If you're sceptical about rooting your Android smartphone for several reasons but still wonder what rooting exactly is or should you root your device or why do rooted phones get software updates so quickly and easily or how safe it would be, this article is for you.
Before starting the actual discussion, let us tell you in brief that rooting is a process that involves many risks and probabilities. Still, so many users prefer to root their device for several good reasons, let's take on them one by one.
What is rooting?
Lets simplify. Rooting is a process that involves a few fun do-it-yourself type steps for gaining the root access of your smartphone. If you're thinking you already have the root access for your device, you're completely wrong. After installing the operating system, most of the manufacturers prefer to feature a customised interface layer over it for making the user comfortable. For that reason they develop several features which might not be required by you or you prefer some third-party apps and find the default app little bloated. For example, you prefer MX player over the custom video player or prefer MusixMatch over the custom audio player. Unfortunately, you won't be able to remove the default app and will be compelled to keep it unless you root your phone. So, rooting a device gives you an administrator power to your smartphone where you can decide what would be there and what wouldn't.
What is a Bootloader?
Bootloader is a piece of coded modules which takes over the control of the device once switched on, it checks condition of all the necessary installed hardware and then transfer the control over to OS kernel. Bootloader behaves pretty similar to the BIOS application of your computer. Bootloader of a smartphone comes locked by default, and you need to unlock it before starting the actual rooting procedure.
Utility of Kernel
Kernel is the core level of any operating system and acts as an interpreter between the software and the hardware. In a word you can say kernel is the heart of any operating system and performs all the instructions by controlling the core hardware units like processor, GPU, RAM, camera, battery and so on. Remember Android Kernel comes in several editions and you need to pair a specific kernel with your phone for proper functionality. Also you need to check which kernel is compatible with which ROM. You can easily get all these specific information on developer sites forums like XDA.
Necessary Lessons about ROM
ROM usually stands for a portion of non-rewritable memory in computing language. But in the Android episode a ROM means a repository of the operating system. The repository can be the stock Google made operating system or a modified version by any OEM or individuals. For easier understanding you can define a ROM as a particular version of Android operating system.
Recovery is a piece of software which enables you to install the ROMs by starting your smartphone in a 'Safe Mode' Kind of form. The recovery software usually features all the necessary steps for installing different ROMs on the Android smartphone, successfully. So after installing the kernel you need to install a recovery on the system which will allow you to start the device through some specific key combination and allow you to read your SD card and do the rest. ClockWorkMod and TWRP are two custom recoveries, comes common among most of the smartphones.
While installing any custom ROM on the Android smartphone, all data on the system in-built storage will be wiped. So it's safe to take a backup of the entire system before moving on to the next process. There are 1000's of apps available for doing that. Some supports devices with locked bootloader while few are meant for only the rooted devices.
What is flashing?
Flashing is the process of installing any Android ROM on the smartphone. As we told earlier ROM differs with functionality and features and sometime they focus on specific type of users. Some ROM builder prefers to feature stock Android experience while some boosts some features like more battery life or providing a better interface of your camera app.
For flash on Android device, you need to unlock your bootloader, root your smartphone and install the perfect kernel and recovery on your device. Then you need to start the device in recovery mode for initiating the flashing process.
What is ADB?
ADB or Android Debug Bridge is a set of tool or SDK to be specific. Instead of installing in on the phone, ADB need to be installed on a computer which lets you control your Android device right from that computer itself. For controlling ADB you need to learn specific syntax and commands.
Risks related to Rooting
Always remember, choosing wrong kernel or ROM can transform your phone into a brick. However there are forums like XDA that supply ample information regarding the supported kernels and ROMs. They also provide screenshots, included feature details and which Android version it is based on. After choosing the perfect combination you can flash your smartphone through your computer or can manually do it. And please don't panic if anything goes wrong.
Most of the smartphone manufacturers still don't support rooting so after doing that your device will probably be out of warranty. So, do it at your own risk. However there is a process for locking the bootloader too, so you can anytime revert to lock mode and claim the warranty.