Monday, October 08, 2012

Leveraging Android - Part 3 - What's the meaning of Rooting the phone

Prequel posts  Part1   Part2

What's the meaning of Rooting phone

I am not an Android developer per say, but I understand the concept in layman terms. When you say rooting phone, you are getting more powers on your device. Powers!! yes you read it right. More powers. So what you mean by more powers.

To understand it better we need to understand Security concept a little bit. Android is Linux based operating system. Linux is much more controlled environment. Role based permissions can be set for different actions on the operating system. Its like, at your office, who can enter which area of the office. Not everyone have access to server rooms and neither to finance departments etc. 

In similar way within Linux you can fix up the permissions. So in Android. Having root access makes you the BOSS of your device. All the applications (apps) can be considered as your folks reporting to you. Any app wants to have any special permission to read/ write in system folders, or any "not-normal" thing, Android will intimate BOSS, that is you, saying so-and-so app wants to do so-and-so, you want to allow. How cool is it. You can say yes, no, remember this selection and always allow him to do that job etc. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Rooting your phone

  • As you have already read, above, it allows you do more things than you could have done on a non rooted phone
  • It makes you the BOSS
  • More control on your device. You can overclock and undervolt your CPU (Will explain in future posts)
  • Some cool and important Apps like Titanium Backup need root access.
  • You can browse entire system file systems. Usually you can only browse anything in /sdcard and /external_sd only. Once rooted apps allow to browse started from "/". which is called root folder. 
  • You can play around and Tweak CPU (Central Processor), GPU (Graphic Processor), Touch sensitivity  and many other hardware related entities
  • You can install some cool custom ROMs (I will explain about ROMs in later posts) example: CyanogenMod
  • It might void your manufacture warranty 
  • Once you are made BOSS Android expects you to take care of vulnerable risks. So you need to be more careful
  • Apps can actually do anything and everything. They can influence the hardware as well. So risk of damaging your phone might be there
How to Mitigate risk
You can always unroot your phone. So that you reduce the impact and root it back, when needed :) 

How to root your Phone
There are multiple ways to do it and depends on your device. Mine is Samsung Galaxy S2 and I followed the steps explained in following thread . Other devices should have similar way. Please search in google or in XDA.

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