When using a computer, you may hear two words – firmware and software. Today we focus on firmware. What is firmware? How to update the firmware? What are the types of firmware? Now, read this post to get more detailed information.

What Is Firmware?

What is firmware? Firmware refers to software that is usually permanently installed in a machine, device, or microchip by the manufacturer. Electronic devices will not work without the firmware. Unlike standard software, firmware is designed to control, operate, or maintain hardware in the background without interacting with human users.

Firmware VS Software: What’s the Difference Between Them?
Firmware VS Software: What’s the Difference Between Them?

What’s the difference between firmware and software? Now, read this post and you can know much information on firmware vs software.

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Special equipment is usually required to embed the firmware in the device, and it is usually impossible to change or erase the firmware without the assistance of the manufacturer. Firmware is also called embedded software or embedded system since it has been embedded in the hardware. Now, you can continue to read this post from MiniTool to learn more information about firmware.

Types of Firmware

This part is about the different types of firmware. There are 3 types – low-level firmware, high-level firmware, and subsystem.

Low-level firmware: Stored on a non-volatile memory chip, such as read-only memory (ROM). Therefore, it cannot be rewritten or updated and is considered an inherent part of the hardware.

High-level firmware: Used with flash memory chips for updating. It usually has more complex instructions than low-level firmware, making it closer to hardware than software.

Subsystem: A device or unit that is a semi-independent part of a larger system. It embeds microcode like high-level firmware, so it is usually similar to a system.

Devices That Use Firmware

Many devices are using firmware, including the following items.

Personal computer

The firmware components of PCs are as important as its operating system. But unlike the operating system, the firmware cannot be automatically updated to solve problems found after the device leaves the factory.

Consumer products

Today’s portable music players (such as iPods) can be upgraded with firmware. Some device manufacturers use firmware updates to add new playable file formats. Other features that may be changed by this type of update include the graphical user interface (GUI) or battery life. Nowadays, almost all mobile phones have the function of wireless firmware upgrades.


Most vehicles begin to use onboard computers and various sensors to detect mechanical failures.

How Does Firmware Work?

How does firmware work? The firmware program can be written in a high-level language, but the code is converted into machine language instructions before being stored in the non-volatile memory. Machine language instructions are dedicated to the microprocessor that runs it. The same firmware usually cannot run on different processors, because different processors have different instruction sets.

After the device is powered on, the first thing that happens is that the firmware starts to send instructions to the processor in order, and the processor executes the instructions. What happens next depends on the device, system design, and firmware.

How to Update Firmware?

How to update the firmware? Some firmware updates are applied wirelessly, just like regular software updates. Others may involve copying the firmware to a portable drive and then manually loading it onto the device.

For example, by accepting the prompt to update the software, you may be able to update the firmware on the game console. It is not possible to set up the device in such a way that you have to manually download the firmware and then manually apply the firmware. This will make it difficult for ordinary users to update the firmware, especially when the device often needs to update the firmware.

Apple iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads occasionally receive firmware updates, as do Android phones and tablets. These devices allow you to download and install firmware from the device itself, so you don’t have to manually download and install the firmware yourself.

However, some devices (such as most routers) have a dedicated section in the management console that allows you to apply firmware updates. Usually, this is a section with an “open” or “browse” button that allows you to select the downloaded firmware. Before updating the firmware, be sure to read the user manual of the device to ensure that the steps taken are correct and that all warnings have been read.

Final Words

To sum up, here is all information about firmware. You have known “what is firmware”, “how does firmware work” as well as “how to update the firmware”. I hope that this post can be helpful to you.

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