“Rooting” your Android phone has become all the rage for those who like to improve their technology’s capability. With some knowledge of how computers and cellphones work, anyone can unlock the full potential of their Android phone, unlocking root directories that are usually in lock-down. The process is called “rooting”, and both tech people and average consumers love the increased performance and additional capabilities rooting gives them.
With any positive advancement, however, there comes a negative side – “rooting” your Android can lead to unexpected problems, and if you’re not particularly handy you might just lose your phone forever. Here are some common problems you might come across while rooting your phone, and a few ways to avoid or fix them.
It Becomes “Bricked”
The Problem: The most common problem that consumers run into when attempting to root their Androids is known as “bricking” – thus named because your phone becomes, for lack of a better word, a brick. The phone is essentially dead – the entire phone becomes locked, and can’t be turned off in any way. Once this happens, it is equivalent to a computer getting a deadly blue screen – there is no way to fix it.
Thankfully, the term “bricked” is one that is used far too often, and not always for legitimate bricking – many people’s phone get stuck in a boot loop, or boots straight into recovery mode. These are not true cases of bricking, and can be fixed… though it isn’t easy.
How to Avoid It: True bricking can happen to the savviest of tech people – there are only two tried and true methods of avoiding bricking.
1. Don’t attempt to root your phone if you aren’t technologically proficient. Those with some tech chops find rooting their phone to be a fun challenge. Those of us who need to call tech support at the first sign of a computer issue, however, should not be messing with their phones.
2. If you really want the benefits of a rooted Android, either take a large amount of time to become technologically proficient, or hire someone to do the rooting for you. Whatever the case, if you are rooting your Android you always run the risk of bricking your phone.
For those cases where there are issues with the phone, but the phone is not truly bricked, there are some options. If your device is stuck in a “boot loop” (the Androids reboots over and over again), try wiping your data and cache and you should be able to break the loop. If the phone boots straight into recovery mode, a mode designed to prevent you fro accidentally damaging the phone and causing a true bricking, then you’ll want to try flashing a new ROM. Guides are available online for any of these steps, so do your research before tossing that phone in the garbage.
Voids Your Warranty
The Problem: Messing with the components of your phone can have some nasty consequences. Want service on your phone? Don’t contact Android – they will refuse to work on a phone that has been rooted.
What about your warranty? Doesn’t Android have to keep their end of the purchase bargain? Technically no – because you haven’t kept yours. Tampering with the Android phone is not allowed, according to the terms of agreement… and if you’ve rooted your phone, you’ve gone into directories and files that weren’t meant to be accessed by conventional methods. Androids likens the rooting process to modifying their product, and won’t fix, work on, or touch a modified phone.
How to Avoid It: If you need work done on your phone, a common practice is to un-root it before sending it for servicing. Flash any stock ROM, do an un-root, and then reset your counter. It should set things back to normal, and Android won’t refuse to work on your phone.
The Problem: An Android phone is run with Linux – an open source operating system, similar to Windows in functionality but with many more options. This means that, at it’s core, your phone is a small computer. Just like any computer, a phone is at risk for viruses, malware, and other nasty bugs.
How to Avoid It: Steer clear of any suspicious or shady websites that offers apps to download. Just as you would avoid strange, unusual, and foreign websites on your computer, you should avoid downloading any apps that come across as malicious or suspicious. If you’re not sure it can be trusted, simply don’t download it – you’ll save yourself hours of frustration, and money that might need to go into repairing the damage.
Nowhere to Turn
The Problem: If you do happen to permanently break something within the phone while attempting to root it, you can’t turn to the Android company for help.
How to Avoid It: As mentioned previously, the only way to truly avoid having nowhere to turn if a permanent mistake is made while rooting your phone is to not attempt it at all. There are, however, several ways to try and get Android’s help if something disastrous does happen.
Several people have vouched for the method of simply “playing dumb” – walking into an Android store and letting them know that your phone simply won’t work anymore, and you’re not sure why. Many stores don’t have the time or energy to put into fixing every phone, and may simply give you a new one. Obviously this method isn’t suggested, as you can get into dire straits with the company if they see you’re pulling the wool over their eyes.
No matter which way you look at it, rooting is something that should only be done if you have the means to replace that phone should something disastrous happen. While rooting can be a wonderful thing, opening up new possibilities left and right, it can also come with dire consequences. Be ready for the worst whenever you root an Android device – it’s the only way to ensure you’re properly prepared to handle whatever comes.
Miles Wilson is an Android rooting expert who helps many people work their Android phone and restore them when a disaster happens. He highly recommends One Click Root for more help and information in rooting your Android device.