Do you know what make Android so special and popular? The main thing is it’s open source. Being an open source operating system, power users and developers can legally experiment on it and come up with better ways to improve and customize it for themselves and for other users. You can customize your android with themes, speed it up by overclocking the processor or tweaking up the build.prop. But before you are able to do all that, you first need to gain then administrative rights. Rooting an android is how we gain the administrative rights. Follow this guide to know everything you need to know about rooting.
What is Rooting?
Basically, rooting your Android gives you complete access to your device’s system partition. It is just like giving administrative rights to a software in Windows. Rooting your Android allows certain apps to work properly and allows you to flash a custom firmware or kernel. It also allows you to delete unnecessary system apps that you never use and couldn’t delete either. Rooting enables you to extensively customize your Android and experiment with it.
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Below are the frequently used terms you need to know before wandering into the world of rooting.
ROM: ROM is the software that makes your device works the way it is supposed to work. It is a bundle of codes and UI elements that work together to make your device usable. Without it your device is nothing but a slab of plastic, glass and metal. Stock ROMs are what you device comes pre-installed with. Different manufacturer customizes the Stock Android that Google releases with each version of Nexus and make it unique to their devices by customizing the UI. Custom ROMs are what android developers create using the source code provided by Google. They contain various extra features and reduced bloatware.
[quote bcolor=”#20a1c9″ arrow=”yes”]How to disable bloatwares without Root in Android?[/quote]
Kernel: Kernel is what makes it possible for hardware and software to interact. It is flashed alone with a ROM but you can manually flash a custom kernel that works best on your device. However, flashing a bad kernel or kernel that is not made for your device or ROM may brick your device so research before you flash and make sure you know what you are doing.
Flash: Flashing is just a fancy term for installing anything on your device that comes in a ZIP file format. It can be a ROM, kernel, Gapps, recovery or anything else.
Recovery: It is a software that boots before the OS and lets you perform system level tasks such as flashing and making backups. The stock recovery that comes with your stock ROM or firmware cannot do much but if you flash a custom recovery or the recovery that comes with a custom ROM, you can do much more. Flashing a custom recovery is possible only after you have unlocked the device’s bootloader. TWRP and CWM recovery are two highly popular custom recoveries.
[quote bcolor=”#20a1c9″ arrow=”yes”]How to flash a custom recovery on Android device[/quote]
Bootloader: Bootloader is what makes your operating system start. When you buy a new Android phone or tablet, the bootloader is locked by default making it impossible to flash custom recoveries. Unlocking your bootloader doesn’t root your devices but makes it possible to do so.
Nandroid: Nandroid is a system image. Just like creating a restore point allows you to restore a working system image of your Windows; Nandroid allows you to restore your Android if anything goes wrong in the process of tweaking it. It is not just backing up the apps and settings of your device but backing up the entire OS.
Brick: Bricking is breaking your device during flashing or something else. Soft brick is when your device becomes unable to boot. There’s always a small risk of soft bricking your device when you flash. It can be prevented or mended simply by properly flashing your device again. Hard bricking, however, is more serious and difficult to repair. It is bricking on hardware level. You will need to go the service center and replace the corrupted hardware component. The risk of hard bricking is minimal.
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ADB: Android Debug Bridge or ADB is command line tool use to enable the communication between your computer and Android device. Most of the rooting tools need ADB to work. It is the part of Android Software Developers Kit.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Rooting, Unlocking, Flashing?
Each of the term is explained above so I won’t need to explain it in detail. Here’s what you need to know; Unlocking (bootloader) comes first, then comes flashing a custom recovery which will give you root access and then using the recovery, you can flash a custom ROM. However, unlocking a bootloader is not the same thing as unlocking your phone.
You can unroot your Android if you feel like it is unnecessary for you. Every device has a different process to remove root access which you have to research.
Is rooting legal?
Yes. It was once illegal however.
Unlocking your bootloader will definitely void your warranty. You can some time unroot to trick the service center that you haven’t touched the bootloader but most of the time this doesn’t work as the phones have a ‘digital switch’ that flips when you unlock and is impossible to revert in most of the cases. So make sure your warranty has expired before you root your device.
I’ve seen some Sony phones doesn’t allow unlocking bootloader. But all of them are still rootable in a way or another. If you cannot find a tutorial on how to root your device, it is probably because the device is relatively new in the market and root exploit is not available yet.
If you have flashed a custom ROM then you will not receive OTA (over the air) updates unless the developer of that ROM has included a OTA feature for that ROM. If you have just rooted you device then you will get OTA updates from your phone’s manufacturer but those updates will break your root.
Rooting itself will not speed up your device but it will give you the power to do so. Custom ROMs are tweaked to speed up your device and enhance its performance.
Where to start?
I wouldn’t recommend googling the method of rooting your device as most of those methods may not be legit. I’ve listed down some of the most popular Android developers’ forum where you can look for a method and ROMs for your device.
These are the basics. The world of rooting is vast and you have the power to explore. Use any or all of the forums mentioned to know how to make the most out of your device.
Note: All the devices are unique and their rooting methods are unique so it would be difficult for us to explain those methods in details for you, so we ask you to search any or all aforementioned sites.