“ROOTING”, THE CAUSE OF ALL MOBILE EVIL

14/08/2012
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On Apple’s iOS, we often hear of the term “JailBreak”. We similarly hear of “ROOTING” on Android.

These two words are so common in tech circles that I would not be surprised to find those words in the dictionary soon. Like the word ‘google’, they have become verbs.

On the Android platform, there are very many apps that require that your phone be “ROOTed “ before they can perform their tasks. Many of those apps perform “low level” functions, hence their need to gain “administrative privileges”. Examples include actions like rebooting the phone, or simulating the BACK, MENU, and other hardware keys on pre-ICS phones.

The benefits of rooting, or not rooting is an argument that could rage on for eternity. The ‘pro’ is that an app can perform more “magic” when it has unfettered access to the device. The ‘con’ is that ROOTing your phone could make it more vulnerable to malware infestation.

Whatever, it is a root ROUTE I am unwilling, and find unnecessary, to take.

However, my take on it is that we should not rush to assume that we must root to get certain facilities from “low level” apps. Carefully searching will almost always reveal viable app alternatives.

Very many apps that insist on ROOTing (to get their tasks done) have excellent alternatives that do not require ROOTing.

Here are a few examples ;

(Root needed versus RootUnneeded):

Apk4apps versus Avast! Mobile SecurityFirewall function

Titanium BackUp versus Too Many To Mention

Apex launcher Widget Handling versus Elixir 2 Widgets

Conclusively, before assuming that certain things cannot be done without ROOTing, it may be a good idea to examine the (dis)advantages of ROOTing viz-a-viz getting certain things done.

For me, I am yet to find a compelling reason to ROOT my Android phone.

Finding non-ROOT alternative apps to do ALMOST anything I need on Android is a challenge that I am ever willing to take.

What about you?

Have you ROOTed your Android device or Jail-Broken your iOS device?

Is it worthwhile? Did it create any problems? Or bestowed any advantages?

Ibukun Olaoya popularly called Eye.Bee.Kay is a Geek and Mobile Tech Enthusiast, with a passion for Symbian, now with the mission to conquer the world of Android. He is vastly read and hopes to come out with the next big thing in Tech. You can follow him on Twitter at @Eye_Bee_Kay

Do you want to talk about this? You can do this in the comment section below. Your comments are welcomed.

Ibukun Olaoya

Ibukun Olaoya popularly called Eye.Bee.Kay is a Geek and Mobile Tech Enthusiast, with a passion for Symbian, but currently flirting with Android. He is vastly read and hopes to come out with the next big thing in Tech. You can follow him on Twitter at @Eye_Bee_Kay

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13 Responses to “ROOTING”, THE CAUSE OF ALL MOBILE EVIL

  1. 14/08/2012 at 10:42

    I’be never had the occasion to Root my Symbian phone. And I can’t see any reason why my 791 should be rooted. However, my major Beef against the Nokia 91 is the lack of awesome apps as described by Harr and EyeBeekay in their series of articles and comments.

    But whenever I get a compelling enuf app, I will consider it. Sharp sharp!

  2. 14/08/2012 at 11:15

    Well, I hacked my 5320XM and N8 while using them.
    The ICS ROM I installed on my former tablet was pre-rooted.
    I’m on my first android phone (Blaze+) and I’m yet to find a reason to Root it.

  3. 14/08/2012 at 11:22

    However, I am looking for an app that can screenshot without root access on Android 4.0.3. Any recommendations?

  4. 14/08/2012 at 12:14
  5. 14/08/2012 at 15:17

    I once rooted my phone and got those juicy capabilities like moving those apps that were specifically written to reside only on the internal storage to the SDCard and installing those apps that are reserved for rooted devices only, but I got some quirky behaviours as well like occasional system freezes, frequent denial of write access to the SDCard, and because of these problems, I do need to restart the phone at such times and most of the time when I do, some or all of the apps on the SDCard will not load meaning the phone is almost unusable at such times, since the apps I rely on most are those that I downloaded myself.

    I got tired of the whole thing at a point and I had to reset the phone to factory setting and have been happier ever since even though I still miss some of those root-only apps. At least, the ones I have now work as I expected and there are very little useful things that I cannot do without the root access.

    @spacyzuma:
    I use ScreenShotIt without root on my phone. Give it a try and see if it will work for you.

  6. 14/08/2012 at 18:08

    I once jailbroke my iPad. I was able to get access to incredibly remote access of my OS, I could only dream of before. I was able to create a file system, change the theme, and also download torrent files using my tablet. Then there was that great Multi-tasking iPad app that I downloaded that gave my iPad almost PC like Multi-tasking ability.

    However, I noticed quirkiness in the behaviour of my device. Battery drained faster sometimes. My device sometimes hanged, necessitating a hard-reboot!

    The last straw that made me change my mind was the jerkiness of my video app occasionally; O-Player. I don’t play with videos. It was just because of the torrent download capability that made me jailbreak my iPad in the first place!

    I couldn’t live with the Jaikbreak. Mind yoi yhe elgant UI was made better by the jailbreak in the first instance. But certain usability quirks persuaded me to go back to pure unaltered iOS. So I restored my iPad to the latest version of the firmware, with no option of re-Jailbreaking because that version did not have a hack yet. I did that not to succumb to the temptation of Jailbreaking it again.

    I have a pal who jailbreaks as a hobby. He Must Jailbreak his iDevice. Perhaps I’d get him to have a word here.

    All I need to say is that there are good sides and bad sides to rooting or Jailbreaking your smartphone. That noted, all that determines if you carry out ROOTING or not is the level of efficiency or feature capabilities in your phone that you can tolerate or ignore!

  7. Noni
    14/08/2012 at 21:23

    Never have and don’t plan to. Will just buy a new phone when the one I have can’t do what I want. I don’t really care much for what rooting offers, so long as I can use the apps I want.

  8. 15/08/2012 at 01:02

    Jailbreaking / rooting has its advantages. When I owned iOS devices, I jailbroke them all mainly for Cydia. Cydia at the time had lots of utilities that enhanced the iOS experience. Now I’m talking about iOS4 and below, just to be clear.
    I no longer own any iOS device and I am yet to root my android phone. I haven’t found a compelling reason yet. A good one would be in order to be able to install ICS (Cyanogen mod) but CM9 build for my phone (galaxy fit) lacks camera functionality and that is just too much to give up.
    I did root my B&N Nook Color E-reader tablet though. The main reason for that was to expose more android features that had been locked down in the default OS and also install Android market, in order to in turn install more apps.
    Jailbreaking/rooting comes with lots of risks and things can go wrong a million different ways. I’m uncomfortable when running official upgrades from phone vendors, talk less of performing unsanctioned operations on the firmware based on some random guy’s post on the internet. Before I jailbreak any device, there has to be a very good reason to do so, even then, I ensure I research extensively, even almost excessively.

  9. olusheenor
    15/08/2012 at 07:52

    picking up a device randomly..How do you know if an android device is rooted or not?
    And does rooting a Samsung device for instance block access to Samsung kies services?

  10. 15/08/2012 at 09:55

    @olusheenor:

    I don’t you will be able to tell that a device is rooted or not without playing with it a bit. I guess the easiest method would be to through the apps list and check for an icon with the label, “Super User”. This is the general induction that an Android device is rooted.

    I think the above is the best you can do without delving into serious investigation. You can also hop into the Google Play Store and try any of the root-only applications to see if it will work on the test device, for instance those apps that can remove or freeze system or bundled apps.

  11. olusheenor
    15/08/2012 at 09:57

    @harry
    ok boss thanks for the info!

  12. 18/08/2012 at 07:44

    I belong to the rooting club and as such I can not even imaging using any Android device without rooting. The beauty of Android is the power and flexibility it brings the user. And most of this awesomeness can be gained from rooting. This is why the first thing I do when I get an android device is not just to root but to install a custom rom altogether. I use cyanogen which gives me pure up to date android experience. From there thanks to rooting I can install a custom kernel Which among other things allow me to enable smb module so my device can mount a windows share and I can also over clock and under clock as my usage demands
    Beside some of my most used utility apps require root. Like gobackup which helps me backup all my installed apps and save them to a folder in my sdcard for reinstallation later or on another device .when I sold my sgs2 recently getting a new device was a matter of restoring the former app from the last folder with all user data saved I just picked up from where I left off. Another app I use is autorun manager which I use to manage which application is started when my phone boots (u would be surprised at the number of apps which boot up and run in the background of an Android device using up valuable resources) I like to have control over what runs on my device and autorun manager does that for me. Things like call recorder (which records inline not from mic) call blacklist which can cut a blacklisted number even before it rings are all some of the joy of being rooted. Yes rooting is not for the feint hearted u need to know what you are doing and it can break warranty and eat babies .but for a power user and someone who demands the most from his device. It is a most. Though most other users can just carrying on with their device just fine. Yes absolute power corrupts ..it also rocks

  13. 18/08/2012 at 11:33

    My response was becoming rather lengthy. Made a post of it.
    http://artwales.biz/to-root-or-not-to-root-that-is-the-question/

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