5 reasons to root your Android device

Rooting is a guilty pleasure. The practice may start out innocently, but can void the phone's warranty. Some manufacturers try to prevent users from running apps with elevated privileges, arguing compromised security. Not that the assertion stops enthusiasts.

Android is less restrictive than some platforms. Google actually allows apps that require root access on the Play app store. You're probably intrigued, as there are quite a few attractive choices available that only run with elevated privileges. Let's approach some of the major advantages to rooting Android, that also highlight part of its charm in modding.

Without further ado. here are five reasons why you should mod your Android device:

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1. Increase performance. If you want to have a speedier smartphone or tablet that runs the popular open-source operating system then overclocking is the way to go.

There are a number of apps already available on Google Play that allow users to tinker with the processor. SetCPU for Root Users is one, and it can help you squeeze extra performance by increasing the voltage and frequency of the processor among other things. At around $2 it's far cheaper than getting a new device, although like with any type of overclock there is a risk involved. Free alternatives such as Trickster MOD Kernel Settings are also available.

2. Protect your device. Smartphones and tablets are expensive and for some people hold valuable and private information. It's natural to want to keep them safe.

avast! Mobile Security and Cerberus anti theft are two apps currently available on Google Play that work best with rooted device. Both have a number of features that require elevated privileges: avast! Mobile Security brings an extra layer of protection from a firewall that monitors network traffic, while Cerberus for protection against theft can't be uninstalled on rooted devices and can auto-enable GPS on versions of Android newer than 2.3.3 (like later versions of Gingerbread and Honeycomb or Jelly Bean). The last feature can make the difference between a lost and found device.

3. Remove bloatware. Wouldn't you like to remove unnecessary apps from your device? Carriers for instance include branded software that is often unremovable, which is where having elevated privileges comes in handy.

Titanium Backup is an app available on Google Play that makes use of root in order to give users complete access to installed software. Using it all apps can be uninstalled, which is only possible because it runs with elevated privileges. Want to remove carrier bloatware? That's how you can do it.

4. Make backups. Fiddling with the device may not always produce the best results. A backup can save users the headache of starting from scratch after something went wrong.

Using Titanium Backup, Android users can take advantage of its main feature, which if the name is of any indication is... backing up apps and settings. It requires root because the folder in which apps are installed is only accessible with elevated privileges. It also comes in handy after installing custom ROMs to restore apps without downloading them yet again from the app store.

5. Configure restricted settings. Does the display have a yellow tint? Then using an app such as Trickster MOD the gamma offset and color multiplier can be changed to suit your specific needs. Do you want to enable fast charge in order to speed up the process of charging the device via USB? It can do that too. File managers such as Total Commander when paired with elevated privileges allow users to have access to various system files, allowing to modify the hosts file for instance.

The real upside in having a rooted Android device is that it is no longer bound by the confines established by the manufacturer. If there is a functionality that does not work as you'd like to, it can be adjusted. Rooting is freedom for Android devices.

18 Responses to 5 reasons to root your Android device

  1. RH says:

    I look at it this way. The device that I paid for is MINE. I'll do with it as I please.
    If rooting it bricks it...then it is my fault. I'll keep the software on it that I want to,
    not what the carrier says I have to.

  2. Joco says:

    Agreed, excepted for Total Commander. There are much better File Managers: X-Plore or ES Explorer.

    • Mihaita Bamburic says:

      There probably are better apps for different people. I just listed it because I used it prior to the included CyanogenMod 10 File Manager.

  3. ToeKneeC67 says:

    OMG - I don't have an iPhone but everything you listed is fixed with an iPhone 5
    1. iPhone 5 - fast, no reason to overclock
    2. iPhone 5 - zero viruses. Plus antivirus slows down your OS
    3. iPhone 5 - No bloatware like Android phones
    4. iPhone 6 - iCloud or use iTunes (I know I hate iTunes too, but easy)
    5. This entire article should be focused on number 5 - the true reason to root (of course, you could jailbreak an iPhone).

    • Mihaita Bamburic says:

      Does it make coffee too? To each his own I guess.

      • ToeKneeC67 says:

        LOL. I know, I'm being a little harsh. But really would like to see what I suggested on number 5. Real true reasons, things that you can do that simply can't be done on an iPhone. Won't matter anyway, I'm going to Windows Phone 8 in a few weeks, and will come back to Android when OS 5 comes out.

      • Mihaita Bamburic says:

        In order to present things that one can or can't do I'd have to get an iPhone 5. I'd much rather go Windows Phone 8 route.
        Do tell, what will you get?

      • ToeKneeC67 says:

        I want the Nokia 920 - mainly for the Nokia apps - they simply have the best navigation app...even better than Google Maps (this can be verified by Goggling it). But will most likely go with the HTC 8X as I have had mix luck on AT&T.

        Really like what Windows 8 offers, the glance and go it true (I also a have a Radar 4G...as well as the Samsung S III). Kid Corner is needed as I have a 3.5 year old that has done some deleting important stuff things (as easy to do in the car, tap...it's now in Kid Corner). And of course starting to really like Windows 8 Pro at home a lot.

        I like my Samsung S III (probably the best Android phone to date) - but with zero time to root, and really bored with customization (as I call pimping it out) - I want something that just kicks ass out of the box, which is a Windows 8 Phone.

      • Mihaita Bamburic says:

        Write a review. Honestly I'd get the Nokia simply because of its larger screen and apps. But the Samsung is nice as well, I just didn't have the chance to play with either of the two.

    • Joco says:

      @ToeKneeC67 not sure if you were joking. But have you rooted your phone yet? If not that is why you missed the author's points.

      1. Buying a new iPhone5 costs money. Rooting costs $0

      2. Antivirus is a nice positive feature, the good ones are anti-theft, firewall, phone blacklisting.

      3. Can you remove ads while surfing with an iPhone? With a rooted Android phone, you can use free app like Ad Away to remove ads: reduced data usage, speed up web surfing.

      In my opinion, the points of the article is to show to those who already own an Android phone. The benefits of rooting and flashing custom ROM, in case they still hesitate or wonder what goods that could do. Throwing money to buy an expensive phone is not necessarily a solution. I find my rooted Galaxy Nexus more convenient than an iPhone 5.

      • ToeKneeC67 says:

        First Joco - you rock (today)

        The article was weak. It was presented with no real reason to root, and easily solved just buying a new phone (if possible).

        But your list - this is where a Top 5 Reason to Root needs to go. This site is for techie people. Your list - here is why you would do this, the benefit, the reason a tech person should love Android over all others. Still need more as, again, I'm not sure why my smart phone needs anti-virus/fireall/blackslist, and really don't browse much to justify the time to install an Ad-Blocker (that is why there are tablets). But you are are the right idea. This is why I'll come back with Android OS 5. It needs to mature just a tad more.

      • Mihaita Bamburic says:

        I find it hard to believe that buying a new phone is a magical idea. Most of the 5 points you made are moot to say the least, unless you are actually joking. No offence there.
        You could just as easily say that buying an iPhone 5 will help the US economy.

      • ToeKneeC67 says:

        Started off lightly joking, man. You had the right list, just needed more substance to get me to say 'This is awesome'. I'm tired of everyone saying Androids so awesome with no real meat to why it's awesome. Your list is perfect - but again needs more reasons the benefit. When I see, antivirus, I say - why would I need this on my smartphone. But like someone else said, there's more - like firewall, blacklisting... OK, now you are talking (of course, I could say, why did I need a firewall on my mobile phone....than one would say, because you can setup a FTP site on your Android phone). I want to see beyond pimping out cosmetically the Android phone, or the few apps Apple outlaws (like wi-fi sniffers). I want to feel the reason Android kicks ass.

        Why you may ask. Because the magic is gone on my Samsung S III app wise. I want to do some very deep down cool stuff - seriously, a weekly small Android hack would be cool. Something that says 'In your face iPhone users'. On that, I will sill get a Windows 8 phone, as I have all intention of doing some of the stuff in your list :)

        P.S. I do you like most of your articles by they way. If anything they make me think.

      • Mihaita Bamburic says:

        One of the reasons I steer clear from making really specific arguments is because people need to get the bigger picture. I could just as well have added minor reasons, but what's that good for the guy learning or tempted by root the first time seeing the article?

        You do have a point, and it made me think right after posting the previous comment. There is much "wow" lost in tech today and not much excitement, but hopefully more on that soon :).

        I mostly steer clear of OS fights because it boils down to personal choice. iOS has its charm just as much as Android, and I've used both enough to know that what may work for me does not for someone else.

        Might want to send me an email or add me on social networks, because chatting via Disqus is not something that I usually keep track of in the long run.

      • ToeKneeC67 says:

        Last post on this. Good points. I have read most of your articles and have to agree you do really good trying to stay neutral while showing some excitement. In fact, you seem more of a tech lover instead of focused on one platform (good choice). Not sure how to send email from Betanews :)

      • Mihaita Bamburic says:

        My email address is listed on my profile here at BetaNews. mihaita at betanews dot com

      • Mihaita Bamburic says:

        About 2. I actually didn't want to give the idea of an antivirus.

        Both avast and Cerberus are know as two good anti-theft solutions. As it happens the first covers a wider area of expertise, but the latter is more focused on anti-theft and works best with rooted devices just like the former.

        I guess you can figure out why 3 is highly dismissed by writers :).

  4. Jerry Sigler says:

    Ive honestly rooted everyone of my android devices (I've been through 3) and never had one become "bricked". Removing bloatware alone makes rooting amazing, your phone will be faster. I've also sent my S3 in to get work done on it after I unrooted it and samsung was none the wiser. What you say is true, rooting is freedom, great read. Check out my blog for free apk downloads.

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