Android Rooting 101: What is rooting and why should you root?

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If you own an Android device and read some tech blogs or have a tech-savvy geek in your friends group, you must have come across the word Root/rooting. What is root? Should you root your Android device? Is it worth the effort? Read on to find out.

What is rooting?

If you have ever used Linux, you would know about the sudo command. Sometimes, you need to attain administrator privileges in Linux using sudo to run a command in Terminal. Similarly, in Windows, to execute certain commands or tasks, you need to run the program as an administrator. In Android, rooting gives you privileged administrator access over the OS allowing you to play around with the system files or remove them completely and more.

OK. So what are the benefits of rooting?

Rooting your Android device unlocks the gate to the world of custom ROMs and kernels. Once rooted, you can flash a custom ROM to run the absolute latest version of Android on your two-year old device or maybe flash a custom kernel to improve battery life and gain new features. This is perhaps the biggest incentive for many to root their Android device.

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Even if you don’t want to jump into the world of custom ROMs and kernels, there are a plethora of other benefits to rooting. Once rooted, you can:

  • Uninstall all the carrier and OEM pre-loaded bloatware from your Android device, thereby improving performance and battery life.
  • Use powerful apps like Titanium Backup to backup all your installed apps and data or execute some very powerful commands in Tasker.
  • Convert user-installed apps to system apps. This allows you to integrate your preferred anti-theft app with the OS, allowing it to survive a hard reset and offer many other advanced features.
  • Use Xposed framework to gain all the features generally seen in custom ROMs without the hassle of flashing any.
  • Use Greenify to hibernate apps from running in the background, in order to improve battery life and system performance.
  • Use third-party apps to gain mobile hotspot or tethering functionality.
  • Use apps like Boot Box to change the boot animation of your Android device.
  • Use game controllers with full functionality and advanced features.
  • Gain proper USB On-The-Go (OTG) functionality.

The bad part

Like everything in this world, there are certain negative sides to rooting your Android device as well. The first and the most important one is saying bye-bye to your warranty. Most Android devices nowadays require that their bootloader be unlocked so that they can be rooted, which effectively voids their warranty.

The second issue is that rooting is a fairly complex process and requires a bit of a research. You will have to read a few guides, download some files and run alien-looking commands on your PC before you gain root access. If you end up making a mistake, you will soft brick your device and will have to reflash the stock firmware to get it working again.

In the end, I would say that if you want any of the features listed above on your Android device, you should definitely root it. The benefits definitely outweigh the trouble and effort required.

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