Do you know what the single greatest feature of Android is? It has quite a few, but the fact that it is based on the open-source Linux system makes it an absolute dream for hardware manufacturers, who have absolute freedom in how they design their products to utilize the Android platform most effectively. Even better than that fact, is that with a rooted Android device, it opens the door for anyone to customize their experience to better suit their needs. In a world where customization is key to success, Android certainly has an upper advantage to Apple, Microsoft, and RIM.
Of course, the hardware manufacturers do not want you to “root” your phone. “Rooting” is the term used to describe unlocking your bootloader and allowing you to control elements of your phone that you previously did not. The bootloader is what starts your phone and runs it. By exploiting a hole in the bootloader, developers can make it easy for you to unlock your device, and customize it in a way that your manufacturer may not necessarily want you to.
Just a word of warning, though: Rooting your device will void your warranty, should something happen and the phone become inoperable after tweaking. It’s not for the faint of heart, so if you do not have even the most basic knowledge of coding or programming, you probably should not consider rooting your phone.
Since rooting requires a different process on practically every different piece of Android hardware, I’m not going to show you how it’s done. It’s easy on some phones, and harder on others. If you want to proceed, after reading the advantages listed below, visit XDA Developers, go to the forums, and search for your device. There should be instructions somewhere in each phone’s set of forums that will provide you with a step by step rundown of how it works. For now though, let’s take a look at some of the top advantages of rooting your device:
1. Custom ROM support eliminates all of that bloatware
As mobile devices become more powerful and have more storage space on them–your carrier will likely fill them with more and more “bloatware.”. Bloatware is the term for applications that are put on your phone when you get it, that you may not necessarily ever use. For example, Sprint packs Blockbuster, it’s own GPS service, and a bunch of other apps onto the Evo 3D. Since I typically use both Netflix and Google Maps as alternatives for these apps, they become useless and unnecessary to have on my device. Unfortunately, unlike applications that you install, you cannot uninstall pre-installed software.
The ROM on your phone is the operating system. Developers, looking to get their foot in the door in the developing world, spend days, weeks, and months creating custom versions of the Android software that aim to increase performance over the stock ROM. These custom ROMs will install a fresh copy of Android, minus all of that bloatware garbage that you don’t want. The elimination of this software alone will help increase your storage space, and your available memory bank as well.
2. Superuser Privileges
What are “superuser” privileges? They allow an app that typically changes some kind of setting on your phone to do what you want it to. When you root your device, this application is typically installed with it, allowing you to download apps that would allow you to “tweak” your phone. Good examples would include–file managers, CPU adjusters, tethering apps (we don’t condone violating your carrier’s tethering policies. Just don’t do it), screenshot applications, and software tweaking apps.
3. Tweak your performance!
Performance is everything in today’s age of faster mobile devices. Everyone needs their information quicker, and by tweaking the performance levels on your phone, you can do just that! Through apps like SetCPU, where you can adjust the processor speed on your phone (be very cautious with this, as it can destroy your phone. Do not attempt if you do not know what you’re doing!!), and custom “kernels (custom CPU settings that will automatically tweak your processor for better battery life, speed, etc.),” you can make your performance better than a stock device.
Again, I cannot emphasize the danger of tweaking your CPU settings if you do not know what you’re doing. Custom kernels are the best way to avoid “bricking” your phone. On XDA Developers, you can find a whole selection of custom kernels for your device, which aim to either increase speed or battery life. Find what’s best for you, and flash it to your phone. It’s that simple.
4. Complete and total customization
Do you want to run stock Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread, with no software changes or tweaks? It exists in CyanogenMod. If you’re still rockin’ the T-Mobile G1, and you want to run HTC Sense on your ancient device? Its out there.
With the custom ROM support that Android receives, you can do practically anything you want to with your Android experience. There are ROMs out there that mimic the iOS experience, even. If you want to try creating your own ROM, the tools exist out there (though, just like everything else in this post, it’s not for those who don’t know what they are doing!). Whatever you want to do to make your phone YOUR phone, you can pretty much do by rooting your phone. By adding a custom ROM, maybe a custom theme to go with it, custom fonts, and other tweaks–you can really make the Android experience nothing short of spectacular.
If you’re the type that really likes to break free of locked hardware and make your phone completely “yours,” go to XDA and work on rooting your device. Most devices are rootable. You’ll need a PC (Windows, or even easier, Mac and Linux make the process a lot smoother), a data cable, and a good how-to guide, along with some software you would download from XDA. Ater you are rooted, the gateway to mobile freedom is open!
Disclaimer (again): If you do not know what you are doing beforehand, or if the process looks too difficult for you to attempt, DO NOT ATTEMPT IT! Digital Lust takes no responsibility for you turning your phone into a paperweight if you mess it up!