Should I root my Android device?

Rooting your Android device is certainly a question that should enter the brain of any technology and Android enthusiast.  Why?  The answer to that question is simple – pure, raw, unadulterated control of your device.  Sure, Android is pretty customizable stock from your OEM of choice:  Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG and more; however, if you want to overclock, underclock, block ads (ALL ads) and most importantly, run custom ROMs, then rooting is certainly for you.

First off, rooting your device and unlocking your bootloader will VOID your warranty.  However, as you dive more into the world of root you will realize that everything you do to your device is completely reversible and if you ever want to return to stock (why be stock?), be un-rooted, and have your bootloader locked again.  On the other hand, after rooting you’ll never want to be without it again.

Google wants Android to be open; it is the OEMs and carriers that sometimes make it difficult to enjoy Android as it was meant to be.  How do they do this?

  • Over skinning of Android when it is absolutely astounding stock.  (Ie. Samsung’s TouchWiz, Motorola’s MotoBlur, and HTC Sense; making updates even harder for you to get — most claim this makes Android easier, but it isn’t hard if you just let users USE it.)
  • Carriers loading your phone with bloatware that can potentially slow your device down
  • Carriers taking their sweet time with the “testing” of an Android update (Ie. From ICS 4.0 to JellyBean 4.1)

However, since the acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google, the latest Motorola devices are taking a more stock approach to Android and are being generally well received.

Pros of rooting your device:

  • More customizations
  • Custom ROMs, your phone will always be up to date with the latest version of Android as long as developers support it; hence why the Nexus line of devices is so popular.
  • Un-altered tethering
  • Backups (Who wouldn’t want a backup of their device?)
  • Removal of carrier bloatware
  • Ad blocking
  • New phone feeling; brings older devices back to life and makes new phone even better

When it comes to customizations I like to have complete control; take a look at my main homescreen on my Verizon Galaxy Nexus running AOKP Build 3:

Cons of rooting your device:

  • Bricking (When rooting and installing custom ROMs there is a possibility that you could render your device useless ie. a brick.  However, like everything you do you a technological device, it can be fully reversed.  If your device boot loops or a ROM installation goes awry, simply flash back to stock or just re-flash another ROM.  On the other hand, that is why creating a backup of your ROM is essential when you are an avid root and ROM-er.

Other than that, there is absolutely nothing wrong or bad about unlocking and rooting your device; in fact Google encourages it.  Why would the creator of this mobile OS stand-by and let users gain root access; simple because it is YOUR device — the same cannot be said of the other mobile operating systems out there that lock you into their “bubble”.

Bottom line:  Should you root your Android phone?  Yes, by all means go for it; enjoy a custom ROM, recovery, and more on your device; it is YOURS.  Rooting and ROM-ing is even more important for the Android purist, like myself, who enjoys the stock look of feel of this fun mobile operating system just as Google meant it to be.