You’ve finally bit the bullet and bought yourself a droid. You’re really happy with it, and spend a few weeks exploring all the cool new stuff you can do. And then some geeky retard comes up to you and says, “Have you rooted it yet?”. And you punch him. Hard.
For the uninitiated, Rooting, is a process by which we unlock certain reserved and protected functions of an Android phone. By default, the Android operating system restricts access to certain important core functions. Programmers are not allowed to access these while writing apps and users are most certainly not allowed to tinker with them.
Its kinda like when you can take off the back panel of a cell phone to access the battery and sim card. You can’t really access the core chips inside the phone unless you use special tools. This is to prevent naive (retarded) users from destroying their cellphones accidentally.
Similarly, you can’t access protected operating system functions on your droid, unless you root it.
Now that we’ve seen the what, lets move on to the why….
Reasons to Root :-
The most common reason is that you can download and use a whole plethora of apps, some of which have some pretty nifty features. One of the most used is Titanium Backup. Titanium Backup is one the best and most comprehensive backup utilities available on the app store. It has a free and paid version and is one of the most stable and widely used backup apps out there. Its only caveat is that it requires root access. You can download Titanium Backup from this link. Download Titanium Backup.
To learn more about what apps are available for rooted Androids check out our article on Top 5 Apps for Rooted Androids.
Another major reason for rooting an Android is to remove bloatware. Most droids come pre-loaded with crappy software that the user is never going to use. A good example of this are the crappy Micromax apps that come with every Micromax tablet. Most of those apps are terrible and will never ever be used. But the tablet by default doesn’t allow them to be deleted. In cases like this, rooting the tablet would allow the user to easily delete the bloatware. An added plus to removing the bloatware is that more often than not, the battery life of the device also improves.
Rooting also allows you to install new ROMs or operating systems. Your device might be a bit old and the money-hungry cell phone companies may have stopped providing updated firmware for it. As a result, you’re left with either the option of staying on the old crappy firmware or rooting your phone and manually installing the latest firmware. This is usually what happens with phones that were really brilliant when they were first launched but are now old and dated. The Samsung Galaxy Ace is a great example of a phone that just won’t die. The phone was originally only meant to support Gingerbread, but the user-developer community have managed to make a custom ROM for it that runs the latest Jelly Bean. As a result, the Ace is still a very popular and effective smart phone.
We’ve pretty much covered why you should root your device. Now lets see what lies on the other side….
Reasons Not To Root :-
Rooting, at the end of the day, is a gamble. It’s a very safe, common, gamble but a gamble nonetheless. There is a very slight possibility that your device could get permanently bricked. This usually happens if you do not follow the rooting instructions accurately or you use an incorrect rooting tutorial that doesn’t match your phone. The risks of bricking your phone increase greatly when trying to install custom ROMs and flashing the device.
Rooting also opens up your phone to more violent information theft. In case you don’t have a good anti-virus, and you install a “not-so-scrupulous” app, having root access means the harmful app can cause a lot of harm to your phone.
Rooting also voids warranty for most cell phone manufacturers. While it is perfectly legal to root your phone and install 3rd party applications, in case of a fault some companies might not honor the warranty if the device is rooted, claiming that the root is what has caused the defect. Ideally, you should un-root your device before claiming warranty.
Some devices like the Micromax Funbook series, or the BASlate Tablets are pre-rooted. Those devices are rooted by the manufacturer and hence rooting has no relation to the warranty.
Bottom Line :-
Rooting is usually a safe and harmless issue, and requires little technology knowledge. There are several free tutorials out there to help you root and several forums in case you run into any hiccups. If you’d like to root your device, i suggest searching for your particular device on this web site :- XDA Developers
That is one of the best and most authoritative website out there for rooting Android devices.
If you are doubtful about messing with technology or a black cat has crossed your path too much or you caught your emo girlfriend taking a bit of your hair while you were sleeping, then we’d advise you to skip rooting.
As always feel free to comment and post questions. If you’d like me to do an article on how to root a particular device then please let me know.