General

ROOTING: GUIDE FOR NEWBIES(1)

Android and iOS are the most popular mobile operating systems on the market. Both offer a variety of apps and settings but, eventually reach their limits at a certain point. Rooting or Jailbreaking your phone (or tablet) will offer you thousands of tweaks, skins and new apps that you should not miss out on. It will also help you to remove bloatware.
Android Rooting Terms You Should Know
Before we get started, I would like to explain a few terms because the terminology can get complicated and confusing. This will help you to understand other device specific guides. I’ll try to keep it short and not go into (technical) details. Please share any questions regarding this in the comments below – I’ll do my best to answer them.


ART
ART stands for Android Runtime and replaces the formerly used Dalvik cache. It was introduced in Android 4.4 and has completely taken over in Android 5.0. I don’t want to go too deep into technical differences, but ART is said to improve battery life and app performance, amongst others.


BOOTLOADER
The Bootloader is your phone’s software foundation. It’s basically what runs before your operating system starts (like a PC’s BIOS). As many manufactures don’t want you to modify your phone’s OS, it needs to be unlocked before you are able to root your phone or install custom ROMs.


BRICK
This is something you don’t want to happen to your Android device. Like the name already implies, a bricked phone (or tablet) can only be used as a paperweight or nice decoration for your apartment. Bricked devices are irreversibly damaged and won’t work anymore. This can, for instance, happen if damaged ROMs are installed or wrong firmwares are flashed. Always make sure to read instructions and verify checksums (a set of numbers that identify the file) to make sure nothing goes wrong. If you’re lucky and your device is only soft-bricked, meaning that it does not boot but still turns on, you might be able to get it back to life.


BUSYBOX
Android, being based on Linux/Unix, offers a limited amount of UNIX commands (which most users won’t need anyways). BusyBox will implement more commands that are necessary for some root apps to work properly.


CUSTOM ROM
A custom ROM is a modified version of the Android operating system. Tweaks, additional features, different themes or an enhanced performance are usually included. Custom ROMs also offer the possibility to use a newer, unreleased, version of Android on your phone that might usually not be available for your device because of restrictions from manufacturer or providers.


DALVIK
Dalvik is a virtual machine that processes Android app code. Consequently, it is responsible for translating app code into actions on your Android device.


FASTBOOT
Fastboot is a diagnostic- and engineering tool which offers you several features such as launching in recovery mode or flashing image files.


KERNEL
Fastboot is a diagnostic- and engineering tool which offers you several features such as launching in recovery mode or flashing image files.


NAND Partition
NAND stands for “Negated AND” or “NOT AND” and describes the hard drive partition that stores all system relevant information like the bootloader, recovery mode or the kernel.


NANDroid Backup
A NANDroid backup is a complete system backup of your Android device. This backup can be restored later and might save your phone after flashing a faulty ROM or theme.


RADIO
The radio is responsible for sending and receiving voice and data. Using an optimized radio can improve your phone’s reception or increase battery life.


RECOVERY MODE
Recovery mode offers you the possibility to perform system-level tasks (like formatting, defragmenting, etc.), backing-up your devices or install custom ROMs. Android offers a limited stock recovery function. More sophisticated recoveries like ClockworkMod Recovery and TWRP Recovery offer additional features and are easier to use.
ROOT
Rooting will give you full administrator access of your device. It might also void your warranty (depending on the device and your place of residence), so make sure to handle your device with care after rooting it. You are always able to revert this process by simply flashing a stock-ROM (the original ROM installed by your phone’s manufacturer). Doing this will also “restore” your warranty.
S-OFF
S-OFF means that the NAND partition of your Android device is unlocked. This mostly applies to HTC phones.
Superuser
Rooting your phone will create a new “account” with complete administrative permissions. This superuser account is used by some apps and functions.
XPOSED Framework
Xposed Framework is an app that can be installed on a rooted Android device which offers custom ROM like features on stock Android. It has been updated and is now fully compatible to Android 5.0 and Android 6.0.
5 REASONS TO ROOT YOUR DEVICE
With Android becoming better and better, many people ask themselves if it’s still worth rooting. For example, you’re not able to use Android Pay if your Android phone is rooted. The same applies in other cases, where App developers decide to not support rooted devices for security reasons.
In addition to that, Android M will come with many features like “Doze” which basically replace root apps such as Greenify. So what exactly are reasons to root in 2016?
1. You have an old(er) Android device. With root access, you’re able to flash a custom ROM with the latest version of Android. Because of this, you don’t rely so much on your device manufacturer to keep you up to date.
2. Adaway: While I’m all-in for supporting developers, some apps don’t offer an ad-free paid version. With AdAway you’re able to get rid of all unwanted ads which is simply not possible without root.
3. TITANIUM BACKUP :Android M will bring Auto Backup for Apps, but unfortunately it’s still up to the developer if he/she wants to implement it or not. Titanium Backup is a simply but powerful tool that backups simply everything.
4. CHANGE DPI: With many devices coming with high-res displays nowadays, some people prefer to have more screenspace than big app icons. While changing DPI can also be done without root, it often breaks different apps.

5. REMOVE BLOATWARE:This one is easy. Remove all the crap your mobile carrier put on your device. Who doesn’t want to do this?
HOW TO FULLY BACKUP YOUR DEVICE WITHOUT ROOT
If your Android device is not rooted yet, you won’t be able to perform NANDroid backups. I wouldn’t suggest to root your tablet or phone without having a proper backup, because there is always a chance of error and you don’t want to brick your device.
Simple ADB Backup let’s you create a full backup of your device without root access and is the perfect solution for users without root access. The free program also offers a restore function and runs on Windows and Linux.
If you’re already rooted, make sure to check out our guide on performing a NANDroid backup.


HOW TO ROOT YOUR ANDROID DEVICE
The rooting process differs from device to device which makes it impossible to give general instructions on rooting here. but I will be attaching links with this guide for some popular devices such as nexus,one +,mi etc.


CUSTOM RECOVERY MODE
The standard Android recovery mode is very limited and does not offer many features. That’s where replacement recoveries like Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP) and ClockworkMod Recovery (CWRM) come in place. They offer the possibility to flash custom ROMs which is not possible with the stock recovery mode. Other features include a file browser for update.zips, adb shell and NANDroid backups. Without a custom recovery you won’t be able to flash a custom ROM.
It does not really matter which replacement recovery you install, just go with the one that suits you most. In some rare cases the root script or custom ROM installation only works with either TWRP or CWM. Nowadays, TWRP is the king of custom recoveries and would be my suggestion for you to use.


TWRP-Team Win Recovery Project
Team Win Recovery Project‘s custom recovery offers an easy and touch driven user interface. It includes all typical recovery features needed to install custom ROMs, kernels, other tweaks and many more. You are also able to backup and restore your device using TWRP.
CWM-Clockworkmod Recovery
ClockworkMod Recovery used to be one of the most popular custom recovery modes. However, in the last 2 years TWRP took over the throne and became the most popular recovery. It also includes all advanced recovery features like installing custom ROMs and other files, as well as a backup and restore function. You can control the CWM UI via touch or key-input.

About the author

Rohit Salve

Hi I am Rupesh Salve. I am the owner and editor of this blog. I love tech and like to write about it.

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