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Thread: What is Rooting & Custom ROMs? The Advantages and Disadvantages

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    Super Moderator Astrix's Avatar
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    What is Rooting & Custom ROMs? The Advantages and Disadvantages

    What is Rooting on Android? The Advantages and Disadvantages | Droid Lessons
    Source: DroidLesson
    Inspired by: Fish1552




    Any and all apps mentioned in this article are at the sole discretion of the author (John A.)
    This are not endorsed by any of the staff here on S3forums



    Posted by John A. on February 15, 2011 at 9:12 pm (modified)

    “What is rooting? Why should I root my Android device?”
    - These are common questions that we get asked quite often.

    This will talk about both the advantages and disadvantages of rooting your Android devices. But before we get started, a word of caution:
    - rooting or modifying your phone in any way will void your manufacturer’s warranty and possibly “brick” it.

    What does “bricking” your device mean you ask? Exactly what you think..
    - It means screwing up your phone software so badly that your phone can no longer function properly and is pretty much as useless as a brick.

    I do not in any way recommend anyone to root their Android device. This article is simply to introduce you to the subject of rooting and present you with both the pro’s and con’s so that you can make an educated decision on your own.

    What is Rooting?

    “Rooting” your device means obtaining “superuser” rights and permissions to your Android’s software.
    - With these elevated user privileges, you gain the ability to load custom software (ROM’s),
    - install custom themes, increase performance, increase battery life, and
    - the ability to install software that would otherwise cost extra money (ex: WiFi tethering).

    Rooting is essentially “hacking” your Android device. In the iPhone world, this would be the equivalent to “Jailbreaking” your phone.

    Why is it called Rooting?

    The term “root” comes from the Unix/Linux world and is used to describe a user who has “superuser” rights or permissions to all the files and programs in the software OS (Operating System). The root user, because they have “superuser” privileges, can essentially change or modify any of the software code on the device.

    Manufacturer/carrier only gives you “guest” privileges. They don’t want you getting into certain parts of the software and screwing it up beyond repair. It makes it much easier for them to manage and update the devices if they lock it all down.

    This way, all the users are running the same unmodified version of the devices’s software. This makes it much easier for them to support the devices. But, for the tech-savvy crowd, only having “guest” privileges on your device is pretty lame and it locks down a lot of potentially useful features.


    What are the Advantages of Rooting?

    Custom Software (ROM’s)

    You may have heard of people loading custom “ROM’s” on their devices. A “ROM” is the software that runs your device. It is stored in the “Read Only Memory” of your device.

    There are many great custom ROM’s available that can make your Android device look and perform drastically different. For instance, you might be stuck with an older Android device that is stuck on an older version of the Android OS and it is not getting any of the newer updated versions of Android.

    With a custom ROM, you could load up the latest and greatest available Android versions and bring that antiquated device up to par with some of the newer ones. There are lots of great ROM’s available for many different devices and it is up to you to find the one that best meets your needs.

    Custom Themes

    Themes are basically the graphics that appear on your Android device. Rooting your device allows you the ability to fully customize just about every graphic on your device. You can load custom themes that totally change the look and feel of your device.

    Kernel, speed, and battery

    There are many custom ROM’s and apps available for rooted devices that will allow you to drastically improve the performance (speed) and also extend battery life on your device. A lot of developers tweak the kernels (layer of code that handles communication between the hardware and software) for added performance, battery life, and more.

    Baseband

    Rooting your device grants you the ability to update the Basebands on your smartphone. The Baseband is what controls the radio (frequencies) on your device. By updating to the latest Basebands, you can potentially improve both the signal and quality of your phone calls.

    Latest Versions of Android

    As mentioned earlier, custom ROM’s can allow you to update to the latest version of the Android OS before they are officially released.
    This is a great feature for those who are tech-savvy and want to stay on top of the latest and greatest software updates before it hits the mainstream crowd. This is also useful if you have an outdated device that is no longer being updated by the manufacturer.

    Backing up your device



    The ability to easily backup all of your Apps and Data is one feature that is sorely missed on the stock build of Android devices. But if you root your device, backing up everything on your device (both apps and data) becomes a simple task. Having Titanium Backup or MyBackupPro is a must have app for anyone who has rooted their devices and wants to backup and restore their phones. Both are available from the Google Play.

    Unlocking Additional Features



    By rooting your Android device you also gain the ability to unlock some features that your carrier may charge for. One example is enabling free WiFi and USB tethering, which many carriers charge money for. Now, I’m not suggesting you do this. But I did want to make you aware of the fact that it is possible to do this. However, your carrier may catch on to the fact that you are using your device as a free WiFi hotspot and figure out a way to charge you for it. So use this feature at your own risk!


    What are the Disadvantages of Rooting?

    OTAs and System Updates

    You may find that after rooting, updates provided by Google or through Service Station may not work if applied. Some updates may revert you to non-rooted status, cause a boot-loop or brick your device. To apply these updates, you may need to "unroot" / "return to stock" (out-of-the-box state) to apply the update(s). This is where (after rooting again, of course) having a backup to restore can be very helpful.

    Bricking

    The number one reason not to root your device is the potential risk of “bricking” it. As mentioned earlier, “bricking” your device means screwing up your phone software so badly that your phone can no longer function properly and is pretty much as useless as a brick. You would likely need to purchase a new Android device since the manufacturer of your device will void the warranty after any attempts at rooting.

    Boot looping

    This is when the device shows the boot animation, etc then reboots to do it all again to infinity. If this happens, it's typically because of something the end-user has done. Examples include: Applying an incompatible update, incorrectly rooting, etc. This is NOT a normal byproduct of a successfully rooted device.

    Security



    There is an increased risk of unknowingly installing malicious software when you root an Android device. Root access circumvents the security restrictions that are put in place by the Android OS. There isn’t really an effective way to tell just what the application intends to do with that “superuser” power. You are putting a lot of trust into the developer’s hands. In most cases, these applications are open source and the community can take a look at the source code to assess the risk. But, nevertheless, the risk is there.

    Fortunately, malicious software on rooted devices hasn’t really been a problem as of yet. But I thought it was worth mentioning since this could be a potential risk in the future. I’d recommend installing an Anti-Virus and Security App just to be safe. Lookout Mobile Security seems to be one of the best ones available at the moment.

    Can I Unroot my device if I change my mind?

    Yes. You would need to do some research for your specific type of device.

    How do I learn how to root my device?

    Unfortunately, there is no easy way to teach someone how to root their Android device. Each device has a unique method to rooting and some research most be done on your part. Have fun and good luck to all of you! I hope you found this lesson on rooting to be helpful.






    Hopefully this thread



    Will give you an even spread of information both pro and con for rooting
    In helping you make a better decision
    Whether or not it is something you want to undertake
    Last edited by Astrix; 05-17-2012 at 08:00 PM. Reason: Updating
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    Dictionary of RootingWhat is Rooting & Roms?S3 Tips & Tricks

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Astrix's Avatar
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    What is Custom ROMs? The Advantages and Disadvantages



    Any and all apps mentioned in this article are at the sole discretion of the authors
    (Artem Russakovskii & Joseph DeFazio)
    This are not endorsed by any of the staff here on S3forums



    Posted by:
    - Artem Russakovskii on October 10th, 2011
    - Joseph DeFazio on Dec 26, 2011

    Introduction

    Ever wondered what the whole Android custom ROM scene was about?
    What is all this talk of installing custom roms on your phone?
    Who needs it? Why do it? Is it safe?

    Custom ROMs

    A stock ROM is the version of the phone's operating system that comes with your phone when you buy it.

    A custom ROM is a fully standalone version of the OS, including the kernel (which makes everything run), apps, services, etc - everything you need to operate the device, except it's customized by someone in some way.

    So what does the "customized" part mean? Since Android is open source, developers are free to take stock ROMs, modify them, strip them of garbage, optimize them, add things, and pretty much do whatever their imagination and skills allow.

    Reasons you should not install a custom ROM

    You will void your warranty:
    - The manufacturer or third-party warranty company will not be willing to repair a damaged phone that has been rooted or has a custom ROM installed. While the ROM may not be the cause of the issue, your warranty will still be voided.

    During the process of rooting, something may go wrong:
    - You could brick your phone. There are ways to unbrick it, but you could potentially need a new phone. Without your warranty (you just voided it), you will have to pay full retail price for a replacement.

    Custom ROMs update quite frequently to fix bugs:
    - You’ll end up having to update every few days, sometimes even having to wipe your data and restore it later. This can be a good thing, because bugs are getting fixed, but it can also be annoying to have to update that frequently.

    You may accidentally give a malicious app root access, allowing the app to do whatever it wants to do with your phone:
    - It could potentially wipe all of your data, take your files, including private pictures, and send spam to your contacts.


    Reasons you should install a custom ROM

    Speed tweaks:
    - Most ROMs are tweaked to maximize speed and minimize RAM usage. I have a Samsung phone, which comes with TouchWiz. For those of you who have not used TouchWiz before, it’s not the prettiest launcher available, it lacks features, and does not feel very smooth. The speed tweaks of my ROM have made TouchWiz a lot more enjoyable.

    Tethering:
    - Custom ROMs usually provide you with the ability to tether without a tethering plan. It is often the only reason people want to install a custom ROM. While this does void your carrier’s terms of service. It is essentially stealing from your carrier and I do not recommend doing it without a tethering plan.

    Battery life improvements:
    - With root access, you have the ability to calibrate your battery, which usually will fix any issues you’re having with battery life. Some custom ROMs also under clock the CPU to reduce battery usage. If battery life improvement is all you’re interested in, I recommend that you try JuiceDefender. It’s an app that manages your wireless connections and disables them when your phone is locked to save battery life.

    Apps:
    - Some apps require root access. A good example of this is DroidWall, which lets you keep apps from using data while on 3G. This is great if you’re on a limited data plan and getting close to your limit.

    Over clocking and under clocking:
    - You can use an app, such as SetCPU, to over clock your phone, giving it better performance, but sacrificing battery life. This may be something you want to do if you’re having trouble running a game you really want to play. Some Custom ROMs are already configured to over clock your phone. You may also be interested in under clocking your phone. Under clocking reduces performance but increases battery life.

    Newer Android versions:
    - I’m excited to try Ice Cream Sandwich, but a release date for this update, for my phone, has not been announced yet. However, I can install a custom ROM that includes version 4.0 of Android (ICS) and use it way before the official update is released.


    I believe that there are more reasons to install a custom ROM than to stick with the stock ROM. You must be willing to deal with getting it set up, backing up all of your apps, restoring them after flashing and updating very frequently.


    What is your opinion on rooting and installing custom ROMs? Do you do it? Are you against it?
    Last edited by Astrix; 05-17-2012 at 07:57 PM. Reason: Updating
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    Dictionary of RootingWhat is Rooting & Roms?S3 Tips & Tricks

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    Good work Astrix!
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    GSM Galaxy Note 3 (Black) - Straight Stock
    GSM Galaxy Note 2 (Titanium) - Rooted running Jedi X20 Rom
    GSM Galaxy Nexus (Black) - Straight Stock

    GSM Samsung Galaxy S3 (Red) - Rooted running Deadly Venom v8.0.1 Rom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey View Post
    Nice job A. You get A+
    Quote Originally Posted by UltraDroid View Post
    Good work Astrix!

    Last edited by Astrix; 05-17-2012 at 09:27 PM.
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    Dzaaaim, this thread is awesome. Good job on finding those, Astrix!
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    Re: What is Rooting & Custom ROMs? The Advantages and Disadvantages

    Quote Originally Posted by eRazvan View Post
    Dzaaaim, this thread is awesome. Good job on finding those, Astrix!
    Thank you...
    I'm a n00b trying to learn about something

    Please bear with me
    Dictionary of RootingWhat is Rooting & Roms?S3 Tips & Tricks


 

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