How and why would you root an Android phone?

Debbie July 17, 2011

I understand what rooting a phone means, but I cannot find your guide to doing it. Do people root their phones primarily to get rid of the crap the manufacturers put on it that wastes the memory?

  1. Kulatunge Sasanka1994
    January 22, 2012 at 6:13 am

    what are the side effects of rooting a phone?

  2. Chaya Cooper
    October 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I'm somewhat of an Android-Newbie so I know this is probably a pretty basic question, but will rooting my Samsung Galaxy S phone allow me to upgrade now from Froyo to Ice Cream Sandwich?

    Since it doesn't look like phones operating on 2.2 (Froyo) will be receiving the upgrade I want to do it myself if at all possible. I've been counting down the days until 4.0's release, and only now discovered that I had been mistakenly informed by the TMobile salesperson who told me that upgrades happen automatically :-(

  3. Rodrigo
    July 19, 2011 at 3:31 am

    Hi there, Debbie.

    Actually, you got half the answer right. Getting rid of all the useless apps the manufacturer ships with the phone is just a side benefit of rooting your android phone.

    The main benefit of rooting an android phone is to get administrative privileges on the system, which some apps rely on to work, like some backup solutions, app managers and the like.

    However this privileges also let you do some pretty dangerous things to your phone, and if you root it without knowing what you are doing, you can even physically damage your phone, for example, by means of excessively overclocking the processor.

    As for the MakeUseOf Article, there you go:


    Hope this helps.

    • James Bruce
      July 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      So minus the fanboy comment, my answer was in fact 100% correct. 

      • Christine
        July 24, 2011 at 3:41 am

        Nice attempt at saving face.

      • Nathanmg
        August 1, 2011 at 11:05 am

        Except no, you CAN "hack" your phone to upgrade your OS AHEAD of official releases (or to install CUSTOM OS), but the regular upgrade route doesn't involve "hacking" at all.

        You're comparing Android to iPhone when really you need to compare Android to iOS, just because the phones come with restriction imposed by their manufacturer doesn't mean Android itself isn't open source. You are well within your rights to make your own phone and install your own modified version of Android, that's not the case for iOS.

        What you need to realise is that open source means a hell of a lot more for developers than it does regular end users in these cases; you're not purchasing Android, you're purchasing a phone which happens to use Android.

        You should also look at bootloaders, most companies are more than happy for you to unlock them (and root your phone) but voids your warranty because your average end user would be likely to screw something up, I don't know if that's also the case for the iPhone but I would imagine it's not.

        Rooting a phone for the sole purpose of getting the latest OS ahead of an official release from your carrier is almost a waste of a rooted phone.

  4. James Bruce
    July 18, 2011 at 7:20 am

    As far as I'm aware, people root their android phones primarily in order to be able to upgrade them to the latest version when their carrier is behind in their own releases. Because you know, Android is so much more open that iPhone, that you literally have to hack it in order to upgrade your OS. Jus' saying ;)

    • Rodrigo
      July 19, 2011 at 3:31 am

      Please, man, your fanboyism is really getting annoying. If you can't add
      something constructive to a question, please, say nothing. You say
      android is not open because you need to hack it to upgrade. Well, that's
      wrong. The OS itself is ready to be upgraded whenever you wish, but
      some manufacturers (and not the carriers) make modifications on the
      system (it's Open Source, so there's nothing wrong with it), to add
      features they believe will be a selling point for their devices. Thus,
      if you want to upgrade your phone, you need to wait the manufacturer
      (htc, sony, and so on) to release the modified upgrade. In the exact
      same way you need to wait Apple release an iOS upgrade to install it in
      your phone.

      The only situation where you need to root the phone to upgrade is when
      your device is not going to recieve any further upgrades from the
      manufacturer. This can happen either because of hardware
      incompatibilities of lower-end devices, of because the manufacturer is
      simply dropping support for that specific model. But if you go ahead and
      install a newer android version on an "unsupported" handset, it may
      present some bugs, like the camera not working properly, but overall the
      system works. Now try to install the latest iOS on the first generation
      Iphone, from 2007. The official upgrade simply won't install and you
      have to hack your Iphone to install a custom ROM.

    • Christine
      July 24, 2011 at 3:39 am

      Actually no. It's primarily geeks making the ROM's for geeks because they can do it so easily. It accelerates the whole dev process. Iphone = expensive sheephone. Just sayin'

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