To root your Android phone is a bit of a tricky thing to do. What exactly is rooting, you ask? Well, rooting is a process where devices such as smartphones and tablets running the Android operating system are given access to literally all settings on your device. So a rooted device would have access to files and settings not usually accessible to non-rooted devices.
How does one root a device?
The procedure of rooting an Android device and the uses that it has varies from user to user. However, it’s generally a given that rooting a smartphone or device voids the device’s warranty and also disables it from receiving updates from the manufacturer.
Rooting a device can range from using special software to requiring special permission from the device manufacturer themselves in order to root a device or unlock a bootloader).
Manufacturers such as OnePlus even encourage users to root their devices by shipping their devices with unlocked bootloaders to make the process easier. A simple google search on how to root <insert device name here> would give you a plethora of information and helpful links on how you can root your device and what it involves.
What does rooting do?
If your device is rooted, the chances are you know what you’re doing and you’re familiar with how the Android operating system works. And now that it’s done, you’re probably wondering what you can do with your device. Well, we have come up with a list of useful applications and tweaks you can use to enhance your Android experience and also to give you some useful tips and tricks with your rooted device.
Install a Custom Recovery
This is pretty much the first thing to do as soon as you root your device. Why? Because it will become the bread and butter of all your android modifications.
The advantage here is that if you’re about to install something experimental like a new ROM or a new theme or some new apps and the system crashes, you can safely restore your device to how it was before. Trust me on this, the backup feature of a recovery such as CWM or TWRP will save your life.
Block those pesky ads
Blocking ads that appear when you’re browsing the internet is easy. All you need to do is to install AdBlock browser and you’re good to go. But did you know that it doesn’t work against in-app ads? For example, if you have a bunch of Android games installed or even some apps, you may suddenly see pop-ups displaying a number of objects that not only block your screen but also may be inappropriate for those around you.
Well, now that your device is rooted, you can say goodbye to all that. A little application by the name of AdAway will essentially block any and all advertisements and pop-ups that appear in your browser or apps.
Put unwanted apps to sleep with Greenify
A popular app on the app store, Greenify essentially helps you in identifying misbehaving apps and puts them into hibernation when not in use. By doing this, you prevent the apps from taking up unwanted resources and also stops said apps from draining your device’s battery as well.
Using Greenify is simple. Just select the apps that you want to hibernate, turn off your screen (lock the device) and unlock it again and you’re good to go. While Greenify will work on non-rooted devices as well, if your device is rooted, it can also be used to hibernate certain system apps that you usually wouldn’t be able to hibernate.
Manage more files with ES File Explorer
While most of you would probably use ES File manager to clean up unwanted files, with root access, ES File Explorer can also access to the entire file system and all data directories and allows the user to change permissions.
You should exercise particular care when playing around with files in the Android file system as it can lead to data loss or system crashes if you delete the wrong file.
Make our music come alive with Viper4Android FX
Sometimes the equalizer in your smartphone or tablet just won’t make the cut. This is where V4A FX comes into play (literally). Viper4Android is an audio enhancement app for Android. Think of it as a highly advanced equalizer for your android device. It has a plethora of options that will keep you tweaking and tuning to get the best possible audio experience. It has profiles for everything ranging from the phone speaker to headphones/earphones, Bluetooth speaker and even a USB dock (if your device supports it).
From tweaking playback gain control to an equalizer, to surround sound, to reverberation, to surround sound for headphones, Viper4Android offers the best audio customization that I’ve ever seen. If you’re an audiophile and you want to squeeze the maximum out of your device, then Viper4Android is a vital component that is recommended. Some settings might not work with all devices and even some media players as well. So you’ll have ti play around with the settings.
This is an extremely useful tool or app, especially for slightly older Android devices. Kernel Auditor essentially allows you to tweak the kernel of your Android device. If you didn’t know, the kernel of an Android operating system is responsible for assisting applications to communicate with your hardware.
With Kernel Auditor, you can tweak setting such as your device’s CPU clock speeds to increase it to get more performance or reduce it to save battery. You can even tweak your GPU (graphics processing unit) to get more performance when playing games and 3D intensive applications. It’s not only about tweaking under the hood though, you can even adjust colors of your display and tweak settings such as contrast, saturation, and even RGB levels.
Think of this as an all in one root management application. Magisk has a number of interesting things to offer such as the ability to cloak apps that wouldn’t work on a rooted device. For example, if you play Pokemon Go, and you root your device, you probably won’t be able to play the game again. But with Magisk, you can get the game to detect that the device is not rooted by the apps’ “Magisk Hide” feature.
In addition to this, Magik also has the ability to download and install various modules. These modules can range from enabling Google Assistant, to enabling Google Lens, to installing third-party music players and a whole lot more.
This is for the hardcore Android tweakers. Xposed offers a way to tweak your Android device to enable features you never knew your Android smartphone or tablet had. It offers its own library of tools and tweaks that can be used for a multitude of purposes.
This includes setting custom LED notifications, to reducing the pixel density on your device so that you have more screen real estate to even changing the location of your device. You should probably only use the Xposed framework if you really know what you’re doing. Else, you’re better off getting assistance from someone who knows how these things work.
Well, there you have it
Now that you have rooted your device, and you have installed one or more of the apps that we have spoken about above, there are a few points that we should, ahem, point out.
Rooting and installing a custom recovery voids the warranty of your device. Even if you can flash the stock software back onto the phone, manufacturers have put certain security measures into place to keep devices from being tampered with. Samsung, for example, have a system that will actually send a voltage surge to the SOC (System on a chip) if they try to reset the Knox counter on recently launched flagship devices.
Not all devices can be rooted
As much as these devices are Android devices, there are times that you will not be able to root your device. Even if your device is by a popular manufacturer, there is a chance that rooting it will not be a walk in the park. It gets harder if your device is by a relatively unfamiliar local brand as well.
If your device is a tad on the old side and you still want to squeeze out that last bit of performance, flashing a new ROM along with a custom kernel can work wonders. For example, my OnePlus 2 officially stopped getting updates passing Android 6.0 Marshmallow. But thanks to the folks over at XDA, I am now running Android 8.1 Oreo with absolutely no issues.
Always do your research
Never blindly rush into flashing unfamiliar apps or mods onto your device without first learning about what they do. This is also where a custom recovery such as TWRP comes into play. Always create a backup in TWRP or CWM before flashing new software. That way, even if something goes wrong, you can always recover your phone’s original status to before you installed that particular app.
Overall, rooting your device has its pros and cons. If you’re looking to tweak some under the hood settings that you usually wouldn’t be able to, or you want to try out a different Android Operating system on your device, you can root your device and have a crack at it.
Forums such as XDA offer a wealth of knowledge and resources about all things Android. All you have to do is to enter in your device name and anything and everything related to the device will be displayed. This includes custom ROMs, kernels, mods, and even customized accessories for your device as well.
We do not bear any responsibility if you brick your device (where your phone freezes and is unusable) or lose data while attempting to root your device. Any attempts to root and/or install any of the apps listed here are at your own risk.
Are you rooting an Android device? Are you using any apps that we have mentioned here? Have any useful apps to add? Leave a comment below.