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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default Newbie Questions: Unlocked vs Rooted ?

    Hi,

    Smart phone newbie. I have some basic questions.

    What does unlocked mean?
    Can people do that for themselves?
    Is it legal in the US?
    Does it let you use your phone with any carrier of your choosing?
    Do you need to get a SIM card to go to any carrier of your choosing?
    What is a SIM card, some kind of chip that identifies your phone so the service can find it?

    What does it mean to root your phone?
    Can most people do that for themselves with some instructions?
    What is the advantage of doing so?
    What are the disadvantages of doing so?

    Thanks!
  2. Best Answer

    Quote Originally Posted by tinker1234 View Post
    Hi,

    Smart phone newbie. I have some basic questions.

    What does unlocked mean?
    Unlocked SIM-lock or unlocked bootloader. Two totally different things.

    Can people do that for themselves?
    Yes, in either case.

    Is it legal in the US?
    Well ... not according to the manufacturers (in either case), but I can't remember anyone being prosecuted for unlocking either one.

    Does it let you use your phone with any carrier of your choosing?
    Unlocking the SIM lock lets you use the phone with any GSM carrier in your region (or the world - the phone is still region-locked).

    Do you need to get a SIM card to go to any carrier of your choosing?
    When you open an account with the carrier, you'll get one of their SIM cards, if they're a GSM carrier. (If they're a CDMA carrier, the phone doesn't use a SIM card for network connection.)

    What is a SIM card, some kind of chip that identifies your phone so the service can find it?
    Subscriber Identity Module - basically the part of the phone that says "this is my phone number".

    What does it mean to root your phone?
    To get administrative access to the operating system. Or to modify the phone so that you can.

    Can most people do that for themselves with some instructions?
    The right way? Most people can't. The way most people do it (with a program that does it for them)? Yes.

    What is the advantage of doing so?
    You can run apps that need root. You can freeze or uninstall system apps. (You can also turn the phone into a paper weight, so weigh the advantages with the disadvantage.)

    What are the disadvantages of doing so?
    There's one single little command that can remove everything but the hardware from the phone. You can write to, or corrupt, a file the phone needs. (Or the rooting program may be poorly written and damage the phone.) IOW, you can turn the phone into an expensive paper weight. And you won't be able to update the phone. Updates assume that a rooted phone may not be what it appears to be, and updating it would cause it to stop working, so the update stops. (There are also some apps that won't run on rooted phones, for security purposes.) Oh, and you immediately void the warranty, even if the phone works and, say, the earphone jack breaks (which has absolutely nothing to do with rooting).

  3. #2  

    Default Re: Newbie Questions: Unlocked vs Rooted ?

    Unlocking the Bootloader allows for flashing custom software. This is something people that like to flash ROM are interested in often. Root is the name for the base directory/partition in the Android file system and "having root" is speaking of having the control of what/who has access to root. Here is a nice Youtube video I like to use to explain it.

  4. #3  
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    Default Re: Newbie Questions: Unlocked vs Rooted ?

    Quote Originally Posted by tinker1234 View Post
    Hi,

    Smart phone newbie. I have some basic questions.

    What does unlocked mean?
    Unlocked SIM-lock or unlocked bootloader. Two totally different things.

    Can people do that for themselves?
    Yes, in either case.

    Is it legal in the US?
    Well ... not according to the manufacturers (in either case), but I can't remember anyone being prosecuted for unlocking either one.

    Does it let you use your phone with any carrier of your choosing?
    Unlocking the SIM lock lets you use the phone with any GSM carrier in your region (or the world - the phone is still region-locked).

    Do you need to get a SIM card to go to any carrier of your choosing?
    When you open an account with the carrier, you'll get one of their SIM cards, if they're a GSM carrier. (If they're a CDMA carrier, the phone doesn't use a SIM card for network connection.)

    What is a SIM card, some kind of chip that identifies your phone so the service can find it?
    Subscriber Identity Module - basically the part of the phone that says "this is my phone number".

    What does it mean to root your phone?
    To get administrative access to the operating system. Or to modify the phone so that you can.

    Can most people do that for themselves with some instructions?
    The right way? Most people can't. The way most people do it (with a program that does it for them)? Yes.

    What is the advantage of doing so?
    You can run apps that need root. You can freeze or uninstall system apps. (You can also turn the phone into a paper weight, so weigh the advantages with the disadvantage.)

    What are the disadvantages of doing so?
    There's one single little command that can remove everything but the hardware from the phone. You can write to, or corrupt, a file the phone needs. (Or the rooting program may be poorly written and damage the phone.) IOW, you can turn the phone into an expensive paper weight. And you won't be able to update the phone. Updates assume that a rooted phone may not be what it appears to be, and updating it would cause it to stop working, so the update stops. (There are also some apps that won't run on rooted phones, for security purposes.) Oh, and you immediately void the warranty, even if the phone works and, say, the earphone jack breaks (which has absolutely nothing to do with rooting).

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