Rooting Android: Worth It Or Not?


robot-hugging-treeThis is SURE to stir up some fierce debate and there is no right answer – different people have different wants/needs. The casual phone user will likely NEVER want to root their phone and even the majority of competent smartphone users will find Android more than capable of doing whatever they want. But we all know it’s the things you CAN’T have that we often want the most… and that is exactly what rooting allows.

For folks wondering “Should I root?” or “Why would I want to root?”, Sarah Perez from ReadWriteWeb wrote an interesting and thorough article discussing just that.

Her favorite reasons for rooting include:

  • Multi-touch, Pinch & Zoom, etc…
  • Performance improvements, speed, etc…
  • Extra Apps/Features (Like Apps2SD)

Now WE want to hear from YOU – what makes rooting your Android phone “worth it”? Or… are you happy rocking out with your robot as-is?

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Honestly I really want to root my DROID. There are so many cool things to do with it when it’s rooted (Overclocking the droid FTW). But I’ve only avoided rooting my DROID because I’m afraid to void my warranty or any service I might receive from Verizon. Also because I’m afraid to “brick” my phone. I’ve already destroyed one DROID (not related to rooting it), and I’m a bit gunshy to do something else that might kill it!

  2. Also remember the ability to Theme. Just installing APPS2SD on a G1, and also custom/faster Roms should do it for most.

  3. Yes it is worth it, for every reason , multitouch, apps2sd, cool themes and the root apps

  4. At this point in time Android is fairly lenient in terms of the apps it allows into the Market. So when it comes to rooting there is a very small benefit gained from extra apps (Metamorph, PicMe etc). This is in stark contrast to the doors that Jailbreaking an iDevice opens, but that is Apples own fault for controlling the platform too heavily.

    I feel that the main benefit gained is the performance boost, the choice of custom ROMs that may suit you to a greater extent than the default. Plus you now have total control over your phone which is nice.

    At the moment there is not really a Market for “off-market” apps, similar to Cydia on iPhones, so this slightly limits the advantages of rooting. However I feel as time progresses, devs will find more and more ways to integrate into Android in ways that cannot be accomplished via the Market. And so rooting will become more and more beneficial as time goes by.

  5. well , I’ll have to root it to get my phone to read Arabic.
    till Android supports Arabic , I’m forced to root

  6. At first I was a little skeptical about it because i didn’t want to end up with an expensive paperweight but now that I have done it, i wouold never turn it back to a stock system. It just allows for more exploration of the Android software that sparks a further interest in the software. there are some apps that I use now on a daily basis that you just cant get with a stock phone such as CacheMate, ShootMe (for taking screenshots of the phone), Quick Boot, and the list goes on. Plus I like flashing new ROMs to my phone. I am currently running a 2.1 ROM and loving it. Something you just cant experience with the base 1.6 Donut ROM

  7. I’m wondering about the pros and cons of rooting my Hero. I know some peoples’ reasons for rooting were ‘fixed’ with Sense, but is it still worth it?

  8. What does rooting mean?

    How do you do it?

  9. Tethering, that woulf probably be the first reason

  10. I’m a tattoo owner and I’ll root as soon as possible for the boost performance
    (who cares about default twitter client that can’t be disabled ?)

  11. When i had the rooted g1 —-> it was awesome and is what got me into android in the first place. Now i am the proud owner of a rooted Moto Droid and have pinch&zoom in my default browser, wifi tethering, overclocking at 800mhz, customized the shit out of it.

  12. Rooting my phone was very much worth it for two primary reasons: (1) it gave me access to paid apps (not yet available to Canadian users with the stock ROM); and (2) allow me to experiment with newer cutting-edge custom ROMs that allow me to do more with my phone than what I can do with the stock ROM…

  13. Rooting is great if you know what you are doing, or can follow instructions. It can take you from having a good phone, to having an awesome phone. I currently have a rooted Sprint HTC Hero, and i couldn’t be happier. Its running a custom MoDaCo 2.2 ROM with his customized kernal that has it running 100 mph. Apps2SD and comcache and some other goodies. 2.1 custom rom is next but im loving what I have right now.

    The best thing about rooting, is with the great dev’s over at XDA and MoDaCo, we will get all the latest OS long before these slow carriers decide to release them.

  14. Honestly if you have to ask ‘do I want to?’ My answer is no. The reason is because many of you people who are unsure end up asking lots of very stupid questions.

    So please first do research, and don’t ask for any help till you are sucessful.

    And *nix experience should be requried, if you don’t know what that is, then I suggest you stop now.

    Hopefully I don’t sound harsh :D

  15. Running CyanagonMod on a MyTouch at the moment. All the features rooting gets you are nice, but when it comes down to it, I don’t really care about:


    as much as:

    advanced (root) apps
    small bug fixes

    I was almost tearing my hair out with home screen force closures and lag due to weird Android memory model and a bug with location service memory leaks.

    I rooted because I’m a nerd but love it because I can lock home screen in memory, run with a swap partition on an sd card, and install apps like Always Flash (flashes LED for notifications even if you have the phone plugged in).

    My phone is FASTER and more USEABLE because of rooting, ROMs, and modified dialer/contacts/mms/browser apps built into said ROMs.

    BUT it’s not all fun and games. There are, of course, bugs in ROMs as well and some of them are pretty annoying (spontaneous reboots) but it’s a decision I made in favor of overall performance even if there are the occasional bugs.

  16. I have to , I need to put in my language since Google stopped a little bit short when it comes to languages and The Market Problem(s) .

  17. Is N1 already rooted or does a person need to root it themselves?

  18. No phone comes rooted ¬¬’
    It’s essentially hacking your phone..

  19. Don’t forget wireless tether!

  20. YES It is WELL worth it… I have a rooted N1 and a rooted MT3G

  21. I heard that it kills your battery faster. I’m happy with Dolphin and I don’t see a performance issue so I’m sticking to non-rooted. I’m also scared of rooting my phone.

    Maybe when I fill my phone so much that I need to move my apps to my SD.

  22. I rooted my G1, because there’s no other ways to buy paid apps via Rogers, Canada.

  23. Take a developer’s advice:

    If you just want to use your phone (or if you don’t really understand what rooting entails), then don’t. It won’t get you anything that works 100%. Also keep in mind that everyone is working really hard to solve all the problems you might have (for instance, the limited memory for installing apps). Android is not linux, you shouldn’t need to take things into your own hands as a user to get a good experience. Overall, in my opinion, to many people already root and too many push people to root.

    On the other hand, a benefit of Android is that it is possible, more so than on any product. So for us developers and geeks it’s a great power.

  24. I NEED MY N1 rooted anyone in the Richmond, VA area willing to help. Ill pay. contact me at [email protected]

  25. I got my G1 a year ago and rooted it for the hell of it, everyone was doing it and therefore it must have been awesome. Now a year later and hopefully a little wiser, i am able to put 2.1 on the G1 with no difficulty as well as run APPS2SD which is a lifesaver especially on the G1. I have requested a N1 for my birthday as its not avail in Australia and even before i have it in my hands i have read up on how to root it. As soon as i uncrinkle the plastic packaging its going to be rooted. Cant live with out being rooted. So many more opportunities and freedom. I mean, Android is open source and rooting is just opening the source.

  26. I’m interested in rooting, but cant afford making any mistakes. There seems to be some misconceptions though because without rooting the droid I can still get wireless tethering, screenshots, etc. Even in certain programs (such as pic say) there is pinch and zoom. However, overall performance is an attractive feature.

  27. 1. Market Enabler (no paid apps in my country yet).
    2. Ability to install new ROMs.
    3. Wireless Tether
    4. Titanium Backup

  28. From a security standpoint, definitely. With root, you can move apps like Mobile Defense into the /system/app directory and if someone steals your phone and formats it, the Mobile Defense software is still on the phone and therefore you can execute an emergency location command to pin point it’s location.

  29. I am currently unrooted but running the 5 Screen Launcher. I was going to root but I think I will first wait for 2.1 and run that for a while from the factory and then root. I have also seen several posts about rooting to tether but I am tethering without rooting with my laptop as I write this post.

  30. I want to root just for Wireless Tether.

  31. I can’t imagine my G1 without root access (but that is basically on principal, it had it when it arrived from T-Mobile then they took it away). But really I often debate going back to the stock unrooted life, but just can’t seem to make the switch. What do I use root for…. tethering primarily and apps2sd for space reasons, but also I like just knowing it is there if I need it.

    Currently I’m running Cyanogen’s mod, before that JesusFreke’s. I may make the switch to JustAnotherDev’s since it brings even more 2.x goodies to the G1 while Cyanogen is playing with his Nexus.

  32. By far the most important thing: Wireless tether. I pay for 6 gigs a month, why shouldn’t I be able to use it how I want?

    Custom ROMs is an added bonus, which is especially nice when your service provider believes that updates should be provided according to THEIR schedule.

  33. I’m really not interested in Rooting… except for one thing..

    and that one thing is BIG!!! ..

    I need my THEMES … Android should have themes built in for Stock android… maybe not as extensive as the rooted themes but come on.. OPEN SOURCE OS should be themable without the need for ROOT ..

    so at the end of the day.. if you want to ROOT your phone .. MAKE SURE THAT IT’S AN HTC PHONE … and that it runs stock android…

    In other words… G1, Mytouch/Magic and Nexus one .. are the only phones you should be looking at..

  34. Can I unroot after rooting a HTC Hero?

  35. You can unroot I believe.

  36. A lot of the stuff you guys go on about is available on my unrooted Hero out of the box. ie. multitouch, pinch and zoom, and tethering. However I am considering rooting just to try out the modaco rom and see if its any quicker, that’s the only thing that makes me want to root my phone really. Apps2sd would be nice as well but I probably wouldn’t use that due to the downsides.

  37. I definetely prefer rooting. I had gotten a G1 when it first came out and I had heard about rooting it a few months afterward and all the great features that could be added. I also knew of the risk that was involved and how my phone could become bricked. But I decided that the perks that I would receive outweighed the risks so I went ahead and rooted it. Ever since then I have enjoyed custom roms, pinch and zoom, multitouch and the ability to have a rom months before my carrier would release it. I definetely prefer rooting, as to not rooting. There is a risk involved as always but as long as you follow the steps in order 1 by 1 there shouldnt be any mishaps. Im currently running 2.1 on my Mytouch3g and it isnt even released to stock phones yet!

  38. rooting is necessary when you’re with rogers! or you’ll be stuck at 1.5 forever.

  39. Yes you can unroot, all you need to do is have the RUU file, and run it like a regular executeable from your computer and booyah, back to how it came out the box. If you need the file its on the forums.

  40. The major reason I have yet to root my Droid is the fact that rooting does just that, it gives everything root access. Meaning that any potential malicious apps that get onto my phone from god knows where all of the sudden have root access. Sounds like trouble to me. Is it a big issue now with Android in it’s infancy? Probably not. Will it be a big issue in the future? More than likely, if Android continues to grow at the rate it has been. A good article on the subject can be found at: http://androidandme.com/2009/09/hacks/why-not-everyone-should-root-their-android-phones/

  41. I use android wifi tether all the time. To the point that any phone I get in the future would have to be rootable first.

    3rd party ROMS are cool, but I’ve found most of them to be somewhat unstable.

  42. I’m using an unrooted N1 right now but I miss the wireless tethering from my rooted MyTouch. The N1 is plenty fast for me! :)

  43. It’s an insurance policy against the carrier changing its mind and deciding to charge for future upgrades, abandoning the product, switching to some shitty carrier-customized UI, or what have you.

  44. I’m staying unrooted for now. At least until I know for certain that I can do it without bricking my phone. I haven’t seen a video that gives step by step instructions on how to do it yet. Maybe I’m just using wrong key words when I search though.

    Otherwise, I have the HTC Hero (Unlocked w/ ‘chin’). It works fine, unrooted in all its glory.

  45. ive rooted my g1 and installed cyanogen and i must say its quite impressive (performance wise) and being able to install apps on the sd is a big plus.
    But that’s for my g1, i dont think you would need that for lets say nexus one.

  46. Hell yes! Wifi tether is a required function of my device and one of the reasons I got an Android phone in the first place.

    The ability to use developer-cooked ROMs and further customise my phone is also very handy. Like Josh said, many dev ROMs are unstable, but there are a few great ones out there (Amon_RA, dwang, etc)

  47. For us Scandinavians it’s almost a must to root… Since we have NO paid apps, we have to be able to use Market Enabler in order to get anything really good… Sucks to be a Swede at times

  48. Well I have successfully rooted my phone but problem is I can not seem to be able to understand how to perform any of the cool hacks. I’m no computer programmer but I’m fairly literate in technology. I just can’t seem to get thing working? Any ideas on a place to find simple step by step on these hacks?

  49. Until I start seeing some compelling custom ROMs for the Droid, no, I won’t root. The few interesting apps that require root aren’t worth it to me right now.

  50. Depends on the phone you have and if it has a good mod community behind it. Definitely worth it for the G1 :)

  51. I have a Behold II, so if an OS update isn’t forthcoming from Samsung/Tmo, I’ll be rooting to flash a stock Android ROM on that bad boy. Actually, I’ll be having my brother do it, b/c I have zilch programming/hacking experience. Even stock 1.5 will be a big improvement over they way they crippled this very nice piece of hardware with a crappy, bloated UI. After that, I’ll worry about the other benefits of rooting.

  52. I have a g1 and root is almost necessary, but since I’ve been rooted, I fell like my phone can keep up with the jones’ until something else I want comes out and I can afford it.

  53. Seems to be the premise behind Android really, an OS to be tinkered with. For those that like to it’s a geeks playground really. It does seem to have more benefits than not, imho, even if to just get rid of stock apps and add apps to the sd card. Those alone make it worth it.

  54. You can tether wifi on a rooted Droid! Go Droid

  55. For the life of me, i cant figure out how to root it. i got to the update part. but i got some error when trying to apply it. Any help?

  56. I agree with Bill at #53. Certainly it sounds like a fun project to try out in my free time, and I’ve been doing some prelim research into rooting my GSM Hero. What I found out: having an Asian version of the Hero means rooting is more difficult, since they removed the key exploit that made it easy. I would first have to take the extra step of downgrading my phone to the last generic unrooted ROM that had the exploit. That alone holds me back, since I haven’t yet found a ROM of the unrooted Asian version, in case I need to return the phone to its unrooted state. So I’m going to wait until HTC releases an Android phone I really want – with good specs and SENSE – before playing with my Hero. Not going to risk killing my phone right now, esp when I am generally very happy with it.

  57. Yes, it’s worth it. I enjoy my G1 more now than when I ran the stock ROM. However, having a rooted phone means you must manage the phone. You must be aware of issues, and be proactive. You have to look at a reflash as a normal procedure, not necessarily every day, but certainly fairly often. That said, if you love to customize your phone and push it to get it to operate better, than root access is the best way. Customization is only sniffed on the stock ROM.

  58. i wanna root my magic bcoz my magic’s is a bit slow but i dont know how to of where to start : p

  59. I am drooling to root my sprint hero… because of those wifi tethering. tired of being stuck with wired tethering. I use it all the time because I don’t have regular internet at home. My quick question, I have PAM in my account which allows me tethering, if i root this one, then I don’t need PAM because that will allow me use my unlimited data plan? If that does, then it save me 15 dollars and I gonna ROOT it. hope my dream comes true. Let me know… [email protected]

  60. extra themes.. make android even more customizable…. apps to sd, multi-touch, speed, sense UI if your handset shipped without it like the G1…tethering without having to pay for an app. The ability to get updates before they are even released OTA.. or officially for that matter…. all that and more…. if you don’t have Root… you should just crawl under a rock!

  61. Yes it is worth it, thats why i like my android its an Open device ,for many reasons like android more than other platforms :
    -customizable ROMs especially htc Sense UI ROMs.
    -Multi-touch (Pinch & Zoom).
    -faster ROMs .. etc.
    -modified apps
    for these reasons I was a stupid iPhone user but after and i switched to Android user
    now I’m glad that the Android is better than the stupid iPhone & Apple.

  62. has anyone installed a hero on the g1 ? how does it perform ? is it slow ?

  63. I’ve rooted my Hero.
    Modaco Custom ROM, apps2SD, Market enabler etc etc etc..

    Nerd as I am, I just can’t help it :)

  64. I have written how to root and unroot the hero. Rooting is so worth it for the speed increases and extras. There are no draw backs because you can easily flash the latest HTC ROM

  65. Freedom; why else are you on Android if it is otherwise?

    Overclock? got it
    Slow down the CPU to save batt? got it
    Tethering? got it
    Flash ROM and backup? got it, and you will love yourself (it’s like giving yourself a time machine, a DIY anytime you like tool kit and a life vest)
    Market Enabler to subvert some location restrictions? got it~ SUPER ESSENTIAL for users from SOOOOO many countries
    (it’s like, people have to think of a way to put money into your pocket; because you wouldn’t accept it even when i beggggggggged)

  66. primary reasons for me are tethering, taking screenshots and speed…
    …and backups

  67. I agree that rooting is good for something like the g1 but beyound that….it doesn’t seem like such a good thing to do…regardless of how long it takes to get an update.

  68. I’ve rooted my Milestone to use AdFree and MarketEnabler.

    Of course, if it wasn’t for the enforced signature checking, I would also use tethering (which is a must have feature actually), and probably a custom firmware that *doesn’t suck ass* while playing MP3s.

  69. Market Enabler

    WiFi tethering

  70. As a Samsung Costumer (once and never again I buy from them) I have to root it for WPA Enterprise which is used in my university. Without rooting I am stuck at Android 1.5. No support from Samsung, no Information about whether (not when(!)) an update is coming leaves rooting the device the only way tó selling it at huge loss.

    Galaxy was outdated and forgotten right after market introduction. DIY or stay off.

  71. Rooting for me is to install an optimized kernel [mostly Cyanogen], tethering, Apps2SD, Bad ass recovery.img with BART and Nandroid backup, overclocking, underclocking, compcache, keep home in RAM [never wait on home screen to load]. The list goes on and on and on.

  72. As cell phones do more and more, the radiation they emit rises. There is no free lunch where it comes to radiation. The Droid is one hot little puppy. U.S. radtion standards are the best lobbied standards in the world.

  73. Root is must-have.

    1. I can disable items from auto-starting (using app: autostarts)

    2. Multi-touch browser

    3. Overlocked processor 900Mhz, haven’t tried 1Ghz yet.

    If you’re not rooted you’re missing out.

  74. Yes, Definitely!

  75. Just got a Nexus One and am dying to root for two reasons: pinch zoom and FLAC support. My G1 has been rooted almost since I got it a year plus ago and I have never once regretted it. Cyanogen’s ROMs make Android even better.

  76. Rooting the phone = AWESOME. Themes, custom apps (I currently have over five apps I use ALOT that require root), multitouch, faster processor, custom ROMS, etc.

    Risk to brick phone = negligible, as long as the user is moderately intelligent, is capable, willing, and actually DOES READ release notes on the mods that are being installed/made.

  77. Definitely worth it… MarketEnabler to get access to the paid app market, tethering for my netbook, SetCPU for better battery life, full access to the file system for tweaking, OS upgrades (carrier still is stuck on 1.5), themes.

    A thriving customisation community and Linux base were the main reasons I bought an Android phone.

  78. My unrooted Telus HTC Hero Android 1.5 cannot do wireless 802.1x authentication. We use 802.1x authentication at work. Consequently I cannot access wireless at work. I believe subsequent Android versions support 802.1x authentication (linux certainly does). So rooting may be my only hope to use wireless at work (unless Telus, decides to bestow upon us an upgrade).

  79. After months of debating I finally rooted and installed cyanogens latest stable mod. It is like having a new phone. It runs great on my G1. If you want to root, definitely go to cyanogens wiki and use his guide. It really is not that hard. Definitely worth it.

  80. There is no debate. If you are capable at following directions, you will root. Case closed.

  81. I need to root my Milestone to get WPA Enterprise to use the wifi my university provides. Seems silly that wpa_supplicant provides WPA Enterprise, but the Android developers just couldn’t be bothered to write the interface. Completely pathetic.

  82. It took me a year after getting my T-Mobile G1 to decide to root it, and I couldn’t be happier. I have been able to try out different ROMs, like some Hero roms before the Hero phone was released in the US. I just recently gave KingKlicks Espresso a try, really cool. Right now running Dwang’s donut v1.17 my phone has never been faster. I’m loving root, I have widgets, over 100 apps installed and 50mb system memory available and the G1 is still very fast.

  83. I think the best reason to root would be for tethering … i still fear doing it cus i have a habit of screwing up my electronics when i screw around with them, but from what i’ve learned it should be worth it and not that difficult.

  84. A 600mhz processor, underclocked natively in the phone, now blazing fast @ 1.1ghz. That’s my Moto Droid, rooted. Along with wifi tether, an almost working FM tuner, compcache, nandroid, sholes.info ROM and other reasons previously mentioned… I was thrilled with my stock Droid… until I realized how much more potential it had, that was being wasted. If you wouldn’t benefit from these things, then I’m struggling with the reason you would buy an Android phone, other than the ‘oh look what I have’ cool factor.

  85. Is it possible to do this to my Eris? Also where can I find reliable instructions on how to do so?


  87. Ever since the first day I bought my g1 I had wanted root. Then I did it and been happy since here’s my reasons why.

    1. Custom roms
    2. Apps 2 sd
    3. Increased performance
    4. The ability to fully customize
    5. Happiness (irritating for my wife)
    6. Oh running the newest android builds before they go live and oncethat will never make it to. My beloved g1

    Rom: hero_over 2.1
    Live wallpapers
    Death spl
    Gotta love android!!!!

  88. I have not rooted my Nexus One because I don’t want to void the warranty yet.
    I WANT TO ROOT my N1 for the simple reason of being able to turn the LED flash into a flashlight. Call me crazy, but that should not require rooting…most phones with a flash can do it with a simple setting.

  89. It is worth it, but if you have a signed bootloader like me on my Milestone you’re f***!!!!

  90. i have a nexus one running froyo, is there any benefit for me rooting my phone? so far the only reason i can think of is getting cracked apps. but that feels wrong

  91. Not rooted yet but gathering as much information as possible before I do have g1 really love it so far rooted will be great my pc runs puppy and k.d.e. hate micro-soft hate windows love linux

  92. Did any one root their android moment?

  93. You can get free tethering without root. It’s called PDAnet. It’s available via bluetooth or usb. i run 2.2 on my moto droid and the only reason i am considering rooting is for performance. ever since 2.2 came out my phone has been slow and having lots of force closes. anything set to auto update on the market never finishes downloading and makes the app mess up if i try to use it. it also force closes if i try to cancel the download. EVERY TIME. Is losing the warranty worth the added performance for the average college student?

  94. Yes… rooted Moment / Custom ROM from SDX.
    Wish I had looked into this as soon as I got it out of the box. It is MUCH faster, and responsive, as opposed to frustrating and slow. Also using ADW launcher instead of the stock home screens has been a lot more pleasant.
    I dont have call to use it much, but wifi tether is one of the coolest things ever!

  95. i have a motorola mile stone i have found out how to open the programming screen is there a way to get free tethering that way if so that would be great
    thank you for any help :)

  96. to open the programming screen type ##program then the code to access is 000000

  97. Frnds I want to root my phone. Plz tell me the procedure. Plz rply on [email protected]

  98. How likely work is it,to do wi-fi tethering, (with out giving Verizon money every month), with an HTC Incredible?
    I want to get a chance to occasionally tether an Android tablet to my phone?

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