If you haven’t rooted an Android phone before, the thought of everything that can go wrong can be a little scary. That’s why it’s important to go into the process armed with as much knowledge as possible. What exactly is there to be afraid of when rooting a phone, and why would you want to root your phone if there are risks involved?
I’ll go through the good, the bad, and the precautions that should come with rooting your android device, so you can then decide for yourself if you want to give rooting a try.
Let’s start with the good stuff, what are the pros when it comes to rooting? You have a lot to gain, so I’ll start listing them here.
Getting rid of the bloat.
When you root your phone you can remove any apps that were pre-installed on your device. While you couldn’t have done this normally, now you can remove all of those bloated apps that did nothing take up space and slow down your device.
Memory is always precious, so the less taken up by useless software the better.
Installing apps that you can’t get otherwise.
There are a lot of third party apps out there you won’t find on the Google Play Store. These apps won’t work on your phone unless it’s rooted. Additionally, there are even some apps still in the Play Store that will only work properly with a rooted phone.
It doesn’t stop there, custom ROMs are all over the place just waiting to be taken advantage of with added functionality you would either never get in a first party app, or just builds upon an already existing app’s features.
If you aren’t sure what there is to get excited about when it comes to ROMs take a look at one of the more popular ones, CyanogenMod and some cool things it can do for your phone.
After rooting your phone the sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to installing new software. Your old software should be just fine as well, because you can still download and update apps through the Google Play Store even on a rooted device.
Speeding up or your device.
After rooting your device you can start either overclocking it, or underclocking it. When overclocking your phone you’ll squeeze more power and performance out of it than ever before. On the other hand, if you underclock it, your phone will run a little slower but your battery life will be greatly increased.
Being able to either underclock (slow down the processor) or overclock (speed up the processor speed) your device is a great benefit to rooting your phone. It lets you better decide how you want your phone to run, and when you want it to be at its best.
Store what you want where you want.
It can be frustrating not being able to move everything I want over to a SD card. It can make backing up a phone a pain as well. After your device has been rooted you can move anything and everything onto a SD card.
This may not be a big improvement for everyone, but being able to have all of your phone’s data stored away on a SD card is a great space saver for your device.
This is just another way rooting your phone makes sure you have full control over the device you own.
A longer lasting battery.
This goes hand in hand with getting rid of bloatware and underclocking your device. With more control over every individual process on your phone, you can zero in on what’s eating away at your battery, and then put a stop to it.
With that said, you’ll definitely want a longer lasting battery when you start truly taking advantage of what your phone can do.
OS Updates on your time, not your carrier’s
After rooting your phone you can install the latest OS updates as soon as you can get your hands on them, rather than waiting for your carrier to roll out support.
Tracking the updates down will be up to you, but this shouldn’t be very difficult. This however is also a double-edged sword, which I’ll explain in the cons below.
What About the Cons?
Rooting your phone certainly isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are a lot of inherent risks that come with rooting that even stick around after the process is over. Let’s go over the risks to see if they’re worth the many sweet rewards.
This list of cons may be slightly smaller than the list of pros, but each carries its own heavy weight that might be enough to make you shy away from rooting.
You could brick your phone.
This is a pretty common fear when messing with any electronic device, and the very reason why I’m afraid to mess with anything that doesn’t have explicit instructions. One mistake in the rooting process could give you a new, shiny paperweight to leave lying on your desk or the bottom of a trash bin.
If you read all of the rooting directions carefully (and twice), follow each direction explicitly, and hope against hope you could still manage to brick your device through some statistically impossible circumstance.
Having your phone never turn on again is a valid fear and a very possible one when rooting, so please root at your own risk.
You’ll void your warranty.
This one may or may not be common sense, but it warrants a quick note regardless. Get it? Warrants? You can feel free to write that one on the back of your warranty, because you won’t be using it for much else after you root your phone.
If this is your first time rooting an Android phone, it may be better to test it out on a phone that you didn’t just pay a small fortune for. If you’re brave enough to go on your first rodeo with an expensive new bull, more power to you, but do so at your own risk.
Some features may no longer function.
Depending on what Android phone you’re trying to root, and the method used, you could disable some of the features that you got the phone for in the first place. There are ways around this once rooted, but will once again be dependent on your phone and possibly carrier.
For this warning it’s best to refer to a guide for your specific model of phone to see if your rooting method disables anything you deem important.
A larger chance for your phone to be infected.
When dealing with apps and ROMs that come through third parties there’s always the chance you could be getting more than you’ve bargained for. Not every source for third party apps and ROMs are trustworthy, so be careful that you don’t invite a homeless pack of viruses to live in your phone.
This can usually be avoided if you only stick to outlets for ROMs and apps that have a community following, but never download anything you deem unsafe or untrustworthy.
No more system updates from your carrier, or support.
This is a con that’s only half true. You can still get system updates from your carrier, but downloading them will mostly break the root you worked so hard to get in the first place. There are ROMs you can use to stop these updates from installing, so they’re worth looking into.
Customer support for rooted devices is another problem entirely, and is carrier dependent. Some carriers are fine with providing customer support with rooted devices while others, well, aren’t so kind about it. I’d recommend you look into your carrier personally to see if they deal with rooted devices or not.
What Precautions to Take Before Rooting
All of those cons sound pretty frightening, but worry not, there are steps you can take to minimize most, if not all of the dangers. Make sure to follow these steps carefully as they might just save you from needing to buy another phone.
Charge your phone!
Don’t try to root your phone while it’s on 1% battery unless you don’t want it to turn back on ever again. If you want to root your phone, make sure your device has at least an 80% charge, but charge it all the way up to 100% if you have the time.
Taking an hour to charge your phone completely is a lot better paying the price of a bricked device.
Read all of the instructions twice
I can’t stress this enough, after you finish reading your rooting instructions for your chosen method, read them again. You might pick up on something you missed the first time. All it takes is a single misread word to result in unsolvable issues.
Take your time reading any and all instructions before rooting, for your phone’s concern, and your wallet’s.
Look at all the methods possible
If you’ve found a method to root your phone that looks like it would work, don’t stop there. Search around for every possible avenue, compare them against each other, then choose the one that you think will work best for you.
If one method seems riskier than another, take the safer option, even if it takes more time. No matter how much time you spend rooting your phone, it will all be worth it when it works, and you’ll be happier for it.
There are almost as many cons to rooting your phone as there are pros, but how much each one weighs is up to the rooter. Rooting is always going to be a risky process, but there are ways to minimize risks by taking certain precautions before attempting a root.
If you still feel concerned about rooting it may be better to stay safe than of sorry. While rooting can open your phone up to options it would never be able to use otherwise, it may not be worth the risk.
Remember, rooting may be risky, but so is anything that’s worth doing.
Have any concerns about rooting that weren’t mentioned here? Leave them in the comments below, and if you’re looking for detailed instructions on rooting your phone, we have plenty for you!