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If you have been using an Android device long enough, you must have heard about this ‘mysterious, difficult and highly risky process’ after which your device becomes supercharged and ready to destroy the world. Those who support rooting will tell you there is nothing better for your Android, while those who oppose it, will scare you with stories of perfectly normal Android devices being turned into paperweights – yet, you find yourself wondering what rooting actually means.
To put it simply, a normal user does not have full control over his/her Android device. You will realize this when you try to get rid of a certain useless, pre-installed app on your device and find out that you can’t. Even though you can install and uninstall applications, there are certain things you can’t change about your device. Compare this with the Windows installation folder on your PC – it is sensitive and you usually don’t have access to modify or delete files from it (unless you want to mess up your installation and render your computer useless). Likewise, manufacturers have not given you full access of the system to protect you and prevent you from inadvertently ruining your new device.
If you are a power user (or wish to become one) on the other hand, you will be frustrated by the lack of control. Rooting the device is the way out for such users. If you root your device, you will have complete access to every file and can install custom software (Roms, Kernels, special apps) and uninstall bloatware. However, since rooting involves modification of system files, you will void your device’s warranty. Moreover, if you flash the wrong file or don’t follow the rooting procedure properly, you might end up ‘bricking’ your device, which effectively means it won’t turn on or do anything for that matter.
Despite all the ‘complications’ and ‘risks’ (which are blown out of proportion mostly), if you intend to root your device and manage it successfully, you will get full access to everything. You can then instal custom software, roms and kernels, which bring additional features and performance improvements to your device. There are certain (very useful) applications which also require root access and can’t be used on an unrooted phone.
The method for rooting an Android varies from device to device, and you will have to research on the internet to find out what works for your particular model. Generally, it is easier to find information on popular devices, since the developer community supports them. In future posts I will try to write about popular apps you can install on your rooted device.
If you need help rooting your Android device, leave comments. However, like I mentioned earlier, rooting will void your warranty, and in most cases, when you send your phone back for repairs, the service center will reject your claim.
Remember, you are solely responsible for whatever happens to your device if you root it – there is always a risk of bricking your device when you modify system files.