By Kielon Hilaire. Question: My smartphone works fine except that I can’t upgrade the OS (Operating Software) anymore and occasionally the phone moves slowly. I feel like I’m now missing out on apps and updates. I’m trying to avoid buying a new phone. A friend suggested rooting the phone. I heard about rooting before, but I’ve also heard it’s a bit risky. I’m somewhat new to smartphones and I’m afraid that I might damage mine. Can you explain what is rooting and let me know if it’s worth it? Keisha
It generally makes sense to try rooting if you would like to do either of the following:
*You would like to have greater control of what your phone can do, which would include bypassing standard OS installation limits.
*You would like to remove restrictions that are imposed by carriers
And after making the decision to try rooting you should only do so once:
*You have properly backed up all of your data
*You have decided you can afford to take the risk that rooting may negatively affect your phone
In addition to considering the above, If you decide to root I recommend rooting only after the warranty of your phone is up (especially if your phone is expensive) and doing so only with the guidance of someone who is experienced. Also consider that while rooting can make your phone more powerful success is often subject to certain hardware limitations that can be exclusive to each model.
Note that there is a variety of software you can use to root your phone—far too many to name, particularly as each software can be compatible with different phones. Nevertheless, it is worth checking out the apps, KingRoot or Framaroot as a starting point. Just remember that rooting is risky but the root of the matter is that the best rewards don’t come without risks.
My personal experiences with rooting of phones
Your question somehow made me remember my first experiences with a smartphone; it was daunting to the point that I wondered if I would have ever learned to swipe the screen correctly. It was swipe left, swipe down, slide right, swipe everything—and I was so afraid of messing with the phone that had I been told I could have made a circle using all three swipes and get the phone to hit someone an uppercut I may have naively tried that too. So I feel your pain. Allow me to share a little backstory before I address your concerns.
I purchased my first smartphone with the thought that doing so was going to be a waste of time. I’d gotten so used to using a feature phone with so-called “best features” like coloured screen and predictive text that I relentlessly imagined that a phone like that is all I would ever need, especially as I was the type who believed that a phone should primarily be used for calling and texting. Then I got my smartphone and after one week I never wanted to see or hear from my feature phone again.
My new phone had things like WhatsApp, a camera and ringtones that could actually contain words within them! I was hooked, excited. Then after using the phone for several weeks a friend asked me if I had rooted the phone. I was then told that rooting would be like giving my phone steroids. At the time it sounded interesting but I was happy with the phone as is, so he respected my decision and that was the end of that.
As more time passed and I continued using the phone, it hit me that by not taking the time to properly find out more about what rooting meant I was possibly limiting myself to experiencing something that may have been better, similarly to what I had done before obtaining a smartphone. So I did my research, then I naturally experimented. With that said, Keisha, I give you kudos for taking the initiative to find out about what rooting is.
As I continue, it is important to note that you can only root a phone that uses the Android Operating system. So first of all, rooting is a process you can perform on your phone (or other Android devices) that can give you privileged control to more or less the entire operating system. The reason it can only be done on an Android device is because Android is an open source operating system that uses the Linux kernel, which means that any developer—amateur or professional—is free to legally create apps or modify code to get the device to do things it normally would not be able to do based on its stock hardware and software limitations. The end user is then free to install or incorporate whatever at will.
To make it clearer, when you root your phone you would be able to do things like install apps you could not install before, significantly change the look and feel of the OS, adjust the clock speed of your CPU to make the phone move faster, alter how your camera takes pictures and completely remove or replace your entire operating system with one that is far more powerful (even if that happens to be one you created yourself). All in all, rooting your phone can turn it into one that is ultimately better than what you paid for. So this may leave some to question: if rooting is so wonderful then why doesn’t everyone do it?
The truth is that manufacturers create their products to work to the best of their ability upon launch; they test how each product works with everything that is included before it is released as a package to ensure the most seamless experience possible. It is also worth mentioning that some carriers also intentionally limit manufactures’ product features that can jeopardise their business model, which rooting can easily bypass.
However, because rooting gives the user the ability to practically do whatever he/she desires there is no telling what will be the outcome of software modifications that may not have been efficiently tested. Therefore rooting voids the warranty of your phone and can compromise its overall security if certain apps and features are installed by someone who is not sufficiently versed with rooting. Rooting is also feared by many because if done incorrectly it can turn your phone into a “hard brick”, meaning it will no longer power on afterwards; this makes it near impossible to revive by the average user and in some cases it may not be revived at all.
August 2016 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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