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  Technology   In Other news  19 Jan 2017  Is 'rooting' your Android smartphone worth it?

Is 'rooting' your Android smartphone worth it?

DECCAN CHRONICLE | KRISHNA MAKWANA
Published : Jan 19, 2017, 3:23 pm IST
Updated : Jan 19, 2017, 3:23 pm IST

This article outlines what exactly rooting means, what are the benefits and risks involved and is it really worth rooting your Android.

Rooting means you have root access to your device—that is, it can run the sudo command, and has enhanced privileges allowing it to run apps like Wireless Tether or SetCPU. (Image: Pixabay)
 Rooting means you have root access to your device—that is, it can run the sudo command, and has enhanced privileges allowing it to run apps like Wireless Tether or SetCPU. (Image: Pixabay)

Most Android users prefer having access to more features and abilities in their smartphones. While some wait for the update to officially arrive, others simply prefer indulging in a procedure called ‘Rooting.’ If you’ve done any web surfing on this topic, you may have come across a bunch of terms that can be fairly confusing. This article outlines what exactly rooting means, what are the benefits and risks involved and is it really worth going ahead with the decision of rooting your Android device.

First off, what does rooting mean exactly?

Android smartphones run on a preset operating system. However, in such cases, there are several features that are disabled for future use or to prevent the user from causing any permanent damage to the OS.

Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google, based on the Linux kernel and designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. (Image: Pixabay)Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google, based on the Linux kernel and designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. (Image: Pixabay)

When you root an Android smartphone, you gain access to these disabled features and other additional benefits. Rooting is rewarding as it allows users to overcome limitations. They gain access to features that they can’t get otherwise. Users can avail features like:

- Connect instantly with the help of wireless tethering

- Download any app regardless of the app store they available on

- Remove unwanted applications that come pre-installed on devices

- Gain extended battery life and added performance

- Get updates to the latest version of Android if the device is outdated

Is risking your mobile security worth it? You decide

There are significant risks involved in the procedure of rooting an Android device (Image: Pixabay)There are significant risks involved in the procedure of rooting an Android device (Image: Pixabay)

Get bricked

When you are rooting your smartphone, you stand the possibility of bricking your device. This risk always pertains wherein your smartphone becomes unable to function. This issue is small and can be resolved. However, there is no guarantee of getting your smartphone to be in the original condition after that.

Say goodbye to your warranty

Unlocking your smartphone’s software will void your warranty. There are chances of unrooting your device and taking it for service, however, there are devices that have a digital “switch” that flips when you unlock your smartphone which makes it impossible for you to get your warranty back.

Added security risks

Rooting a smartphone is technically achieved by exploiting a given security flaw. It opens the door for special benefits as well as unwanted access, data leaks, digital theft, hardware failure and so on. Expert and CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik agrees that rooting Android might severely compromise the security of the system.

Rooting is not as easy as it used to be

Experienced Android users may find rooting their smartphones simple. It is a whole new ball game for beginners, as rooting an Android does not come with any one simple, straightforward procedure. Moreover, users need to have blind faith in the developer responsible for the tool or the app they will be using to root the Android and hope that there is no backdoor built into it.

Performance problems

While the intention of rooting a smartphone is to ensure that the device delivers an enhanced performance, several users have found that their phones have lost both performance speed and features.

Say hi to viruses

Worms, viruses, spyware and Trojan can easily infect rooted Android software as the smartphone does not contain security restrictions. This can take place in a number of ways including drive-by downloads, through malicious links,  through downloaded infected apps.

Bottom line – is it worth it?

There is no right answer to this. It’s subjective as for one user, rooting basically means adding an extra app to improve device performance but for the other, it would mean flashing an entirely new OS and applying endless customisation tweaks and yet to another, it would possibly mean to brick the smartphone all together. Good things come at a price and thus, it is up to the user to decide whether the risks outweigh the benefits.

Tags: android, rooting, nexus