To root or not to root your Android device

October 14, 2016 | Views: 5137

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So here we are, close to Android 7, or N (for Nougat)’s release. The biggest mobile platform in the world (1.4+ billion users) with Google’s new mobile operating system.

First of all, let me clarify something: this will not be a how-to guide, I won’t try to convince anyone to root or not to root their device, nor I will post some links to play around. Just want to explain (I didn’t find a similar post in here), in case there are doubts about this process; what can be done and what cannot.

Rooting and Android device means giving Administrator privileges (Windows users will be find it familiar), sudo access (Linux, MacOS users) to an app, to yourself and to basically everyone and anything else out there (more on that later). You will tell me, “oh, I’m fine, only do social media, read emails, follow my artist’s Twitter, take pics of my cat, etc.”. That’s just fine, but, you can add lots of pretty and functional stuff to your device? Of course, rooting is not for everyone. However, most of the time, the so-called power users will find these a nice to have.

Let’s think about in Ubuntu for a moment (in case you have used it before); it won’t give you a root account by default, but instead, a User one. You can install stuff and change settings as well as other functions. But you cannot modify system files or execute certain commands (unless you sudo them).

Another example, but rather inaccurate, will be a User account in Windows (most enterprise environments work this way); you can’t install or uninstall software, cannot add or remove devices, only execute the programs that you have installed and yes, play music, browse the internet, download stuff, do social media, etc.

It is the same in Android. You can install apps, browse the internet, take selfies, stalk on Facebook, play Pokémon Go, etc. What you can’t do is: uninstall preloaded/system apps, access/modify system files or settings, hibernate apps,

So here’s what I use root for in my personal Android phone:

  • Back up my apps with all its settings once in a while, then store them on my Dropbox, just in case something goes wrong.
  • Setup to dim my screen’s blue tones at 11:00 PM, so if I’m still using my device in the dark, I won’t damage my sight and all that stuff that’s been posted about this..
  • Calibrate my battery once in a while so it won’t die on me at 15% (I know, but phone does that from time to time).
  • Pimp out my phone, both for aesthetics and functionality/security, like adding a power menu for rebooting, shutting down, reboot straight to recovery and or to bootloader, disable phone’s power button when locked, added multi volume for media/alarms/ringtone, add RAM usage to recent tasks button, and a long etcetera.

Can I live without any or all of these mods? Sure, but I’d rather have them that not. So I always try to have my Android rooted.

So here comes the big question: should you root? Up to you! There are tons of customizations or enhancements that you can do to your device by rooting it; also, there are lots of security measures and cautions you must take in order to stay away from serious threats to your personal information.

Final thoughts: f you’re going to root:do extensive research, XDA forums are really helpful; ask all your questions first, there are no dumb ones; trust only recognized developers/sources. If you’re not, that’s perfectly fine!

Peace

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16 Comments
  1. I Root all my devices but its important to make your phone security tight..
    rooting your device opens up for attacks.
    but if you know what your doing its no problem.
    use this site and most important XDA.
    XDA is a big forum of mobile device developers..

  2. Yes, I always root my devices. Software like Titanium Backup and Link2SD require root. I’ve also had a bad experience with rooting where an app corrupted an important partition and rendered the devices mobile network forever inoperative. Some of the stuff that can be damaged by root privileges isn’t even backed-up in traditional nandroid backups with apps like TWRP and CWM. It’s best to have, at a minimum, regular backups of apps and app data, combined with a full basic (bare-bones) nandroid backup and a recent full nandroid backup with apps, data, and settings.

    • Yes, I had also a bad experience with a Galaxy S3 Mini; it was “soft-bricked” (hate this term, though). So yes, nandroid backups and, if possible, full stock ROM at hand are always useful.

  3. I once rooted my s2 but now it’s bricked, what precautions should I take when rooting my phone in order this from happening the second time?

    • Well first off s2 isn’t one of the best out there and rooting it will always have its pros and cons. Rooting anything causes effects later on that shouldn’t have happened normally (example 1: it getting bricked) As the article said, rooting isn’t for everyone. Some people just don’t know the side effects that rooting any device can have. Seems like that’s one you didn’t foresee

    • Read a lot; ask questions if they are not posted yet; proceed with caution and always have a workaround if things go wrong. S2 is possible to root, though.

      Good luck!

  4. How to root J1? I tried for it but it doesnt work?

    • The process of performing this is out of scope from my article. But I can tell you, it’s possible. Do some research on trusted sources (I gave one, if not THE) and proceed carefully.

      Good luck!

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