If you’re an Android aficionado, chances are you’ve tried to root your phone at some point. Rooting is a ‘hot’ discussion topic in many Android forums and opinions are usually split in the middle. Interestingly, both sides have some compelling points.
In this post, I don’t intend to tell you who is right or who is wrong between the two groups, neither am I going to show you how to root Android. Instead, I intend to provide a balanced summary of the benefits and potential drawbacks of rooting your Android device so that the final decisions rests squarely upon you.
But before we get there, let’s get some definitions out of the way.
What Does It Mean To Root Your Phone?
By now, you probably know that Android has won the hearts of millions of phone users around the world, particularly those who love open-source systems. The platform was created for both private and commercial use and like any other platform, some features have been restricted or completely disabled to prevent potential damage that the casual user may cause.
However, if an Android device is rooted, the user will have a lot more control of what they can do with their phone.
In essence, rooting is the removal of access restrictions to the privileged subsystem of the phone. It means ‘to get to the root of Android’.
So What Are The Potential Benefits?
It’s easy to understand why so many Android users are fanatic about rooting their phones.
- Firstly, rooting allows you to use some powerful apps that are normally restricted. For instance, the ‘Superuser’ app can only be used on a rooted device and it allows you to restrict access to the ‘root’ by the various apps on your phone.
Another popular benefit of rooting is that it allows you to use your phone as an Internet modern for your computer. In other words, your computer will use your phone’s data connection to access the Internet.
- Secondly, rooting allows for better memory management. Normally, all apps you download are stored on your phone’s main memory. However, if your phone is rooted, you can move installed apps to the SD card, thus freeing up much needed memory space on the phone.
- Perhaps the biggest advantage of rooting your Android phone is the ability to use custom ROMs. A custom ROM is a separate version of the operating system that makes your phone operate at a higher speed. Custom ROMs can also allow you to completely overhaul the look and feel of your phone. My guess is that this flexibility enabled by custom ROMs is the number one reasons why users root their phones.
That being said, you might want to think twice before rooting your phone. Here is why.
- Any warranty you hold for your Android device is immediately voided once you root your phone. That means you will not be able to take back your phone for service or any work based on the purchase warranty. You’re basically on your own.
- You also run the risk of turning your phone into a ‘brick’. In other words, you can basically kill your phone by rooting it.
- Some users end up with a poor performing device after rooting. Although one of the main purposes of rooting is to boost performance, some users have found that their phones have degraded performance after rooting.
- Finally, rooting may open up your phone to malware. Yes, even mobile devices can get malware. Due to its popularity, Android is now a major target for scammers and malware creators. Rooting may increase the risk of being compromised by malware.
So as you can see, rooting has its benefits, but you shouldn’t rush into that decision. Carefully weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision.