Mostly, people root their phones because they simply want to get rid of the extra things on it that they don’t want.
What is rooting?
Rooting an Android phone or tablet is akin to jail breaking an iPhone — basically, it allows you to dive deeper into a phone’s sub-system. It will allow you to access the entirety of the operating system to customize just about anything on your Android device. With root access, you can also get around any restrictions that your manufacturer or carrier may have applied.
Rooting is best undertaken with caution. You will want to back up your phone’s software before you install — or “flash,” in rooting terms — a custom ROM (modified version of Android).
Why would you root?
One of the biggest incentives to root your Android device is to rid yourself of bloatware that’s impossible to uninstall otherwise (although you can sometimes disable it — check out our guide on disabling bloatware). On some devices, rooting will enable previously disabled settings, like wireless tethering. Additional benefits include the ability to install specialized tools and flash custom ROMs, each of which can add extra features and improve your phone or tablet’s performance.
There are not an overabundance of must-have root apps, but there are enough to make it worthwhile. Some apps, for example, let you to automatically back up all of your apps and data to the cloud, block web and in-app advertisements, create secure tunnels to the internet, overclock your processor, and make your device a wireless hot spot.
Preparation for root
Before jumping into the rooting process, please make sure you get everything right beforehand.
Device powered on.
At least 50% battery level.
Internet connection necessary (Wi-Fi network suggested).
Allow installation of apps from unknown sources.
Settings > Security > Unknown Sources
Installing the Android SDK tools
For the next step, you may have to install ADB and Fastboot on your computer.
Install the Android SDK Tools from Google’s developer site. There are choices for Windows, Mac, and Linux. These instructions are for Windows machines.
When asked what directory to install the software to, we recommend that you set it to C:android-sdk. If you choose a different location, just make sure you remember it.
Once the Android SDK Tools are installed, launch it from the Start Menu.
The SDK Manager will open. Just uncheck everything except Android SDK Platform-tools. It’s at the top.
Click on Install 2 packages at the bottom right.
Check Accept license and click Install.
To ensure your computer can properly communicate with your smartphone or tablet, you will need to install the appropriate USB driver.
Unlock your bootloader
Before you get started, you’ll need to unlock your device’s bootloader. The bootloader, simply put, is the program that loads the device’s operating system. It determines which applications run during your phone or tablet’s startup process.
Some manufacturers require you to obtain a key in order to unlock the bootloader. Motorola, HTC, and Sony provide step-by-step instructions on how to do so, but a word of warning: They require you to register for a developer account.
Once you have taken those steps, you can embark on the unlocking process. You will need to put your device in fastboot mode. It’s different for every phone, but on most devices, rebooting the device and holding down the Power and Volume Down buttons for ten seconds does the trick (HTC phones require that you hit the Volume Down key and press the Power button to select it.)
Once you have booted into fastboot, open your computer’s command prompt by holding down Shift+Right Click and choosing “Open a Command Prompt Here.” If your device requires a code, you will get a long string of characters. Paste it into the box on your device manufacturer’s website, submit the form, and await an email with a key, file, and further instructions.
Confirm the unlock, and you’re one step closer to rooting your Android device.