Android devices command a touch of freedom in comparison to Apple’s locked in jail cell but there’s still some locks on the gates to Android’s playground. This is where rooting comes in. Since the introduction of Marshmallow, Nougat and Oreo, rooting your Android hasn’t been a complete necessity. Since the days of the clunky, chunky KitKat, the ease of access on the Android has improved significantly. Still, if you want to completely unlock your Android device’s full potential, you’re going to want to root your device. We break the process down for you here.
What is rooting and what’s the point in it?
Rooting is simply a way of giving you complete and full control of your device. Similar to the more common iPhone equivalent, jailbreaking, it gives you freedom to do what you want with your phone. What manufacturers often do is preload bulky, clunky software that is overlaid over Google’s often much better, native software. Rooting gives you a way to get rid of that and free up the large amount of space that the apps often take up. Rooting also gives you the ability to download custom ROMs completely altering how your phone looks and feels. However, there are some things to note before we begin.
Firstly, back up your device! If anything goes wrong, you’re going to want to have a backup of your data. Once you’ve done that…
What are the risks of rooting?
Rooting your Android will void your warranty. There is, however, a way to unroot it if you ever need to bring it in for repair or just don’t like having a rooted device. We will cover this at the end but be warned that it’s not entirely foolproof. Some manufacturers put in root-detection software that will alert any employees of the device being rooted.
Rooting your phone will also strip away all of the security features put in place on the device. As the process includes removing all the restrictions, giving you unfettered access, the risk of downloading malware and viruses is much higher. It also means that certain apps may not work – Android Pay, for example, doesn’t always play nice with rooted devices for security reasons, while Netflix is hidden on the Google Play store.
Something could go wrong that could brick your device. Unexpected issues arise that cause your device to not respond properly. We can’t guarantee that this won’t happen so you have to be aware that this could be a possibility.
If you understand all of that and still want to go ahead, then proceed at your own risk. We advise you to only root your device if you can live with yourself if something goes awry. If you doubt your technical ability to root your Android (read the entire guide first), then it’s probably better to leave well alone.
Now that’s all done, let’s get started with getting your Android device rooted.
How to root your Android phone
The simplest way is to root your handset directly from the device itself. Below are the steps to accomplish that
Method 1 (Using KingoRoot):
You can use KingoRoot, an app that does all of the hard work for you. Firstly, make sure your device is powered on, at least charged to 50% and you have an internet connection.
- Go into Settings > Security > Unknown Sources.
- Download the KengoRoot APK onto your device from this link here. The download should start automatically, but if you receive a prompt to begin the download of KingoRoot, press OK.
- Launch the ‘Kingo ROOT’ app and click ‘One Click Root’ to start the process.
- Wait until the results appear on screen. You should either receive a Success or Failed message.
- If the process failed after multiple attempts, you’re going to want to try method 2. If it worked, then you’re all done. Your device should now be rooted.
Method 2 (KingoRoot via PC):
The PC method of rooting is a little bit more complex but tons more reliable than the APK method. If you failed to root your device through the first approach, try this. Firstly, like in method one, make sure your device is powered on, at least charged to 50%, you have an internet connection and you have a USB cable to connect your Android to your computer.
- Download KingoRoot for the PC here.
- Launch the program.
- Plug your Android device into the computer using your USB cable.
- You now need to enable USB debugging mode on your device. There are different ways to do this depending on the version of Android that you’re running.
For Android versions 2.0-2.3.x:
On your Android go to Settings > Applications > Development > USB Debugging.
For Android versions 3.0-4.1.x:
Settings > Developer Options > USB Debugging
For Android versions 4.2.x and above, it’s a little more difficult:
- Settings > About Phone (or About Tablet)
- Locate the build number field
- Tap the build number seven times to enable developer options.
- Tap it a few more times and a countdown will appear saying that you’re three steps away from being a developer.
- Follow the steps and once you’re done, you’ll see the message ‘You are now a developer’.
- Tap the back button and you will see the Developer Options menu under ‘System’ on your Settings screen.
- Now do the following: Settings > Developer Options > USB Debugging > Tap the USB Debugging checkbox.
- Watch your device’s screen for the prompt, check the box that says ‘Always allow from this computer’.
- On the KingoRoot application, click ‘Root’ to begin the rooting process. Your device might reboot multiple times as KingoRoot installs multiple exploits on your device. Do not unplug your device at any point!
- Don’t operate your device until the Android has rebooted.
- After successful rooting, you should find the app titled ‘SuperUser’ on your device.
You’re all done.
Now, if there ever comes a time when you need to unroot your device. Follow the instructions below, but as said above, this might not remove all trace of a rooted device and some manufacturers will be able to tell.
Unrooting your Device
You will need to use the PC KingoRoot program to unroot your device.
- Launch the program
- Plug in your device using the USB cable.
- Click ‘Remove Root’. The process should take 3-5 minutes. Do not unplug your device during this process.
- Click ‘Finish’ to reboot your device.