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How to Root an Android Device, Pros and Cons, and Some Great Root Apps

written by: •edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 9/2/2011

Android is growing fast; in fact it’s the most popular smartphone platform around. One of the reasons for that popularity is the open nature of the operating system. You can get even more access and control if you root your Android phone.

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    The smartphone market has exploded in recent months and Google’s Android platform is leading the charge. It is accessible, highly customizable and it supports a huge choice of apps and games. The strategy of developing an open mobile platform seems to have paid dividends for Android but what does it mean for smartphone owners?

    One of the key differences between the top two smartphone platforms, iOS and Android, is the level of control and customization they offer consumers. Apple’s iPhone and the iOS eco-system is closed. Apple control the release of new software and they restrict the access that users have to the inner workings of the operating system. By contrast Android users can install whatever software they like, and they can customize their smartphones in a number of ways.

    The open nature of Android is something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand you have plenty of control and choice but the cost of that freedom is a lack of quality control in the software. This means there is a greater risk that users may be exposed to malware or damage their phones as they try to install custom ROMs or make system tweaks.

    Out of the box, Android offers a wealth of options for people who want to customize their smartphones, but you can get even more control by rooting your Android device. Learn the pros and cons of doing so as we take a closer look at the rooting process and the apps that are available for Android users with root access.

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    Five Reasons to Root Your Android Phone

    If you are dithering over whether to take the plunge, or if you are puzzled as to why you would want to root your Android smartphone, then you’ll find the answers here. This should give you all the motivation you need to go ahead and root that phone.

    Five Reasons Not to Root Your Android Phone

    The decision to root or not is never straightforward and there are risks involved. We’ve taken a look at the reasons you should now, to balance out the argument, here are the top reasons that you shouldn’t.

    How to Root Android

    If you’ve decided to go ahead with it then this guide will show you exactly what you need to do in order to root your Android phone. You’ll be surprised just how easily you can root with one click.

    How to Root Your Motorola Droid

    The Droid from Motorola was a hugely popular smartphone and in this guide you can find easy to follow instructions for rooting it.

    How to Install Android 2.3 Gingerbread on the HTC Desire

    If you root your Android phone then you might find that you can update the Android platform without having to wait for the manufacturer. This is a potentially risky process, but it will give you access to new features in the latest version of the OS, if it works.

    Top Ten Android Root Apps of 2011

    There are some fantastic software options for rooted Android phones. You can gain access to easy wireless tethering, you can find great backup solutions, you can tinker with the clock speed of your CPU and you can get rid of useless system apps. You’ll find all these options and more in this round up.

    Great Root Apps for the HTC EVO

    Here’s another round up that highlights some great apps for a rooted HTC EVO smartphone. These apps can also be enjoyed on any other rooted Android phone.

    Best Android Firewall Apps

    You can get excellent network security on your Android smartphone by installing an Android firewall, but the best options are only available for rooted Android phones. You can learn more about them in this round up.

    Recommended Android Screenshot Apps

    An irritating omission on the Android platform is the ability to take screenshots quickly and easily on your smartphone. The process of installing the Android SDK tools and hooking up the phone to your computer is a hassle. With a rooted Android phone you’ll have access to some great Android screenshot apps.

    What is Cyanogen for Android?

    The Cyanogen Mod for Android is like a streamlined version of the platform that can increase the speed of your smartphone and extend the battery life. Get the lowdown on exactly what it is and how it works in this guide.

    Guide to Removing Pre-Installed Android Apps

    Most Android smartphones ship with a variety of software already installed on them. Unfortunately some of these pre-installed apps cannot be removed unless you root your phone. You can learn about the process and possible alternatives to rooting in this guide.

    How to Get More from Your Android Battery

    Every Android smartphone user is familiar with the quick draining battery nightmare. This guide suggests a few ways you can improve the battery performance on your Android device and towards the end it discusses some options that only work for rooted Android phones.

    Android Bootloaders for Customizing Your Phone

    You can learn about Android bootloaders here and discover why they are important and what impact they have on rooting and custom ROMs.

    A Guide to MIUI ROM for Android

    If you root your Android phone then you’ll gain access to custom ROMs that allow you to tweak and customize all sorts of things on your device. The MIUI ROM is one such option and it is examined in this guide.

    Guide to Useful Android Hacks

    There are various possible Android hacks and this round up includes details of how to root the Motorola Droid X smartphone.

    What’s your take on Android rooting? Is it worthwhile or not? Do you have a favorite Android root app? Let us know in the comments.