From time to time while talking about Android apps and tips, you’ll hear the word “rooting” or “root”. It’s virtually everywhere wherever you go for some advanced Android tutorials or stuff. Many new Android users find themselves truly confused about what rooting actually is, how it works, what benefit it has and what disadvantages it comes with. Myself included; when I first bought Android, it wasn’t the first time I heard the word “rooting”. I knew what it was, I just didn’t precisely know what benefits it could bring.
Now that I know, I figured that there has to be a plain simple article describing what rooting is and what it does to the general audience so that everyone with little or no knowledge with advanced computing can understand. Again, this post is intended for giving a very basic idea of rooting and its benefits. If you consider yourself a pro, you might not find much interesting stuff inside.
This article is also available in Bangla on Android Kothon.
So, What is Root?
Root is basically a permission. Linux users know it very well. It’s more like the “Administrator” role on Windows computer. With Administrator privilege on a Windows computer, you can virtually do anything and everything (and that includes messing your system files up causing your system to break down). The same level of permission in Linux is called Root. A user, also known as super user, who has access to the core Linux files and the Linux partition (also known as root partition) on the hard drive is called root.
Well, the role is called “root”. But nowadays, it’s more common to call everyone a “root” user who has a root-level permission.
So, put it in a stupid simple way, root = super administrator (or God Admin, as my brother puts it).
Linux & Android
To all Linux haters out there, you may be wondering why I brought up Linux while I was supposed to talk about Android. Well, the Android operating system itself is built upon Linux kernel. The most popular operating systems on Linux kernel are called Ubuntu, LinuxMint, Fedora, etc. They are operating systems based on Linux kernel; they aren’t Linux operating systems.
Linux is the name of a kernel, on which a operating system sits. Android is an operating system targeted for mobile and tablet devices.
So, that’s the link. The root level permission in Linux-based operating systems give users access to everything in the system files. In the same way, the root level permission in [Linux-based operating system] Android gives user the permission and access to do anything and everything with their device. And that’s what root is.
If you root your device, you become it’s God. You control it. You ask it do anything you want it to do. Even if that means burning to death (too much overclocking, coming to it in a bit).
Why Androids Aren’t Rooted by Default
At this point, you may be wondering that why the hell is your device not rooted by default? You spent bucks buying that little piece of device and you got to own it. Well, let’s put it another way that makes rather good sense.
Imagine a not so tech-savvy guy wants to clear his device’s internal memory. Now, he decides to move all files from internal memory to SD card and that includes all the system files as well. Generally, because he’s not a tech guy, he wouldn’t know what should not be moved. He will cut and paste all the files from root folder to SD card, and his device will brick, refusing to work as it should.
As you can see, device manufacturers don’t really know if their customers are tech-savvy or not. They want to make sure that the consumer gets maximum level of performance. So, they lock down the root access so that hells don’t break loose.
I hope now you understand why device manufacturers don’t take the risk of providing rooted device by default. But almost all Android devices can be rooted. Some manufacturers, such as Sony, provide rooting tutorial on their website. So, they support it, but won’t provide it by default for good reason.
Why Root Your Device?
Why you should root your device depends on what you really want. Some people want to overclock and maximize their performance. Some want to underclock and increase battery life. Some people root just to install custom ROMs and change their device’s look and feel entirely. And some other people root just for the sake of rooting for their phones.
I rooted at first just for the sake of rooting. But now I’m enjoying the benefits of it.
Let’s find out the benefits of rooting.
Advantages of Rooting
- Improve performance: Some system applications that improve the device’s overall performance require rooted device to work properly.
- Overclock: Increase the CPU speed to get maximum possible performance while playing HD games or multitasking.
- Underclock: Minimize CPU usage while the phone is idle to maximize the battery backup.
- Custom ROM: Ability to install custom ROMs developed by independent developers from around the world.
Disadvantages of Rooting
- Lose Warranty: Rooting your device will void your warranty immediately with most manufacturers. While there are ways to unroot your device in most cases which can bring the value back to your warranty card, it may not always work.
- Brick your phone: If something goes terribly wrong, you’ll end up with a dead phone which is also known as bricked phone. Most bricked phones can be unbricked. However, if the issue was related to hardware, such as overheating and burning issue due to extreme overclocking, that situation is called hard brick and you may never be able to use your phone again. But this is a rare case.
How to Root Your Device?
There are endless devices on the market today. Each devices don’t have the same way for rooting. The best place to search for a rooting tutorial for your device is XDA Forums where senior ROM developers meet general consumers. No matter what device you’re using, there will be tons of tutorials for you to follow along there.
So, tell me, are you clear about what rooting is? Do you think you’re gonna be rooting your phone anytime? Let me know at least, so that I know whether my article helped you or not.