Rooting your phone opens up possibilities

Rooting your phone opens up possibilities

 

So I rooted my phone.

This is the third Android device I’ve rooted. A couple of Viewsonic tablets, and my phone. And it’s still amazing to me just how simple the process is.

I had trouble really understanding what “rooting” means, until I realized I was making it harder than it is. It’s just granting yourself access to the most basic command level of the software than runs your device.

Why do it? It allows you to customize the operating system beyond the defaults that are built in. This opens up some possibilities for you, from installing software that wasn’t included, all the way to completely replacing the operating system your device came with.

It’s not something to take lightly. Screw it up and your phone could be toast.

Fortunately, though, there is so much good information on the Internet about how to do this for any kind of device that it’s really hard to screw it up.

I thought I had screwed my phone up, in fact, the first time I rooted it. The first software I tried just hung up in the middle of the process, but in retrospect, I think I missed one step in the instructions and that caused the hangup.

No matter, though: There’s always another package, and I went with one that not-so-humbly calls itself “SuperOneClick.” As Dizzy Dean said, though, “It ain’t bragging if you can do it,” and this package does it.

Follow the directions and your phone will be rooted. It took me about 15 minutes, although I spent an hour or two reading instructions and then used this video and instruction page as my guide.

So, now that I have that access, what do I do? This article is what made me want to root the phone in the first place, and I’ve added a couple of the apps here – AdFree, which works great, and ShootMe, which also works great. I’m still playing around with some other apps, too.

I used ShootMe, by the way, to do the screen captures here.

One shows a backgammon game I use a lot. (Does anyone play backgammon any more?) It’s the free version, and it displays unobtrusive ads while it's running. I don’t mind them, but I wanted to try AdFree on something where I would notice the difference, and that little upside-down Android icon is all that appears now, where there previously was a cycle of banner ads.

The other is Wifi Tethering, an app I’m still experimenting with as time permits. I’ve had mixed success with it in the limited time I’ve spent with it, but I can see some real advantages to it.

Any suggestions for other apps? How about for a replacement ROM? CyanogenMod looks like it’s worth a try.

Comments

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Patrick Wade wrote on June 04, 2011 at 2:06 pm
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Rooted my phone last night with z4root. Worked like a charm.

The wireless tethering works great for me, and I installed an app called Juice Defender. Haven't had it long enough to review it, but I feel like it's going to save me a lot of trouble when my battery would otherwise have been running near empty.

And I, too, am trying to decide if I want to go as far as flashing Cyanogenmod. All the reviews are very positive, and I want the capability to install my apps to my SD card. I got a 16gb SD card a little while back and haven't really used it yet. I've long since used up all my internal storage, and every time I want to install a new app now, I need to delete an old app. Slows my phone down, too. Seems like Cyanogenmod would solve that and put my SD card, which has 14 free gigs at the moment, to good use.

Mike Howie wrote on June 06, 2011 at 1:06 pm
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If your phone is running Froyo, you should already have the ability to move apps to the SD card. Menu/settings/applications/manage applications and then (this is time-consuming) call each one up and see if "Move to SD card" is enabled.

If you don't have Froyo, I believe there's an app that will allow you to move other apps to SD.

dw wrote on June 04, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Rooted Verizon Moto Droid X + Wireless tether + iPad + Aux In on Prius + Netflix = in car surround sound entertainment system while driving up and down I-57 with the kiddos... something we do waaaay too much... a conglomeration of technology worthy of the first show we watched on it -- Phineas and Ferb...

Mike Howie wrote on June 06, 2011 at 1:06 pm
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That sounds awesome. And with a long trip planned for the summer, that could come in handy -- although a laptop or tablet can do the same thing with the aux in in my car. The bigger benefit is the ability for a passenger to work with email on the road on a laptop. Tested that a few months ago, with a phone that had wifi hotspot built in, and it worked great. Haven't had the chance to give this new wifi tethering a test in the car yet.

Next generation is going to demand it all, you know.