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Phone Rooting: What Is It and Should It Be Done? Phone Rooting: What Is It and Should It Be Done?

Phone Rooting: What Is It and Should It Be Done?

AndroidTips and Tricks Pat Stanley

Cell phones offer similar functions and uses, but manufacturers tend to incorporate unique features, aiming for their brands to stand out. Android... Phone Rooting: What Is It and Should It Be Done?

Cell phones offer similar functions and uses, but manufacturers tend to incorporate unique features, aiming for their brands to stand out. Android phones, per se, utilize the same operating systems but their hardware and software are designed differently. 

Cell phones are pre-designed and pre-structured. Meaning, once a user purchases one, the phone is set to its default settings and interface. While convenient for most, some prefer customizing and personalizing theirs.


Phone Rooting: What Is It? 

When you purchase a phone, tablet, or any similar electronic gadgets, it’s set to a default user. This ordinary user or ID is programmed to have access to certain settings only, letting the manufacturer’s default systems remain in-control. 

There are several types of users, some devices even use different terms, but the root is the universal name of the user who has complete control of the software and the device’s system files. The root, also regarded as the superuser, has all the rights, permissions, and accesses. 

Hence, phone rooting means unlocking the superuser of a certain cell phone. This is the process used to attain privileged control over the device’s various subsystems. 

Though usually interchanged, rooting is different from jailbreaking. Rooting your Android phone means activating the superuser to gain an elevated level of administrative privileges. Jailbreaking your iOS device, on the other hand, means ultimately bypassing Apple’s several prohibitions for its end users. Jailbreaking includes unlocking the bootloader to modify the OS, sideloading apps to install unofficially approved ones, as well as activating the root to have broader access and rights. To put it simply, rooting is for Android OS while jailbreaking is for Apple iOS. In terms of concept and coverage, rooting is just an aspect of jailbreaking. 


Phone Rooting: Why It Should Be Done? 

Some people purchase a cell phone mainly because they like its hardware. They then resort to phone rooting to further customize or personalize their device. Other users choose to root their phones to overcome limitations and gain additional access. This process applies to any phone – from the Google Pixel to Motorola to Samsung. It’s meant to provide users the access and settings that best suit their wants and needs. 

In most cases, users opt for phone rooting to do anything they like on their device. If you’re one of the users who find any or all of the below reasons valid, then you might want to consider rooting your phone. 

    • Replace the existing operating system and all software updates. 
    • Alter the built-in system applications. 
    • Run specialized apps and commands. 
    • Create and flash a custom-fit interface. 
    • Download unsupported themes and install unapproved apps. 
    • Take full control of the kernel that’s responsible for overclocking or underclocking the CPU/ GPU. 
    • Have the ability to batch-edit applications, as well as to back-up or restore apps’ data. 
    • Remove pre-installed bloatware and unnecessary software programs. 
    • Install a custom firmware or custom ROM
    • Install software that allows additional levels of control on a rooted Android device. 
    • Install additional internet servers. 
    • Fix existing services that don’t meet the user’s standards. 


Phone Rooting: Why It Shouldn’t Be Done

The first thing you have to remember is that when you root your Android device, you void your warranty. The moment you bypass the manufacturer’s default systems and settings, you disregard all-inclusive perks and benefits. 

Additionally, you have to be wary of certain laws and legalities. Though the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of the United States includes exemptions of non-copyright-infringements of certain processes such as phone rooting, be sure to not abuse this right. Be mindful of any other federal cyber laws or state laws that might cost you legal ramifications. 

While rooting your device grants you a different level of freedom, it does burden you with additional responsibilities. It puts you in charge of your device’s privacy and security – this could be both liberating and risky. Putting into your own hands the custom recovery and back-up of applications and data means you’re taking full responsibility for any potential security risks

Moreover, cell phones are pre-installed with systems and software that are well-thought-out, taking into consideration the hardware and accessories used. Hence, altering or replacing the operating system and the software updates might affect the phone’s hardware and functionalities such as its battery life and touch-response time.


Phone Rooting: How Is It Done? 

There are various rooting methods available, depending on the brand and model of the phone. You also have to consider the Android version running on the phone you wish to be rooted. While most manufacturing companies allow replacement and alteration of their pre-installed systems and software, you have to be cautious in choosing which rooting process is the most suitable. 

Usually, to start the rooting process, you’ll need to first bypass or unlock the bootloader – a software that loads before anything else to validate all other software’s authenticity. As a security measure, all data on the device is wiped out as soon as the bootloader is bypassed or unlocked. so, be sure to properly back-up everything before starting any rooting process.

Command Prompt/Android Debug Bridge (ADB) 

You’ll first need to download and install the Android SDK or download the fastboot.exe file and place it in SDK platform tools. After turning on USB debugging in the Developer Options, you can then plug your phone into your PC where you’ll root via command prompt. Needed commands usually include ADB devices, ADB reboot bootloader, fastboot OEM unlock, and fastboot flash recovery twrp.img.

The commands are relayed from your computer to your phone using the so-called Android Debug Bridge (ADB), a command line tool. ADB is used to communicate with any electronic device running the Android operating system.

Device Vulnerabilities 

Exploitation is the most common method used in rooting Android devices. The process starts with locating system vulnerabilities or firmware security bugs. Once an exploit is discovered, a custom recovery image can then be flashed. This is meant to skip the digital signature check of firmware updates. Then, a modified firmware, including utilities needed to run apps as root, can be installed. 

Third-Party Programs

The easiest way to root a device is via third-party programs. This process is also called systemless rooting. After downloading and installing the software of your choice, rooting your phone will then be just a few clicks away. These programs usually come with detailed and easy-to-follow on-screen instructions. 

Whatever your reasons may be for rooting your phone, always proceed with caution. Thoroughly consider all possible consequences and weigh the pros and cons. While there’s also a process for unrooting, you wouldn’t want to end up ruining your device.

Pat Stanley

Cell phone spy software enthusiast and researcher. With over 8 years in the business I can offer the most comprehensive analysis and recommendations for virtually any program on the market. Learn more about Pat Stanley.