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Rooting for Dummies: A Beginner’s Guide to Rooting your Android Device

Rooting your Android phone is a term that you are bound to across at some point or another while searching on how to optimize your Android device. With millions of new Android owners each month we decided to give a basic introduction into the world of rooting and to let you decide if it’s something you’d like to do.

What is Rooting?

Rooting is the process by which you regain administrative access to your phone. Even though Android is an open source operating system you still don’t have full “root access” to do what you please. Back when the iPhone launched in 2007 the hardcore techies quickly realized the true potential of the device, and the cruel software limitations that Apple had sealed it with. What became ‘Jailbreaking’ on iPhone was quickly translated to other platforms as well, and when the world saw the first Android back in 2008, the term “Rooting” was born.

Why Root your Android Phone/Tablet?

Rooting AndroidThe main reason people root their Android device for freedom and control, when you root your Android phone or tablet you gain full control over your system and can tweak it to your liking.

Improved Performance: You can speed up your Android device by relocating your phones cache thus allowing you to save phone memory and have a faster phone. There are applications available in the Android Market that will allow you to overclock your device to make it go as fast as you dare.

Alter System Files: You can replace many parts of the “Android Core” which include the ability to add new themes, edit the core apps (maps, calendar, clock, etc), change the recovery & boot images, add linux binaries.

More Application Choics: You will be able to install apps that are only compatible with rooted phones, some of these apps include an app that will allow you to take a screenshot on your phone, overclock your device and tether apps.

Install applications to your SD CARD: One of the most talked-about feature (or disadvantage) of any Android device is the limitation where you can install applications only in the phone’s internal memory and not the SD card. While Google may reason that SD cards are slower in general and cannot run apps as effectively as internal memory, fact of the matter is that most Android devices do not come with massive internal storage spaces, and hence greatly limit the number of applications that can be installed at a time. With rooted devices, you can use Apps2SD, which will copy ALL your applications to a ext2/3/4 formatted SD card an will also store future builds in card. Freedom to choose!

Latest Android OS (Operating System): With many carriers holding back the updates to the latest Android operating system, rooting your device will give you the option to install any current and future OS’s by installing custom-tailored ROMs.

WI-FI and Bluetooth Tethering: After having rooted your device, you can also use WiFi or Bluetooth tether to share your cellular data connection with your laptop or PC. The application works with ad hoc connections and will get you up and running online on your laptop in no time. Similarly, tethering can also be achieved over a Bluetooth connection.

How to Root Your Phone/Tablet?

To Root your phone you will have to download an application from the internet, the most popular apps are SuperOneClickZ4Root and Universal AndRoot. The procedure for rooting an Android device varies from device to device as such there are many different device specific guides. Website AddictiveTips has put together the largest guide for rooting phones that we found. Some other good resources for finding rooting guides include the XDA Developers Forums & this topic at AndroidForums. In most cases the Rooting procedure is as easy as a couple of clicks, of course there are nightmare stories and people having difficulties, so read on about the risks of rooting.
Android Root Risks

 

What are the risks of Rooting?

Rooting your phone does come with some risks, the most notable risk is that you will void any warranty that you have on your device. However you may be able to find the stock rom for your device in which case you can reverse the rooting and make your phone stock again. You may have difficulty finding the stock ROM for your device, it all depends on your device, but it’s something worth finding before you do root.

How To Root Your Android Phone And Why You Should Do It

Steve Kovach|February 16, 2011|
30,137|4

Android may have a reputation for being most open mobile platform, but some users still find themselves wanting more.

With a few exceptions, most Android phones won’t let you tether your phone to a computer for free, control your processor speed, or download apps that are only available on other phones.

The answer is to root your Android phone. It’s similar to jailbreaking for iPhone, but the process varies for each manufacturer and model.

If you want to root your Android phone, be warned: it phone voids the warranty and should only be done by the tech-savvy.

Addictive Tips has step-by-step instructions for rooting every major Android phone and tablet available right now. But the best option is to use one of the “universal” rooting programs that will work on most phones. Z4Root is the easiest of the bunch to use.

Here’s what you do:

  • Download Z4Root here, then unzip the file and save it to your desktop.
  • Connect the phone to your computer with its USB cable and drag and drop the Z4Root file to your device.
  • Now you need to find the Z4Root file on your phone. If you don’t have a file manager app, you can download one from the Android Market. Addictive Tips suggests ASTRO, but any one will do.
  • Open the file manager and find locate Z4Root and tap to open it. When it launches, tap “Root” and let Z4Root do the rest. Your phone will reboot when it’s finished.

After the root is complete, there are several apps in the Android Market to take advantage of. We suggest starting with Wireless Tether, a free tethering app, and Screenshot It, a screen grabber.

Want more Android tips? Follow Business Insider T

Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-02-16/tech/30085785_1_android-phone-android-market-download-apps#ixzz1bWUJuqSUOther then the voiding your warranty, there isn’t that much risk involved. There have been some users on Android forums that have run into problems,  bricking your device is a possibility if a freak accident occurs while flashing archives. You should however not run into any problems, most users report the process as being a painless easy process.

People say there are always two classes of technology users; those who take and use technology the way it is brought to them, no questions or complaints, while others who want to indulge deep into the very essence of what’s being offered, and want to empower themselves with everything to take the maximum out of that technology. This rule of thumb holds true for mobile phones as well. The power user crowd has always been different from the average.

 

If you want to skip the details and get straight to the rooting process, feel free to head over to our guide on how to root your Android phone or tablet device.

Back from the old Windows Mobile ROM cooking days, people have been questioning limitations of every device and finding workarounds. When iPhone was launched back in 2007, the power user (a.k.a hackers and geeks) side of the users quickly realized the true potential the device held, and the cruel software limitations that Apple had sealed it with. What became ‘Jailbreaking’ on iPhone was quickly translated to other platforms as well, and when the world saw the first Android back in 2008, the same concept got adapted there too.

phone status

Android, despite being open source, still did not give a user complete control over the device. This laid basis for many potential abilities remaining dormant, and subsequently Android devices began to get ‘rooted’. Now this begets the question, why root? With so many Android-based handsets out there now, this question has become even more important.

Rooting essentially means gaining root-level access to your device. Those who have used Linux OS will easily understand, but for users like me who have been loyal to Microsoft’s operating system all theirlives, this means that by rooting your device you get complete control over what should remain in the device and what not. Rooting means you are the master and in control, not to mention the fun of it.

Hence, here’s a list of my top 10 reasons (in no particular order) that I consider worthy of rooting your device for.

Performance Update

There are just too many flavors of Android in the market, with every OEM or carrier adding their own personalization and customization to devices. While they may appeal to some, they do not let the device take full advantage of what the hardware is capable of. With root access, you can actually tweak the OS to behave entirely differently, and with infamous developers like Cyanogen working on custom ROMs and mods, people have actually reported performance boosts. Take the G1 for example. The device never got 2.1 officially, but thanks to Cyanogonmod G1 owners can not only the tastiness of Eclair but also report much better performance than the stock ROMs.

Hardware/Software Interaction

Most Android devices come with hardware that is fairly heavily capable, yet the OS limits them and becomes the bottleneck. By rooting, you actually remove the bottleneck and hence can take full advantage of your beloved Android. For example, overclocking a device’s CPU is fairly simple and rather safe thanks to many third-party apps, yet the OS does not allow it natively, and hence overclocking can only be done with a rooted phone. Or suppose you want to use your mobile’s LED as flashlight (HTC Desire, anyone?) but cannot because HTC won’t allow it? Rooting will allow you to bypass this limitation!

APPS2Sd

One of the most talked-about feature (or disadvantage) of any Android device is the limitation where you can install applications only in the phone’s internal memory and not the SD card. While Google may reason that SD cards are slower in general and cannot run apps as effectively as internal memory, fact of the matter is that most Android devices do not come with massive internal storage spaces, and hence greatly limit the number of applications that can be installed at a time. With rooted devices, you can use Apps2SD, which will copy ALL your applications to a ext2/3/4 formatted SD card an will also store future builds in card. Freedom to choose!

Unavailable Features

When Google brought forth the Nexus One, one of the aesthetically pleasing features was Live Wallpapers. Unfortunately, most of the Android phones vary so greatly, that despite the hardware being compatible with Live Wallpapers, the software won’t allow them to run. My Samsung Galaxy Spica is a perfect example. The handset’s hardware can easily handle Live Wallpapers, yet Samsung chose to exclude it. Thanks to rooting, you can have them on your device as long as hardware allows.

EXTRA APPLICATIONS

Folks at XDA-Developers have created a wonderful application, SetCPU, which allows easy overclocking of various Android CPUs. However, due to the permissions required for such level of operation, a superuser access is necessary, and that can come only from a root access. This is just one example. Theinternet is flooded with many such applications that remain useless unless you have rooted your phone.

Multitouch

If you have ever typed on an iPhone, you would always remember the smooth, fast typing action that you achieve on that amazing keyboard. Or if you can recall that pinch-zoom actions. These are the products of a multitouch screen.

While most Androids can deal with multitouch, various manufacturers have decided to omit it in their devices. This is not always because the hardware is incapable, but because the software does not let it happen. This becomes even more irritating when you see that HTC Hero had multitouch input support back from the Android 1.6 days, but more modern more powerful 2.1 devices never got it (again, my Spica).

Thanks to rooting, it has become possible to get multitouch input in various devices, most notably the G1.

WIFI AND Bluetooth Tethering

After having rooted your device, you can also use WiFi or Bluetooth tether to share your cellular data connection with your laptop or PC. The application works with ad hoc connections and will get you up and running online on your laptop in no time. Similarly, tethering can also be achieved over a Bluetooth connection. You may check out the app in question here, but remember, rooted-phones only!

Better Keyboard

I have expressed before and I will say again; I do not dislike the Android keyboard. However, it just isn’t enough. HTC, with their SenseUI, brought to their devices the revered HTC IME keyboard which had predictive text input, and made typing a breeze. Since it was an HTC only keyboard, people with phones from other manufacturers were left blindfolded. Again, the root-developer community ported the keyboard for all platforms, making possible for all rooted phones to take advantage of the better input method.

APPS From Other Builds

Almost every build of Android OS differs from others when it comes to default apps. G1 hasn’t got the same stuff as myTouch 3G; Nexus One differs from HTC Desire. What’s more, these applications from one build cannot be ported to another. Hence you are stuck in more than one ways. However, with custom ROMs, the developers usually gather the best of the lot in one complete package, that would leave a user satisfied, not craving. And to get these custom ROMs running on your phone, you need root.

Because You Can!

I am serious, I consider this a reason. You have a powerful, capable device that you have paid for. You should have the right to modify or change it in any way you like. The device is your property, and you would naturally want to see it working at its maximum potential. Hence the point of rooting.

With the latest Froyo announcement at Google’s 2010 I/O conference, most of these reasons may become useless. But Froyo will not be pushed for all devices, at least not immediately. While it will aim to reduce the fragmentation in Android division, until it happens, a rooted device is the only option you have.

Last, please do remember that rooting voids your warranty. Although you can always go back to a stock version of the OS, it is risky business, hence proceed with caution.

Start rooting

Now that you have learned all about what rooting is and why you should root your phone, head over to our guide on how to root your Android phone or tablet device and start rooting!

Rooting your device can be a fun process, giving you the freedom and control to take your phone to a whole new level of function. We do recommend that you do your due diligence to ensure the rooting process goes as smoothly as possible. What are your thoughts on rooting? Was it an easy experience? Do you recommend it to others? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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