A look Into: Android Rooting

By . Filed in Tools

If you have been an Android user for sometime you will realise that there is more to this platform then a mere smartphone operating system. The Android OS is based on the Linux operating system and from that many different Linux distros available, it is common to see them in the Android world too. To step into that world, you will need to root your Android device.

In this article we will explain to you relevant information regarding Android Rooting. For quicker access, check out shortcuts below:

Android Rooting In A Nutshell

Rooting is what you need to become the administrator or also known as superuser of your own device. With a root-enabled device, you have access to all system files and will be able to modify it at your own will. Manufacturers locked users from such access by giving them something like a guest account to prevent anyone and any app that may compromise your device from having root access.

Whenever you decide to install an app in your device, you have to be aware of the permissions you give out to each app you are about to install. A photo-editing app does not need access to your text messages too. Understanding this permission is crucial for Android users to identify which app is taking what kind of data from you.

Getting Familiar with Rooting terms

You will delve into a lot of new terms in dabbing with Android and for your convenience, here is a list of common rooting terms to help you understand what is the meaning of these words.

Custom ROM

A modified version of Android operating system which contains additional features, speed, customization and the developer’s own secret recipe to enable updates, (faster) fixing of bugs and a snappier ROM speed.

Bootloader

A set of codes that are to be executed before running any software. Bootloaders vary according to manufacturers because of the hardware they use for their device. Unlocking the bootloader is one of the most important steps to enable rooting.

Recovery

A place where you can perform back-ups, flashing ROMs and tweaks, plus all kind of tasks that is dependent on the version of recovery software you have on your Android. Popular custom Android recovery include the ClockWorkMod (CWM) and the Team Win Recovery Project (TWPRP).

Flashing

Flashing is the execution of a zipped file to be installed on your Android. Custom ROMs are often released in a ZIP format, so once you have downloaded the zipped files, head over to your recovery and start flashing.

Android Debug Mode – ADM

The Android Debug Mode acts as the command line tool for Android. This is usually acquired from the Android developer’s kit known as Android Software Development Kit (SDK). ADB is needed if you want to run all the rooting-related tools in your PC.

More Android Rooting Terms

Brick

Non-functional device. Often related to a wrong or bad firmware update. When a device no longer works, it is often referred to as a "bricked" device.

Kernel

Kernel will interpret all the information sent in and out by the software in your phone to your hardware from the CPU, Memory or the devices. Its primary function is to manage the Android resources to allow other programs to run and use these resources. An advanced kernel will even allow your device to do something like overclocking and undervolting.

Firmware

Firmware is a software that is programmed into a read-only memory (ROM). All devices come with a different firmware, and this ‘fixed’ software is often updated through flashing. Advanced users update their device firmware to fix bugs or add features to the device. Flashing firmware that is not meant for your device will render the device unusable.

Baseband

The radio or modem version that is running on your device. It is important to know what version you are currently running before flashing a new radio or modem firmware. Incorrect baseband for your phone will result in the phone not working.

Vanilla

Unmodified version of anything, for example, a Vanilla port for Android ROMs indicating a pure untouched stock ROM experience.

Widget

A minimal version of the app that you are running that you can personalize on your Android homescreen.

Gapps

All important google apps that are manually sideloaded in a form of zipped files.

NAndroid

A common term for when you are creating backup for your Android. It is used when you want to make a full system backup, as insurance for when you mess up your device.

Reasons to root Your Android

There are many advantages one can gain from a rooted Android device. Here are a few:

  • You can flash your device with a custom ROMS so you can enjoy a different experience of Android beyond what the stock ROM provided.
  • You also may use an app to schedule a custom overclocking/underclocking profile to suit your device best.
  • While you at it, try to learn how to undervolt your processor or gpu to obtain the lowest watts for the highest clock you can achieve.This will get you the most out of your battery life while a performance drop.
  • Bloatware can be removed once you are rooted.
  • With a rooted Android device you can finally grant permission to apps that require superuser access to perform a deeper customization be it a system tweak or a bootable Linux Android for troubleshooting.

Reasons not to root

The obvious aftermath of rooting is that it immediately voids your phone’s warranty but if you know what you are doing and if your device has passed its warranty period, this isn’t of great concern. What is, is that rooting involves the risk of bricking your device. You seriously need to know what you are doing.

Even without rooting, you need to be worried about the permission you give to apps. Now that your Android is rooted, the result of letting these permissions be open to people you don’t know is dangerous.

A rooted Android is also more vulnerable towards viruses that may even harm your device deep within the Android system.

The Legality of Rooting

According to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),

In laymen terms, as long you are not using root-enabled tools outside of getting it to operate programs, it is fine. One reason behind this is because many assume that rooting is the cause of piracy but it isn’t because cracked apps can work with unrooted devices as well.

What about Android tablets? It’s a little different. The definition of tablets is too broad and ill-defined that they could not allow exemption to the rule when it comes to tablets. So unless manufacturers allow you to do so, you cannot root your Android tablet.

However, the chances of having a legal issue when you root an Android tablet are very slim. Note that the DMCA only applies in the U.S and legal issues are usually different from country to country. But when you think about it, Android being open source since day one has always been open about rooting.

What about unlocking?

In a nutshell, the United States laws do not state that you cannot get your phone unlocked. To unlock your device, you just need your carrier permission to do so. I suggest reading this article to have a deeper understanding on this matter. This applies only to U.S. citizens.

Android Rooting Guides [Table]

Disclaimer: The following rooting guides are from third-party sources and are not products of hongkiat.com. We cannot be held responsible for any effects on your device resulting from the rooting guides. Please attempt only after reading through and understanding the guide(s) and proceed with caution.

Note: You can sort the table listing by clicking on the titles, example: "Brand", "Model", etc.

Brand Model Carrier Rooting
HTC One M7 n/a read
HTC One X+ n/a n/a read
HTC One X C660x n/a read
Google Nexus 4 n/a n/a read
Google Nexus 7 n/a n/a read
Google Nexus 7 3G n/a n/a read
Google Nexus 10 n/a n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 GT-N7100 n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 GT-N7105 n/a read
Motorola Droid Razr HD XT925/XT926 n/a read
Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD n/a n/a read
LG Optimus G E970/LS970 n/a read
Motorola Atrix HD MB886 n/a read
Motorola Droid Razr M XT907 n/a read
HTC Butterfly X920D n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Exhibit 4G C660x n/a read
Sony Xperia Z n/a n/a read
Sony Xperia ZL n/a n/a read
Sony Xperia T C660x n/a read
Sony Xperia TX C660x n/a read
Sony Xperia TL n/a n/a read
Sony Xperia V GT-I9300T n/a read
Samsung Galaxy S III SCH-L710 C Spire read
Samsung Galaxy S III SGH-I747 AT&T read
Samsung Galaxy S III SGH-I747M Bell read
Samsung Galaxy S III SGH-I747M Rogers read
Samsung Galaxy S III SGH-I747M Sasktel read
Samsung Galaxy S III SGH-I747M Telus read
Samsung Galaxy S III SCH-R530 Us Cellular read
Samsung Galaxy S III SCH-R530M Metro Pcs read
Samsung Galaxy S III SPH-L710 Sprint US read
Samsung Galaxy S III SGH-T999 T-Mobile read
Samsung Galaxy S III SGH-T999V Mobilicity read
Samsung Galaxy S III SGH-T999V Videotron read
Samsung Galaxy S III SGH-T999V Wind read
Samsung Galaxy S III SCH-I535 Verizon read
Samsung Galaxy S III GT-I9300T n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100 n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Note II N7105 n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Note II SHV-E250K n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Note II SHV-E250L n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Note II SHV-E250S n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Note II SPH-L900 n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Note II SGH-I317 n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Note II SGH-I317M n/a read
Samsung Galaxy Note II SGH-T889 n/a read

Author:

Nels Dzyre is a tech enthusiast from the age of dial-ups, an Android follower since we had Cupcake, and a gamer.

Advertisement