Rooting is one of the most loved and equally disdained terms in the world of Android. Android phone users can generally be divided into three sects on the basis of their opinion towards rooting stuff. First of all, there are those who are willing to unlock and root their phones as soon as they get it or update it with a stock firmware. Then there are larger class that are happy with keeping their phones in a state they bought it and keep miles away from rooting. Finally, there is a moderate group that keeps wondering- “To root or not to root!”
So, what is that which makes the majority of smartphone uses abstain from rooting their phones? In a world where smartphones have become an essential part of our lives by gradually replacing the use of computers, our dependency over this technological revolution is growing more and more. While this new trend is making our everyday life a little convenient, it is also posing some threats.
What is 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. Thus rooting is a kind of hacking procedure where you seek to obtain access to the hidden system files. It’s like seeing a tree with its roots that remain immersed in the earth. By rooting your Android phone, you can have capability to modify and change the internal files of your device which otherwise remain locked and hidden.
Why Not to Root Your Phone:
There are good reasons to refrain from rooting one’s Android device. Here are some valid points that you must consider before you attempt to root your phone.
Rooting Voids the Warranty:
It may be that you skip all other harms associated with rooting, but one thing you cannot escape is that it will surely void the warranty of your phone as soon as you root it. Suppose you have rooted your device which is still under warranty period. One day it stops working suddenly or shows signs that demand repairing. In that case you will not be entitled to claim the warranty because it is void due to installing a modified kernel. However, there are methods that can uproot your device and you can reclaim the warranty.
Rooting Can Brick your Device:
Another solid reason for not attempting to root your device is the potential risk of “bricking” it. There are thousand of tech blog over the web that are full of rooting tutorial for almost every Android phone and tablet. I have known some people who, searching for a rooting tutorial for their device, stumbled upon a tutorial written by some raw-hand person and bricked or almost made it unusable. Moreover, in most cases it is the fault of the device owners, who being a raw-hand themselves, do not follow the procedure to the letter or carefully and turn their phone into a costly paper-weight.
Rooting Does not Let You Get Official Updates:
As soon as you root your Android phone, you will not be able to receive the Over-the-Air updates released by the manufacturer. It is another thing that you install the updates manually if you find the OTA update zip file.
Rooting might Threaten the Security:
Most of us store vital and private data such as passwords and credit card details on our smartphones and this has necessitated a greater need for security than ever before. According to a recent survey, one-third of Android apps contain a certain level of malware as they require our personal data to run. There are so many keyboard app apps, for instance, that store a database of everything you type on your Android phone- whether it be a common word or a password and login details. You are open to such risks even without rooting your Android device. The open nature of the Android OS is the reason why android users are more prone to these attacks.
I well remember a major security breach reported by an XDA member named Graffixnyc opened the Samsung S-Memo SQLite files on his AT&T Samsung Galaxy S3 and found something shocking. The S-Memo app stored his Google account password in clear text. Since his device was rooted he was rooted he was able to view the contents of the SQLite files. Even though the only users affected by this are root users, the records themselves should have been encrypted. In such a situation, you are left to the mercy of the app developers and pray that anybody might not steal your secret data.
Here are a few simple tips that might help you make your phone’s data more secure
- Install a Mobile Security/Antivirus App- The best ways to get started is to download and install a complete android mobile security app to protect your android smartphone or tablet. These security apps are specifically designed for mobile platform and offer browser protection and safety against potentially dangerous sites.
- Granting Permissions to Apps Carefully- You should be a bit more aware when you are installing all those cool new apps and do read and grant permission to data that you are only comfortable sharing. If you are not happy with any of the “requests for permission” and feel it is information you rather not share, then discontinue using the app.
- Avoid Installing Apps from Unknown Sources- While we do not say that you take a complete blanket approach towards apps from unknown sources and disallow them completely, if you want to install one, be absolutely sure that they are completely safe. Remember that no system or set of guidelines are ‘absolutely safe’, but reducing risks helps a great deal.
Advantages of Rooting:
Most Android enthusiasts or advanced users believe that it is impossible to make the most of and Android smartphone without rooting and installing a custom recovery on it. While keeping you Android device gives you a feeling of safety and insurance, rooting denotes to a state of freedom, adventure and wilderness. No doubt it involves risk, but it has big rewards too. Let’s consider them too. I see many people asking,”I have rooted my phone, now what?” Here are a few reasons why one should root one’s Android phone/tablet.
Rooting Opens a World of Possibilities:
There are many people who opt to root their device only to be able to install certain apps that need root privileges. Among these apps, there include some life-savers like Titanium Backup, Apps2SD, Root Explorer, Triangle Away, Juice Defender, ROM Manager, and so on. Thus on you rooted Android phone or tablet, you can backup your Apps and Games, move the apps to the external SD card, extend battery backup, unlock your SIM-locked phone and what not.
Ability to Install Custom ROM and Mods:
Another major, or probably the greatest, advantage of rooting your Android device is that it open the world of customization for you. Having in full control of your phone by rooting it, you can do what those with non-rooted device can only dream of. You may have heard of people installing custom ROMs on their devices. There are many great custom ROM’s available that can make your Android device look and perform drastically different.
Why a custom ROM is so important for many people has many reasons. You rooted phone with a good custom ROM installed on it can perform better, faster and smoother. There are many custom kernels that give you great battery-life. Our ROM developers also port the apps and features of one device to others, making our experience richer. The stock Android ROM does not support theming, but there are great custom ROMs like the CyanogenMod and MIUI ROM that have great theming capabilities that add to the freshness of your phone.
The option of changing ROM does not let you get bored of the same look and feel of your Android device. Most Android phones see a single firmware upgrade from the manufacturer. If you buy an Android device with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, it will only see an upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Thanks to our ROM developers who bring the highest version of Android OS to the lowest-priced phones. It is only the magic of custom ROMs that we see a Galaxy Ace or Optimus One user enjoying Jelly Bean.
We have thus seen the pros and cons of the whole rooting game and it is now up to you to decide what way to choose. Will you like to be confined to your comfortable room and relax there, or will you prefer to explore the new, various and beautiful world. As for me, I would like to conclude with the famous lines uttered by Satan in Milton’s “The Paradise Lost”:
“To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”