Despite being such an “open” mobile operating system, all Android phones in the market today come with a few limitations. These are actually safety mechanisms put in place for more security and to ensure that (inexperienced) users don’t mess up their devices. For enthusiasts, though, these safety mechanisms are limitations. Limitations that limit how they get to use a device they own.
Now, if you follow Redmond Pie, you’ll know that we frequently cover methods on how to “root” a certain Android-based device. Well, rooting is how users can lift these limitations and use the device the way they want to and not how the manufacturer wants them to.
By definition, gaining superuser permissions or, as it is more popularly known, rooting your Android smartphone/tablet is the process by which you bypass the limitations put in pace by your device manufacturer to become the true master of your device.
Didn’t get that? Well, all you basically need to know is that once you root your device, you will be able to a. use software that is more powerful than the “non-root” software and in the process of doing so b. have a whole lot more control on your device than you would without rooting.
How exactly? Well, you’ll have to read past the break for that!
One of the chief reasons to root your device two years back was to get access to missing features such as multi-touch, Wi-Fi-tethering and Apps2SD. Ever since Google included these features in Android itself, rooting has lost some of its charm but certainly not all of it.
Currently, the greatest advantage that rooting provides is the ability to install powerful applications that require more-than-usual privileges to your device. Examples of this:
- File Expert which lets you access and edit /system on your memory
- SetCPU which lets you speed up or slow down your chip for more performance/battery life
- Network Spoofer / WiFi Kill to “troll” people on wireless networks
- ProxyDroid to connect to Wi-Fi networks which have proxy settings,
- Market Enabler to access Google Play in other countries (for specific apps)
- ROM Manager to manage custom ROMs
- Chainfire3D to run NVIDIA Tegra games on other, unsupported phones
and tons more! Just search for root on Google Play to see some of the root-only apps.
Android’s built-in backup and restore functionality is pretty weak. Third-party alternatives do a much, much better backup and restoring, but the best ones require root access e.g.
- Titanium Backup lets you backup all of your apps and settings locally as well as on Dropbox and
- ClockworkMod Recovery lets you take nandroid backups which are complete images of each and everything on your device. Restoring a nandroid backup means going back to your previous configuration with nothing lost.
Not satisfied with the stock configuration of your device? Don’t like Samsung’s colorful, iOS-like TouchWiz UX? Don’t like apps from T-Mobile/Verizon?
Fret not! After rooting your device, you can flash a custom ROM. These are heavily-modified versions of Android which offer more features, better performance and even all new user-experiences.
The Latest OS Updates
Dammit, why am I always three updates behind. This may be the most common complaint among Android users, less than half of whom have made it as far as Ice Cream Sandwich. Between the Google, the carriers, and the hardware manufacturers, there are a whole lot of shenanigans behind closed doors that determines when (or if) your phone gets an upgrade. Who has the patience?Android’s developer community, on the other hand, is a hardcore bunch. They’re often able to get the new OS onto a phone months before the carrier releases the update, often along with a few bonus features. Once you’re rooted, you just have to find the OS version you want (optimized for your specific device), and it’s generally extremely easy to install the latest and greatest.