Basic Concepts of and Safety of Rooting/Unlocking?

Frank Rice

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Mar 2, 2016
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Basic Concepts of and Safety of Rooting/Unlocking

Hi, I am a simple phone user who has just been overwhelmed with roadblocks while researching a new phone and service. I'm coming off of a Verizon contract and looking for a less expensive alternative. Everything about Cricket's plan looked great until I ran across fine print that they don't support mobile wifi hotspot unless you pay at least $20 more per month. I had never heard of mobile hotspot being regulated until now so this came as a shock to me. Based on my historical usage, which is only as a backup strategy when clients don't have wifi to connect my diagnostic equipment while on remote service calls, I may use 100MB total in a year over the course of four visits. So I barely use the hotspot feature and will not be buying the Cricket plan or any other if it means paying more than I already do with Verizon (just to use the data I've already purchased).

My research has brought me to the conclusion that the best course of action is a new Nexus 5X and going through the unlocking/rooting/disabling hotspot flag procedure I've read so much about. For the time being, and considering I become more confused the more I read about this, I'd like to ask a few really basic questions. IOW, I don't understand much of the discussions I've read (which have been 1000's of posts).

Is there a nickname or procedural name for backing up the phone when it is brand new out of the box, such that I can reset it to 100% stock if something goes wrong later? I am not worried if it deletes any apps or contacts as I will reload them as necessary. I'm talking about getting it 100% stock such that it would be in fair reselling condition or make a good place to start over with another rooting effort if the first attempt goes awry.

I am using a hybrid type Casio Android phone now; the phone's inner weirdness has apparently caused Verizon to halt updates so it's stuck on 4.1.2. I'm OK with the older OS. The latest Android OS is not important to me unless my next phone simply can't operate without continued updates. Can I upgrade a new 5X's Android OS to whatever the latest version that's available from Google before starting the root procedure, then lock out or somehow decline any future system updates? If so, is this a reasonable approach for me given I want to do as little modding as possible? I lived with 4.1.2 for years so my theory is that my simple needs will not require the latest / greatest capabilities a few years from now. I ask because it appears that a rooted phone needs to be returned to some more stock form before updating the OS. This seems like it could be a real hassle down the line.

I'll save more pointed questions for later once this sinks in. Thank you to all who read this. Any help is very appreciated.
 

blak8830

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Sep 18, 2012
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Re: Basic Concepts of and Safety of Rooting/Unlocking

If you buy a Nexus phone, factory images are available from Google at https://developers.google.com/android/nexus/images
On the other hand, if you can live with lower phone storage or performance, something like an unlocked Moto G might work for you. Depending on the model, there are lists of factory (or other) firmware available on the xda web site.
Also, the last AT&T service I had allowed hotspot without an extra charge.
Currently, my Moto G on Consumer Cellular is capable of hotspot without any added charge.
In general, for nearly all of your questions, the answers depend upon the specific phone you buy.
 
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Frank Rice

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Re: Basic Concepts of and Safety of Rooting/Unlocking

Thank you. I will be sticking to the N5X and Cricket as long as I eventually gain confidence it will work, given my current lack of experience or knowledge. What is the process called where the factory image can be reinstalled onto a N5X? Is there a nickname or common term that would be helpful for searching?

Looking at your link it seems like this image would be all inclusive but I don't know. Does the image include the full Android OS such that one would flash whichever version he wishes, and then have a fully functional factory stock phone, or are there more steps after the image is flashed?
 

blak8830

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Re: Basic Concepts of and Safety of Rooting/Unlocking

The process to load a Nexus image is documented at the top of the page where you find the images. Yes, they are all inclusive. You can only install the images for the N5X on an N5X, so for that device, it's either 6.0, or 6.0.1.
 

Frank Rice

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Thank you for your help. I've read through that page but I am concerned about the many potential pitfalls that may await if I don't go into this well educated. I will search further on factory default and reflashing an image.
 

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