Android Rooted!

Recently I rooted my Galaxy S2, after lot of thought mind you. But it turns out that rooting is one of the simplest things you can do with your phone to get lot of control on it. There are complicated methods of rooting but there are some damn simple ones as well! I’ll try to explain from the start so that those of you who are considering rooting will understand the process completely.

What is meant by Rooting and Android Phone?

Those of you with a computer background and who have used Linux will know what is a root user. In windows terms, root user is the administrator of the system who has the privileges to make any changes to the system. And this is exactly what Rooting does to an Android phone. It gives you Administrator privileges with which you can even change the system settings and remove stuff which were there by default in the phone. But be warned, “With great power, comes great responsibility!”. You have to be careful once you root the phone as now you have the power to mess up the whole device and even brick it. (Bricking means messing up with some critical stuff which makes your phone unbootable and it becomes similar to a brick which does nothing). If you do not know what you are doing, better don’t do it. Rooting also voids the warranty of your phone.

<Slightly advanced stuff. Beginners can safely ignore> But not always, if you are lucky. Because if you had just rooted your phone and you did not change the recovery, then you can easily flash a stock ROM, which removes root and makes your phone almost new and your warranty will hold. Except for the kernel counter (Even this can be reset with a USB Jig).

Advantages of Rooting (For Non Geeks):

  • You can remove all the bloatware which comes preinstalled with your phone which you cannot normally uninstall. For each application, make sure that removing it will not harm the system.
  • You can use Wireless Tether.
  • You can use Titanium Backup which is a really awesome app. With it you can do a full backup of all your data, system files, application data, schedule backups. Lots of stuff. Definite must have if you root your phone.
  • There are many Free Apps for Android which display Ads for being free. Sometimes its unobtrusive but sometimes it really spoils the user experience. The solution: AdFree. Its an App which blocks all the Ads at the system level and makes the free applications much more usable.

Advantages of Rooting (For People willing to experiment more):

  • Custom ROMS – Change everything about your phone. And by everything I actually mean it! If you like changing themes to make your phone feel different you should check out custom ROMS :). And there are some brilliant ROMs, some based on AOSP* Android like Cyanogenmod (My fav), Miui, and many other ROMS.
  • Custom Kernel: ROM can be thought of the part of Android the user actually interacts with, the User Interface and the Apps part. Kernel on the other hand is the base of the ROM which acts as the connect between the UI and the Hardware. So with a custom Kernel you can fine tune the hardware performance of your phone and even add new features(No UI changes). For example my Galaxy S2 does not have a notification LED. But with a custom Kernel I can make the Backlight of the Menu and Back buttons blink when I get any notification.
  • Complete Automation of you Phone – Using the awesome Tasker. Yes, Tasker runs even on Non Rooted phones but its full potential is unlocked only by rooting your phone which gives Tasker so much more power.
  • Controlling the Speed and Behavior of you Phone: This using SetCPU through which you can actually control the processor speed of your phone to control the phones performance and with that you can improve the battery life.
  • Encrypt all Internet Traffic on your phone: Using an app called SSH Tunnel you can encrypt all network traffic from your phone giving you some safety when using public Wifi hotspots. According to me this is a must-have for everyone not just for Geeks.

Guide to root your phone coming up very soon. Do check out the forum on www.xda-developers.com for almost all info about your phone. And also check out this page on the brilliant Lifehacker.