How To - Rooting
You've probably heard the word "rooting" thrown around a bit if you've had an Android phone for a while. Rooting can be very useful, especially if you have an older phone or a desire to experiment. But what exactly is rooting and how is it done? I'm going to be going through my understanding of it and the process I'm using to unlock a phone for my friend. Might not apply to everyone, but it gives an idea of what it takes.
What is rooting and is it for you?
You can install more recent android updates
You can install apps you couldn't otherwise install
You can customize your phone more
You can remove the bloatware your phone came with
Depending on your phone, it can be quite a pain to do.
It voids your warranty
if you are like, comedically unlucky, there's a chance you could brick your phone.
Basically, rooting is giving yourself administer access on your phone. You're able to do things like remove system applications, bloatware, and control what permissions apps have on your phone. For instance, you could install a phone-wide Ad Blocker like AdAway that can block all ads. You can also use Titanium Backup to make backups of your phone. You can do a bunch of more interesting things like use Xposed modules to modify your phone or installing whole new ROMs (Think operating systems, but not really) on your phone.
The average person, however, might find the most use from being able to easily backup their phone and remove bloatware. If you have an older phone that's running slowly you might find that installing a ROM like LineageOS will make your phone faster and extend the life of the phone. It is important to keep in mind that rooting your phone can void your phone's warranty.
I could go more into depth as to how rooting works regarding the Linux Subsystem, but that's the skinny of it. If there's enough interest I could go more in depth regarding the technical aspects, but this is not an article on the history of rooting.
How do you root?
Step 0 - Bootloader
A bootloader on Android is basically what loads the ROM. In order to successfully root a phone, you need to make sure that the bootloader is unlocked. There's a number of ways that you can do this, but I did this by going to Download mode.
The phone that I'm working with is locked. If the phone you're working with is unlocked, you can go ahead and go to the next step.
Unlocking your phone can differ based on your vendor, but it's not something that is that difficult to do. The method I did was a lot easier. Since this this isn't going to apply to everyone, I'm just going to give a rundown of what I did.
I enabled developer options in settings, and went to OEM unlocking and selected to make the bootloader to be unlocked. I also had to turn on USB debugging. After that, I went to The HTC Dev Site and I followed the process there, and downloaded the tools needed. After that, I ran a command window in the same folder as the tools and ran a command that gave me an unlock token. Since this isn't going to apply to everyone, I'm not going to go too into depth. Anyway, I got a file that allows me to unlock the bootloader.
Step 1 - Flashing a Recovery
Now that your phone is unlocked (or was already unlocked), the first step would be to flash a custom recovery. When it comes to modding phones, I use TWRP because of how well supported devices are. Custom recoveries let you do things like backup your phone, flash custom roms, and flash applications. I downloaded the version that is compatible with my phone.
The way that you do this varies from phone to phone, but the way that I did it was I used the command prompt from the last step and ran a command while my phone was in download mode.
Step 2 - Actually Rooting
I had to go to the SuperSu website and download the flashable zip. After I downloaded it, I had to put the zip file in my phone's storage.
After I did that, I needed to boot into TWRP. Because of the way the phone is set up, I needed to reboot to bootloader, and then recovery mode. This is the main page for TWRP. Here you can flash things, wipe your phone, backup/restore, and more. Usually, you will want to Backup your phone while doing stuff like this in case you somehow make a mistake and brick your phone. However, I didn't do this here because I did an oopsie and forgot. However, it is okay because I don't make mistakes. Also, it's hard to brick phones by rooting them nowadays.
Go into "Install" and you'll see a file structure. If you made a folder for SuperSu like I did, that'll save you a lot of time. Anyway, go to where that folder is and select the SuperSu file. It should ask you to swipe something on the screen to confirm, and then continue. If all goes well, you'll see that your phone is rooted.
Step 3 - Verifying
We're going to now check to make sure that the phone is rooted. You'll need to set your phone up, and once you get done with that go into the play store. I used the root checker app to verify that the phone was rooted.
As you can see, it does indeed say that the phone is rooted. So yay, it was all worth it.
All in all, it took me about 2 hours to figure out a way to reliably root this phone. Between my goldfish attention span and the lack of information on this phone, it took a lot longer than it'll probably take you so the process I went through isn't necessarily indicative of how hard it will be to root your phone. With some phones, you can download something that will let you one click root your phone and you won't need to jump through all the hoops I did. Personally though, I think that rooting is worth however much trouble it takes because I believe that everyone should have full control over the technology they use.
I hope you enjoyed this article.