There was a time when you weren’t considered a techie unless you didn’t root your Android device and had tons of root-exclusive apps on it.
However, things have changed now, and rooting devices is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
The term rooting in the perspective of the Android phone refers to the process of attaining root access to the Operating System (OS) of Android. For Apple users, jailbreaking is a similar term that more or less means the same. So what does attaining root access mean, and how can this lead to some severe consequences? Let’s find out.
What does rooting your phone mean?
For security reasons, smartphone manufacturers impose certain limitations on the use of the software. As a result, you cannot download any app you want or replace the applications and settings of your phones that need administrator permission. However, by rooting your Android device, you overrule these software limitations and become the true administrator of your device. Of course, you can ultimately tweak any system settings and apps, but is this as good as it sounds?
To rightfully know why you should not root Android phones, let’s first look at its benefits and then compare it to the downsides:
- You can download any Android application from the web, and Android won’t stop you from installing it.
- You can completely customize your Android device. To give you a perspective on this, you can even change your system boot animation if that’s your thing.
- You can install the custom ROMs featuring the latest Android versions for even the oldest Android phones.
Reasons not to root your Android phone.
I am sure these benefits sound fun, but it is important to see if they are worth going the extra mile to root your device. Moreover, Android has also come a long way, and you already get a lot of these perks without the root privileges. Here are some reasons you should not root your Android device.
Your phone’s warranty is the most important factor that takes care of manufacturing and other defects on your device. Unfortunately, as rooting involves voluntarily taking control of sensitive system files that can easily corrupt the device’s software if not handled cautiously, device manufacturers usually discourage the practice of rooting their devices. As a result, most device manufacturers end the warranty agreement once you root your Android smartphone.
Of course, some manufacturers like Poco, Google, One Plus, and Poco allow users to unlock the bootloader and root of their device. But, other manufacturers like Xiaomi, Realme, and Huawei don’t support these practices.
Therefore, it makes a strong point as to why you should not root your Android phone. This reason holds even more significance if you have a new phone with a long warranty ahead. It is worth noting that some counties consider it illegal and commercially unethical not to let users root their devices. However, in most cases, you can expect to say goodbye to your warranty agreement if you root your device.
Random Restarting & Freezing of Device
After you root your device, it may abruptly restart, even while performing the simplest tasks. It may happen when you use an app or run into a bug. This usually occurs when the operating system runs into an error due to the root privilege.
Manufacturers build their software skins and all the system apps for unrooted devices; they don’t really give a thought to how their device would function if users unlock the bootloader. Running the same apps on a rooted device might run it into errors, and the device may freeze or restart as an attempt to get rid of the error.
The frequency of these devices restarting and freezing depends on your smartphone, its manufacturer, its Soc, and the rooting method. Generally, these errors happen occasionally for most users, but even in this case, it could completely ruin your smartphone experience. That’s a major reason not to root android phones.
Android comes with numerous security features that run in the background to ensure the general safety of the device. As a user, you can never bypass these rudimentary security norms unless you don’t have the root privileges. When you root your device, you essentially give yourself and the apps you install on the device the access even to kill these security settings.
The same apps that are not a threat on an unrooted device might become one due to the absolute power root offers them. Moreover, even the simplest apps on your device might start acting as spyware and collecting information such as passwords, keystroke data, random camera images, microphone audio, and potentially everything on your device.
Moreover, the custom ROM you may install on your rooted device can lack numerous security features of the latest software offerings from brands like Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and more. Not to mention, malware attracts malware, and any app that might be spying on your device can download and install other more serious forms of malware into your device and make the case even worse.
Some forms of malware can encrypt every bit of data on your device and ask for some ransom to decrypt the same. These specific malware are known as ransomware, and these are becoming pretty common with new developments. Unfortunately, rooted devices offer a fast lane to these sophisticated malware, and your device could become the next target for such malware attacks.
When your Android phone starts constantly rebooting without reaching the device’s home screen, you are probably struck up with the never-ending process called boot loop. Boot loops can occur for numerous reasons like errors while rooting your device, a faulty custom ROM, an interrupted software installation, and more.
Boot loops are annoying as you don’t have many options to get out of them without connecting your device to a computer to wipe the data and make a fresh start. The worst part is that boot loops are exceptionally uncommon, especially in the root-related processes. Moreover, boot loops can sometimes even mean that your device has been bricked, and you cannot use it anymore without going through many hackeries.
Rooting can massively deteriorate your phone’s battery life, and there are numerous reasons. First, device manufacturers add various battery management features that constantly look for battery-exhausting apps and kill them if they aren’t running in the foreground.
Additionally, apps can only access those resources they have the permissions for; if you don’t allow your camera app to have your location data, it cannot request the device for the same, which saves a lot of your battery. Besides this, smart resource management software is also a big reason unrooted devices with manufacturer-provided software outperform their rooted counterparts.
Now let’s take a look at what goes wrong for rooted devices in the battery department:
- Apps can access all of the device resources, which massively drains the battery for no reason.
- Custom ROMs often lack the level of battery management that OEM-based software provides.
- Other than the installed apps, malware can also creep in and use your device resources for its benefit. Not to mention, malware is a major resource hog.
Rooting can Brick your Phone.
A major concern of rooting your device is accidentally running into an error and bricking your device in the process. The term bricking signifies that your phone becomes an expensive “brick” and it is no more functional as a smartphone.
In other words, your device loses all its functionality and cannot even boot into the operating system. A boot loop we just mentioned above can be a good reason to indicate a bricked device. In some cases, the device might not even get into the boot loop and refuse to start.
Bricking is much more common than you might think, and it is a legitimate reason not to root Android devices. Adding to the already complicated rooting process, the latest Android versions often make it even harder to unlock the device’s bootloader and the overall rooting process.
If you have an Android 8 device or above, chances are that your device is much more prone to bricking than its older counterparts. That’s another reason why rooting is becoming a thing of the past, as most devices on the market currently come with the recent versions of Android.
Rooting is nothing short of a hassle.
There is no single accepted process for rooting Android devices; numerous factors go into deciding what method suits your phone the most. Everything from your device, its manufacturer, its current software, and much more decides how you should root your device. Not to mention, in some cases, the better question to ask is, ‘if I should root my phone”?
If you aren’t sure of the method that would suit your device, it is better to stay off the rooting process, as wrongly rooting it can have dire consequences. You can get stuck in a boot loop, or even worse, you can totally brick it and lose all your data.
Adding to the misery, OEMs are becoming aware of the problems linked with the rooting process, making it harder to unlock the device’s bootloader. Honestly, a harder rooting process isn’t such a bad thing. After all, it has discouraged many users from rooting their devices and also stopped many from bricking their devices.
Many Apps don’t run on Rooted Devices.
Due to the various security risks associated with rooted devices, numerous apps refuse to work on them. These apps generally include the ones that work with sensitive information, such as payment and financial apps.
With the growing acceptance of digital payments from various merchants, it is hard to manage your day without having a digital payment method by your side. Rooting your device can hamper your access to your favorite digital payment platform or your favorite finance app, which can degrade your overall user experience.
Interestingly, if apps that operate on sensitive data don’t trust your rooted device, should you trust it and make it your daily driver?
Rooting your device involves numerous tradeoffs, and not getting official updates is one of them. Your smartphone gets two types of official updates; security patches and Android version updates. Security patches improve your device’s immunity to malware and other junk.
Additionally, Android version updates add better features such as camera improvements, the latest software, and a lot more. Not to mention, your smartphone manufacturer adds the cost of pushing these updates to the smartphone’s listing price. When you buy your smartphone, you already pay for all the future updates but rooting your device puts an end to an essential feature you paid for.
Not receiving updates is a much bigger problem than it sounds; not getting the latest security patches and the root privileges combined are a recipe for disaster. Such devices can become easy targets for malware attacks and hacking attempts. Moreover, losing on the latest features is a good reason not to root your Android phone.
Your device can lose essential apps and features
Most users install a custom ROM on their rooted devices, and poorly built ROMs can do more bad than good. Some custom ROMs can make your device lose its IMEI information. IMEI is an essential part of the phone call process on your smartphone. If your device loses its IMEI information, it might be unable to make phone calls or access the internet using mobile data.
Moreover, most custom ROMs don’t carry Google’s suite of applications. Installing these applications can become a major hassle if you aren’t careful while installing the custom ROM. If you want to avoid going through this hassle, it is better not to root your Android phone.
Rooting your Android phone had some major benefits in the past, but in the current scenario, it is something you should avoid. The above article mentions some pretty strong reasons why you should not root your Android phone, which include malware threats, no OTA updates, the potential to brick your phone, and a lot more.
As a rule of thumb, you should not root your Android phone unless you are techie enough to retract your smartphone from a boot loop and other such scenarios. You should also avoid rooting if your smartphone has sensitive information you don’t want hackers to see.
You may now look at some of the best security apps for Android phones.
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