Will you root your Android device? Before you can answer that question, you need to know a few things. This week we plan to examine some of finer aspects of rooting your Android and what it means for you and your device. We’ll keep this as simple as possible, which means as little geek-speak as possible. We want to make it easy to understand, above all else. Today’s topic: The pros and cons of rooting your Android device. Yesterday I provided the bare bones definition of rooting your Android device. Now that you have an idea of what rooting is, we can move onto the features and bugs of rooting. On Wednesday we’ll get to the specific cool stuff you can do, but today we’ll continue wading through the shallow end. It’s time to examine the pros and cons of rooting your device. Pro and con lists seem to work better in pairs. That is, if you read a whole list of pros and then a whole list of cons, I’m not sure you’ll come away any wiser than before. I’ll try to pair the pros and cons so you can see both sides of each issue. That way you can determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether rooting is right for you.
Pro: You free yourself from the binds of your carrier and are free to do so
much more with your phone. Con: It voids the warranty, meaning you’re out of luck if something goes wrong and you need a new phone.
Pro: You can install different and more feature-rich versions of the Android OS. Con: Doing so can cause unanticipated problems.
Pro: You can perform functions that you can’t without rooting, such as taking screen shots. Con: Same as the previous con. It’s tough to appreciate the added functions if your device is on the frtiz. Plus, how many people really have a use for screenshots?
Pro: You can install custom operating systems that improve on many functions of Android. Con: You’ll no longer get the official OTA updates, meaning you have to keep on top of the latest releases and make sure your phone is up to date.
Pro: You’ll have more control over your Android than you ever thought possible. Con: That can lead to spending more time with your phone than you ever really wanted to. (h/t Android Forums member Lock-N-Load)
Pro: You can overclock your device with kernels. Con: What is overclocking? And what is a kernel? (For those looking for a non-snarky response, a kernel “is a bridge between applications and the actual data processing done at the hardware level.” Overclocking means making the processor run faster than intended by the manufacturer. There are plenty of cons to that, too, including the phone running hot and increased battery consumption.)
The biggest con of all: You can actually brick your phone if something goes wrong during the rooting process. This is no laughing matter. There are ways you can screw up the rooting process that will require you to spend additional hours restoring it to normal. That’s not a huge deal. The huge deal is where you mess up to the point where your phone is no longer operable, and never will be again. This isn’t exactly common, and it would take a pretty massive screw-up. If you don’t feel comfortable playing around with computers, you might not wan to root the device yourself. It does involve a couple of involved processes, which will at some point require you to run functions through the Terminal on your PC or Mac. You might even have to download the Terminal Emulator for your Android and run functions through that. Again, if you’re not comfortable in these environments, I wouldn’t recommend moving forward with a root. If, however, you are comfortable and you can follow directions, I don’t think you’ll have a problem with the root process. If you have any additional pros and cons, leave them in the comments and I’ll update the post in a week or so with them.