Android Rooting 101 – A Detailed Walkthrough on What Rooting is All About and What it has to Offer
Adam Parnala | On 26, Aug 2012
Android users are continuously growing day by day and I don’t think it will stop anytime soon. As the number of android lover increases, so as the demand for a better and more powerful overall android experience. The main reason why people with entry-level android phones tend to root their devices is because of the very limited built-in storage. But not only those users wants root access to their phones but so as high-end smartphone users as well. Check out this detailed explanation of what android rooting is all about alongside its common perks.
We’ll go one by one here and we’ll start of with the common dilemmas that leads to rooting – the lack of built-in memory and the eagerness to have the powerful apps.
Low Internal Memory Problem
These budget friendly kind of phones usually have an average of about 150-190MB internal memory that obviously pops out as a problem once a certain of number of apps are installed. Most first time android users gets amazed by the numerous possibilities that can be done with the phone thus forgetting about the limit they have. After a while, the low-memory problem will surface causing annoyance to the users. Of course, who wants to have only 10-20 apps on their so-called smartphones?
I know a lot of people may not be familiar to the root-only apps which are really powerful if you’ll use it properly. These apps needs special access to the system thus an administrator or root access to perform their functions is required. Apps of this kind has a wide array of super capabilities that sometimes seem very surprising and almost unbelievable. Here are some samples of what I’m talking about.
- Super user – that basically allow the administrative usage.
- Root explorer – that has a list of files that you can access including the system files. You can either delete a pre-installed app or push a new app in the system.
- Titanium Backup – allow all sorts of back up of your apps that you would like to keep.
- Link2SD – a powerful app which lets the users to move all of the apps to the microSD leaving more space in the internal memory (Hint: Not your usual pre-installed Apps2SD). If you’re curious on what it is all about, a guide and step by step procedure is available here.
- Ad free Android – which drives away all kind of ads from browser and applications. However, I don’t recommend this as the ads from free apps are the source of income of developers so if you’ll cut it, then they may stop their support for the app if they will not have enough funds to continue.
Changing of ROMs – Using CyanogenMods and Unofficial Android updates
Rooting is not always a requirement in changing your phone’s ROM but sometimes it is. This is one of the best reason why even high-end owners also root their android smartphones. Tweaking and having fun around your phone’s native OS sure is fun but what if you can get a more powerful experience? For sure, everybody wants the best out of their handset and a boost in CPU speed is a big factor. With that, you will be able to play HD games even better! However, be sure to install only the stable versions because alpha builds will make you irritated as they are just in the early stages of development.
Through rooting and changing ROMs, you can also be capable of having an extended battery life. Why? It is because the cookers of the ROM removes unnecessary parts of the system and optimizes it further in order to achieve the maximum potential of a certain device’s hardware.
Android Rooting – A Detailed Explanation
Android rooting is just like when you allow access to all the doors that have been locked. Yes, you open all those parts of the operating system that have been sealed by the manufacturers. In case you didn’t know, it’s a legal act in the android world. It is legal because the Android operating system is Open Source, meaning, you can tweak it yourself without worrying about any charges being filed against you. You grant the administrator and full control (almost!) of Android.
The reason why rooting has become common is because people want to go beyond those limitations that the manufacturer has put on the phone for the sake of the user. Manufacturers put those limitations so that the user cannot mess with the system and later on end up destroying his device. However, now there are ways of breaking all the codes easily within a few clicks.
Since there are various models of phone, every model has a unique way of rooting. We can’t expect the manufacturers to use the same codes to lock the device and prevent it from being compromised. However, there are some rooting methods that are proven to work across a range of devices which are mostly of the same android version. To name a few, they are SuperOne Click, z4root, and UnlockRoot. They are not so dangerous so it is safe try it most of the time but be sure to check if your android phone model is supported if you’re hesitant.
More on the Advantages
It has a number of benefits and one of them is that you can install custom ROM (customized android OS as stated above). You can get a new operating system and download unofficial newer versions of android (if applicable) if you feel like doing so. This also helps in customization of your icons, applications, and menus in whatever way you like. A lot of those customizations which are not covered by a theme like Go Launcher or Launcher7 (and others) can be found there. You can mess with the graphics of your phone and customize themes or add colors thus changing the entire look.
These great advantages however come with great risks. The android user might end up destroying the software of his device which is referred to as “bricking” in Android jargon. When your phone is bricked, it may be completely useless but some situations have solutions when the device still has life.
Another problem that could also occur if you fail to do the rooting properly are losing applications and data in your microSD card or internal memory. Although rooting is legal, rooting immediately voids your warranty if you still have it from the manufacturer. So, be sure to think twice and proceed only if you know what you’re doing and you’ve done appropriate research.
How do we check if the android phone still has a chance of being revived?
You can try using the recovery mode combination buttons or the download mode combination buttons of your handset (it varies from one device to another) and see if it will react. If it does, then you can do the next step by installing another ROM (or stock ROM). If it doesn’t, don’t give up just yet as there are other methods which others claim to work so that’s something you can look at.
Just like in computers, compromises to the system may also be involved. You could end up having harmful applications in your phone. Therefore it is highly recommended that you install an anti-virus application just to be on the safe side. Based from the reports in the last couple of months, it is certain that harmful applications are getting sent out in the wild. With that, make sure that you get your apps only from trusted places such as the Play Store. Also, before allowing an app to have root access, be sure to check what it needs to access. If you’re not careful, you can end up getting your privacy compromised.
In the urge of speeding up the performance of your mobile, you might end up reversing the efforts. It could also lead to poor performance especially if you end up getting the wrong ROM or wrong tweaks. Moreover, a lot of research should be done as the information is very accessible through the help of a little search in Google.
Android rooting is not that bad at all as some may have thought so. Although it nulls your warranty, you’ll get a significant boost in performance and overall usability. And, you will understand the real power of the android operating system.
I am NOT recommending that you root your phone but I just took some time to explain this issue a little further so that android newbs won’t have a headache understanding what this process really mean and what it has to offer.
As always, any other inputs are welcome and will be very much appreciated. If I forgot something or you have something to add, kindly share them in the comments section below for a healthier and more informative discussion.