Rooting FAQ's (please post all related questions and concerns about rooting in here)
Ok so here we go, a full out FAQ's thread for everybody that is curious about what rooting means, does, and what you can do with a rooted device.
Please keep all rooted questions in this thread and not deviate by making a whole new thread regarding what is already stated in here. I want to help prevent clutter with threads asking the same questions and this way it is an all in one thread. thank you
This article was taken off of our very own Android Central blog site and written by the very talented Jerry Hildenbrand
Ed. Note: The story originally was published on Feb. 14, 2010. We've updated it with new information and present it again for those of you new to Android.
Each day more and more Android handsets are being sold, and that means users are faced with a major decision: To root, or not to root. Some of us will do it simply because we can, others will decide not to do it as they enjoy the phone as-is, but the majority of us will be on the fence about the whole idea of rooting.
Hopefully some of those questions can get answered and you’ll have a clearer picture of the process and some understanding to make the decision a bit easier. I’m sure this won’t answer every question you’ll have when considering whether or not to root your device, but hopefully this is a good start and a basis for further discussion.
What, exactly, is rooting?
Rooting your Android device involves adding in a small Linux application called “su”. It stands for SuperUser, and allows applications and commands to run with elevated permissions. Everything that runs code, whether it’s an application or the user, has a permission level set by the operating system.
Why Linux? Well the heart of the Android operating system is the Linux kernel. You'll hear a lot of nerdy geek-speak about the Linux kernel, but all you really need to know is that it's what is interfacing Android to your hardware, and ultimately has complete control. When you stray outside the "normal" way of using Android and start entering commands directly, the kernel is who you're talking to.
The root user is the boss and can do anything (good or bad) on the device. From simple things like clearing the cache from core applications, to more advanced things like wirelessly tethering a laptop or iPod touch through your phone, root can do it. The su program is a sort of gateway that lets applications or users act as root while doing tasks.
OK, so why would I want to root my phone?
Good question! Maybe you don’t. Everything in a Linux system is a file, or is treated as a file. Since Android runs on top of Linux, it acts the same way. Most of the files you will need to access or change are available to you without having elevated permissions. "Most" being the key term here. When you want to do things that affect or change the core software of your device -- like updating the version of Android on your phone, or adding a nice piece of software from another device -- you'll have to do it as root. Dream and Magic users have been running Eclair on their phones for a good while now, and it’s because they have rooted their device. Rooting also gives you access to some handy software that you couldn’t use otherwise. Things like a complete system backup or ad blocking software require you to root your device. Don’t root your phone just for the sake of rooting your phone, but if you come across something you feel you could use or would like to have, then consider it. You'll find that the open source community is usually pretty helpful and encouraging new people to do new things is common. And when you get to the point where you can lend a hand to the new folks, pay it forward.
So it's like jailbreaking?
Pretty darn close. Jailbreaking an iPhone or iPod touch opens up things like using applications that aren’t manufacturer-approved or changing the look and feel of the device. Android already allows this to a large extent. The changes behind the scenes are the same way. A lot of what you can do with a jail broken iPhone you can already do with your Android phone, but to really unlock everything you’ll need to root it. The concept itself is identical. You’re allowing things that usually wouldn’t have root permission to have them.
Is it dangerous? Will it break my phone? Will it void my warranty?
It can be, It might, and Yes. By not allowing access to the superuser account, the manufacturer and your carrier have basically protected you from doing things that change the system and make it unusable. All it takes is one wrong keystroke to turn your shiny new Android phone into a plastic and metal brick with no connection. Most times this is recoverable, but not always. You have to decide how capable you feel you are, and how well written the instructions you’ve found seem to be. Nobody will blame you if you decide against the risk, especially your cell carrier. All major carriers and manufacturers plainly state that altering or using unapproved software voids your warranty, and rooting falls into that category. While that seems a bit harsh, they need to be able to support the products they sell. For that to happen, they need to know exactly what’s running and what it’s doing.
Apps that run as root need a little further consideration. You need to have a level of trust in the person who wrote the app first and foremost. Does the developer have other software available? Do the user comments (for Market apps) have anything that raises a red flag? Do the requested permissions seem a little odd? These are all questions you need to think about before you allow something to run as root. For a further level of security, think about installing an application that warns you anytime something tries to run as root. SuperUser Whitelist (Android Market link) is a great little app that does exactly that. If you decide to go on and root, ask users with the same device as you for a link to a version of SuperUser Whitelist that works with your firmware. Once installed, anytime something wants to run as root, the app intercepts and asks if you would like to allow it. You’re given the choice to accept, decline, or grant the app in question full privileges each time it runs.
One last thing to touch on here. Many custom ROMs include some sort of SSH server. This can be a wonderful tool, or it can get you in hot water. This is what caused the whole “Rick-Roll” episode with the latest iPhone jailbreak. The server sits and waits for an outside connection, and if that connection provides the right password full control of the device is turned over. In the case of the iPhone, users never bothered to change the default SSH password for root. A clever (or devious) group of users simply scanned for servers listening on the correct port, then attempted to sign in as root with the default password. Lesson learned, but this is easy to prevent. Ask other users of the ROM or firmware you’re thinking of flashing if there is a server listening, and if so how to disable it or change the default password.
If I root, will I still receive operating system updates from my carrier?
Maybe. More than likely if you’ve just rooted your phone so you could have access to the full file system and haven’t drastically changed things, the phone will still pass your carrier's checks and upgrade. If you’ve delved deeper and really customized your device, count on not being able to upgrade. Carrier updates were designed to work with the original software, so they need to be sure that’s what the phone is running. Again, this is for your own good. T-Mobile or Verizon can’t offer technical support for things they haven’t trained their technicians on, and if you flash a carrier approved update over custom software it’s probably not going to work.
The good news is that failing the checks the carrier does during an update won’t cause any damage to your phone. The update will just quit and you’ll be back where you started. Then you can decide if you would like to un-root and upgrade or take another path. The worst case scenario is that the phone passes the carriers checks, updates, and then things get broken. That’s pretty unlikely, but possible. If that would happen, you won’t be alone. Everyone in your situation will scramble to their favorite Android user forum and hopefully a work around can be found.
Note - a carrier update may also break the ability to root the device and a new method will need to be found. Any discussion of upgrading and root needs this mentioned as well. Most folks who root and decide to install a custom ROM wait for the ROM developer to provide an update that includes any bug fixes or new capabilities of the carrier update.
Will I still get application updates?
Yes. While it’s not being used, the program that allows permissions to be upgraded just sits and does nothing. Normal applications won’t even be aware it’s there, and applications that use it expect it to be there. Application updates, whether they are from the Market or other third parties will still install as normal.
If I decided to 'un-root' my phone, how do I do that?
It depends on the model of your phone. Some are ridiculously easy to revert, some not so much. This is the most important question you can ask before you dive in and root your phone. Usually the website you found the method to root your phone will also have a discussion about un-rooting and going back to stock firmware. Take the time to find and read this information so you’re aware of just how difficult it’s going to be to go back. Pay close attention and create backups when recommended while you’re rooting your phone, as these may be needed to go back. I’ve not heard of any device that can’t be restored to factory firmware provided the original was backed up properly as recommended during the rooting process. The most important thing to always remember is to ask for help. If you do find yourself stuck without a backup or a working phone and need to roll back, ask for advice. Our forums are full of fine folks from all walks of life, and the majority are more than happy to help. There’s a good chance you’re not the first person in that situation and a solution has already been worked up!
As you can see it is something that needs a little thought before you dive right in. But if you decide you need root access, consider some of the information we’ve laid out here. The security and other risks are real, but are pretty easy to work with. There’s no reason you can’t safely root and use your phone, just do your homework first!
- 07-25-2010, 05:27 PM #3
- 110 Posts
- Jelly Bean 4.1.2..
Okay so, by rooting would I be able to use the phone on a different carrier? For instance, I'm stuck on AT&T. I might have access to an EVO 4G(someone selling theirs), I luv the phone. If I were to root this phone can I use it on AT&T or is that possible? Thanks for any response..
- 07-25-2010, 05:43 PM #4
- 07-25-2010, 06:06 PM #5
- 07-26-2010, 10:37 AM #6
- 17 Posts
PC36IMG link has been bad. Its telling me that its invalid or corrupted.I have tried several links but nothing. I got all the other files i need to root the evo,the only one im missing is the one stated above.Anyone have ideas or a good link to download that file.
Thanks in advance.
- 07-26-2010, 01:53 PM #7
- 07-26-2010, 04:16 PM #8
- 07-26-2010, 07:59 PM #9
- 07-27-2010, 02:04 PM #10
- 07-27-2010, 10:59 PM #11
Hey i'm a new guy to the whole rooting scene, and i have a bunch of questions. I have a Vibrant, and the only real reason i see for me rooting is so that i can get froyo ASAP, because being with T-mobile i've realized that we always get all the updates late. Other than that what other reason would there be to root? I read the whole Q+A and watched the videos and blogs on how to root the phone, but my question is what happens after that? Everyone is talking roms and black market apps, and froyo how would i put any of that stuff on my phone once i've rooted, and what, if anything is there to put on the vibrant since it's such a relative new phone. As you can tell i'm lost in the sauce and having spent a little over $2000 in the last 14 months on cellphones (Long story, just know i left android with my g1 and went windows mobile a few times, worst damn mistake ever windows phone's blow!!!!), and finally found one that i LOVE, i would hate to do something stupid and be out another phone. HELP!!! and i don't really speak too much computer talk, i'm an accountant not a progammer. and answers would be very helpful.
P.S if i root, can i get rid of all this crapware that t-mobile has on this phone?
P.S.S sorry for the double post didn't see this thread about all the rooting questions in here
- 07-28-2010, 12:20 AM #12
Default Application Removal
Correct me if im wrong but if i followed this tutorial to root my phone...
h t t p : / / w w w . droid-life . c o m/2010/07/08/how-to-root-android-2-1-and-install-android-2-2-on-motorola-droid
...Should i not be able to remove stupid applications that are preloaded such as Amazon MP3, and stuff like that?
- 07-28-2010, 03:37 PM #13
as for rooting the droid, there used to be an app when the droid had 2.01 firmware but as of now there is only 1 way to my knowledge and that is with rsd lite. it is a little risky but if done correctly and each instruction done in order, you shouldnt have a problem.
- 08-03-2010, 02:49 PM #15
I understand everything to be gained from rooting and what it does, etc, but could someone explain what these recovery programs like Clockwork do and why I need them? In all the rooting guide they say I need to install one of them. After that, whats the difference between DangerSPL and HardSPL and how do I know which one I need for which ROM I want to use?
Thanks for any help.
- 08-05-2010, 12:42 AM #16
- 08-05-2010, 10:40 PM #17
- 08-11-2010, 08:14 PM #18
- 08-20-2010, 12:17 AM #19
I'm new to droid rooting as well, and i have a few questions to ask before i proceed in rooting my phone.
1. when i root my droid will i loose any media, pics, or apps that i have saved or downloaded to my phone or sd card?
2. has anyone used easy root to root their phone, and will it work if i have already updated to 2.2 froyo?
3. are ROMs what i will be using to customize my droid after rooting, and if so what ROMs should i have or try?
4. what apps should i have or need after rooting my droid?
2) i have never used easy root since i have been rooted for a while but i think i read somthing on their site or maybe it was the app description saying that it is able to root 2.2. don't take my word for it though, check out their site or you could read the app reviews in the market and see if anybody says that it can root 2.2
3) roms are in most cases the way you will customize your droid. metamorph is another way but it seems to not be used as much. the difference between the 2 is that a rom will change the system and theme as well as a few other things. metamorph only changes the look of the UI. roms are usually a better bet because their are a lot more options that come with them, like over-clocking, optimized files which will help give your device more memory which in turn can make it faster. just a lot of good stuff.
as for recomendations for roms for you to try out, that is a tough one to answer. there are a lot of good ones and each phone (at least in the droid's case) can react differently with certain roms than others. i know a lot of people love Pete's BB .4 rom and say that it is fast. for me it is fast but not as fast as others that i have used. Lithium is another good option. Currently im running Chevy's Simply Stunning rom and im loving it. it's f ast, its got a great theme and he has added a lot of great options. to each their own.
good luck all
- 08-21-2010, 11:30 PM #22
- 08-22-2010, 02:03 AM #23
- 08-22-2010, 07:53 PM #24