Rooting a smartphone, if you are a Android smartphone owner you may have come across the term rooting.
If you have not for the benefit of all readers let me say it in most crude form – Rooting opening access to core system files of your smartphone and enables the flashing of a custom rom on your Android smartphone. A custom rom is developed by Android developers and is free to download and flash. There are 100’s of custom Roms available on XDA developers.
Depending upon your Smartphone model, you can check the thread in XDA developers website and download and flash a custom rom. We have established what is a custom Rom and How you can get it from XDA for your smartphone. Now let’s move to the important Question Should I Root My Android Smartphone?
Major Pros of Rooting a Smartphone:
Makes your smartphone software refresh , a new look and feel from the same monotonous OS you have been using. Suppose you have a Samsung Galaxy S3 and you are still stuck with Jelly Bean OS, but want to try out Android Kitkat or Android Lollipop. Samsung may roll out the Kitkat update or Lollipop update on your device later on may take months.
But you have already used the smartphones for long and now want different usage interface, icons, themes and functions which OS update can provide. You head over to XDA developer and check out the custom ROM, look at the UI and features of different custom ROMS and download the one you think is best for you.
Read the chat threads and look for PROS and CONS of the custom ROM to decide if it stable, are there any bugs, battery life and look and feel. Is it by a new developer or by a professional developer like Cyanogen, Sale or SlimKat, Paranoid Android to name afew.
Custom ROMS help you upgrade from Legacy OS to a more latest OS, the latest OS brings in more new features and support for Apps. For e.g Android Lollipop brought notifications on lock screen which was not there in Android Kitkat. Android Kitkat brought hangouts to the Android Jelly bean in the initial days. New features and app are great to explore and enhance your experience.
8 Major Reasons Why You Should Root Your Smartphone
1) Remove Bloatware – Many smartphone companies bundle software with the smartphones, like a music player or reader or Camera App or wallpaper changer, list is endless. Most of the Apps you may not be using but still as it is part of CORE OS Apps they keep using RAM and CPU and storage space. Custom ROMs are times really lite and offer pure android experience. Which can help you reduce RAM usage and remove bloat from the smartphone.
2) Custom ROM bring lot of Customization – You can boost Sound – Use ViperX with a custom ROM and can make your smartphone sound incredibly better. Most Android smartphone’s sound quality suck compared to Apple, HTC being an exception. You will love the beats and thumps after installing the software engine like ViperX.
3) Exposed Module – You want to tinker the minute settings of your smartphone add up more functionalities to the device, exposed module do it all.
4) Apps Like Nandoid back Up Work with Rooted Smartphones – Certain Apps like Nandroid backup, TWRP and CWM(clock work Mod) works on the rooted smartphone, allows you to take full back up of all your data and settings and OS. It is either way necessary to take back up before trying a new custom ROM.
5) Special APPS like some of Battery Saver and Greenify a great app to restrict processes like Facebook, Whatsapp and others to consume smartphone resources works fully with the rooted smartphone.
6) Free up the internal storage on your smartphone, with root access you have right to remove any app that is installed on your smartphone and free up system space.
7) Tasker – Apps like tasker can work wonders on the rooted smartphone, you can overclock, underclock your smartphone processor, change resolution and size of visible icons and lot more, schedule tasks and toggles on the smartphone with ease.
8) Block IN APP ADS – Using apps which are destroying your smartphone experience
The most important advantage is you will learn a lot and have lots of fun with the same smartphone. You can get HTC or Samsung S5 or Note 4 or a google nexus 5 like look and feel. So it is unlimited Fun.
That is a long list and reasons for you to root your Android Smartphone. Let’s look at some of the cons of rooting the smartphone.
10 Major Reasons You Should not Root Your Smartphone
1) Bugs – Custom ROMS can offer many new options and features but at the same time increase number of bugs and make the user experience go south. While I was using Samsung Galaxy S2 few years back I rooted the smartphone and installed a custom rom.
2) Immature Developers – Most custom ROM developers are rookie and some of the features work and others create more bugs, even official ROMS released by smartphone manufactures at time have bugs, it is very difficult to create daily driver ROMS with everything working for a single developer, it is a herculean task and may take many iterations.Bugs are removed in subsequent builds and slowly the custom ROMS mature. Meanwhile you will waste lot of time and effort to set everything right and make every app work properly.
3) Time Waste – It is a very time consuming process as it takes time first to search for a good ROM, then download it , take backup, flash new rom , restore your apps and settings and then try the new ROM.
4) Battery Life – can go for a toss using a custom ROM, your smartphone manufacturer have done lot of work to deliver best possible experience.
5) Risk of bricking the smartphone if you do things wrong. All of us are not coders and don’t follow the instructions too well, have seen lot of guys flash Kernels and ROMS and not take proper backup and sometimes flash broken files or do other kind of mess up and after days of experimenting they hard brick the smartphone. Do you wish that to happen to your new smartphone?
6) Void Warranty – The biggest issue for me is to void the warranty , when you root the smartphone and flash custom ROM you will lose the warranty. Certainly that risk should be avoided till you use the smartphone for 1 year and once warranty is void and you have used the stock version for long you can experiment.
7) Addiction – It can be addicting – really addicting. I flashed like 20 ROMS in 2 months to find out which suits my needs best and ultimately was more dissatisfied and decided to buy a better smartphone as the S2 always felt slow with Android Kitkat while ice cream sandwich stock used to work well on it.
8) Loss of Data – You are a business professional or working and have lot of office information, contacts important SMS and notes on your smartphone,you would like a stable smartphone, don’t want your boss shouting on you for that particular note you took in an old meeting and is now gone as you forgot to take back up of that APP. – Yes happens a lot.
9) Optimization by Professionals – The Stock Android ROMS on most smartphones are best optimized by lot of smart guys(software engineers) who are paid loads of money by smartphone manufacturers. Those are the people who probably know the most about that smartphone model most in the world. It is good to trust them compared to unknown rookie developer.
10) Stability – Stock ROMS are rock solid and stable with least number of bugs and you will get the manufacturer rolled out updates for your smartphone to ensure maximum security and reliability.
These are very strong reasons for not Rooting your smartphone. Now you have gone through the major pros and cons of rooting and flashing custom ROM.
Concluding Thoughts : Should I Root My Android Smartphone or Not.
You are the best judge of what you want from the smartphone if flashing new ROMS excite you go ahead and do it, but if you need more stability and don’t want to get into an endless loop of flashing, stay on stock version.
Believe me flashing ROM’s is like Lays Chips “ No one can flash Just One” you will flash many; once you root and start flashing. At some point of time will lose some data and void warranty as well if you do something wrong.
If you ask me what I will do, I will try flashing custom ROMS on a 1 year old smartphone, whose warranty is already void. Will have some fun but at the same time keep utmost care to take back ups and keep things safe. Read instructions and do double backups to keep the data safe.
If I am working and have limited time I will not mess up the device which is utmost needed in Job. If it is a Google Nexus or Motorola device and and I am already on Android Lollipop or in future on Android M or whatever the latest version is; I will enjoy the stability without rooting the smartphone.
If you are an enthusiast and want to experiment with your Nexus or any other device which has huge backing of developer community I wish you best of luck to Happy Rooting and Flashing.