People hack into their phone for varied reasons. For me, my earliest attempt at such “hackscapade” was when I ported “Cooked” ROMS on to my HTC Universal about 7 years ago. Over time, I have lost count on the number of devices that I have tried to extend their limits. My list includes:
- Ported Debian Linux to Palm Treo 650
- Cooked WM6 and Android ROMS on HTC TyTn II
- Cooked ROMS onto a couple of other HTC phones that I cannot recollect their models
- Jailbreaked iPod Touch, iPad, and lately
- Rooted my dear Toshiba Thrive
Anyone who owns a device based on the Android OS may already know that the Google operating system provides a tremendous amount of freedom right out of the box. Notwithstanding this, people still have the urge to hack their devices to extend its limits.
The question now is, Why do people hack their mobiles? What is the cause of this insatiable urge and addiction to push your mobile computers to their limits? What are the benefits of gaining root access to your device?
People say there are always two classes of technology users; those who take and use technology the way it is brought to them, no questions or complaints, and those who want to indulge deep into the very essence of what’s being offered, and want to empower themselves with everything to take the maximum out of that technology. This rule of thumb holds true for mobile phones as well. The poweruser crowd has always been different from the average user.
Rooting Your Android Mobile
Rooting your Android device gives you unparalleled access to every aspect of the device. It allows you to download tons of root-only applications, push your hardware to new heights, and on some devices even flash different, customized versions of Android.
Android OS is based on Linux. Someone described Linux as a big, bad, scary computer operating system known only by people with neck beards. While this is no longer true, people like “maddog” probably still fit this picture perfectly. Android apps need permission to access certain parts of Linux, and not all apps have this special “root” access. The parts having restricted access include the camera flash and the ability to take screen shots. There are a bunch of other apps that need root access for other reasons, too, but the basic premise is the same.
How Does Jailbreaking Your iOS Devices Compare?
The concept itself is identical to what obtains with rooting on Android. Jailbreaking an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch opens up things like using applications that are not manufacturer-approved or changing the look and feel of the device UI. Android already allows this to a very large extent by default. The changes behind the scenes are the same way. A lot of what you can do with a jail broken Apple device, you can already do with your Android device, but to really unlock everything you’ll need to root it. You’re allowing things that usually wouldn’t have root permission to have them.
Searching the web, I came across some other reasons why people root their Android devices and I have taken time to compile them here:
- Overclocking a device’s CPU is fairly simple and rather safe thanks to many third-party apps, yet the Android OS does not allow it natively.
- Removal of manufacturer installed bloatware
- Performance improvement via kernel tweaks
- Ability to take screenshots (Now native in Android 4.0 ICS)
- Use of root only apps
- Lastly, you root your device because you can!
Word Of Caution
By not allowing access to the superuser account, the manufacturer and your carrier have basically protected you from doing things that can change the system and make it unusable. All it takes is one wrong keystroke to turn your shiny new Android device into a plastic and metal brick with no connection. Most times this is recoverable, but not always.
Rooting your mobile can open up a world of liberty and fun, but note that you root at your own risk.