But before we get started, a word of caution: rooting or modifying your phone in any way will void your manufacturer’s warranty and possibly “brick” it. What does “bricking” your device mean you ask? Exactly what you think… It means screwing up your phone software so badly that your phone can no longer function properly and is pretty much as useless as a brick. I do not in any way recommend anyone to root their Android device. This article is simply to introduce you to the subject of rooting and present you with both the pro’s and con’s so that you can make an educated decision on your own.
Why is it called Rooting?
The term “root” comes from the Unix/Linux world and is used to describe a user who has “superuser” rights or permissions to all the files and programs in the software OS (Operating System). The root user, because they have “superuser” privileges, can essentially change or modify any of the software code on the device. You see, your phone manufacturer/carrier only gives you “guest” privileges when you purchase your device. They do this for good reason… they don’t want you getting into certain parts of the software on your phone and screwing it up beyond repair. It makes it much easier for them to manage and update the devices if they lock it all down. This way, all the users are running the same unmodified version of the phone’s software. This makes it much easier for them to support the devices. But, for the tech-savvy crowd, only having “guest” privileges on your device is pretty lame and it locks down a lot of potentially useful features.
What are the Advantages of Rooting?Custom Software (ROM’s)
You may have heard of people loading custom “ROM’s” on their devices. A “ROM” is the software that runs your device. It is stored in the “Read Only Memory” of your device. There are many great custom ROM’s available that can make your Android device look and perform drastically different. For instance, you might be stuck with an older Android device that is stuck on an older version of the Android OS and it is not getting any of the newer updated versions of Android. With a custom ROM, you could load up the latest and greatest available Android versions and bring that antiquated device up to par with some of the newer ones. There are lots of great ROM’s available for many different phones and it is up to you to find the one that best meets your needs. The best place that I have found to find custom ROM’s for Android devices is the XDA Developers Forums. The XDA community is filled with smartphone enthusiasts and developers for the Android platform. Check them out and see if you find any ROM’s that would meet your needs. [Link Here]
Themes are basically the graphics that appear on your Android device. Rooting your device allows you the ability to fully customize just about every graphic on your device. You can load custom themes that totally change the look and feel of your device. Here are some examples: http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=527
Kernel, speed, and battery
There are many custom ROM’s and apps available for rooted devices that will allow you to drastically improve the performance (speed) and also extend battery life on your device. A lot of developers tweak the kernels (layer of code that handles communication between the hardware and software) for added performance, battery life, and more.
Rooting your device grants you the ability to update the Basebands on your smartphone. The Baseband is what controls the radio on your device. By updating to the latest Basebands, you can potentially improve both the signal and quality of your phone calls.
Latest Versions of Android
As mentioned earlier, custom ROM’s can allow you to update to the latest version of the Android OS before they are officially released. This is a great feature for those who are tech-savvy and want to stay on top of the latest and greatest software updates before it hits the mainstream crowd. This is also useful if you have an outdated device that is no longer being updated by the manufacturer.
Backing up your device