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Rooting definition

Rooting refers to “unlocking” your Android smartphone’s operating system. By doing so, you gain “superuser” or administrator access to your device and can make changes to its operating system that may be unauthorized by phone manufacturers. Gaining root access is called “jailbreaking” when referring to Apple devices.

Pros of rooting your phone

  • Free up space. Many phone companies and software vendors have agreements with app providers to sell certain apps by default. With root access, you can remove bloatware preinstalled by the manufacturer, freeing up memory for apps and files you actually want.
  • Customize your device. Root access gives you complete control of your device. You can customize it in any way you want, even in ways smartphone developers usually restrict to prevent users from accidentally damaging the software infrastructure.
  • Get a new operating system. With root access, you can install a custom operating system. For example, you could install the latest version of Android OS even on older Android phone models that the manufacturer no longer supports.

Cons of rooting your phone

  • Something could go wrong. Rooting doesn’t always go to plan, so your phone could get damaged and become unusable.
  • Your device is more vulnerable to malware. Some malicious rooting apps can steal your data, like login credentials, passwords, and payment details.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security