Android Central

Hacking is half (or more) the fun for many an Android user.  With the right phone, you can change just about everything, making it have little resemblance to the way it came out of the box.  It's fun and addicting for the same reason computer tweaking and hacking is -- we do it because we can.  There's a good chance many of you guys reading this are the same way.  The simple fact that you found an Android site on the Internet makes you a more informed user, and you're exposed to all this hacking jazz.  

There's as good a chance that you're not into breaking hacking your phone.  We get that.  You like things well enough the way they are, and just use your phone.  We wanna hear from both sides this evening, so let us know in the poll.



Reader comments

Late night poll: Do you hack your Android phone?


As a proud DX owner and rooting I will be an android loyal for life coming from a blackberry storm. Since the switch I've had the whole family move over to android. Thanks to AC and the AC followers for that one. First phone ill own till upgrade.

Depending on the phone and method, its usually quite foolproof. At this point you have to try pretty hard to mess things up bad enough to brick a device.

I'd never urge someone to root and ROM unless they were completely confident though. Knowledge is power when it comes to the time to root.


if you read and follow the instructions carefully, and for as long as you can get your device into download mode, you don't have to worry. :-)

it's the only way to properly receive timely updates since the carriers/manufactures drag their feet...

There should be a 5th choice... "Not yet, but likely in the future." I've had my HTC Inspire for nearly a year and I'm still enjoying it without any hacks. I do have a customer launcher on it, but that's as far as I've gone. I'm sure I will eventually get bored with it, and start hacking just to see what I can do. I started hacking my blackberry after about a year as well.

I fall into this category. Android is new to me and I have a rooted Galaxy Nexus. I'll get into ROMs later when I feel that theres a limitation with ICS.

I read for like 3 days before I rooted my phone, after gaining enough knowledge and learning the Android OS, it became not as intimidating. I live my phone now, coming from a blackberry curve, the epic touch 4g/gs2 is so so amazing. I am thankful.

As a matter of fact, I just stock rooted my own epic touch. I'm going to shop around on roms for a while, because all I really need are free wifi hotspotting and setcpu.

I've got a bionic and it's rooted, but current not rom'd. I'm sort of running stock. I put on a leaked update.

Coming from the OG, it's been a difficult month to NOT attempt a rom. lol

I've installed roms on an Eris, 3 DIncs, a Tbolt, a Nook Color, a Gtablet, and a DInc2. I've booted Sense, custom Sense, Cyangenmod, Kangs, and MIUI. I've even booted an Ubuntu image. And after one crazy afternoon of downloading and flashing files, pentabooted my DInc.

I've eaten bootloops for breakfast!

And I'm itching like crazy to get my hands on a GNex so I can say I've fastboot oem unlocked something!

I have a nexus one (Still loving the phone I have). It's rooted and all, but I do considerably less hacking now than I did when I was on my g1.

Sure do, I do just about all the reasonable hacking I can:

HTC EVO: bootloader exploit first night I had it because the Wii Remote won't pair on Sense, CM7 and MIUI were main roms. Beta tested HDMI mirroring and other fun stuff!
Nexus S: so much hackery! Lol. Although a fastboot OEM unlock was fun; it reminded me of WebOS. Touch wake mod and BLN were great but I ultimately sold it.
Verizon Xperia Play: zergrush method to attain perm root, and since VZW blocks the official unlocker I have stayed locked.
Epic Touch: unlocking and rooting my current phone was a breeze. Only slightly longer than Nexus S, and Calkulin's rom is perfection.

Now my girlfriend's pre-gingerbread EVO Shift is an enormous pain, to even hold root temporarily. HTC keeps unlocking many older models and regional variants, and it's getting frustrating! Ah well, I'm hoping they let me have my way with it soon...!

Don't bother waiting for htcdev to unlock your evo shift. If you're on froyo just temp root with visionary and perm root with gfree. Install clockwork mod with rom manager and toss a rom on there. If you are on gingerbread you'll need to temp root with fre3vo and downgrade the bootloader system version count so you can install froyo with an ruin and then follow the instructions above.

Android and rooting just seem synonymous. I enjoy the hacking as much as (if not more than) any other feature on the phone. DInc2 with MIUI right now but I keep playing with the ICS betas from time-to-time.

Galaxy S2 here in the states...I rooted it for a few reasons

1.) remove bloatware
2.) Titanium Backup
3.) Being able to tweak more of the system (Autostarts, DroidWall, SetCPU, etc.)

That's about it. If you were to pick up my phone (minus my launcher) it looks like a stock Galaxy S2 (UnNamed ROM).

Stupid fast...epic battery life (usually only go through 40-45% of battery with decent usage after a 16 hour day), and rock solid stability.

Zero complaints and way better than stock for the above reasons. I'm beyond playing with the phone every 10 seconds to change stuff. It works, looks sleek, and I'm content.

I shot this a while back for some guys over at XDA

I have an official ROM for my device from another region to begin with. Further, I haven't rooted but enabled debugging with adb and have practically the same level of access -- I call this being "unrooted" :) In that way I removed all carrier apps, and made an awesome hosts file that blocks most marketing (I add to it on regular basis whenever I see a new ad).

Always have and will! It all began wit my nexus nexus s and at last galaxy nexus.....I cannot have a stock rom...I wanna be different..have different stuff ....better software (custom)...which guy would like to have the save car as another person......? Not I like having unlocked boot loader and always root and custom rom CM fan

I'm all for rooting sometimes and sometimes I don't want to do anything but remove bloatware. What really gets me is all the "vanilla" Android purists that say they want the "pure Google experience," then immediately root and load a custom ROM on their Nexus phone. I say if you're capable of rooting your phone then grab the one you like the best (be that phone quality, hardware specs, screen size and resolution, etc.) then get it and root it.

Don't tell me how much you love the pure software if you're going to buy the phone that has it, and then immediately throw custom ROM's on it. If you truly love the pure experience then leave it that way. The reality is that we all customize our phones in some ways whether it be a custom ROM, removal of bloatware, launcher, etc. That's why we love Android, because it can be customized the way we want it (rooted and custom ROM'ed, stock with tweaks, custom launcher, and everything in-between). I'm just happy that we have the option and developer support with Android to do an infinite amount of customization if we choose to.

I answered, "No, I like stock" but I don't feel this fully represents a large portion of Android users.

Rooting, for various reasons real or not, has a dangerous connotation to it. The thought of bricking your phone, voiding warranties, or violating exchange terms scares many.

It also has the perception of being too technical for the common user. Connecting it to a computer to install programs flies in the face of how the average consumer has come to rely on Androids OTA downloadable content.

This may seem frivolous to the majority of AC visitors, but it's not to the vast majority of Android users I know, including myself.

I'm very tempted to try the one click method highlighted a week or so ago, but I still have my reservations.

I guess the poll response that would have best characterized mine and many other Android users' standpoint would be, "No, I'm skurred!"

I don't like stock BTW - I heavily customize my phone as much as possible within the confines of the stock experience (different launchers, icons, etc.).

No plans here to root my E4GT.

I rooted my OG Evo and played around with at least 10 different roms to try it out. Every rom I tried though, had some sort of problem and waiting for new roms or fixes to those problems were painstakenly painful. Sure they got fixed but waiting was raising my blood pressure and anger level and decided it wasn't worth it.

Now if I could afford an E4GT to buy outright as a spare, you betcha I would be rooting that sucker. But for now, my E4GT works, works good, and does what I need it to do with relative ease. Not to mention all the customizations I, I can find in the market.

To me, the real hackers are the people coming up with the mods and ROMs. I'm just a beneficiary of their hackery.

Well, I wasn't happy about the way my Samsung Galaxy S 2 was running. It missed keystrokes, swipes, froze constantly, launcher crashed etc. Still I was reluctant to root at first, thinking I was going to mess things up. But eventually, since my phone gave me 4-10 hours of battery life, I really had no choise but to try to do something about it.

So I surfed a bit and found easy instructions for rooting and installing Cyanogen mod. Used it for a while, but since at the time CM didn't have anything else than nightly builds for SGS2, it was a bit quirky. Also though the battery life wasn't nearly as bad, it still couldn't always get through the day with moderate use.

Then I found MIUI mod and have been using it ever since. Now i get over two days of battery life (with little use, naturally) and it has never quit in the midlle of the (first) day. Also I like the ease of use and easy use of themes, settings etc. Also for some reason benchmarks claim my phone is abt 50% faster than the original. Which is odd, imo.

Long story short: Was scared to root, had to root ... and now i'm really happy about that decision.

I read the website for about a month before I got my Evo 4G on Launch month. Rooted it the first night with CM7. On ICS now and still love the phone to this day.

There is no option in the poll for me.

I would love to hack my android phone but it is unrootable. Locked down tight with no hope of ever removing the crap it was shipped with.

Im not making that mistake again. Im never going to buy a phone I can't root in future.

Rooting extends the consumer happiness by atleast 6 months to a year imo.

Changing the look, feel, options, battery life and more makes you feel like you have a new phone sometimes.

Just when I thought my dx was near the end of the line, I flashed 5-6 roms making it feel fresh until I got my gnex.

Stuck Warranty???.... We don't need no stinking warranty. Had a DX and I violated that poor little phone and the I got the GNex... Unlocked bootloader you say??.. Why come here little phone, I won't bite. You want some candy little phone?? I have some here in my van. That device begs to be tweaked and modded.. It's the reference phone... That's its purpose.. That a big part of the appeal of these gadgets... Its not as daunting as it sounds at first, and once you get to know your way around backups and the import/export button it doesn't even take that long... I can wipe, flash, restore my apps and be set back up in about 20 min now... First time took me 3 hours... Android has the strongest development community out there, if you don't know ask. There are people in the forums that WANT to help. It's a great time to own an Android, mobile technology is the future and this is just the beginning!!

When I owned the HTC EVO 4G, I always wanted to root but after reading up as to how to root, I knew that I just couldn't. I always did want to in order to do more with that phone. But now I own the Motorola Photon 4G, and I have no need as this phone DOES everything right out of the box. It does everything that I wanted to do and MORE when I owned the EVO 4G - which I would had have to root in order to do half the things I can with the Photon 4G. I'm not saying anything bad with rooting, its just not for me, personaly seems a little to confusing to do even after reading all the how to's.

I had a bad experience with rooting my phone and having the GPS not work after their applying a custom ROM on my HTC Thunderbolt. It was really disappointing since they would not help fix the problem. There are some of us who do not feel knowledgeable enough to root and apply custom ROMs. So I thought using a service to do it was the way to go. So now I have a Galaxy Nexus and I'm very reluctant to use a service or do it myself. I don't want to have my phone bricked! So I'll stick with stock.

Let me also say in defense of that the Liquid Smooth ROM they applied to my Thunderbolt looked lovely and make some improvements in making the phone operate more smoothly and quickly. So that was good. But I use my phone's GPS all the time and not having it was a huge inconvenience.

I learned how to root and hack my phone about 11 years ago off xda and similar sites. IMHO it makes every phone better in one way or another. Since I have hacked
moto q, moto q9m, lg 3200- lg 5200, moto razer v3, HTC incredible 1&2, Droid 1 & 2, Droid x, my touch, my touch 4g, Samsung omnia , Droid charge, evo, evo 3d, HTC sensation, iPhone 2g, iPhone 4, Droid bionic, Amazon kindle fire, nook tablet, and Galaxy Nexus.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. What I have learned about hacking and rooting is if there is a way to put it back to stock download it FIRST then if you do mess up you can start over. And unusually if you follow instructions in order you will have no problems. Most phones are not really bricked unless they can't power on at all.

From the beginning I've said that I wanted a "pure google" phone with no deviations from stock android. Unfortunately, when I bought my first android devise over a year ago, the best phone on my network was the Droid X, which was not only full of carrier bloat, but it ran what most people consider to be one of the worst manufacturer skins.

I would say I rooted my phone specifically so I could install custom ROMs. In my day-to-day use, I don't use root for anything on my phone, and even though I've come to love CyanogenMod, I think if I were to get a vanilla phone like the Galaxy Nexus, I would be quite happy with the unrooted stock experience for some time before I was tempted to add a custom ROM to my device.

Hacked my OG and my Bionic. Running Kin3tx Zoom for the last few weeks. Can't live without Titanium Backup and Ad Free!

I also hacked my daughter's Kindle Fire. Runs great!

I don't hack, but it's not necessarily because I like stock. It's mostly because I haven't gotten the nerve or taken the time to research how to do it.

I have two phone lines now each with an android device. It's almost time for an upgrade on one of the lines. After the upgrade, I probably will try rooting the device on my secondary line just for the fun of it. If I manage to brick it, at least I'll have a back up phone available.

Yes that's exactly why I have an android phone its mine when I hack it it not the same as my buddies it usually does a lot more than it would stock no bloatware etc.

I've been hacking since my iphone 3G and stock is boring. I'm learning the exploits of the atrix2 and I'm having fun in the process. Next up, overclocking and full ROMS, whenever our bootloader unlocked.

Sprint Epic 4G Touch running TeAm VeNuM's V C S RL3 ROM! tis amazing, and I might tweak it a bit ;-)

Rooted my old Acer liquid e once I got sick of the consent freezing and lag. Now I'm happily running cm9 4.0.3. All thanks to the amazing developer community, even if you phone is 2 years old.

i hack the crap outta my nexus. its interesting though because my dad had an inspire 4g so he hacked it to death since he hated sense. He just got a galaxy s2 and seems content with touchwiz (although i bug him all the time to root and use a custom rom)

The other day I thought it was time to update my Galaxy Tab to new ROM, so I found one that looked good and tried it. Well that did not work right so back on Odin with a kernel/CWM and then the new ROM and now all is good and a little faster. This more fun than tweaking windows and much less of a PIA and always recoverable if something borkes. I love Android and only have an iPad for my wife since she is computer illiterate.

I finally unlocked and rooted my GNex. My only problem now is trying to put a custom ROM on the damn thing. I think I might use a computer because using ROM Manager doesn't seem to work when flashing a ROM OTA.

I payed for the phone, I'll do with it what I want. If I wanted someone else to keep control of my property and treat me like a child, I would have gotten an iPhone.

When I had the HTC Desire, I rooted it as soon as I found out that it was gonna be a long time before (then) Cellular South was going to release 2.2. I put so many different ROMs on that phone, it was screaming for mercy by the time I was done with it.

I have a Milestone X, and I haven't rooted it yet. It's my understanding that it has to either be knocked down to 2.2 or a lower version of Gingerbread. As soon as I feel like I'm ready to root, I will. I'm good for now, though.

I have rooted every Android phone I've ever had. I've had the HTC Hero, HTC EVO, Droid X, Droid Incredible, HTC Thunderbolt, and now the Galaxy Nexus. I didn't start using custom roms until the Dinc. I am currently running AOKP Build 21. It is awesome. I love stock ICS, but it does not allow enough customization.I hate the stock launcher. I'm using ADW EX. I am glad AOKP let's me remove the menu dots in the nav bar, that appear in 3rd party launchers. Romming is great!

i have to have root on all my android devices to change build prop so i can play games not supported for my phone or tablet

I don't think I've ever ran the stock rom on an android phone for more than a few weeks, the time it took my last phone to get rooted and get a good writeup on rooting. Other phones I bought were older android phones, rooted the same day I got them :)

I'm surprised that as many users don't root as shown in this poll, who go to this website. But to each his own, I actually don't push rooting and custom roms unless someone is comfortable with them, though I can't fathom the 80 people who said rooting gives android a bad name, virtually every smartphone OS has been hacked to some degree. It's just something that people do with smartphones in general, the only thing different about Android is that we have a more open (not completely open) devices and we can do more customization than most smartphones OSes can.

i bought the galaxy tab P1010 7 inch(wifi only) 2 months ago

i then find out that there has never been a firmware update for came with froyo 2.2.1.
I couldnt get my front camera to work on most camera apps because they say u needed gingerbread 2.3.
I then was forced to to update the firmware to 2.3.6 which was released in the uk..The update worked perfectly.No problems for me.

I phoned samsung and asked them when they ever expect a update for the galaxy tab(wifi only)and no 1 could give me a answer.
I told him i updated the firmware to gingerbread 2.3.6 released in uk.He then tells me i lose my warrenty.
I said dont worry if i ever have to fix something that cost thousands ill smash it into a million pieces.
and send it back to them in a black bag so they can recycle it with all there other trash they supposed to recycle.

so yes i learned a lesson about buying samsung and android...make sure u check twice that there is a firmware update available in ur country for the device phone or tab u buying.

oh and yes im in south africa and its not as if the things are cheap here and they cant give us a firmware update.