STOP! Hammertime

I do what I do here at Android Central for a few different reasons, but the biggest is because I am an Android geek. I am totally into Android, and love talking about it – sometimes too much. I love you guys. All of us here do. So if what I’m going to say here sounds like I’m talking about you, don’t be offended. We’re still friends :)  Hit the break to read the rest.

The thing is, maybe rooting isn't for you. It's nothing personal.

I get a lot of email, and a good portion of it is questions and problems about hacking Android phones. I also read online forums, discussion groups, and social networking sites that are about Android. I’ve had an epiphany – some of you guys have no business rooting your phones. It’s not that you don’t have the best intentions and a desire to learn, but let’s face it – some people just aren’t technically inclined. It’s nothing to be ashamed of -- hell, there’s a laundry list of things that I have no business doing myself, yet see others do them every day. The difference is I have little interest in those things, and don’t have a handful of crazy guys telling me to do them every Thursday night. So, yeah, it’s not your fault you feel like you need to root your phone, even if you shouldn’t be doing it.

We try to help out Android newbies here as much as we can, and I think we do a good job. Our forum moderators and advisers are top-notch, and in my opinion, the best on the Interwebs. A conversation with them last week is what really opened my eyes. With the launch of the Thunderbolt, a lot of work went into writing some bullet-proof guides for rooting and stripping out the crapplications that Verizon forces on you. If you see Cory Streater in the forums, thank him for those – they’re not easy to write. If you see him in real life, buy him a beer. Or three. I’ve read those guides, and they’re amazingly simple, telling you exactly what to type, which buttons to press, and even giving you pictures if questions arise. I thought they made things so easy a caveman could do it. Until the questions started rolling in, that is.

Maybe it’s because I spend so much time at one, but I was shocked that so many folks with Android phones are computer-illiterate. I don’t mean that as an insult – it means they have lives and do other productive things while folks like me stay up too late, staring at monitors and drinking diet Mountain Dew. Things that seem so simple to many of us, like knowing what the Windows command prompt is, or how to extract and move files from a .zip, are Greek to some of you guys. You just don’t grok them, and maybe you never will. These are basics that you need to understand before you attempt things that turn a $600 piece of electronics into something it wasn’t designed to be. Believe it or not, we don’t cackle with delight when we hear about someone bricking their phone. If this sounds like you, I’m going to tell you right now – don’t root your phone.  No matter how easy the method, just don’t do it.

So by now, you’re either thinking that I’m some kind of idiot or you see where I’m coming from. If it’s the latter, you’re probably asking yourself, “Self, what can people do for a better Android experience if they can’t root and fix things?” There are three easy answers.

Buy a Google device

Once the Nexus S 4G comes out for Sprint, and the Xperia Play comes out for Verizon there will be a stock Android device on most carriers worldwide. They may be full of those crapplications, but big issues like Sense eating your battery or Blur not syncing your mail won’t be happening. And you definitely won’t need some sort of lag fix for crummy Samsung file systems. Besides, every Android fan should own a stock Googlephone at least once -- then use third party applications to customize it their way, instead of someone else's way.

Quit worrying about it

I tease everyone about making them use a Motorola Charm, but in reality it’s a fine device. It does everything it needs to do, and does most of it just fine. Remember, an un-rooted Android phone still allows more user customization than anything else out there, and if the Charm can do it, your phone can, too. Who cares if it takes two seconds to open the web browser instead of one and a half seconds? Your time isn’t that valuable – nobody’s is. Stop worrying about all those benchmark scores and the ZOMGHAXX!! that squeeze a tiny bit more performance out of a phone. It’s a phone. Chances are it already does everything you need it to do, and then some, without attempting something you don’t understand. And when we start telling you about the hacks and the root and how amazing it all is, ignore us. Or laugh at us because your phone works as intended while we justify our bugs with tech talk. My wife is not afraid to laugh at me when I need to borrow her phone because mine’s not working, and reminds me every time that it’s my own damn fault.


Maybe you’re not a techie, but you want to be. Buy a Windows for Dummies book, or Mac, or Linux (preferably Linux, 'cause it's better :p). Read it. Read it again. Find a forum online dedicated to help folks learn about their computer – they’re easy to find. Ask questions and ignore the online trolls, because eventually your questions will start to make sense. And if you can’t find an answer by reading, ask in our forums. The General Chat area would be an awesome place to get answers, because we will make sure those online trolls leave you alone while you’re at our house. When you can read a newbie root guide and understand what you’re seeing, then, and only then, root your phone.

We’re still going to talk about root, ROMs, and hacks. That's what we do. The guy who has to show off how much better his rooted phone is than your un-rooted phone is still going to be out there making a fool of himself. Don’t be afraid to ignore it, and focus on the things you can do -- Vcast and NASCAR never hurt anybody.


Reader comments

Editorial: Sometimes, root isn’t the answer


AMEN BROTHER!!!! This is the best write-up I have read in a long time... absolutely needed to be said! and you said it very well :) thank you JHild

I looked into rooting my Evo a little bit ago...went cross-eyed and decided it wasn't worth it at the time. I'd still like to, but my life's too busy to sit down and make sure I understand everything. I just hope the Evo 3D has an easier root solution...

Also, Lifehacker recently did a really nice guide for rooting most Android phones, if anyone is interested:

Hi there is an easy way on rooting your evo. Either use unrevoked or use an application called z4root. Unrevoked is an online tool u install to your laptop and what hacks the evo like in 2 clicks or z4root is an app you need to search for in Google since it isn't in the market. Both of those easy and fast to do to hack your evo.

Why is that I can't brick my $400 laptop with a much more sophisticated OS but I can brick my $600 (retail) phone? The manufacturers can do a lot to ensure that customers have an easier and better rooting experience.

hahaha?? When was the last time you bought a motherboard? Most have ways the reflash the bios. Which is the problem with phones because they could provide ways to fix the phones via a flash utility but they actually do the opposite.

Totally agree. I felt more at ease with putting a leaked OS on my Storm, but not willing to forgo using a functioning Inc for a brick. Don't wanna go back to my 9530, AT ALL.

I agree, Jerry. Benchmarks are overrated. Usability is king.

I'd rather have a slow phone than a dead one.

+1 Jerry really brings a lot to android central and is a great writer to boot. You hear that Phil give this guy a raise.

Jerry you have to quit writing about asking your wife for her phone, I laughed so hard on that comment i litterally about chocked myself to death!!!

I agree 100%. You really should understand what the commands do before you root. Most people probably don't even understand su or chmod. Its important to understand WHY your typing these

I completely agree with the main sentiment behind the editorial. In fact, I think the hardcore Android community is almost to blame for some of it by virtue of being too nice and helpful while wanting to share their enthusiasm for all these devices are capable of... Notice the qualifier "almost" that I included in the previous sentence.

I would never want to devalue the work of guys like Cory who write awesome guides or the devs at XDA who write one-click root methods... But they're making a potentially risky procedure way too easy for the layman who has no business with any of this, just like those not mechanically inclined shouldn't be fixing or tuning their cars (at least not without extensive research).

Truth be told though, the real problem is people who aren't technically included usually don't WANT to read or research at all, yet they still feel empowered to root their devices and mess with it, I couldn't tell ya why.

Finally, pure Android phones haven't always been available on all carriers, and they won't always be. I think this is something Google should address, not by taking choice away and locking down the OS, but by working with manufacturers to release Nexus devices more often and on more carriers... Let the market choose and eventually either manufacturers will learn to make leaner less obtrusive skins & mods, or the consumer won't have an excuse to complain or root when they have no business doing it.

I rooted my EVO before unrEVOked or any of the other one-click methods became predominant, and I'm sooo glad I did. First off, I was forced to learn a lot... Now I'm not afraid to dig into a smali file now to implement a mod ;) (not that it has anything to do with the root process, but I know how to create & restore backups thanks to that, etc.). Second, those one-click methods were fraught with issues initially and they're next to impossible to trouble-shoot.

I think I'm actually against the one-click root methods, more trouble than they're worth for everyone involved (the community, manufacturers, and even noobs in the long run).

...and fill the earth, and subdue it.-Gen 1:28.
We do these things by design, in my opinion.

I made the mistake of rooting all of my friends phones (being the only computer major), which makes me the sole repair man for a fleet of android phones... oops hahaha. I don't mind too much though

Android gives you the best experience hands down. I tell people all the time "you have to learn your phone." Spend some time with it! Android doesn't need root, but I just like to play around. Great article! Maybe I will tell people to read this next time they have a problem.

Great read Jerry! I rooted my Droid X but its still stock. I don't understand flashing Rom's, so I leave it alone. I just wanted to be able to use Titanium Backup, change my Boot animation and use Battmon X to change my LED colors. I know simple stuff but that's my comfort level. :)I wanted the new GB leak... bad, but I'll be waiting for the official one.
I will say that root did come in handy getting my Mobile Hotspot working right. It would stop working after a few minutes. I'd read the Forums about the problem, changed some settings on it, but it still wouldn't work. Calling Verizon about it got frustrating. It was always the same thing... turn it off, pull the battery, check settings, then end it with "I sent your phone a reset with settings. It should work now".... never did. So, I got Barnacle, now it works perfectly. :)
You and Android Central keep up the great work!

I always enjoy listening/reading anything said/written by Jerry (and Phil, et al, she added diplomatically). As much as I hate the 'crapplications' on my ThunderBolt, I would never think of rooting/messing with it. I would brick it for sure.

I just bought my first Android phone. I went from a Curve 8330 to the Thunderbolt. I've always read about phones being rooted and after playing with a Nexus S at Best Buy, I want a stock experience. The truth is that I don't know enough to do it and after reading this article, I realize I don't need to do it. I'm absolutely happy with my phone as is right now.


There are too many people rooting their phones who have no business doing so. Hopefully they'll read this editorial and think twice.

I think rooting should void your warranty, a lot of casual users are convinced into doing it by people saying you can easily restore the device to a factory state (usually true) and it gives people a false sense of security, people who often don't understand that flashing a custom ROM is akin to re-installing your OS, they don't realize it involves a wipe, etc. Most of all the entire argument boils down to one thing I mentioned in my previous post.


And you know what? That's fine, but those same people should never be hacking their phones, repairing their cars (or even changing the oil), or calibrating their home theaters. Only hitch is there are professionals that do the latter, whereas the computer repair industry is an embarassment (except for some small shops and self employed fellows), and smartphones are becoming increasingly more like PCs.

Great article. Now I know why this is my favorite Android website. Yes, not everyone needs to root their devices and if you do, do the research before you d and be sure it is right for you.

I was a newb once, and I broke my D1 a lot. It took many failures to learn how to correctly "do the shit." I have many friends who want me to root their phones. I made the mistake of doing it once and regret it because he breaks it and comes to me to fix it and seems to have no desire to learn how himself. It is a long and convoluted road to learning how to un-brick a phone and make all the custom stuff work.

Many people here about the perks of "ROOT" but don't seem to understand what they are getting into and then understand how to get out. I think the main issue with many people that root is they don't know how to fix it if it is broken. I think there should be a wiki (or something comparable) dedicated to unbricking you paperweight you have created.

That was a great read Jerry and I have to say I commend you for saying what most wont. This is a huge problem and as android continues to gobble up nokia's, RIM's, Windows mobile/7, palm's, and apple's share of the market we will see this become more and more of a problem.

I work for one of the major four (soon to be three?) wireless carriers in america as a customer service rep and I deal with this all the time. It gives me the opportunity to see why these carriers are working so hard to lock down these phones and it won't stop any time soon. We can sit here and deny it all we want but we are some what to blame. I entered the android world with my selling of the iphone 3Gs and buying the nexus one without once seeing it in person. This was the best decision I have ever made and the nexus one is still the best phone I have ever owned. In a little over a year I have gone from the att nexus one to the samsung captivate, then jumped ship to verizon and picked up the droid incredible (amoled), droid x, droid 2, back to the droid incredible (slcd), motorola Xoom (writing this on it now and love it), and finally now have the HTC thunderbolt. I am not the average consumer as much of the fans here on android central and for the longest have been against the carriers and oems (especially motorola) for locking down phones and choking us with buggy unfinished skins (with the exception of sense, but still I prefer stock android). I have always thought of myself as a geek and was in heaven when i got my nexus one. Back then when one wanted to root there was thread after thread explaining just what root was ans what advantages it would bring phone owners like myself. I still remember spending hours learning about android and rooting and I did it all to get the other 256mb of RAM that lived somwhere in my phone and for some reason the phone didn't use it (I know you remember those days). Before I rooted I knew everything I needed to know and I felt I made a great decision and never looked back. Since then I have rooted most of my phones and enjoy spending the time on xda and sites like this squeezing every bit of power out of my phones. The reason I mention this is that I think of myself as the opposite of a beginner but I have ran into plenty of problems and have had a few scares with my phones even though I read everything there is to know before flashing the newest rom on the block. Because of my background and hours of educating myself I am usually able to spend some time and find some help via search or someone in the great android community to help me out of my bind. I take a breath and jump in and have yet to "brick" or return a device as something I did. That doesn't mean I haven't made some dumb mistakes though.

Now a days we don't have the "fastboot OEM unlock" adb commands and must wait for the awesome community to unlock a devices full potential. With androids exponential growth over this past year and a couple months we now have a lot more people that have phones and android now isn't just for geeks. With this has come one click root methods and rom managers. Not to say they aren't great and save us a lot of time but they come with a price. Most now a days are rooting without even knowing what it is they have done. If you root and flash even a little most of us know that we will run into a problem or two but most when not educated freak out and immediately call customer care or box up their phones and head to the nearest store thinking making up a lie while on the way. I know carriers have other reasons for locking and encrypting phones like the money they lose from tethering, but this costs companies millions of dollars. Most don't know that carriers usually don't make money off of a 24 month contract until around the 18th month and usually take a loss on a phone in the process especially now a days with all these smart and super phones (sorry had to do it google). My employer has already spent a lot of momey already this year in the 12 hours they have me already in training to recognize a phone that has been rooted. I work in a call center that has 1400 people and if you count 12 training hours this year (since january) for each rep plus the fact that we have 8 call centers in america (direct) all with around the same number of employees and that is not even counting the indirect, stores, etc. The point is we need to take responsibility in the choices we make. If this was to of happened I think companies wouldn't be spending the money they are to stop rooting. Most don't see what goes on from the other side of the equation. When you root you conscienciously void your warranty and I think most know this but instead still call and cry when they make a mistake and don't know how to fix it cause they are either too lazy or haven't educated themselves in rooting. Anyways, this was a great read Jerry and I feel that you really have brought a lot to the android central team. I respect you for posting about topics that most don't. This is something that needs to be said. Keep it uo my friend.

Quote: I work for one of the major four (soon to be three?) wireless carriers in america as a customer service rep and I deal with this all the time. It gives me the opportunity to see why these carriers are working so hard to lock down these phones and it won't stop any time soon. We can sit here and deny it all we want but we are some what to blame.

If your employers would ONLY listen to YOU (to say nothing about their customers) this problem would totally go away. They could stop eating warranty replacements to keep customers, or denying replacements and losing customers.

And its really simple:

1) ALL carrier crapware must be uninstallable unless absolutely essential to the function of the phone. Put it in the market so people can get it back if they change their mind and really want to pay 10 dollars per month for what google nav will do for free.

2) Stop restricting us as to what protocols we can send over 3G/4G. We pay for the bandwidth, they have their caps in place, now its time to get out of the way and let us use it as we see fit.

3) Allow people to turn off carrier skins and use stock android launcher or any other launcher.

Those Three Little changes solve 99.44% of everybody's problem. Who would bother to root if those changes were allowed?

Carriers brought this nonsense on themselves. They need to stop acting like it is their phone.

I run one of the the easiest phone to root ever produced. (Nexus One). Its one tap. I still haven't found a reason to root.

I have to say I totally agree with you because some of this they bring upon their selves. I mean one of the main reasons people root (I know it is one of the many reasons I do) is to get rid of bloat. I mean they can't have the best of both worlds if they are going to try and squeeze every dollar out of their consumers then they have to expect that if a customer I'd able to do something they will more than likely do it. With that said I still feel that some of the reason that we are in this problem is because consumers are so willing to void their warranty via root and then avoid responsibility why having their carriers send them a new one. Being on the nexus one you have to remember that back in the day even though we had the easiest phone to root we still read up and understood what we had done. That way when a problem came up we knew we had to fix it. During all the "scares" I have had I have never once thought about calling my carrier with some BS. I was in the phandroid forums reading up on the tnunderbolt and one person dropped his phone scratching his screen. He was posting (doing the right thing in my opinion) asking about scratch remover options and you wouldn't believe the posts. Most gave options of calling verizon with some sob story to get a new one. I have seen full posts of how one could call verizon and get a thunderbolt even though they have a fascinate. Step by step how to screw your carrier into getting a new phone. People don't understand that carriers will make the money up somewhere and it is passed onto us. In the past couple months we have seen 30 day return windows shrink to 14, one year early upgrades disapear, new every two credits become no more, and even 1 year contract options cease to exist. These are the ways that they will make up their money umong spending thousand's to save millions in returns. We will see phones be locked up more and more because of dishonest people. I know most in these web blogs take responsibility and find a fix but a lot don't. If we are going to bitch about carriers and locking down phones then we need to take all reasons into consideration. At the end of the day I feel the same way as you and I feel that I am honest and should be able to use my device however the hell I want and i have taken a stand against buying motorola (except the Xoom thank you google for helping motorola along with the option of unlcoking the bootloader). What I want out of my phone motorola cannot deliver and they are catering to a different consumer. I think that if android is open source then we should be given the option to use an oem skin or vanilla android, but lets face it it won't ever happen. As long as oems have this power they will use to their best interest. Look at samsung. They push a new phone/tablet out every couple of months leaving their customers without uogrades and forcing them to buy their newest to have the most up to date android software. All samsung devices besides the gal tab has been released running an old android version and their touchwiz that they refuse to update. Most need to be angry with these oems than the carriers.

It's really hard to brick when rooting and flashing roms, but you can brick it via a bad USB connection or a bad radio. It's not as bad as the Blackberry updates that had to be done from a PC, I bricked an 8700 because it fell off the desk and disconnected from the USB during the OS update- I then proceeded to toss it out the window from the 26th floor.

This really is a good read. Now sit back and hear my tale. I'm an Android fanboi. Really. I have 4 current Android phones and an Android tablet. Its not unheard of for me to spend several hours a day on my devices- from normal use to flashig roms to the newest and coolest hacks. I have a multiple gigabyte folder named 'Android' just for Roms, apk's, zips, and backups. All of my devices are rooted, rommed, hacked etc. I feel comfortable doing so, but it was not always so.

Back when I got my first Android device, which may refer to Droid Eris or Incredible(I had an Eris for a short time before I talked VZW into giving me a free DInc because they were taking so long on pushing the Clair update. Lol back in the day you could do that). Anyway, back then, while I was a pretty confident computer 'power user, I had no experience with the more technical aspects such as command line, PATH environment, and so on. I didn't know any programming or anything about the workings of Android. While now as I have a Droid, Droid 2, Droid Incredible, and Droid X if I bricked one, I would be sad, but could get by with my other devices. But when I had my first phone, Eris/DInc, I was very hesitant to root. I knew I wanted root, but I talked myself into believing that I didn't lol. I read about everything root for a couple months, all day long. I asked questions and read.

I finally did root my DInc, but only after much consideration and research. I loved root and Roms. I still do. The first thing I do when I get a new device is look up the root procedures, ROMs available, and community perceptions on the rooting/romming capabilities and techniques. Now today I have learned A LOT about Android and hacking, but I still know my limits. No matter how bad I want a certain hack, I won't attempt to and as I have never learned how or even researched it. In this gooey world I haven't come across a situation where I absolutely needed it. I intend to learn to and, but haven't yet so won't apply any hacks that way.

Now i have become so accustomed to root privelegdes and customizing my devices to my liking, its hard to live stock. I questioned whether or not I was gonna root my Xoom, but in the end I really was missing a couple root features I grew to love, so I did. However, I am n no rush to get custom roms on here. While I am interested to see what is to come of them, and may try some out, my Xoom really does all I need it to do right now, and preforms amazingly well. So anyway, for Android rookies, pay attention to this article. While rooting/hacking/roms can really provide some great, unique features, dont just do it after getting caught up in the hype. Android devices are pretty amazing out of the box, and can do much. If you do decide that you want to root/hack, first ask yourself if it is the realm of possibility for yourself. If so, take the time to research. Know the full procedure you will use BEFORE you start. As well as many guides are written, they just can't account for all variables on all phones. Know the procedure. Don't find a guide and start at step one if you don't yet know what step 2 is. Or step 8. This has gotten me in some pretty sticky situations before.

Lastly, the Android community is like no other. Truly. It is full of people, teams, and sites willing and excited to help out. There is so much good info already out there, and much more readily available if you ask. Take advantage of that. And lastly, remember that roiting/roms/hacking often leads to somewhat of n obsession lol. Its fun to kept going. Also, often times it requires more than a simple one time hack. You will often have to follow up and apply patches, reinstall something, rename or move a file, or similar techniques. Know what you're getting into, and take the time to learn what you need. Above all, enjoy Android. Wheter you are hacked to the teeth or fully stock, Android can be fun as well as a great tool. No one way is better then the next for everyone.

*Edited for typos. Probably more in here but I typed it all on my Xoom and, well, you know.

i totally agree with you on most of these points, especially the one about everyone needing to own a stock experience phone, because im still rocking an OG droid and i see no great stock experiences in the near future for verizon (i dont want a game keypad to slide out from my phone)


sometimes rooting and hacking is more than going from 2 seconds to 1.5 seconds. Im currently on project elite 4.2 for the droid, a froyo rom. Its crazy fast and i thought i would never need another rom, but project elite came out with their GB rom and i tried it and loved it, i had some problems with it so i eventually had to go back to froyo, but things like opening my huge widgets list on my low memory phone on froyo can take up to 15 seonds literally, but on GB it popped up immediately. and like you said is my 15 seconds worth possibly breaking a $500 phone? (i had at least a couple of really serious scares where i almost bricked) the answer is probably that its not worth it, but i think most people would agree that if there was a pretty fool proof way to root your phone and make standard operations 15 times faster, they would want to do it.

sometimes rooting can make your phone noticeably faster and better where the risk would be worth it

i would now never buy a new android phone if i new it was not fully root-able and rom-able (droid x)

Yes Jerry! Buy linux for dummies! I love you and your linux lovingness!
Haven't rooted my phone, but I know enough to get through it pretty easily. Once again you're the best!

Good editorial. I agree that some people have no business rooting THEIR phones. THEIR decision should be based on ability to use the functions which rooting allows.
I decided to root cause it is MY phone. The whole thing, even the privileged instructions which require root. I don't expect my carrier to cover my mistakes. I do expect to be able to do what I decide to. If not then I haven't bought a phone I've rented one.
Great article though and a point worth making. Besides who cares Android is going closed anyway. Only a handful do.

Rooting is very important to me. I stayed away from flashing roms until I had researched and read every forum. I also make sure to have backups, the stock zip, and stock RUU saved in at least 3 places.

I agree whole heartedly with you. I love cm7 and have it on both my captivate and my nook, but I see all these posts about this and that not working and my install failed when everything they need to know is in the first post in plain English (explaining what the command prompt is and such). So I guess what I'm trying to say is if you don't have a few minutes to read atleast the first and last 10 posts in a forum then rooting and roms probably aren't for you. Just remember if you don't want to take this articles advice and not root at least read a little bit and things will be alot clearer, but then again if that is you,your not reading all these comments then are you?

I totally agree with everything in this post. I'm new to android and rooting, but I've always been technically inclined enough to understand zip files, duel boots, images etc.... I've never been afraid to click around or go in to the BIOS of my PC either. My wife and other friends around me tend to be envious toward my CM7 powered Evo. Yeah, sure I could sit down and root their phone, flash a ROM and a kernel, then send them on their way. But what they don't understand is, rooting and flashing an android is always a work in progress and experimentation. The last thing I need to do is root my buddy's phone, then he starts discovering problems with performance and compatibility a day later. I'd become a 24hr technical support line for these people.

After seeing my phone (Evo) and setup at work, a lot of my co-workers ask me how to root their phone. After talking to them for just a few minutes, I can tell that 9 times out of 10, they have no business even ATTEMPTING to root their phones. I can relate exactly to what you are saying Jerry. Excellent write-up Jerry and I don't see anyone (with a logical brain) taking your advice the wrong way. Cheers!

I agree 100% that it's good for people to know their own limits. My brother in law wanted his Droid X rooted like mine just so he could get rid of bloatware but I refused to do it since he wasn't willing to learn how to do it. Instead I showed him ADW. That way we put all of the bloatware in a seperate folder in the launcher called crap. His other folder is called useful and that's what he sees. That way he got what he wanted but I didn't become tech support for another family member.

Nice read bro.
Been into PCs for well.. since my XT clone. Android to me with its portablility and flexibility makes me remember back to the advent of Windows 95 and good clean internet access (or unAOL hehe). And is why I can't stop digging deeper into this stuff! Took me a few weeks to ramp up from noob to "know enough to be dangerous", seems like a normal progression for me. Will progress past dangerous to something more formadable soon. Used to flash ROMs on winmo phones, but the level of flexibility in Android and its interoperability make winmo look, well archaic. No offense to Winmo fans, I live 15 miles from the mothership for goodness sakes and still stick with Android! Used to flash my girlfriends Touch Pro and Touch Pro2 but like others, was doing a disservice as there were always bugs that I had to support. Reality she only wanted a phone she could surf the net, email and make phone calls with!

Thanks for the write up and can't agree more, read read read until you know it inside out then read some more!


Yeah, i'm a totally newbie into this area, and i'm planning to flash a new ROM to my droid too! =)

Well with some phones you have no choice but to root and run a new rom. The Samsung Fascinate will probably never see an official 2.2 update so who am I to just stand there and let the carrier deny me of my froyo and soon to be gingerbread goodness?

Jerry always says things the the way they are, which is why i'm a huge fan of his posts. This site has some of the greatest writers/reviewers i've ever seen. And Jerry is a Linux Guy = Awesome!

Help pleeassssseee, I think I bricked my reply!!!! ;-) Yeah, I'm tired of too many folks who should NOT be rooting their phone, going ahead and doing so without any clear idea why, what next, and/or what to do if kuhrap happens! So a BIG thanks, Jerry, for this post! You hit the nail square on the head.

Jerry, this was an absolutely great read! Thanks for putting it out there so some of us newbies won't feel like we are being "left out" when we can't keep up with the latest and greatest. Good review.

I'm more than willing to put in the work and wade through as many guides, sites, forums, etc as it takes to get comfortable in this area, but I'd also prefer not to risk my phone while learning. Besides Jerry's advice to get a pure Google phone, are there other options? Would getting a used Droid or Nexus 1 (no contract/connection) give me a similar experience flashing ROMs, troubleshooting, etc? I realize it won't be exactly the same as my EVO, but I'm just looking for some fundamentals and confidence. Someday I'll root my EVO, but I'm very happy with it right now. Thanks Jerry.

Good article man. The NOOKcolor was the first device I ever tried to root, and while I was successful at it, I don't want to get too confident or too ahead of myself in thinking I'm expert. I know I'm far from it. Some folks who read these forums need to know that ROMs and rooting are not for everyone.

Good article! Hands up. I really got to agree with this. No use trying to squeeze extra 0.5 seconds out of the phone...+1 on that.

Thanks for sharing!

I've thought this for a while myself. I see people asking questions like "What's a zip file?" and think to myself....yeah you shouldn't even be attempting this. I don't say so though because I'm afraid people will take it the wrong way. this is the reason the phones are locked down though, and I had to explain this to a friend when he got his phone and I told him he couldn't access the internal memory without root access.

Excellent advice. People have been asking me if I've rooted my new Inspire yet. Because, they know me.

I haven't. Been working fine just as it is. OK, I did a few adjustments to improve battery life. But that's it.

I often feel compelled to tell customers to give me the phone back ( OK I sell phones) because there's no way certain folks should have a smartphone...

Jerry my friend, I'm right there in the trenches with you buddy! We will not fail and we will get these Android users threw the ups and downs of every day use and even help those who choose to go the route of rooting and running custom ROMs.

@All, take Jerry's advice and do as you please.. Myself I'm an Adviser here in the Samsung Epic 4g section and occasionally bounce into general areas from time to time. The mods, administrators and my fellow Advisers will get you threw the worst of times and hopefully bring a smile to your face at the end of the day that you purchased an Android phone :)

This is an amazing article that needed to be spoken out so that as an Android community we can watch out for & help each other on the Android highway no matter what our level of experience is. Thank you for writing this & keep up the good work!!

It's Linux, it's suppose to have root by default. I've been using one distro or another for the past 8 years so I understand the power and devastation root has. I don't know how many times this quote has been used when becoming root but here it is again:

"With great power comes great responsibility"

If you're not willing to take the time and effort to learn then by no means should you even consider rooting around your device. It's almost comical to read some of these posts looking for an install zip when a quick command or redirection will solve the problem. Linux may have a steep learning curve, but you only have to learn it once.

"I don’t mean that as an insult – it means they have lives and do other productive things while folks like me stay up too late, staring at monitors and drinking diet Mountain Dew."

Hahahaha as I was reading this i looked down in my hand at my diet Mountain Dew as I debate over going to sleep or not.

"My wife is not afraid to laugh at me when I need to borrow her phone because mine’s not working, and reminds me every time that it’s my own damn fault."

So funny and true

People like to tinker with things, their cars, their computers, their Android phones, their stereos, their houses, etc. Some people are good at it , most just mess things up. I would fall into the latter category for anything electronic.

I buy a cell phone FOR work, I don't want to work ON my phone - I just want to use it.

I don't understand how people can spend so much time working and talking about a CELL PHONE…. granted, I don't understand a lot of things. But I see some irony about people who spend more time talking ABOUT their cell phone than they do talking ON their cell phone.

"I don't understand how people can spend so much time working and talking about a CELL PHONE…. granted, I don't understand a lot of things. But I see some irony about people who spend more time talking ABOUT their cell phone than they do talking ON their cell phone."

Anyone who owns a decent quality smart phone, and makes reasonably comprehensive use of it, probably spends a lot more time using it for other things, than actually making and taking calls. As they become better, smart phones replace PCs and Macs for simple matters like checking emails or looking something up on the internet.

It's not just about calling people up anymore.

Very good post! I've gotten a lot of flack for buying a MyTouch Slide two weeks ago. My first Android phone was a crappy Samsung Intercept which begged to be rooted because of how slow and buggy it was and after many unsuccessful rooting attempts, I did the right thing and smashed that POS to pieces. Compared to that experience, the MT3G Slide is like the biggest upgrade -- it does well EVERYTHING I absolutely need to do and even handles well some stuff beyond the basics, and even with a slower processor and HTC Sense, the Slide moves much faster than the Intercept.

The point is, now I don't even care about rooting the Slide, because it does everything I need without me having to hack it. Maybe one day I'll get too bored and after getting a new phone, I'll hack this one, but for now, I'm enjoying the time I spend using my phone and the time I don't have to spend hacking it just to get a usable experience.

One piece of advice for those who DO want to learn and hack their phones: Get a mainstream phone! Get a Nexus, Evo or whatever phone you see the enthusiasts in sites like this one, have gotten or want to get. Don't get a cheap or obscure phone, as there isn't too much interest in trying current hacking methods on them, let alone in creating new hacking methods when the existing ones do not work.

"My wife is not afraid to laugh at me when I need to borrow her phone because mine’s not working, and reminds me every time that it’s my own damn fault."

Been there, done that.

I spent countless hours reading about root, what it does, what I could gain from rooting, and what I could lose from rooting. I waited a year until my warranty was up before I rooted because I'm honest (I even read the entire CM7 Nightlies thread for the OG Droid before using that!). If I break my phone I'm not making Verizon pay for it. I can't stand people who would commit fraud because they aren't willing to take responsibility for their actions.

Thank you Jerry, and thank you android Central for showing that there are responsible people. We should not be made to pay for the mistakes of the uneducated rooter.

The problem is that there are many evangelists for rooting that constantly extol ignorant and misinformed advantages to rooting. My favorite? --that somehow the act of rooting alone improves battery life. I can't tell you how many people have suggested that their battery life has already improved by just rooting.

Heads up folks, with the exception of undervolting your CPU (which is well above and beyond the proficiency of many to even understand, much less implement), there is little rooting can do to make a significant difference in battery life (removing the Sense UI overhead is very, very small beans). I don't care what your anecdotal experience says, the science isn't there.

The questions, for me, is can I live with so much crapware, not being able to fully backup, and with jailed / handcuffing OS?

It is just so hard to keep looking at that Blockbuster AT&T app. Really now, Blockbuster? Or AT&T navigation that keeps asking for $10 per month (how long before my kids OK that one).

Something has got to change. Until then folks will root. And I can't say I blame them.

I don't know about Cory, but I should be buying you (Jerry) the beers. Great article. I'm at least capable of opening up my registries and altering keys to help remove a Trojan and, yes, I know what a command prompt is to give you some idea of my tech level. Even so, my Inspire is my only phone (no land line) and I certainly don't have the spare cash to go buy a new smartphone without the subsidy if I "brick" this one. I'm just geek enough to be chewing my lip about rooting (I get sucked in by those benchmarks too). What I should do is listen to one of my best friends. The guy has been hacking computers since the Apple IIe. He told me my Inspire is plenty of phone just as it is.

Thanks for basically confirming that Jerry.

THANK YOU! I am a former BB girl, who took great pride and pleasure in being able to put the newest OS on my BB whenever it was released into the wild. I bricked a phone that way, but went on to the next, with nary a care.

THEN I moved on to Android. My son is a budding android geek,and he is CONSTANTLY ticked at me because I have NO desire at ALL to root my DX. Yes, there is bloatware, but I ignore it. Right now, I am enjoying it the way it is.

Thank you for confirming that there is nothing wrong with me for not wanting to root my phone right now.

Just wanted to say I agree kinda. I messed up my first time and bricked even though I'm well versed in both Linux and Windows. It's a different beast than computers. It's not yours till you break it my physics teacher said, and I agree.

Absolutely Great Read,
I had a Windows 6.5 before I got my ATT Inspire 4g with 2.3 and the change to Android is marvelous.
I don't get to contol all that stuff I could with Windows but it still does more than Windows ever could.
The volume is not there like my Tilt2 but the plus is so much better than the minus that it doesn't count.
I've thought of rooting but I don't see what it will get me so far so WHY?


Mr. Hildenbrand I just want to say thank you. Been researching this whole "root" thing all because I wanted to get rid of some Sprint apps.
After reading this I decided not to. First off I have no clue what the heck heck these "easy" step by step guides for dummies are talking about. I get lost after I read something about hboot.
I don't care, my EVO does what I need it to and then some. Drives me crazy though that I have the know how on fixing any issue on a vehicle, or small machines but for the life of me I can't figure out this dang computer coding and hacking stuff. Of course I never took the time to learn about it either. Looks like I will stick with the point and click method, lol.
Thanks for this editorial.

This was probably one of the first articles Ive read on anything "techy" that didnt make me feel like I was being talked down to. Im not planning on rooting my phone (obviously), but wanted to know what it was all about. While Im not the kind of person who can go in and do all this stuff, I do like to know about whats going on, and why shouldnt I be able to learn? I love your writing style and totally appreciate the way to address your audience. Though I do wish I was more technically inclined, its ridiculous to have all these unused apps taking up space on my phone that I cant unistall. Massive Sadface! Maybe one day...

The best part of your article, for me of course:

"Who cares if it takes two seconds to open the web browser instead of one and a half seconds? Your time isn’t that valuable – nobody’s is."

I would like to add my thanks as well. Coming from a BB(where you are CONSTANTLY messing with your phone, mostly because you have to), I felt fairly confident I would be able to root with ease. After reading several articles and posts I saw I was sadly mistaken lol. I remembered then that I didn't even try digging into my BB until my second one and then it was only because I had to as I said before. I figure I should get to know my first Android phone(SGS2HDLTE) before I try to do anything with it. And thanks for making me not feel like some dinosaur for not rooting :)

i wasn't a forum member prior to this read. this was one of my first reads in android central, and it was so good i just had to register to say thanks. i was contemplating on rooting my s2, and most likely i am going to go for it!

Nice article, I have a small question. I have Samsung Galaxy SII locked to Three UK. I want to install vanilla version of ICS on my galaxy s2. To do that, will I have to root my device ? I am a techie and don't mind in rooting, I just want the vanilla version of ICS on my s2

It would be very helpful if you could email me, as I am not a regular visitor to your site (just created account so that I can comment, no hard feelings/offence). Thanks in advance.

An article to be put in the "Classics" category, along with Phil's "What is unlocked" article. Definitely a must-read for an Android newbie like me !

And yes, I definitely will root my phone one day: once upon a time, I was pretty good dealing with MS-DOS command prompts and Windows 95. It actually helped me convert my GNex from yakjuux to yakju build and get the JB 4.1.1 update !

Thanks, Jerry !

I just found this. Why you might ask? Because Verizon forced me off unlimited data and I learned that the only way to reverse tether was to root. Imperialist pigs!

We are never happy go back to 2002 2007 maybe I found half broker my tiny Sam analog flip I could work it new I was to stupid.Loved that phone till A BETTER ONE IN ABOUT 2more weeks I think 1 year contract ??? The games began new phones like underwear just add it to my bill and the anal delight was added to the bills.All gotta update analog is going gone digital is hear.My 2002 Vette came with verizon onstar I told the dealer fuck you remove it he fuck its free on certain models i thought at first wtf fc tell the first 5000 road trip and Fucking amazing Wow.well thankyou tell digital came in since now the old with almost 175000.00 miles I updated the dealer even since I got free.Time goes on Apple blows the fuck up wtf im past 40 now and old.remember the LG that slid open flip open put that big ass battery on er if I ok it would run like a week porn and all.agreements were finally for me fuck you verizon.Tell my stupid 19 year nephew swings by to uncle me the BB 9650 wow how clever porn in city truck if it worked worth a fuck along with huge montly tag and worst a 2 year but ride verizon !! 6 long months I just chucked it window doing 120 doun the freeway I was happy again.called the ass phone company and said turn on my ol lg ok I got charge.At work the next day someone why lg bb what happen I it had Attitude so byby junk at 120 in ye vette and I missed it me stupid white boy.I track my jackass nephe
w now im 45 stupid on phones.the 20 year said you end ebay me no only very stupid now.stupid me meant ebay I tripped the F out! The kid told me buy smart phone I like but no bb junk.Ok hear we go I like a new 2010 samsung gallery s already 2 years outdated for fifty bucks fucking unreal ifs its real I think.2 days later it travels like the way roll at 100 plus call shity verizon hope this works to easy another 50 added for stupid phone fees?? I know this is way to long why old 2010 is amazing runs like my factory Vette if your very good if it bury today.I need faster car I need a 2013 and junk the 2002 just like the android green lil speed seeker he is like ol dudes in Vetts they learn fast before I hit 3 gear going only 125 mph and stock no extra garage like they done now their new name is my old name Mr. Stupid Stupid.So learn everything you can about Rooting before knowing it.why ruin it for just being fucking stupid .Remember you will always and never try pass me in whatever you want to roll in put ya in the wall fast but on this gizmo your leader cause its way to fast for an old 46 year dude like me good night.

Thank you for this post, very well written. I just purchased my first Android phone "Samsung Galaxy Note 2" after being with blackberry since they were blue. This phone is huge, and I may trade it in for a smaller one this week, but wow is it cool. I don't consider myself an expert, but with technology now-a-days it seems that I can find answers to just about everything....question is what % are reliable. My biggest concern is all of the forced permissions I have to's like I'm wearing a tracking collar that does not just track where I am, but everything I do, say, buy, and every person I know. I know it's the future, but I guess I need to decide: do I want the benefits of "free" evernote, at the cost of all my privacy? If you or anyone with an opinion see this, please share with me as I'm looking for educated thoughts on why I should just suck it up and get these cool apps...or not... Thanks again for the post Jerry

Please anyone can you tell me if there is an easy way to root my android phone? I've got a vodafone smart 2. The problem is the phone has very little internal storage capacity(before I started installing stuff it was about 50MB of free internal space). I install everything I install to my sd-card but I can't even update all the default software because the updates take up too much space(and off course there is still a part that remains on the phone with most apps I've installed). I need root access for 2 things, I need to remove some of the pre-installed trial games since I hate tetris and rather install angry birds.2nd reason is I want to be able to move some of the default apps to my SD-card. The biggest problem is how some apps grow to a multiple size compared to the default program when updated. For example I can't update Facebook because it becomes about 3 times it's default size and android starts complaining when I hit 20MB of free space. I have a lot of experience with Microsoft (I'm windows NT 4 MCP certified, only windows I don't have a clue about is 8 since I haven't bought a new computer last or this year). I have only little experience with Linux, I tried redhat when windows 98 came on the market because I had problems with windows recognizing my bigfoot hard-disk (I've never bought seagate after that) and had to use Linux to fix the disk. I have installed and used Ubuntu once or twice but it always ran so smoothly I don't even know how to install a driver in Linux (but I could google it if needed). Also since I read in your article that android is a Linux o.s. isn't there a simple commando to login as super-user? Do I simply need to open a command prompt? And how do I know the SU password????

I forgot to mention I already tried something I saw om youtube where you start the phone with volume down pressed and connect it to you computer and run a program on the computer (it looks like it's doing something)but nothing changed on the phone (I also did something like that with the repair tool and it gave me more options in the recovery menu but now the home button doesn't work in the recovery menu so I still have to find a way to fix that)

Hey Jerry,

I am an owner of an oppo finder X907 and I am also a newbie, are you willing to help me rooting this phone please? I would be very grateful.

much support,

Thanks for this article.. Really help me see things in perspective.. I've always wanted to root my phone because others are doing it.. guess i need to beef up my knowledge and thanks for a ready place to learn.. Thanks..

I can only speak from my experience with my Galaxy Epic 4g Touch, but I suspect it would cross over into any of the more popular phones from the last several years. To wit: rooting, in itself, shouldn't have any side effects that I can think of, though it will void your warranty. However, it's usually a simple matter to unroot your phone and return it to stock condition should you need to take it back to the shop for an exchange or repair.

If you flash a custom ROM, though, you may experience some side effects, like not being able to do a PRL profile update for certain Samsung models. I have also experienced the unpredictable failure of wifi capability. Even in situations like that, though, it's usually not difficult to return your phone to stock condition. Currently I have stock ROM updated to JB 4.2, rooted. (I know it's old, but I've tried KitKat on this phone and it was pretty much a disaster.

I'll emphasize again that this applies to popular phones from the big OEMs.

Yeah... I'm really glad I read this because I tend to tinker first and ask questions later... I actually started reading about rooting because I was interested in getting AdAway for my Samsung Galaxy Note 2... I have a lot to learn...

I don't root not because I'm computer illiterate, but because I find it's not worth it when you waste so much time tinkering with everything.

Keep it simple, it's just a phone.