Benefits of Rooting your Android Device

By on August 29, 2010
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Looking to get something extra out of your Android device?

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With Android gaining popularity in the region, I’m sure than many will look into extending the functionality of their devices by rooting their phones. But what exactly is rooting and what advantages does it bring to the Android platform? That’s what we will talk about today.

Rooting basically allows you to gain access as a super-user on your Android platform- a bit like what Jailbreaking does on the iPhone. On the iPhone, there is no way to download an application outside the App Store unless you Jailbreak your device, however, with Android devices, this is not the case- rooting isn’t required to download applications from outside the Android Market. So why would you want to root your device? Here are three good reasons to:

1) Flash a custom firmware
Your android device is very much like a PC, allowing you to customize the Operating System to your liking. What is this means is that you are no longer restricted to the OS that is provided by the manufacturer of your device and generally, the more popular a device is, the more options you have for the OS. For example, the HTC Desire has more than twenty customized OSes available for it with things like saving Apps to SD, adding Arabic support or removing the SenseUI completely for a stock and faster Android experience.

2) Backup and Restore your device
Rooting allows you to back up the entire image of your device to an SD card- a bit like using Acronis or Ghost on the PC or Time Machine on your Mac. This works real well if you want to try out new Operating Systems as it gives you the opportunity to restore your previous OS in case you don’t like the new one.

3) Run “Special” applications
Although we mentioned that rooting isn’t required to download apps outside the Android Market, there are a few apps that require your device to be rooted in order for you to use them. For example, if you want to under/overclock your device, an application called setCPU allows you to do this but required rooting. Similarly, ROM Manager is an excellent tool for flashing ROMs from SD card to your device but requires rooting.

So there you have it- some good reasons to root your Android device. I will not go into the specifics on how to root your device and is varies from device to device. A good place for that is xda-developers forum. Word of warning though- if your device is branded or locked, you need to make sure you follow instructions properly and ask question before rooting otherwise you might end up with a bricked phone.


About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

Comments
  • mohse

    there is a small spelling mistake:

    "For example, if you want to under/overclock you device"
    "For example, if you want to under/overclock your device"

    • http://tech.tbreak.com Abbas Jaffar Ali

      Thanks- corrected!

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  • Android ME

    You neglected to mention a very important reason which is rooting Android devices for Middle Eastern users grants them access to paid and protected apps.

    • http://tech.tbreak.com Abbas Jaffar Ali

      Yes it does- although TRA doesn't want us accessing Android Market in the UAE yet which is why I conveniently skipped that part ;

  • Khalood

    Custom ROMs and backups has absolutely nothing to do with rooting. you can flash a ROM and backup and still not have root permissions.

  • http://twitter.com/KhaloodH @KhaloodH

    This article is wrong. Rooting is not required to do backups and flash custom ROMs. You can still backup AND flash custom ROMs without having root access at allThis article is wrong. Rooting is not required to do backups and flash custom ROMs. You can still backup AND flash custom ROMs without having root access at all.

    (if there's a post before this by me, ignore it. i don't remember hitting the submit button, so meh.)

  • http://tech.tbreak.com Abbas Jaffar Ali

    Hey Khalood-

    Can you share with us information on how to add custom ROMs without rooting the device? That would be quite interesting to know.

    • Khalood

      On the Motorola milestone, for example, to root the phone, you’ll have to get your phone have access to flashing custom ROMs and backups first in order to be able to root it.

      and when the milestone was just released in european countries, people figured out how to get the root running (was just applying an update.zip), but no one had any magical access to backups and custom ROMs, until someone got the Open Recovery ported to the phone, which, again, had nothing to do with rooting.

  • Asadullah

    The most easiest way (single-click) to now root is to use Universal Android Root: http://blog.23corner.com/tag/universalandroot/

    Just used it for mine when putting Froyo on my G1.

    Works for:
    •Google Nexus One (2.2)
    •Google G1 (1.6)
    •HTC Hero (2.1)
    •HTC Magic (1.5) (Select Do not install Superuser)
    •HTC Tattoo (1.6)
    •Dell Streak (2.1)
    •Motorola Milestone (2.1)
    •Motorola XT701
    •Motorola XT800 (2.1)
    •Motorola ME511
    •Motorola Droid (2.01/2.1/2.2 with FRG01B)
    •Sony Ericsson X10 (1.6)
    •Sony Ericsson X10 Mini (1.6)
    •Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro (1.6)
    •Acer Liquid (2.1)
    •Acer beTouch E400 (2.1)
    •Samsung Galaxy Beam
    •Vibo A688 (1.6)
    •Lenovo Lephone (1.6)
    •LG GT540 (1.6)
    •Gigabyte GSmart G1305

    Does not work for:
    •Samsung i9000 / i6500U / i7500 / i5700
    •Motorola ME600 / ME501 / MB300 / CLIQ XT
    •Motorola 2.2 FRG22D
    •Archos 5
    •HuaWei U8220
    •HTC EVO 4G / Aria
    •SonyEricsson X10i R2BA020
    •myTouch Slide

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