Android operating system is the most versatile and customizable mobile operating system in the market as of now. The real beauty of Android is its open source nature which will give access to the source code and other key information which helps to modify the system to our requirements. Since Android is a Linux-based mobile operating system, developers has found a way to access the root permissions on Android which gives the supreme access to the user. In tinkering terminology, this exploit on the system is termed as Android Rooting.
Any Android user with a pinch of curiosity might have come across the word Rooting at least once in a while. Many Android apps requires root permissions on your device to perform advanced tasks. However, most of the Android users are unaware of the main goal of Android Rooting, its advantages & disadvantages, risk involved etc…Many of my friends asked zillions of questions regarding rooting and their concerns regarding the device warranty. So, we thought that it is best to have a simple and effective beginners guide to Android rooting which will help you get a better understanding of this concept.
What is Android Rooting?
Unix/Linux-based operating systems has an ultimate user who holds the supreme power which can either be used to make up or break up the entire OS. This ultimate user is known as the Root User, this is similar to the administrator in Windows OS but not limited by proprietary guidelines. Since Android is a Linux-based mobile OS, root user is the part of the ecosystem. However, Google has restricted the root access by default and users need to perform an exploit on their devices to unlock the root user. This exploit is popularly knows as Rooting in Android, the name has obviously coined after the root user.
In Android ecosystem, there are two things that constitute to the root permissions on the device. First is the su binary which contains all the necessary codes for the root user to operate on your device. The second is the SuperSU app (or equivalent) which manages the root permissions on the Android device. These two things are the two halves of one whole which will give you the elevated permissions on your device. In terms of iPhone terminology, rooting is similar to Jail Breaking.
Why Should you Root your Android Device?
Rooting is often performed with the goal of overcoming the limitations set by the device manufacturers and carriers or to enjoy the advanced features of Android which are deemed hazardous as per most OEMs. In a nutshell, rooting gives the ability to access, modify and delete system files and partitions. With a rooted device, you can run apps that require access to system files and settings, flashing new files to your device, modifying the system look, enjoying a variety of hacks and much more. Without rooting, these are inaccessible to normal Android user and thus you’ll miss the real fun of having an Android device in the first place.
On Android, with the help of rooting, you can also change the complete OS by flashing new custom ROMs or partially change it by flashing mods. You can also fiddle with the kernel level operations once the device is rooted. A majority of Android users usually root their device to improve the performance of the device or to add new features like themes, Xposed installer & modules, taking complete backup of app data and the list goes on if we start adding.
So, What’s the Catch?
So, you’ve heard all the good about rooting and how you can use a rooted device to unleash the beast in it. But as you can expect, there is other end of the coin which might put off some users. Before we tell you about the dark side of rooting, do remember that few hurdles should not stop you from seeking knowledge and experimenting to understand things better. So, here are the poisonous side affects of rooting:
- Say Goodbye to your warranty: Almost every OEM is against rooting and treats it like the forbidden fruit in the Bible. Once you root your device, your device’s warranty will be void and the manufacturer won’t offer you free service anymore. This is the major fear of any smartphone user but don’t stop here, just read till the end.
- Might brick your device: As we have already mentioned, rooting means to run an exploit on your device. So, if you don’t follow the rooting instructions carefully or run untested exploits, there’s a fair chance that you’ll end up with a bricked device in your hand.
- Might not be your cake: Rooting might not be fit for everyone and definitely you shouldn’t root your device unless you know what you’re doing. More importantly, with the ultimate power comes a great responsibility, so you should be careful how you use the root permissions as improper use might put your device into risk.
- Vulnerable, may be?: This is the most debatable question that rooting exposes the important parts of Android OS which might compromise your device’s security. In our opinion, it’s true but at the same time it’s not entirely correct. Rooting will unlock all the barriers on your device but you can also secure your device if you have proper knowledge about what you’re doing. So, always dig a little about the topic before you deploy it on your device.
So, Should you root your device?
Well, that depends on the motive behind your decision to root your device. Maybe you don’t need to root your device at all if you’re not interested to go on an adventurous path of Android tinkering. Rooting unleashes a lot of possibilities on your device, some of which you might have desired and some you might never have imagined. So, before you think of rooting your device, just make sure you really need it.
For those who want to root and dig to the depths of Android but are afraid of warranty, bricking or something else, all we can say is that Android has a very good developer support because of its open source nature. So, you don’t need to worry about everything as there are many good Samaritans who will help you along the way. Moreover, read below for the possibility of unrooting your device.
Can I unroot my device?
It depends on the model and make of your device, some of the them are quite easy to unroot while some will test your patience to great extent. A few years back when Android was at its inception, it’s highly impossible to revert back to stock but now unrooting is quite simple. If you’re finding it hard to unroot your device, you can always flash stock firmware to revert the device to factory version which will remove root on your device but not all devices have proper support to get the firmware or system dumps. So, it might not be possible to unroot on few devices while majority of the devices can be unrooted.
Finally, How to root my device?
Currently, there is no generic rooting technique which covers all the Android devices but there are few tools which cover a wide range of devices. However, it’s always advised to follow a working root technique on your device. Visit our Rooting Archives for rooting guides.
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