Technology Other News 19 Jan 2017 Should you (or shoul ...

Should you (or should you not) root your Android smartphone

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | KRISHNA MAKWANA
Published Jan 19, 2017, 12:32 pm IST
Updated Jan 20, 2017, 6:26 pm IST
This article outlines what exactly rooting means, what are the benefits and risks involved and is it really worth rooting your Android.
Rooting means you have root access to your device—that is, it can run the sudo command, and has enhanced privileges allowing it to run apps like Wireless Tether or SetCPU. (Image: Pixabay)
 Rooting means you have root access to your device—that is, it can run the sudo command, and has enhanced privileges allowing it to run apps like Wireless Tether or SetCPU. (Image: Pixabay)

Most Android users prefer having access to more features and abilities in their smartphones. While some wait for an official update to arrive, others simply prefer indulging in a procedure called ‘Rooting.’ If you’ve done any web surfing on this topic, you may have come across a bunch of terms such as rooting, bricking, side-loading, etc, that can be fairly confusing. This article outlines what exactly rooting means, what are the benefits and risks involved, and is it really worth going ahead with the decision of rooting your Android device.

First off, what does rooting mean exactly?

 

Most Android users prefer having access to more features and abilities in their smartphones. While some wait for an official update to arrive, others simply prefer indulging in a procedure called ‘Rooting.’ If you’ve done any web surfing on this topic, you may have come across a bunch of terms such as rooting, bricking, side-loading, etc, that can be fairly confusing. This article outlines what exactly rooting means, what are the benefits and risks involved, and is it really worth going ahead with the decision of rooting your Android device.

 

Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google, based on the Linux kernel and designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. (Image: Pixabay)Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google, based on the Linux kernel and designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. (Image: Pixabay)

When you ‘root’ an Android smartphone, it means that you gain administrative access to these disabled features and other additional benefits. Rooting is rewarding as it allows users to overcome a lot of limitations. They can gain access to features that they can’t use otherwise.

Users can avail features such as:

- Wireless tethering

 

- Third-party app installation without permissions

- Remove unwanted apps/bloatware pre-installed with the OS

- Gain extended battery life

- Add performance

- Install updates to the tweaked versions of Android ROMS

and a lot more.

Is risking your mobile security worth it? You decide

There are significant risks involved in the procedure of rooting an Android device (Image: Pixabay)There are significant risks involved in the procedure of rooting an Android device (Image: Pixabay)

Security

There are significant risks involved in the procedure of rooting an Android device. When you are rooting your smartphone, you stand a huge possibility of ‘bricking’ your device. The term bricking means when your phone is software dead and cannot boot/start. This issue is not as big, and it can be resolved with a little research and technique. However, there is no surety.

 

Say goodbye to your warranty

Unlocking your smartphone’s software will void all warranty. There are chances of unrooting your device and taking it for service; however, there are devices that have a digital “switch” that flips when you unlock your smartphone, which makes it impossible for you to get warranty.

Added security risks

Rooting a smartphone is technically achieved by exploiting a security door put by the manufacturer. It opens this door for special benefits as well as unwanted access, data leaks, digital theft, hardware failure and so on. An Android expert, CyanogenMod founder, Steve Kondik agrees that rooting Android can severely compromise the security of the Operating system.

 

Rooting is not as easy as it used to be

Experienced Android users may find rooting their smartphones pretty simple. It is a whole new ball game for beginners, as rooting an Android does not come with any simple, straightforward procedures. Moreover, users need to have blind faith in the third-party developer tools responsible for root and hope that there is no backdoor pre-built within.

Performance problems

While the intention for rooting is enhanced performance and features, several users have found that their phones have lost both performance speed and features. Make sure you are ready for this too.

 

Say hi to viruses

Worms, viruses, spyware and Trojans can easily infect rooted Androids, as the smartphone does not contain security restrictions to the OS. This can take place in a number of ways including drive-by downloads, through malicious links, through downloaded, infected apps.

Bottom line – is it worth it?

There’s no good answer on this. It’s subjective — as for one user, rooting basically means adding an extra app to improve device performance, but for the other it would mean flashing an entirely new OS (ROM) and applying endless customisations and tweaks. Others may end up with a bricked device. Good things come at a price, and thus, it is up to you to decide whether the risks outweigh the benefits.

 

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