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Rooting for beginners: Questions and Answers

Sterling Keys (translation)
0

The number of Android devices on the market continues to increase, and by association, there a ton of new Android users who are looking at the how’s and why’s of rooting their device. Here is a pretty comprehensive list that answers some of the most frequently asked questions about rooting.

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Welcome to the school of hard knocks...errrr...Android / © Engadget.com

What is the root?

In the most literal sense, root is a part of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. Rooting a smartphone is completely different: by rooting users can gain privileged access to Android’s subsystem (or root access). This is useful for accessing data, making backups, or changing the "base" of your smartphone, such as the Android (ROM) interface.

How does rooting work?

By rooting an Android device, you basically install a new kernel. A kernel is the conductor that will tell the software how to use the hardware portion of your device. Very simply put, the new kernel allows for more access and more customizable access to your devices hardware.

What is a Custom Rom?

A ROM is an Android-based system. This is actually the system that you use. TouchWiz is the rom developed by Samsung, the HTC Sense, etc ... We talk about custom rom (Custom) when the developer of the ROM is an independent group or individual. For example, CyanogenMod is a custom ROM for example, based on Android "pure".

In detail, this is a set of consistent data with a chip ROM (read only memory), present on your smartphone.

Am I still running Android after rooting?

Absolutely, all custom ROMs are based on Android. 

Can I continue to receive official updates?

Yes and no. Rooting a device cannot receive official updates via OTA (remote), but you can still install them manually.

What are the advantages of rooting your device?

As mentioned previously, you have total control of your device, so you can install from other customs roms, remove normally impossible to delete applications, and perform a full backup of your data.

What will happen if I root my phone without installing a Custom ROM?

Nothing really. You’ll have the ability to install a custom ROM later on if you so choose, however.

What is a custom recovery?

The recovery mode (recovery / restore) that can be accessed by restarting your phone, which allows you to perform maintenance and repair. When you’ve rooted a device, you also install a custom recovery, which in essence is just a modified recovery mode. By doing so, it allows the users to do complete backups or to install custom ROMs.

What is flashing?

Flashing a ROM simply means installing a ROM.

Can I root my phone if it comes from a carrier?

Yes, if the name of your smartphone model is the same as the kernel you’re installing. Some carriers may control their own versions, so be careful. It is in most cases possible to root a device with a carrier ROM.

What does unlocking mean?

If your smartphone is locked by the carrier, like Orange for example, you may encounter your device requesting an unlocking code once you’ve tried to flash your new ROM. It is very important to ask for this unlocking code from your carrier first before trying to root your device. Keep in mind, some carriers do provide this code for free and always make sure for yourself before trying. Know that there are alternative methods to doing this but they carry their own risk. Also, be careful when buying a used smartphone and be sure to check with the seller whether the device is unlocked or not.

Can I break my phone?

Risks exist, for example if you interrupt the process while in the middle of rooting, or if you choose an incompatible kernel. If you follow the procedure correctly, reading everything well, including warnings, everything should go smoothly. I’ve rooted dozens of Android devices and I’ve never bricked one yet. And by bricking, I mean turning the smartphone into an unusable “brick”.

Do I need a computer?

In most cases, yes. There are some programs that you’ll need to use in order to root your device (Odin for Samsung, Flashtool for Sony, etc)

Where can I find tutorials?

You can find tutorials all across the web, including YouTube video tutorials. We offer various tutorials across our AndroidPIT family and you can find them on the forum or on the blog itself. You will find the list of tutorials by searching for the ROOT tag  in our search bar or browsing the Android “Root” Forum.

How can I “deroot” my device

Usually the easiest way to revert back to factory settings is to reinstall the original ROM on your android device. Depending on which method you use to root your device, you might have to use applications such as Triangle Away (http://www.androidpit.com/en/android/market/apps/app/eu.chainfire.triangleaway/root-Triangle-Away) to help you get back to your original settings. Otherwise, derooting is another how-to post all together!