From the beginning of time, Android users have always been interested in getting root access of their device. Is it worth it though?
In the early days of Android, it was easier to root your device by just installing a couple apps. With advancements in Android, the process has however gotten harder and riskier.
What are the advantages of rooting?
Gaining root access on Android is akin to running Windows as an administrator. You have full access to the system directory and can make changes to the way the OS operates.
With root access, you can delete system apps that come with the phone. Ad-blocking software on Android needs root access as well (it modifies the Android hosts file to block known ad servers).
Root access also ensures you’ll never lose anything again. Not only can you restore “deleted” files, you can make full backups of your apps and system.
Once you’re rooted not only can you get more apps, but the apps you have access to can get way down deeper into your phone’s brains. In some cases you’ll be able to do things that carriers, manufacturers, and/or Google may not want you to do.
Beyond just customizing your phone’s existing features, rooting helps you pile on all kinds of wonderful new weirdness. You’ll love it.
Want to hook up your PlayStation controller to your phone for better gaming? You can. Want to set rules for callers to decide who can and can’t call you when? Why not. Maybe your carrier has blocked certain apps, or an app isn’t available for the country you live in? There are Market Enabler apps that trick your phone (and Google) into thinking it’s on another carrier or in a far off land.
Nervous about connecting to the public Wi-Fi? Wifi Protector will keep you safe from all kinds of ARP, DOS, and MITM attacks. Or, you could put the new Android 4.2 camera on your non-Jellybean phone. Accidentally deleted something you wish you hadn’t? Undelete might just save your bacon. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
What are the disadvantages of rooting?
The security model of Android is also compromised to a certain degree as root apps have much more access to your system. Malware on a rooted phone can access a lot of data.
Google does not officially support rooted devices. There’s even an API called SafetyNet that apps can call on to make sure a device has not been tampered with or compromised by hackers. A number of apps that handle sensitive data will do this check and refuse to run on rooted devices.
Root methods are sometimes messy and dangerous in their own right. You might brick your device simply trying to root it, and you’ve probably (technically) voided your warranty doing so.
Also, with a rooted device, you can’t get new OTA updates for your OS, and will be stuck with that particular system till you get a new device.
Another issue with rooting comes with the required upkeep. A lot of third-party ROMS may require numerous manual updates to keep the device running properly. You also run the risk that mobile apps will not work with your particular configuration, because, in general, developers are testing their apps with stable builds of Android.