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Why Should I Root My Android Phone or Tablet?

Updated on April 18, 2012

What is 'Root'?

Ok, so you have a new shiny Android phone and you've most likely heard of people talking about having 'root'. If you aren't sure what this is, you're not alone. For the vast majority of cell phone users, this thought has not really crossed their minds. They pretty much use their phone as the manufacturer and provider had intended out of the box.

So what is 'Root' you ask? 'Root' is a term that comes from the Linux operating system world and refers to an account that has 'SuperUser' or administrator access. Have you ever used a computer that would not let you install software, or make a system change? You most likely did not have administrator rights.

Enter Android devices... These devices run on a Linux framework. From the manufacturer to the provider and then to you, your admin rights (or 'Root') have been disabled. This is not a mistake. It is by design, and most providers will say that it is there to prevent owners from making accidental changes to the phone that may render it useless. Some providers will also tell you that they will not support a rooted device. I have found this to be untrue in several instances.

Short story at any rate, your phone actually runs on a version of Linux. The 'Admin' user on Linux, is 'Root', and root has been disabled for your use by the manufacturer and your provider. Make sense?

If you are still with me, then read on...

Should I Root My Device?

Rooting your Android device is something that alot of people really aren't sure that they should do and don't know what the gains are. This is a topic that spans several areas of the operating system so the answer will vary depending on what you see as useful. Worst case scenario, you will find none of it usefull and not root your device.

Some of the things that can be accomplished by rooting your device are as follows:

  • Themeing the device to suit your tastes
  • Installing third party wireless tethering apps to create a wireless mobile hotspot
  • Tweaking memory and graphics settings
  • Overclocking the processor to make it run faster
  • Installing apps that were not intended for your device (many of these work)
  • Installing custom ROMs cooked up by the development community
  • Gaining access to system setings that are locked out by the manufacturer and provider
  • Ability to make custom backups of your apps plus settings to your SD card or Dropbox account
  • Ability to use many of the Market Apps that say 'For Root Users Only!'

While not all of these may apply to you, or maybe none of them do, hopefully it will help you to make your decision either way. I chose to Root my device and have been happier with it than it was stock.

How to Get Device Specific Root Information

If you are intrigued by the ability to Root your Android device, but would like to do more research before diving in, there is a wealth of information around the web to assist you on your journey. In fact, I highly recommend reading up as much as possible before making your decision. Two sources that I highly recommend are: - This site is where I started with my first Android phone. It has forums for about every model of Android device on the market. There are forums for Rooting, custom ROMs, tweaks, mods etc...While some of these have limited community support, many do. - This is another great site for information on Rooting, custom ROMS, tweaks, mods etc... I have recently moved my focus to this site as many developers call this their home. Definitely worth a look.

If nothing else, the above websites will give you a much deeper understanding of what your Android device can really do provided you read and ask questions. Most of the time, you will find the answer you are looking for quite quickly.

I hope that you have found this hub to be useful in some sense. Thank you for stopping by!!!


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