If you are sick and tired of what your device manufacturer spoonfeeds you through your phone, or you simply want to reach beyond the default and basic functionalities of your Android phone, then perhaps it’s time for you to take full control over your Android device. The process is called rooting, which is just a geeky term for gaining root or administrative access to your phone.
By rooting your phone, you can enhance its performance, modify the user interface, and benefit from games emulated from game consoles. You also can completely brick your phone. That is why you should always keep in mind that there are risks if you want total control over your Android device. When performing something potentially debilitating to your phone as rooting it, have no room for error and be extra careful.
As if having a bricked phone isn’t worse enough, you can also void your device’s warranty should you decide to root your Android device just to climb out of its well-defined perimeter.
Also, since you will become god, lord, and master over your own phone, you should exercise your almighty powers responsibly. This means that you can play games ported from game consoles via emulators if you really want to. But, as god, lord, and master (okay, okay–call yourself superuser or root admin or something similar) over your Android phone, you are responsible enough to install and play those games if–and only if–you have legally acquired them or you have license to use them.
Here, then, are some tips to make your phone your docile and obedient slave:
Gaining Root Access
Root access is an administrator-level log-on for getting the authorization to manage the root, the top-level directory of any computer’s file system. Since this directory is not contained within another directory, it is said to be the root directory. If you have access to that level, you practically have access to all other directories contained in the root directory.
Having root access to your Android device gives you full control over the device. You can then use it for almost anything you desire–hosting multiple websites, installation of third-party software and apps, game servers, and more. You can also maintain it depending on your preferences.
The procedure differs a little bit from device to device, but the basic steps are somehow the same for all. You will be connecting your Android device and your computer via a USB cable. You will also need a memory card (SD, MMC, MicroSD–whatever your phone uses) to store your backup data.
Open your browser and search the Internet for rooting software for Android. Several rooting programs are available for various devices. Many programs can root many devices, too. The most popular rooting programs are the following: Z4Root, Universal Androot, and SuperOneClick. Download and install any of these to your computer. Then, follow these steps:
- Install the Android Software Developer Kit (SDK). Some rooting programs need it. Others don’t. Just install it anyway. Even if your preferred rooting program doesn’t use it, there’s no harm having the SDK lying around.
- Copy a backup of your important phone data (e.g., contacts, files, music, etc.) to your computer or to a remote storage account. Rooting your phone will wipe your device to a blank slate.
- Hook up the Android to the computer with the USB cable. Enable USB Debugging mode on the Android. The place for that is on the device’s Settings > Applications > Development menu. A green check means the feature is enabled.
- Start the Android SDK application. Then, run the rooting software and follow the instructions to complete the rooting process on your device. Your Android will reboot during the process.
And that’s it. You now have taken control over your Android device!
ROM images (or simply ROM) are hacked or modified copies of Android and rooted apps. These can be found all over the Internet–even on Android Market. These are usually explicitly labeled with tags like “Android ROM” or “For Root Users.”
With ROMs, the challenge would be in the installation since the procedure is more complicated than the mere and usual download-then-install processs for apps from Android Market. Like many other users, you may have less headaches by using ROM management software. There are several on the Internet. Searching for “ROM manager” should do the trick.
A well-liked and top-quality ROM manager available in Android Market is the one by ClockWorkMod.
Since a ROM manager enables you to immediately make recovery images for you to use in restoring your device to an earlier state, these can come in very handy in cases when a new ROM misbehaves or causes you trouble. ROM managers also let you switch ROMs easily.
Enhancing Speed and Endurance
Once you’ve already gained full access to your Android device, you can do almost everything you want with it–including jacking up its speed and pushing it to its maximum limits. There are software programs for that, but such programs can only be used on rooted devices. Some popular examples are Optimus Root Memory Optimizer (for managing memory to the fullest; get it from Android Market) and Appolicious. Through these programs, you can now optimize the memory of your Android device, and you can expect its performance to improve.
When it comes to endurance of your device, you can download SetCPU for root users to tweak your device’s processor clock speed–something that can speed up your device (but eat up more power) or slow down the clock (but lose less power).
Games from the Past
So many classic games such as Donkey Kong, Legends of Zelda, Centipede, Asteroids, Missile Command, etc. are being ported from popular game consoles such as the Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Atari, Sega, and Sega Genesis. Just look over the choices and select the one that has better ratings. But, take note that it is illegal to download and install games unless you have license for their use (e.g., you don’t own original licensed copies).
Final Word and Warning
With the many ROMs available, you can easily look for ones that can provide what your phone needs. For instance, there’s a ROM for altering the default behavior of your device’s hardware. There are ROMs for customizing the user interface and for creating backups. There are even ad-blocker ROMs, as well as ROMs that turn your device into a game emulator. Regardless of what ROM fascinates you, keep one thing in mind: Root your phone and install new ROMs–all at your own risk.