Most of you are probably familiar with the concept of rooting, the process of allowing Android smartphone and tablet owners to attain privileged control over the operating system. If not, you should definitely check out our beginners guide to rooting for some background information and tips of getting started with rooting. But even if you’re in the knowledge, the reasons to root may seem few and far between at first, and the tradeoff with voiding your warranty is a legitimate concern. Nevertheless, here are my top reasons to root your device, all of which can drastically improve your Android experience.
The first benefit of accessing administrator privileges over Android is full control over the applications installed on your handset. No longer do you have to suffer from the cluttered app drawers and reduced memory space taken up by pre-installed carrier and manufacturer applications, you can instantly cut the bloatware and keep only the apps that you really want.
Even if you’re up to date with Android 4.1 or above, which grants users the ability to disable these pre-installed apps if you don’t want to see or use them, you can’t permanently remove them, they’re still there eating up your memory space. Rooting is the only way to permanently get rid of these pesky apps, but please don’t uninstall something crucial or your handset may stop working properly. Apps like Titanium Backup are particularly helpful for organising and culling this bloatware.
This brings me nicely on to the next major benefit of Android, improved backup and restore options. As already mentioned, Titanium Backup is one of the most popular backup apps used by rooters, and this, or a similar app, is essential if you’re going to start tinkering around with Android software. But as well as acting as a safety net in case you uninstall something important, Titanium Backup can also be used to backup your user data, from SMS messages to browser bookmarks.
ClockworkMod Recovery offers superior protection against faulty updates and bricking your handset.
Even better still, once rooted you can create complete backups of your entire handset using the ClockworkMod Recovery option, providing you with extra protecting in case of a major malfunction. Recovery can only be accessed before booting into Android, but it provides additional backup options in case, for whatever reason, Android fails to boot properly or experiences a crippling error. This makes ClockworkMod Recovery an essential tool for those looking to install custom versions of Android.
Once you’re fully backed up you’re ready to move up to one of the other major perks of rooting, installing different versions of Android.
We all know that manufacturers are often pretty slow at delivering the latest Android offerings even to their flagship handsets, let alone aging devices. So if you’re not a Nexus or Play Edition device owner, rooting opens the door to much faster Android updates, thanks to the developers who put time into porting the latest updates to various handsets.
Pretty much every semi-popular handset has a decent following of developers working on porting the latest versions of Android to their handsets, most of which can be found over on the XDA Forum. The only sacrifice here is that you won’t receive official manufacturer versions of Android, so no updated Touchwizz or Sense5 features, but if we were really too worried about that we probably wouldn’t be rooting in the first place.
If stock Android isn’t your thing, there are also tons of other customized ROMs offering unique features and improvements to the default Android experience.
AOSP has given us so many custom ROM’s, and has extended the lifespan of many an Android handset.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the biggest names, CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android, MIUI to name just a few of the most popular ones. Many custom ROMs are actually at the forefront of innovation on Android, offering several features that aren’t available anywhere else. Paranoid Android’s Halo feature or OmniROM’s multi-workspace mode are just a couple of examples.
But as well as these big third party developments, you’ll also find a lot of smaller developers tweaking away at the core Android experience, offering ROMs with vastly superior battery life or overclocked processor speeds. Not to mention that most custom ROMs are updated to the latest version of Android very quickly too, bringing you the best of both worlds.
As rooting opens up administrator type privileges on your handset you’ll instantly have access to all the core files on your handset. File browser apps can take full advantage of this, allowing you to move stuff around on your internal memory if so require.
App wise, we’ve already touched on Titanium Backup, but there are far more apps that can make use of root permissions, and simply aren’t available with a non-rooted device. The speed junkies among you could take advantage of overclocking software to boost performance or save on battery life, providing that your Kernel supports overclocking. Alternatively, fans of custom ROMs can use a ROM manager to install and update their operating system without the need to flash zip files from Recovery.
Rooting is sometimes criticized for compromising handset security, but security apps, such as Cerberus, use root functions to bury themselves deep down into the operating system, making them hard for would be thieves to remove. These apps can also be granted permissions that aren’t available on unrooted devices, such as access to GPS data even when the device is locked.
There’s also additional gesture apps, data syncing software, and even theme managers to customize the look of your handset.
My final reason for rooting your handset is the wider range of customization and theming options, after all who doesn’t want their desktop to look pretty.
Looking good there Android.
Although there are options to tweak themes and whatnot that don’t require rooting, usually through third part launchers such as ADW, rooting gives you access to the important files needed to make changes in folders that are usually hidden from users. Access to the /system/fonts folder allows users to install and replace custom fonts. You can also flash zip files from Recovery to install themes too. But if all that folder browsing isn’t for you, there are also a few root only theme applications to choose from.
One example is Theme Chooser, included by default as part of CyanogenMod, which has plenty of custom themes available, and even works with ADW themes too. Alternatively, the XThemeEngine works with all rooted handsets, allowing you to pick between themes after installing them from traditional apk files, so there’s no need to flashing zip files or tinkering in system folders.
As you can see there’s plenty of stuff to do with your rooted handset. If those aren’t enough reasons to root your handset, then I don’t know what is. Why do you root your device?
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Is the homescreen on the right done with a launcher or a CM themer? I really like that one.
It’s most definitely a launcher, probably Buzz (or maybe themer)
Themer had a few that were similar but not quite there. I’m checking out Buzz now. Thanks!
me too. can anyone confirm if it is buzz as mastermuffin suggested?
is this what you mean?
Yeah that’s what I was looking for. Thanks!
I still suggest Buzz though :)
Ok you sold me lol. The main problem I had with themer was no gesture support. Buzz has it so I’m going to try it for a while. Thanks for suggesting it! I hadn’t heard of it before.
Glad to hear you like it. Buzz is currently better than themer, but themer is still in beta so with the amount of buzz (pun intended :D) it has been getting, it should be pretty great once it exits beta!
Yeah I haven’t deleted Themer yet to see what they add as it develops. I tried using it but missed gestures too much lol.
thank you. i was hoping it was a lockscreen as i’m not thrilled with my lockscreen.
There are more options… the #4 option should be inner changeable for custom or stock roms IMO. Theoretically you could root, reap the other benefits, and remain on your stock Rom or back up a stock version and still recieve ota updates (which will usually defeat root). For touchwiz there are a few advantages to rooting and remaining stock rom wise. Also the danger in “bricking” devices is usually in flashing new roms anyway, not sure why for beginner’s this isn’t a good option.
The only thing I hate about rooting is it degrades the audio quality. The custom ROMS are not at fault its just that the manufacturer have closed drivers.
You can Root a phone without flashing a custom ROM.
Furthermore, only ASOP ROMs will lose the drivers. You can flash tweaked manufacturer ROMs.
Nope, cant see a single good reason here. Mine works just great as it is.
Do you find firmware and app updates pointless too?
Get those through the manufacturer after the bugs are worked out. Havent seen a google uupdate since google search that offered anything ro get excited about. At least not enough to root my device for
Google is offer a lot of there features as apps in the market now, so updating firmware to get features is less of bid deal now.
Do you find firmware and app updates pointless as well?
This article didn’t exactly attempt to convince anyone to root but rather as a way of making people that are on the fence to make the leap.
Rooting and flashing a custom rom helps remove bloatware that could takes up space and could potentially speed up your phone. Also, depending on the device, root is required if you decide to carry tons of music and/or media on a flash drive thereby letting you use USB-OTG.
Root and roms aren’t just for the aforementioned ‘benefits’. Especially for a user like yourself that may be perfectly happy with all the current features, rooting may seem like more trouble than what you could attain afterwards.
For me, I use my phone for more than just the basic phone, web browsing, social networking, picture taking, gaming, and basic app usage. Custom roms give certain features that Google may not have incorporated into their own updates and I have more control over almost every aspect of my device. Also, I can make apps specifically for my phone without having to deal with the play store.
It’s like using a computer on a company network with no admin privileges vs using your own computer. I’d take my own computer.
well, for one thing the article is a little silly and off topic. Just cause your rooted doesn’t mean you have a custom recovery.
Eh? Confused… How is the article off topic? What is it off-topic on? It may be incorrect on some points and written for those that have yet to root their phone but I don’t see how it’s off topic unless it’s a response article to something else that I didn’t notice..
I agree. For firmware and app updates, device still needs to have a powerful processor or else will cause lag on the phone
Check out the sony xperia c – full review :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6iUf4jqreQ
There are so many good reason for a “power user” (for lack of a better word) to root their device.
Can’t mention custom ROMs without mentioning bootloader access. You need both for the phone to function.
Some phones already have unlocked bootloaders and I would assume people that root or will root know about bootloaders already. Then again, this article doesn’t appear to be directed towards those…lol
Rooting and instanlling CM on my Galaxy Tab 2 really saved my device, it was sluggish as hell.
I root to block all permissions on the data/system/dropbox and data/system/usagestats folders with rom toolbox root browser. I do this so Google and thirds parties steal less of my personal information. I also use Greenify and Wakelock Detecctor to give me a hell of a lot more battery.
What do you use to do this?
*WARNING: Always have a backup of your rom through TRWP or Clockwork recovery before doing this. Sometimes messing with systems folders can cause a bootloops or soft brick. I do this on my Att SGS3 and Nexus 7.
I use the app rom toolbox, which has a root browser within the app. I then navigate to the folders above, click and hold the folder and then select permissions. Remove the check boxes on everything under permissions.
Then exit app and clear cache with cache cleaner ng or sdmaid’s system cleaner.
Not sure of the exact results of blocking data stealers, but I noticed that some developers that advertise “Carrier IQ free” on there roms have done this, with those folders.
Thank you for your information
Good article. It definitely helps with us AT&T note 3 users who can’t install any custom roms. With a few of the other tinkering options, we can modify our current roms with some of the options and suggestions listed. Cheers!
How bad my Razr i got stolen yestedar. :(
I’m goin out now to get an SGS3 as a quick but still powerful replacement.
What do you think?
Will it be able to handle the new game of Battlefield if it ever comes to Android? Any ROM recomendation?
Oh, sorry for the offtopic! But, please try to give me some help!
Not sure if trolling or just du…silly.
What about the cons like ruining movie watching for good.
The option to root is great and I think that OEMs should provide tools for easily rooting devices while letting people know the risks and that brings me to my second point. Rooting and especially flashing is a janky and complicate process filled with danger. The average consumer will go to XDA, look at the instructions and become extremely confused or extremely scared they will damage their device. The tutorials are filled with unfamiliar terms and sometimes horrible explanations for them. I am going to upset a few people by saying this but sometimes rooting and flashing may degraded the quality if your device even when everything are done by the books. I hear too many stories of people rooting and/ or flashing, saying it worked great for two months and then….. bricks. I am a tech news junky, I am currently learning Java, did courses in JS, HTML, CSS and jQuery. I am the go too person at work and home for computer problems so I am not a technologically challenged person. I am very satisfied with my unrooted Android device have no plans to root my phone.
I root my android to enjoy various custom ROM’s, I love experimenting different ROMs.
I rooted my Nexus 4 to enable proper call recording . Some apps just will not work without rooting first .
Has anyone had changes in battery life after rooting?
No, but you can install different Kernels/Custom Roms/Apps to save Battery Life after you rooted it :))
I am still on the fence about rooting. I do hate what most manufactures have done to Android with all the useless bloatware. Its about like buying a low end Dell computer, you have to just reformat it as soon as you get it because of all the bloated garage they put on.
I have a Samsung Transform Ultra on Boost running Gingerbread 2.3.6. Are there really advantages to me rooting my phone? I mean can I actually upgrade to a new version of Android, and if I did would it not slow my phone down? I understand why one would jailbreak an IOS device for obvious reasons. Any advice is appreciated.
Most of the time you cant actually install the newest version of android but you can get alot of the features of the newer android versions. You can also uninstall bloatware if you root your device and you can even install apps onto the sd card.
I have a nexus device(nexus 5) it would be illegal to dont root my phone.
Rootimg phone has one benrfit that i can move whatap to sd card
Can I increase the a SD card capacity after rooting