How to Root (or "Jailbreak") Android OS based Devices

These days you should have smartphone, right? It may run with either Google Android or Apple iOS operating system (sure Microsoft's Windows Phone should not be ignored, hah). You might have already heard people talking about "rooting" or "jailbreaking" their phones or tablets. Well, before we go to the topic, allow me to quickly explain "root" & "jailbreak".

Disclaimer: Android rooting may be illegal in some countries, do it with caution!

Root vs Jailbreak

Gaining root access is sometimes compared to jailbreaking devices running the iOS operating system. However, these are distinct concepts. In the heavily secured iOS world, Bypassing all these restrictions together constitute the expansive term "jailbreaking" of Apple devices, overcoming several types of iOS security features. In contrast, while many Android devices have locked bootloaders, the ability to sideload apps is common and usually permissible without root permissions. Thus, it is primarily the third aspect of iOS jailbreaking relating to superuser privileges that correlates to Android rooting.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Rooting Android

Pros: simply put - you are the BOSS. After rooting Android, it’s your device which you paid your hard earned money for. And you are not letting the shitty default installation ruin the experience for you.

Cons: some manufacturers assert that rooting voids your device’s warranty. However, rooting will not actually damage your hardware. The process is fully reversible.

Root Your Android Now Step by Step:

  1. Prepare a Windows (XP, Vista, 7 etc) PC, download and install the Java JDK and Android SDK on your computer before continuing. Note: Java must be installed before the Android SDK.
  2. Enable USB debugging mode on your Android. Take HTC T328d (the mobile phone I am using) for example, go to "Settings" -> "Developer Options" -> and enable "USB debugging (Debug mode when USB is connected)"
  3. Connect your Android to your computer using its included USB cable. Don't mount the device's SD card on your computer – just plug it in.
  4. We'll be rooting with SuperOneClick here. It's a single-click way to root that supports a wide variety of different devices and should work for most people. After downloading it from its official website, run the SuperOneClick.exe application.
  5. Click the Root button in the SuperOneClick window and SuperOneClick should do the rest.
  6. The process will take a few minutes. Restart your Android after rooting it.
  7. Note: SuperOneClick automatically installs the SuperUser binary, which is also available from Google Play. Whenever an app on your device attempts to gain root permissions by calling the su command (just like calling the su command on Linux) you’ll be prompted to allow or deny the request.
  8. Finished! Congratulations.
Tip: make sure you back up your data before you perform the procedure. If you do face data loss, see if you can use an Android data recovery software to help.

Important Note (for United States visitors) - as of January 26, 2013, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has prohibited the act of circumventing digital locks placed upon mobile telephones by wireless carriers in the United States. This new regulation applies to all phone purchased after January 23rd of 2013. To my readers who have recently purchased an Android smartphone and were hoping to root it, you can get away with doing that through legal means up to 90 days after your purchase. You just need to call your provider and get their permission.

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