Basic questions on rooting ...
I came to Android from webOS, where there really wasn't such a thing as "rooting." Over the last few months, I've been slowly picking up information about rooting basically by osmosis and selective thread-reading, but I would love to get more explicit information aimed at someone new to the concept and practice of rooting. Any information folks offer will be appreciated ... not just by me, but by many other GS3 owners who have even less grasp on the subject. There's lots of information available on this stuff, but it's scattered all over the place, or (when it's collected) typically aimed at being a reference for people who already know the basics.
(1) What is "rooting"? My understanding is that it's a process of re-flashing memory that opens up all of the GS3's code for manipulation, rather than just those portions of the code a carrier makes available for developers. Is this essentially correct? If so, is there more to add? If not, what's a good basic explanation?
(2) What are the benefits to rooting for a casual user? A non-developer power-user? What are some specific examples of what can be done with a rooted GS3 (including why we'd want to do those things, if it's not obvious)?
(3) What is "recovery"? What's the difference between stock recovery and custom recovery, and why would we choose one over the other?
(4) What is Odin? I know it's an application that makes rooting (and recovery?) very simple, but what exactly does it do? (I used Odin to restore the shutter-sound toggle to Camera, and it was very simple. But I'm not exactly certain how it did it.)
(5) What are the most useful apps that require rooting?
- 12-26-2012, 03:19 PM #2Retired Ambassador
- 4,518 Posts
Re: Basic questions on rooting ...
2. Benefits to the casual user can be as simple as using apps that can't be used with unrooted devices. Such as Titanium Backup. There are apps that can backup apps stored on your phone but without root access the data for these apps many times can't be backed up. such as saved games, passwords and settings. Another use that the casual user can do is free wifi tethering. Some carriers charge for wifi tethering. Once rooted you can use wifi tethering apps that bypass the carriers restrictions.
3. The difference between stock recovery and custom recovery's are huge. Stock recovery's could be just as good as custom recovery's if that was what the manufacturers wanted, but it isn't. Stock recovery is limited to installing updates and restoring your system to and out of the box state. Custom recovery's allow you to make complete backups of your entire system by making an image of your device which cam be restored in it's entirety. Custom recovery's also have the ability to flash different software, mods and fixes to your phone as well as other things.
4. Odin has a lot of uses but its main use on Samsung phones is to provide a way to install software on your device from scratch. It is the only way out of the box that lets you push software to your phone.It is used to not only force feed root and custom recovery's to your phone but also will return your phone back to it's original state. If your phone is currently unrooted, there is no way to gain access without a way to push the software to your phone. Odin does it pretty much the same way the original manufacturer does. When you put your phone in download mode Odin is used to push the software to your phone. Odin has different options for different devices. The only thing you will ever want to use on your Samsung phone is flashing with the pda option.
5. You ask which are the most useful apps that require root. That is highly subjective question. as most people root for very different reasons. I like loading themes roms and modifications and these are all flashed through custom recovery. Others just want apps not available such as the before mentioned Titanium Backup and wifi tether. But there are many apps that enable you to tweak your system such as Set CPU, Rom Toolbox and volume control. There are too many different apps that do too many things to just say which ones are best for a particular user. Like I said it all depends on why you rooted in the first place.
- 12-26-2012, 04:09 PM #3
Re: Basic questions on rooting ...
Thanks for summing that up Skunk.
Probably the only things I'd add is..
Stock recovery allows only OEM/carrier officially-signed update.zip files to be flashed to the device. Why update.zip? That is the only filename it will read in stock recovery and it has to be digitally signed by the carrier-OEM. These are normally OTA (Over the air) updates pushed out by the carrier/OEM or done manually by the user if you get the update.zip file and place it on your sdcard and do it manually. Only other function of the stock recovery is allowing you to factory reset the device.
Custom recovery as Skunk stated allows so much more. It allows you to flash custom file packages that aren't signed/official by the OEM or carrier. These can be full custom ROMs (OS) or a theme, custom kernel or even just minor individual mods or applications.
Odin, FWIW is a piece of software that Samsung uses and was leaked out a long while back... It allows the user to completely flash an entire operating system image, boot partition, recovery, radios to the device. Its not a program to be taken lightly, with improper use it can have damaging effects. But if directions are followed closely its a rewarding experience being able to do such things to your device. The key to Odin is CONNECTION. If your connection is a little off, it will cause issues.. Bad flash, failed flash, not connecting, etc.. All comes down to that little silly USB cable between your computer and device. Many people have a few extra on hand since they are inexpensive (few bucks off Amazon, etc..). One cable that works great to charge your device may not even allow the device to connect in Odin.. Its just the way it is... Get past the silly USB connection headaches and the rest is usually very straight forward. You come out a few minutes later after a completed flash squeaky clean on the other side with a fresh OS or radio update, etc...
Oh on the Odin subject again.. You will find out there if you look around enough a tool called something to the effect of Samsung Windows Update that allows the user to manually update their device. Its been released on some major OS updates on various Samsung devices. Its basically "Odin" and instead of giving the user full control over what Odin is doing, Samsung took it and skinned a dumbed down/fool proof UI over the top of it. It will make the connection, install the necessary drivers if needed, download the software update and flash it for you.
Last evidence I saw of this tool personally was back on the Samsung Epic 4g during the Froyo (Android version 2.1) update.
- 12-27-2012, 11:09 AM #4
- 24 Posts
Also, I found this article to be extremely helpful as well: http://www.androidcentral.com/rooting-it-me-some-qa.
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