Why You Should (Not) Root Your Android Phone

You bought your new Android smartphone. You played with it. Explored the features. Read forum posts that you can find online. And your friends kept on telling you to root your Android.

So what does it mean to root your Android smartphone? Should you even do it? What are the advantages and disadvantages of rooting your new phone?

In this short (hopefully) post, I'm going to list down the advantages and disadvantages of rooting your Android, to help you decide if you should even bother with it.

So what is rooting anyway? It simply means to gain access to the be-all, end-all user account on your Android which is 'root'. Android is based on GNU/Linux which have a 'root' user that has all the access to the operating system. If you are familiar jailbraking, then that's very similar if not exactly the same.

When you buy a new Android phone, you do not have any root access. Thus there are limited things you can do with your new smartphone. Which is fine and intentional. It is by-design, and has been the case with Linux. The reason is simple: security.

Security from unauthorize applications accessing your OS. Security from accidental changes. Security from viruses, trojans, malwares, that changes files and settings on your machine without you knowing it. This is the OS that Android grew out of. That's your smartphone now.

So when you root your Android phone, you are opening yourself to a whole new world. You will gain access to the operating system. Make changes. Do things the manufacturer, and Android itself, did not design for you - ordinary user - to do.

The Disadvantages of Not Rooting Your Android

Here are the disadvantages of not rooting your android:

  • Limited to what you can do
  • You can not install apps that you probably want or need
  • You'll more likely reach the point of having not enough memory
  • No way to optimize your phone
  • You can not install custom mods which usually are better than the default/stock rom that your phone comes with

The Advantages of Not Rooting Your Android

If there is a disadvantage, there is an advantage right?

  • You are safe from doing changes that you should not do
  • You are safe from installing apps that are questionable or does more than advertised
  • Your warranty stays intact (depending on where you are and where you bought your unit, most of time your warranty is void once you root your phone)

The Disadvantages of Rooting Your Android

Now let's see the disadvantages of rooting your android.

  • Your warranty is void in most countries and stores
  • You need to be careful of what you download, and make sure you only provide root/superuser access to trusted applications
  • You may change something that on your next boot will make your phone buggy or unusable

And I hope I did not scare you.

The Advantages of Rooting Your Android

Plenty! I'll only mention a few, most important, and convincing reasons.

  • You can do whatever you want! Yeah!
  • You can install apps that can help you optimize your phone - which mostly requires root/superuser access
  • You can download apps that will help you manage your phone's RAM
  • You can use applications that will allow you to move apps, cache files, and libraries from your phone's internal memory to your SD card - avoiding seeing that dreaded "not enough memory" warning
  • You can install aftermarket firmware like CyanogenMod and MIUI (pronunced as Me-You-I), which usually provides a better Android experience
  • Backup your downloaded apps, so you don't have to search and redownload again
  • Use themes
  • Change boot images. You know, that manufacturer logo that comes up everytime you (re)start your phone.
  • Uninstall/Freeze useless stock applications that the manufacturer as well as your mobile operator adds.
  • Restore your phone! Since you can backup your whole phone, you can also restore it. Saving you from starting all over again.

That's just the beginning. Of course, "with great power comes great responsibility". Giving yourself root/superuser access is again dangerous if you are not careful and you have no idea what you are doing or installing. You are basically on your own. If you bricked it, don't expect much of returning it to its working condition. More likely than not, it's a goner.

Have you decided? It is up to you if you want to root or not. Don't let anyone, not even your closest and most trusted of friends and relatives to decide for you. It is your phone. It was your hard earned money that bought that phone. You should be the one deciding if you will jump the bandwagon and join us, or stay and be left behind.

Think about it. Read. Ask around. Decide for yourself.

Go back to: myAndroid Hub

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