Imagine buying a Ferrari, after the dealer sells it to you, it can only go until third gear and have top speed of 100kph only, then you’re not able to open the hood. You have to trust that dealer knows what’s best for you. Your car will do what it’s supposed to which is get you from point A to point B, and as long as you follow instructions then you have less chances of messing it up. The challenge here is that you’re not getting the most out of your car because you just know that it can do so much more than this.
Buying your new Android phone is like that, your phone is essentially locked to do what manufacturer (Samsung, HTC, Sony etc) says it’s supposed to do. If you’re content with that, then it’s perfectly fine. But if you’re looking to maximize your purchase, there is a way to get around this. And that is by Rooting your Phone.
|My reaction when people ask me if this is like Jailbreaking. Cute.|
Rooting removes all of those restrictions set by the manufacturer. You are able to do whatever the heck you want with the hardware as long as you know what you’re doing. You have full access to the “hood” of your phone (it's called Super User). Which means that you can change certain aspects of it like the speed that it runs, which drivers to use for your hardware, the boot animations or something even as drastic as changing the whole operating system.
So why doesn't your phone ship like this? There is a reason why those restrictions were there in the first place, it’s to protect n00bs from messing up their phones. Imagine giving someone without knowledge of cars or driving access to tweak under the hood of a Ferrari.
So is rooting illegal? Heck no! You’re not doing anything wrong by rooting your phone. Some manufacturers like Samsung even encourage it and support some groups like Cyanogen that create really cool stuff with it. Android was designed to be an open platform so this just brings out the best in it.
WARNING: There is a chance you’ll mess up and turn your phone into a paperweight if you’re not careful in the process of rooting.
Difference of Rooting and Jailbreaking
I’ll just get this out of the way. These are NOT the same. Jailbreaking removes some restrictions that your iOS device has which will allow you to do simple stuff like install unsigned/unauthorized apps and themes that are not on the App store. This is also known as sideloading. Android has this feature out of the box and you don't need to do anything for this feature. To sum it up, Jailbreaking allows you to bend the rules that Apple has set so you can play around in its box. Rooting lets you break all of the rules and do whatever you please. If you see people comparing the 2 side by side just smile and nod.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of rooting:
Advantage 1. Your phone will run faster
You will have access to options like clock speed for your phone. So you can define if you want it to run faster or slower. Yes, slower. This saves you battery for the sacrifice of speed.
|Speed Boosts like a BOSS|
More often than not, when you buy a phone from a manufacturer, you have a LOT of apps pre-installed in it. Some you don’t even know are running in the background. These tasks take up valuable system resources which drain your battery and cause your phone to run slower. The phone will not allow you to remove these apps since they are manufacturer-locked. Rooting solves this by giving you access to them and having an option to uninstall them.
Advantage 3. Custom ROMS
A new look and feel for your phone as often as you like. I wrote about it here.
Advantage 4. Awesome Root Applications
Since you have access to all your phone’s features, it’s only a matter of customizing your phone how you want it to work for you. There is an app that causes your phone to vibrate when the call is answered or put down. There is another app that allows you to back up your entire phone into an archive. There’s also an app that saves the state of your applications. Imagine combining this with cloud saves. You can potentially access your phone applications anywhere in the world in case you lose your phone.
Advantage 5. Customization
Want an 8 direction lock screen? Want your status bar to show you the battery status? Want your phone to log everything you do? The standard android operating system does a lot of this customization already, but a rooted phone gives you so much more.
|Lockscreens like a BOSS|
There are 2 disadvantages of rooting a phone: First is that there is always a risk of bricking your phone. When you brick your phone, it’s gone. There are ways to try and revive it, but nothing is guaranteed. Second is that you void your “software” warranty. Remember, your hardware warranty is intact. There is a way around this since there are ways to “Unroot” or bring your phone back to its original state.
So there you have it. I personally recommend rooting your phone. Just make sure you know what you’re doing before you do it.