As a potential or present user of Android, you might have heard the word “ROOT” at some point. For some, its when they wish to know how to upgrade their Android phones to the latest version (see https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-upgrade-an-android-smartphone-or-tablet-operating-system-os/ ) that they come across this term for the first time. Quite a large percentage of Android users don’t understand what rooting is, causing them to either protest bitterly against their phones getting rooted by friends or striving for root access they’ll likely end up not needing. In this tutorial, we’ll be answering some very common (and often evasive) questions you might have about Android rooting.
What does rooting mean / what does it mean to root Android ?
Each carrier / hardware manufacturer places certain limitations on what you can do on your Android smartphone / tablet as an ordinary user. These privileges are either reserved for future use or limited for branding purposes. Rooting is the process of gaining root access (privileged control) to an Android smartphone / tablet’s operating system; thereby lifting limitations placed on the smartphone / tablet by its carrier or hardware manufacturer. Having root permission / access in Android is just like having Administrator permission in Windows
What are the benefits / advantages of rooting Android smartphones / tablets ?
Rooting has some really cool pluses like:
- Ability to run special apps: Rooting enables you run an app called Superuser. This app enables you control which apps can have access to the root system. Rooting Android also enables you run some very sophisticated apps on your smartphone / tablet
- Tethering: Rooting Android allows you tether a laptop / desktop PC to your Android smartphone / tablet so the PC can access the internet via your Android’s internet connection (Note that this feature is available in higher versions of Android by default)
- Memory management: When you install Android applications, they are stored on your Android device’s phone memory. Rooting enables you move the installation location to your SD card; helping your Android smartphone / tablet run faster (Note that this feature is available in higher versions of Android by default) .
- Custom ROMS: Custom ROMS (tweaked versions of an Android firmware) come with added functionality to your Android smartphone / tablet; like a total customization of your device’s look and feel, power / RAM optimizations, custom frameworks etc. Rooting could help lift the limitation on installing custom ROMS.
- Delete Bloatware: These are space occupying apps that your carrier or hardware manufacturer has installed on your Android device without giving you an option to delete. Rooting allows you delete such apps and free phone memory using a system app uninstaller
- Improved performance: Rooting Android can allow you install custom kernels (software which enables your Android OS communicate with your smartphone’s / tablet’s hardware) which can optimize your Android device’s hardware performance and do some overclocking ( maximize CPU usage) / underclocking (minimize CPU usage). It can also enable you tweak partitions for a more pleasant user experience
- Latest Android OS updates: Even if your carrier / hardware manufacturer has not yet released their official version of an Android OS you so desperately wish to enjoy, rooting could enable you install that OS… and enjoy it!
- Deeper backup: Rooting allows you do a thorough backup of your entire Android smartphone / tablet (files, apps, data, settings, partitions etc) so you can easily get your important stuff back in the event of your Android getting bricked or lost
……. and many more amazing features.
Are there any disadvantages of rooting Android or problems associated with rooting Android ?
Yes, there are some drawbacks associated with rooting Android smartphones / tablets:
- Automatically voided warranty: Upon rooting your Android smartphone / tablet, you have automatically terminated your warranty / rendered it void so if anything happens to your smartphone / tablet within the stipulated warranty period, don’t waste your time trying to return it. In layman’s terms, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.
- The risk of Bricking your Android device: If you attempt to root with the wrong technique, flash the wrong root app or make lousy root level changes then you just might end up with a bricked Android smartphone / tablet (see https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-unbrick-fix-a-bricked-android-device/ ).
- Lower performance: Rooting allows you make major changes. In the wrong hands, a rooted Android device could be a disaster waiting to happen. If the wrong settings are tampered with, you might end up far worse off than before rooting.
- Exposure to viruses: Whenever you install a custom ROM after rooting Android, you run the risk of importing malware into your Android smartphone / tablet. This is because you are not certain for sure that the ROM developer has not embedded malware. Running suspicious root apps is another security risk
What does it mean for an Android smartphone / tablet to get bricked ?
‘Brick’ (when used in respect to Android) refers to an Android device not being able to function due to a serious misconfiguration, corrupted firmware or hardware problem. A Bricked Android can be fixed except it experiences a major hardware problem in which case, the component will need to be replaced (see https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-unbrick-fix-a-bricked-android-device/ ) .
Can i still enjoy my Android smartphone / tablet without rooting ?
Oh yes, you can. If you are not crazy about major customizations and your Android smartphone / tablet is meeting your demands just fine, then you don’t have to bother rooting the Android device of yours.
Why do some Android smartphones / tablets have different rooting techniques
With each new smartphone / tablet release, carriers / manufacturers might integrate some security features which are targeted at mitigating attempts to root such devices or use more advanced technologies . The rooting technique for such a device will thus depend on its flaws which can be exploited.
How do I root an Android smartphone / tablet ?
As I mentioned earlier, each device requires a different rooting technique, so you should Google for how to root your exact phone model. I shall only list some one-click root apps for educational purposes and keep adding to the list. Please, do not keep trying these apps one after the other in an attempt to root your phone as you might end up bricking it. They’re only listed in case you wish to study how they work. If you’re having difficulty finding a working rooting technique for your phone then you can ask for help at the Hovatek Forum
Some one-click root apps
- Universal Androot
- Vroot (iroot)
- One click root
- Root master
- Root genius
- SRS root
- Trowel root
- Stump root
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