Rooting Your Phone – Tangible Benefits and Risk

Android

So this is another tech piece that I want to put out there for anyone that was interested in taking stuff apart and putting it together in new ways. But what about taking apart your phone? I mean most people spend upwards of $400-$700 on their mobile devices. Is it worth the risk to make changes to the phone that the manufacture inherently made locked from you? To quote Digital Trends, “Manufacturers and carriers have a vested interest in dissuading you from rooting. The act of rooting can be inherently dangerous. Even so, for the careful user, the risk is minimal, and the potential benefits are impressive… Some devices can be rooted in minutes. Others take a little research. One thing is clear: rooting your phone can be one of the best ways to tap into the deep potential of your Android device.” I should preface this by saying that I do not endorse or recommend this to anyone who has or wants to keep their warranty on their mobile device and if they don’t want to potentially brick their phone. That being said, What is Rooting and What are the Tangible Benefits and Risk associated with it?

Rooting in a nutshell is the jailbreaking equivalent for Android devices. Essentially rooting lets you take complete control of your operating system and customize it to your needs. For example I was able to recently root my phone and could solve my CPU overheating issue by lowering the max speed it could reach. My phone didn’t really become slower, instead the CPU couldn’t use all that unnecessary power and become overheated. Beyond things like this, rooting allows you to get around restrictions that the manufacturer or carrier you’re with may have applied to the phone before you got it. You can run more apps, overclock or underclock the processor, and even replace the native firmware. Lets get down the to the nitty gritty and look at some of the tangible benefits of rooting your phone.

The biggest benefit that most users find from rooting their phones is getting rid of all that bloatware that manufacturers and carriers install on the phones, that are otherwise impossible to install. You can set up the wireless tethering feature, even if it was disabled by default and can install special apps and custom ROMs which can add special features and streamline the phone in such a way that performance is increased. One of my personal favorite features since rooting my phone has been the manual app permissions. Now if I don’t want an app like Facebook to have access to my location, sim, pictures, phone number and ID, I can turn those off and deny it that information. There isn’t this huge list of must have apps that you can only get by rooting your phone, but there is enough to make it worthwhile. Some of the apps that you can find however will completely block advertisements, backup all of your apps and all of their data, create a secure tunnel to the internet and even make your phone a wireless hotspot. So to me, these are a bunch of things that I would root my phone over but what is the catch? Well the consequences of messing up the process of rooting your phone can leave you with a bricked piece of hardware.

The three biggest drawbacks of rooting your device is that you immediately void any warranty you had, not because of any fault of your own but the manufacturer and carriers will use it as an excuse to not cover you. However there are some ways around this problem. Another major drawback was mentioned earlier and that is bricking your phone. Whenever you tamper with hardware and software there is always a chance that you can mess up and this can lead you to breaking your device, the trick around this drawback is to follow instructions, written or in video form, very carefully and follow every step. Finally you can possible open your device up to security risk. Depending on the services or apps you use on your rooted device, you can create a security breach. For example Google refuses to support the Google Wallet service for rooted devices. I personally haven’t had Google apps or Google Wallet stop working for me since rooting my device but I can also say that I didn’t flash any new ROMs onto my device and just added a few apps for more features and control. If anything, you can always unroot your device and go back to how your phone was before you rooted it. This is the loophole around the warranty being voided and if you ever need to do a system update for your phone to a new OS.

I hope that this article on rooting was informative and gave some of our Apple users a peek through the looking glass on what it is like on the other side.

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