If you own an Android phone, you’ve probably heard about people who’ve rooted or jailbroken their devices. Maybe you wondered why they’d do that. Or what it even means. Wonder no more.
Rooting (or in the iOS world, jailbreaking) a mobile device just means you are making your phone your own — getting around or even getting rid of the software the manufacture wants you to use and installing the apps or OS you want.
If that sounds appealing, read on. Here are four good reasons to root your Android smartphone.
Once you’ve rooted your phone, you can install any software you want on it. And the first thing you should install is a good backup application. Even though there are some free backup applications for Android phones around — you might even have some already preloaded — the only one you want is the best one. That’s Titanium Backup.
Available in the Android Market, this app offers a huge range of features, including behind the scenes backup, the ability to preschedule backups and even the ability to sync your backups to your pro (paid) version of Dropbox. Titanium Backup is available as freeware from the Android Market, or you can pay $5.99 for the souped up PRO edition.
Once you’re rooted your phone, it’s easy to install this app. Check out Austin Krause’s step-by-step guide for installing Titanium over at our partner site, GroovyPost.com.
This is one of the most popular reasons people root their phones. They want to unlock their phone’s ability to wirelessly tether their other devices to the 3G/4G mobile internet connections on their phones. Even though this feature comes already built into Android, most phone carriers lock down this feature unless you pay additional monthly fees.
But once you have root access on your phone, that problem goes away. Just download one of the many free wireless tether applications out there. Even though wireless carriers block most of these apps from the Android Market, there are apps available.
I prefer Wifi Tether. You just download it for free right onto your rooted phone.
Access to more functionality in applications
There’s a huge community of Android developers out there who create applications that require root access in order to do some cool stuff. Some applications, such as Widget Locker, don’t require root to run, but they do need it to access some of the more advanced features in Android. Like auto-swiping past the Android lockscreen if you have a PIN or other security lock on your phone. Also, there’s BlueputDroid, which allows users to control their PC, PS3, or other devices via Bluetooth. It requires root access in order to even function.
Overclocking your phone
With most of us waiting two looong years between each upgrade, you need patience. Easier said than done. So why wait? If your phone is getting a bit slow, use root access to overclock your processor.
It’s possible to tweak your phone’s processor to go faster. That’s especially useful as new versions of Android come out that require a little more juice. Do be cautious when overclocking, though. If you overclock it too high, you can damage your phone.
To prevent that, make sure you check out the discussion boards for recommendations as to how high you can overclock to enjoy a faster phone without frying it.