If you are a big fan of Android and consider yourself an advanced user who wants to get the most out of an Android device, I am sure that you have considered rooting your phone or tablet or in the least know what rooting is. This post on rooting an Android device targets those who are still sitting on the fence – you may have heard what rooting is but are not sure if it is safe, legal or has any real benefits to you.
Rooting your Android device allows you to access the entire file system of your phone or tablet with full admin rights, it allows you to install a custom Android operating system, you can create a full backup of your phone or even install applications that need root access of the file system. You do not need to be a nerd or have experience in mobile programming to root your phone. Though it is a very complicated process, a few pros in the Android community have taken it upon themselves to come up with simplified tools that make rooting your phone as easy as downloading files and following a few on-screen installation procedures.
However, there are some dangers to rooting your phone including the possibility of bricking your phone, voiding any warranties you may have and exposing your phone to the dangers of malware. This post, however, does not highlight these risks. I am going to enlighten you on the ten top reasons why rooting your phone is a good idea.
1. Boost hardware performance by overclocking
Overclocking is taking control of your phone’s or tablet’s hardware components and enhance their performance by overclocking. This explains why a smartphone with a 1.2GHz processor can be overclocked to get a 1.8GHz clock speed. There is also a process called undervolting but these can work even without rooting. Your device’s performance can be tweaked by installing custom ROMs or by performing kernel tweaks. A combination of these tweaks, only possible after rooting, and overclocking and undervolting can see your device perform as much as 250% to 500% better. However, note that these tweaks may make the device unstable and if not done right or pushed too much can cause the device to brick.
2. Install Custom ROMS
Customized ROMS are actually Android operating systems heavily modified or stripped down by programmers to suit various people’s requirements or demands. You have your Android phone, imagine how you would want it to look or to feel. If you are not into the stock operating system, you can find a new operating system online that is not only stable but also meets your requirements. Some people want an operating system that has custom 3D launcher, with custom startup screens or stripped down to its bare essentials. Most of these custom ROMs are available for free online and they are pretty good if you look at the right places. The most popular ROM developers include CyanogenMod whose ROMs are more focused on higher performance and classy stylish looks and MIUI which offer distinctively looking ROMs and comes with frequent updates. The best place to look for ROMs is on the XDA Developers forums or on Theunlockr.com.
3. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tethering
Tethering is one of the coolest and most convenient features that your Android device has, although your device manufacturer and carrier both discourage, even restrict it. Tethering is basically using your phone or tablet as a mobile hotspot where other devices with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capability can use your device connection to access the internet and to share files seamlessly. This is a particularly important feature when you are at home and want everything centralized – to share the connection with other devices such as gaming console, TV, desktop or laptop computer and other phones. Rooting your Android device makes tethering very simple as there are tools you will just install and after a few steps have a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth hotspot for other devices to connect to.
4. Enhanced tools and functions
Some devices do not allow you to easily side-load applications (install from card or the main memory). Most will not even give you the option to install in the SD card. If you want to do this, you will need to override the default settings and in some cases make adjustments to the device’s security features that bloc access to the root folder or installation of apps on an SD card. When you root your Android device, you will be able to backup apps and data into your SD card and install applications wherever you want. There are of course other tools that will be enhanced such as multi-touch especially if your phone currently doesn’t have this feature), enhance the keyboard functions and make better use of any sensors your device has.
5. Boost battery life
Many people have invested a lot of money in a high performance Android tablet or smartphone, or both, only to be disappointed with the battery performance. The power that these devices pack, coupled with the immense performance of chips such as the graphics unit, has made people play very demanding 3D games and download data faster over 4G. The downside is that even with average use, the battery may not last longer than a day. There is something you can do about this – root your phone then tweak the various services and options to boost the internal efficiency settings. Once the device is tweaked, you can even go online and find an application that handles your applications and wireless networks better to minimize power consumption and install battery managers that will watch your battery use and help you monitor what apps or tools are draining the juice the most.
6. Use root-only applications
Device manufacturers protect the root of the device from access by third party applications. For this reason, there are some tasks that cannot be executed by applications installed from the Google Play Store. An application such as DroidWall is a free Android firewall that protects your device and data from remote breaching, but this app only works when it has root access and this is not possible without rooting. There are many other applications such as those that let you mount both your main memory and the SD card when the device is connected to a PC, applications to recover deleted data, keyboard and call managers, hardware controllers and backup software also demand root access. You cannot take advantage of such tools unless the device is rooted.
7. Upgrade your Android OS at your own schedule
Some people like to upgrade the operating system as soon as an update is available – even when the update is not from the device manufacturer. Some people prefer to stick to an older operating system they are used to without being nudged to upgrade all the time by their carriers. If you want to have the freedom to upgrade your operating system at your own schedule, then you can root your device and install a custom ROM. Another great thing about custom ROMs is that whenever Google releases an update in the operating system, it is often made available for devices by major manufacturers.
8. More apps and hundreds of device features
Your Android smartphone or tablet, with its dual core or quad core processor and 1 GB or more of RAM is a powerhouse in your pocket. But you cannot realize its full potential unless you find a way to tap all the resources the gadget can offer. The list of the features your phone or tablet is capable of or applications you can install to improve your productivity can get very long, so I will not even get started. Just know that with a rooted phone or tablet, you can block advertisements, install flash player even when your Android OS version does not support, you can customize the applications you install or remove and you can access tons of cool features which are mostly phone-dependent.
9. No more bloatware
We know that most phones these days come with tens of supposedly ‘productive’ software from the manufacturer. Most of these programs do not turn out as beneficial as an average user would want, that is why they are better referred to as ‘crapware’ because most are intended to make users use the developer’s tools and applications and there are often better tools for such tasks available as standalone applications. Although some of these bloatware are actually useful, most just take up space and at times get in the way of a smooth use of an android device. If you want your phone or tablet lighter, free up more memory and install applications that you know will help you, do away with the bloatware by rooting it and reinstall a ROM without the apps.
10. Because you can
If you are an advanced user, I am sure you know the satisfaction that comes with the independence of rooting your device. In the past, rooting or modifying the ROM of a phone was so complicated and risky that a small mistake and the device could be bricked. However, there are tons of great tools online today that make rooting simple, fast and with minimal risks to the integrity of the device. Android is easier to root – with devices such as Motorola coming out with unlocked ROMS which makes rooting even simpler. Since you can, why not?
Remember, before deciding to root your phone, you must know what rooting is, understand the risks involved and do more research on informational sites where ordinary users post their experiences too. To start with, you now know what benefits there are to rooting your Android smartphone or tablet, you have my blessings to find out what downsides there are before making up your mind whether to do it or not.