What's rooting and what we need to know about it

What's rooting and what we need to know about it
PhoneArena Knows Best is back with a new set of interesting questions to answer! Our pilot question this time has a lot to do with what rooting is and what should we know about it. If you are interesting in tinkering with your phone's software, but feel somewhat unsure about it, now is your chance to get the basic info you need. Of course, we've also solved a number of other mobile-related mysteries in this edition of PhoneArena Knows Best!

Before we start, let us remind you that if you have any questions about your phone, tablet, or anything mobile-related, you can always direct them to us using the following email address for a chance to get an answer from PhoneArena's tech gurus! Please send your questions to this address:

What's rooting and what do I need to know about it?

Hi, Viswanath! Congratulations for getting the Galaxy S II, great choice! Basically, rooting an Android phone allows you to have administrative access to everything in it. When you root an Android phone, you get access to system files and all kinds of permissions. The most valuable thing to rooting a phone is the ability to install custom ROMs like CyanogenMod. If you really want to install a custom ROM on your Galaxy S II, we can recommend the CyanogenMod ROM, but keep in mind this will void your warranty. Here's a very detailed guide explaining everything you need to know about rooting and installing CyanogenMod on your AT&T Galaxy S II. It'll also point you to what actions you need to undertake in order to back up all of your information safely. In any case, we'd advise you to be very careful when attempting to root or install a new ROM on your phone, especially when you aren't completely sure about what you're doing.

Should I get the iPhone 4S or Galaxy Nexus, or wait for the Galaxy S III or iPhone 5?

Hi, Jagdeep! It really depends on how badly you need a new smartphone. If you're fine with your current one and can wait, it's always a good idea to wait for the new models to come out. However, if waiting is not an option, we think it's perfectly OK if you purchase any of the handsets you've mentioned. The iPhone 4S and Galaxy Nexus, or even the Galaxy S II are still very powerful and adequate offerings that will get every job done with ease. Now, which platform to choose between iOS and Android is up to your preferences and taste. But here is a comparison article that might make your decision easier: iPhone 4S vs Galaxy Nexus.

Carrier-unlocked vs Factory-unlocked

Hey, Steve! Whether and when you'll get a software update for your phone depends on a number of factors, not just whether your handset is carrier-unlocked or neverlocked (factory-unlocked). There really isn't a rule for that. With some devices, getting the update with a factory-unlocked handset might be faster than with a carrier-unlocked, but the opposite isn't out of the question as well. In most cases, however, you should have the ability to update your device if it's factory-unlocked, because the "carrier factor" will not be involved then. Updates should come automatically, but it's not 100% guaranteed. Plus, you might be able to get the new software faster if you attempt to manually search for and install the update.

Is it OK to buy a dual-core tablet, or should I aim for a quad-core one?

Hi, Tevin! Unfortunately, you didn't tell us how much money you've prepared for a new tablet purchase, so we can't recommend the best one your money. But, the good news is that we think a current/last-gen tablet will be perfectly suitable for you. There won't be so much of a real-world benefit from a quad-core tablet for at least another year. That said, it's worth investing in a high-end dual-core tablet, as this will guarantee that you have the horsepower needed to run just about every piece of software right now.

If you have any mobile-related questions for us, and would like to see them answered on PhoneArena, don't hesitate to write us here:



37. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Get OTA RootKeeper, SQLITE EDITOR, Titanium Backup Pro, and Root Explorer...and life will be good.

40. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Paid Titanium pro, paid clockwork mod,, paid SetCPU, and paid Root Explorer. Tools of the trade that make mod life sooo easy. And yes, pay for it. the extra functionality is more than worth it (especially on titanium, OMG) + rewarding the guys that make the mod community so popular and functional is also well worth it.

44. thelegend6657 unregistered

Hey remixfa you tried install android x86 on your pc ? It comes rooted and I think that's awesome

46. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

no, i need my PC to be stable. If i had an extra one laying around, yea i probably would :)

48. thelegend6657 unregistered

you could you easues partition manager creates a small partition (4gb enough) and install it from a USB drive , thats what i do . Now i have a android tablet that i never bought :)

50. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

i haven not thought of that. I might do that once I upgrade my car USB drive.. ill have a spare at that point. :) I am never buying a car without a hidden USB drive again. MP3 player built into the deck rocks.

51. thelegend6657 unregistered

problem is some apps is still not optimised for x86 yet

33. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

I rooted my OG Evo just to remove the bloatware from my phone. My Photon has let me uninstall apps without the need for rooting, except a few Sprint apps. Never really got into the custom rom thing, BUT knowing the option is there makes it all the best.

32. nitinrana

Posts: 27; Member since: Apr 02, 2012

Thank you so much for the reply remixfa... :-) And yes you are right, read more and more... Being a lazy bum i just try to find my part of interest and when i don't get i don't visit that page... So i am gonna start reading threads on dev sites... Don't worry... Your friend has an international version... And if your friend has it means that it's yours... :-) Thankful to PA that they have people like you around who are ready to help... Else most of the times i see people fighting on who's phone is better... My take on this is that everybody has different taste... People will buy what they like whether it's dumb or smart... Why are you so worried? It's their money and they gonna spend it wherever they like to... And sometimes the comments turn into a community fight instead of phone related discussion... That's kinda stupid...!! || Peace and Love ||

36. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

not a prob. glad i could lend a hand. :)

20. bolaG

Posts: 468; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

I wish I knew how to root, rom, and kernel properly :( anyone want to give lessons? cough remixfa cough networkdood cough protozeloz :)

22. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

sure....I do it constantly ....not on droid razr due to locked bootloader, but with samsung captivate....most roms and kernels can be flashed via CWM recovery. What phone do you have?

23. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

My advice is to go to xda developers website and start reading up as some phones have their individual quirks with flashing/modding. Rooting is easy in most cases.

25. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

the answers you seek are easily found, if you only were to look. (hint hint XDA hint hint)

17. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

On a samsung phone, if you bork your phone during the ODIN process, you can buy some parts that will revive your phone back to download mode....check out XDA for that. Love the captivate on FUSION ICS 4.0.3.

24. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

if you bork your phone during odin, u just use odin to unbork it. samsung phones are nearly impossible to fully kill. not only are they the best of the best in tech, they are awesome phones to learn to root/rom on since sammy is so friendly with the dev community. The last phones u want to learn on are HTC or Moto bootlocked phones.. unless you want to learn how to command line code at the same time. lol

26. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Actually, when you bork your phone with ODIN, with a captivate, you are sort of screwed, but at XDA, there is aposter who can advise on the fix. Costs around 2.00 at radio shack or amazon, and I have used the method 3 times now to bring my cappy back from the dead.

28. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

really? on the vibrant there is a trick that will always force it into download mode, where you can ODIN it right back to stock. it takes a miracle (or a sledge hammer) to completely kill it. I figured it would have been pretty much the same since they are both SGS1s. Interesting.

30. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Well, maybe that is something new. Makes more sense, though. I have sent a phone back to warranty and received another one, so rooting and ROMing does not void your warranty, as we are scared and led to believe.

34. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

thats the way its always been with the vibrant. umm.. from memory... phone off with no sim or memory card... plug in charger, hold up and power then pull battery. it should throw it into download mode no matter what. of course, that was from memory so i might be slightly off somewhere. it does void your warranty. but the person on the other end has to know and care to check. if you've bricked your phone completely its nearly impossible to check. :) many places are a lot more leniant about ROMS than they used to be since its so common, but when in doubt always return to stock first. You dont want them to notate the account that you tried to warranty it with a ROM on there (if you go in and they send u away since you voided the warranty)

27. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

I learned with an HTC windows phone on changing kernels, radios, and ROMs. Android is a piece of cake compared to what I did with WIN 6/6.5. WIth MOTO, safestrap lets you 'partition' your phone so that if you mess up you can easily return to the original ROM that came with the phone, at the expense of loss of data storage.

29. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

yes.. android is way easier than windows 5xx/6xxx. WP7 is actually suprisinly easy as well, and there is an alternate mod-app store for it as well, like cydia. You can add in just about any feature you feel is missing from the OS. Its much more capable than people want to give it credit for.

31. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

They still have the tri-colored screen?

35. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

yep. still does. the rainbow screen. :) it roots kind of similar to android. its really not so bad.

15. nitinrana

Posts: 27; Member since: Apr 02, 2012

Hey remixfa... Here's a question for you... I hope I get the right answer from you... I live in India... I have a Samsung Galaxy S2... So obviously it's an international version... Few days back i visited cyanogen site... There i saw many roms for my phone however I wasn't able to recognize which is the one for mine because there was a stable and some night version... I have never rooted any device... Can you please give me a link so I can look upto it and do it myself in a better way.... And is Odin same like cyanogen or are they different? And which one is the best among them? Thanks... :-)

16. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

ok.. ODIN is a samsung rooting program. it is not a rom, its a tool to help when flashing roms. On samsung devices it really is a great tool to be cozy with. if your not familiar with ROMS and rooting, u want stable versions. Nightlys, alphas, and betas are all bug filled versions. Those are for experienced people who want to play a part in development, dont mind bugs, and know how to properly report them to the devs so they can help fix them. again, best thing to do is to 1) find the ROM threads with the most posts.. they are generally the best developed and least buggy 2) avoid any threads that say "nightly, alpha, or beta with low numbers (aka Beta version 2) 3) spend time reading.. a lot of time. read user posts as well as dev posts. 9 times out of 10, someone has already had your question and had it answered. 4) dont do anything until your comfortable. rooting and roming a samsung phone is cake. Samsung is very open with the dev community, more than any other manufacturer. But you can still ruin cake if you dont follow directions. BTW, im jealous, ive wanted an international samsung for a while. :)

18. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Excellent post, remixfa


Posts: 58; Member since: Apr 10, 2012


42. thelegend6657 unregistered

Hello remixfa you ARe really a rooting expert Superoneclick or Odin is better ?

43. thelegend6657 unregistered

Btw remixfa I like the look of the AT&T version more

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless