Rooting your Android Device sounds a daunting task – is it worth it?
First things first, be under no illusions that this will invalidate your warranty, and neither myself or anyone else on RGT are responsible if you do go ahead and decide to root your device.
With that over and done with, what exactly does ‘rooting’ mean? The phrase is taken from Linux, where the root user (think of them as Administrators in a WIndows Desktop enviroment) has full permissions to read, write and access any and all folders on the device. Normally, when you buy a phone (and I use phone as an example, it can be a tablet device also) you’ll only be given access down to a certain ‘level’ on the folder structure. This means that you are left unable to modify the system files and folders, and flash your own custom roms.
If you’ve bought your device from a cell phone provider, there’s a very good chance it’s full of tons of applications that you’re never going to use, (so called ‘bloatware’). These applications do everything from taking valuable space on your phone, slowing it down (using up RAM / CPU cycles), to being annoying extra icons. One way around the icons things is to make a folder (before I got around to rooting my device, I’d created an appropriately named folder ‘junk’ to hide these away in. Also, for some things such as the S Galaxy 2, double pressing the phones middle button brings up the voice command. Rooting your device allows you to either uninstall this, or simply ‘freeze’ the application so it’s unable to function and launch.
Good applications for a rooted Android device:
These applications are handy applications (they’re all free too) for once you’ve gotten your phone rooted.
Root Check Basic – making sure your Android device has been properly rooted
Does pretty much what it says on the tin – it’s functionality is purely to tell you if your Android device has been successfully rooted. Simple enough to use, and the check takes but a few seconds.
Solid Explorer – Explore the Android OS’ root and system files
There are a number of different file explorers for rooted android, and I’m quite partial to this one. It is currently in Beta, but even so it has a ton of functionality, including multiple panes, copy, delete, paste and the other essentials you’d expect, but perhaps the most important is the ability to delve deeply into your OS files. This allows you do complicated options like installing custom themes, to simpler things such as saving your current wallpaper that you’re using if you fancy a chance but don’t want to delete the current one.
App Quarantine – stop annoying applications such as Voice Command running
on your phone
If you’re unfamiliar with the principle, think of it how a virus is ‘locked down’ on your PC with your Antivirus software. This will freeze the functionality of an application without you uninstalling it. This does require USB debugging to be enabled while you’re performing the deed, but after you’ve quarantined the application you can disable the debugging and the effect will still be in place. Most importantly, this is totally reverse able. It’s great for applications on say the Galaxy with the Voice Command (which I personally hated).
Android CPU Tuning Software – increase speed of your Android or increase battery life
This allows 2 functions really, the first is overclocking the CPU inside your Android (obviously this will increase the heat from the CPU and of course the voltage it gobbles up) and finally, allows you to lower the clock speed. Why the hell would you wish to do that? Well, if you’re only going to be placing a few phone calls, and leaving the phone mostly locked, this is a great way to make the battery last a lot longer. Which is of course excellent if you’re going to be away from your trusty charger for a day or two.
Root Uninstaller – removing the annoying blostware on you device
A simple enough application, unlike the android’s usual uninstaller that allows you to remove things you personally download, such as say Whatsap, but cringes the moment you tell it to remove something that came with your phone by default, Root Uninstaller happily allows you to remove anything and everything on your device. Just be careful – you can accidentally remove something fairly vital to your phones health.
This concludes the first part of my look at applications, in the next part we’ll delve into the back ups applications that are exclusive to rooted devices, adblocking software and ways to customize your device!