You may have heard a lot about rooting and custom roms floating around tech blogs and news. It is always compared to jailbreaking of an iphone. But that's description do no justice to rooting of an android device. Just by rooting it, you can do so much more with your device. Starting from simple ones like connecting your PS3 dualshock joystick, to complete backup of your software or even installing a brand new one.
What is Rooting?
Rooting is essentially a process of giving a user the full administrative rights over his or her device. To put it in a crude analogy, it's like granting access to the C drive in your windows and the ability to modify it. This rights allow some apps to gain root access and do much more. There are two uses of root access in your phone.
1. Give root access to apps
Apps can do a lot of things in our phone but it's also by default banned from doing certain things that is close to manipulating the phone's system. For example, the titanium back up app can back ups all apps and its data and restore it at will, a feat that need root access to view and copy the device data. Even the sixaxxis controller app need root access to connect your PS3 controller to your phone. And there's much more apps like those that used the special permission that the root access granted. Don't be mistaken, even thought you are rooted, applications still need permissions to access that root right. All these permissions are managed by the superuser app that will be preinstalled once you root your device, so that you can individually allow or reject root access to apps. Whenever a new apps want to gain root access, you will be greeted by this pop up.
So in term of safety, no apps can gain root access without you allowing it.
2. Installing Custom Roms
Suppose one day you notice the software in your device lack the features that you desire. Suppose you grow bored of the device OS. What to do? It's not like you can change it? Oh wait, of course you can, with the power of android., you can install custom firmware to your android devices. So what make this custom firmware special, the whole load of features that you get. Here's some example :
- Power menu Reboot
- Power menu screenshot
- Lock screen Calendar
- Lock screen Weather
- Notification light customization
- Battery light customization
- IME Selector notification toggle
- A few more things to support Settings
- Hundreds of theme just waiting for you to download
- And much more
The benefit of installing a custom rom is basically endless. But thought you have to be wise in choosing the custom rom you want to install. Custom roms for some devices (mostly non-nexus) may be unstable and buggy and thus not recommended to install it. But if you are sure the custom rom is stable, than feel free to install it and enjoy the benefit.
How do I get started?
To get the end where you can be able to install custom roms with a few click, you need a few things prepared :
- Rooting your android device
- Unlock bootloader
- Install custom recovery
The methods for each devices to achieve the above varied slightly but mostly have a one click method for us noob (non developer). To find it, simply visit here and scroll down to find the forum of your device. And then it's just simply looking for the thread on rooting and installing recovery (most will be on the first 3 sticky threads) If you do decide to venture to the world of root and custom rom, good luck. If you have any questions regarding rooting or installing custom rom, simply ask below on comments and I will answer it as best as I can.