.

Full wiki

A vanilla, plain version of Android is one which uses the Android interface and apps as supplied by the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and doesn't modify those in any way. A Vanilla Android OS may often include custom (and proprietary) drivers required to take full advantage of a device's hardware, and may also include a few extra apps to take advantage of that device's hardware or access a phone network's features but will be otherwise unmodified.

All "Pure Google Experience" devices, such as the Google Nexus range of phones, are supplied with an unmodified, plain, vanilla version of Android as standard. Additionally many budget devices from smaller manufacturers run vanilla Android with little to no customization.

Some custom ROMs pride themselves on being a vanilla, AOSP version of Android that their users prefer to the customized versions installed by default on the phones.

Throwing this up here, to see if we all agree on the definitions before I change anything.

Further edits made now following some good ideas coming out of the discussion with Martin Tapankov.

  • These look like great definitions to me. Have one Internet Point Unit. Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 14:24
  • Re stock-android excerpt: How about making it simpler: The version of Android originally on the device as supplied by the manufacturer or phone network, including any customizations, alternative interfaces and updates. Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 14:52
  • Rooting technically alters your system enough that it doesn't directly correspond to the stock system image anymore, but personally I wouldn't say you no longer have stock if you root. Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 15:21
  • @MatthewRead I was after a one-line way to know if you are or aren't stock. It's not so much the act of rooting (though you do have to make some fundamental changes on some devices), more that rooted users have the access to put themselves into a non-stock state without loading a different ROM, where non-rooted users normally don't.
    – GAThrawn
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 17:25

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