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Root Android Or Not?

Updated on December 22, 2013
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Well this would be the question in the minds of millions and millions of people around the globe having an unrooted android device. Certainly so, it is a million dollar question whether to root your device or not.

After reading many articles on this topic I came to the conclusion that the answer to this question is ambiguous, as it depends from person to person. The rooting method differs from device to device. Well I'm not here to discuss on how to root your device but on whether to root your device or not. So, first of all let’s look at what really rooting is.

Rooting: A process to gain root access of your device. Now again a question arises, what is root access? Well root access is nothing but administrator rights provided to the user to alter with system files. Well now you would think what am I going to do with these rights as I'm not a developer who would understand the system files and how would I alter/manipulate them for my benefit. The answer to that is very simple; there are thousands and thousands of apps on the play store which could use the root access and transform your device into a beast. The apps are very straight forward and they don't require the brain of Einstein to know what they are meant for.

Now as every coin has two sides, let’s have a look on both the good and the bad side of rooting. As I prefer happy ending, I would start with the bad points first.

Cons/Negatives/Disadvantages of rooting

1) Lose Warranty: The thing you definitely lose after rooting is your warranty/guarantee. The device maker clearly state in their warranties and guarantees that you are not allowed to alter with the system/device operating system under any circumstances and doing so will void your warranty/guarantee.

So that was the first downside of rooting that you will void your warranty meaning that if while rooting you brick(discussed later) your phone you will be charged a handsome amount for repairing your device. Well you will get your phone back to normal but with a lighter pocket.

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2) Soft Bricking: This is one of the worst thing that could ever happen to your phone. Soft bricking means that the device is not booting(Starting) or its stuck in a boot loop(restarting several times) this happens if you don't follow the instructions properly on how to flash a rom(it’s the most common way of bricking phone, rom is a custom firmware or operating system which is flashed or installed on your device). Another way is if you flash rom of another device on yours, which is very stupid indeed. Adding to that a poorly coded rom can also cause the same. Each and every rom is made for a specific device and will only function on that device. Chances are extremely rare that a rom of other phone runs on yours with a similar hardware (well I myself don't even know if this happened but it could happen if the hardware is same even though the phone comes from a different device maker).

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3) Hard bricking: This happens in extreme cases that you could damage your phone hardware with rooted operating system. This could happen if you overclocked your device (discussed later) beyond its limit and it got overheated and then stopped working or the hardware gets damaged because of mismatched drivers that came with your rom. Now you could see why the term bricking is used because in both cases as your phone becomes as useless as a brick.

Soft bricking is very easy to undo for certain devices and there are zillions of guide on how to unbrick your device while on the other hand hard bricking requires change in hardware which will cost you a heavy amount, which you will never want.

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4) Malware/Spyware: Installing apps with root access that might hack your precious data including your account details ant it can cost you dearly by sending sms and calls to other numbers without your notice, etc. These days a lot of fake apps can be seen which would require root access to work and promise a lot of things but instead are malware or spyware. It is hence advised to only install apps from the play store or from sources you trust.

Okay, now that we dealt with the bad stuff, let’s move towards happy ending. If I forgot some negative points please do post in the comment box.

Pros/Positives/Advantages of rooting

1) Complete access to system files: The ultimate power of accessing any file on your system which was discussed earlier. You could do anything you want with your android (within the limits, of course!) Although you cannot become a superman or a spider man or even a batman but you would certainly become a super user. Well super user is an app which is installed automatically when you root your device. This app manages the root rights of other root apps on the device. The aforesaid power allows you to delete (uninstall) all the unwanted bloatware that came pre-installed and is eating your precious internal memory. You could also delete unwanted ringtones, wallpapers, etc.

2) Flashing any custom Rom: Although rom is not a dish but you can taste it and cook it in kitchen. Didn’t get what I meant, our friends at XDA forums work day and night cooking (making) roms in the kitchen (a software for making roms is called dsixda kitchen). You could taste (try) any rom which is made for your device by flashing in clockworkmod or any other preferred recovery. Clockworkmod recovery is one of the most preferred recoveries for flashing roms. The roms come with plenty of tweaks, custom user interface and bug fixes if any. The roms are cooked for legacy devices also (device whose support has been stopped by the manufacturers). Which means if you are stuck on Ice Cream Sandwich with your manufacturer, there are chances that you could find a custom rom for your device running on latest android version Jelly Bean.

3) The power to customize: Well I don’t want this article to become a journal hence, I’m not going to go into the details of the tons and tons of customization you could do after rooting. A few examples could include that you can change the function of a hard key, which means your search button can act as back button and vice versa. I chose this example to just let you estimate the degree of customisation you can attain on a rooted device. You could also add tweaks to your user interface like customising the notification bar with tools for quick access and much more features that your rom supports. With root access you could truly transform your phone into an eye candy.

4) You can use root apps: This is one of the main reason to root as you can access a wide variety of root apps by having root access on your phone. The apps could do anything from making app backups to overclock or undervolt your processor (overclocking is a nice thing to have in your kitty if you have a single core processor or a low end dual core processor, overclocking high ends phones doesn’t add to performance but could improve benchmark scores). You could also capture screenshots and record videos of the same if you have root access. If you keep changing roms you could also make full system backups which you could use in future.

Now that I’ve pointed four advantages and four disadvantages about root access; the ball is in your court to decide whether you should root or not.

Any suggestions or feedbacks are most welcome. Have a nice day.

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