After posting about why one should root their Android phones, I thought it would be a great idea to provide users the other side of the story. Many people including me believe that the benefits of rooting a phone outweighs the benefits of not rooting a phone. But that might not be the case for other users as there are several factors that are applicable.
Users might find it difficult to root phones, as it is not simple as pressing a button that says “ROOT”. Downloading files, custom ROMs, unlocking bootloaders, downloading and installing matching drivers are some of the hassles that many people may experience when they begin the process of rooting their phones. There are also several risks associated while rooting. Those disadvantages or risks can be avoided by being careful.
So in this post, I will list why you should NOT root your Android phone. Without further adieu here is the list:
The list of 7 reasons to NOT root your Android phone:
1. Old Phone Data is Lost
When you root your phone, you will be resetting it to the factory settings that the phone was shipped in. A factory reset means that you lose all the data that you have in your phone. You will be able to back up text messages and your gallery files with the help of apps, cloud syncing or by copying to your PC. Those can be easily restored. What you won’t be able to backup is your app data. Rooting a phone for installing backup apps like Titanium Backup will not be applicable unless you have a previously rooted phone to backup in the first place.
Your app data holds all the information, upgrades and changes that you have made to your apps. Game progresses and app statistics are not backed up at all. Only apps which support cloud syncing to their servers or to other backup servers like Dropbox can be backed up and restored. For the rest of the app, their data are all lost and after using phone for months, you would not want to lose what you have stored in months.
2. Risk of Phone Being Bricked
When you are in the process of rooting a phone, you always risk your phone to being bricked. When your phone is bricked, it will be equivalent to a brick in your pocket. Your phone cannot be repaired and it will be useless. This is a dead stage of a phone. You can throw it away or use it as a paper holder after this.
Phones are bricked when you don’t follow instruction properly or when instructions are not set up properly. If you do certain things wrong while rooting your phone, you might damage it permanently. There will be no repairs and no expert in the world can fix it. If it is fixable then it is not a bricked phone. This is a serious risk that rooting phones can bring but is avoidable.
3. Security Risks with Custom ROMs
Installing custom built ROMs is one of the things that people do after rooting their phones. The process of rooting phones themselves might include installing other builds of a system software. When you install custom ROMs after rooting, you are installing softwares that has been designed by strangers. Those ROMs are not always reliable as they are not always designed by a reliable source such as your manufacturer. That means when you install custom ROMs downloaded from one corner of the internet, you might be allowing a stranger into your phone. Your phone’s performance can also be poor because of this.
There are several security risks like the risk of losing your account information or your phone not being secure enough from attacks such as viruses. This might happen if you install a ROM which is not safe or which is a development release. So, you should be careful from where you download your ROM, what ROM you are installing and carefully understand the security flaws that it may have.
4. Risk of Accounts Being Compromised
When you root your phone and install apps that you blindly give restricted system administrator access to, you are risking a big deal. The super user permissions might give access to your sensitive phone data that is stored in your phone. You might reveal your credit card information if you are not careful.
The rooted phone apps can also install fake keyboards and keyloggers that can reveal your password to hackers. You might even be installing fake email apps that will collect your user information and password. Those can be greatly misused by other people.
5. No More Official Updates
After you root your phone, you will not be getting those official updates from your manufacturer. Installing over the air software to update your phone is the best way to stay secure. Once you root your phone, you won’t be getting any more of those official updates automatically. You will have to update your phone with new releases of custom ROMs if you want to stay updated with the latest Android versions.
You can always unroot your phone to get your manufacturer’s updates but why root, then unroot and lose all those data in between. Instead, make a decision and decide how you want the updates, from custom built ROMs or from your manufacturer. I prefer to stay unrooted as long as my manufacturer is actively providing updates. Once my phone gets old and my manufacturer no longer updates it, I prefer taking the root path.
6. Warranty Voided
When you root your phone, your warranty may be voided. That means when you damage your phone accidentally; your manufacturer, retailer or carrier who sold you the phone will not be liable to honor their part of the warranty. That means no fixes, part replacement or even phone replacement is done if you had signed up for those.
Again, phones can be unrooted and their history of rooting can be erased for warranty claiming purposes. But this might take a lot of work and in the process you might even brick your phone. Some manufacturers won’t even care about rooted phones but you have to be really lucky for this.
7. Not an iPhone (iOS)
When you purchase an Android phone, you are getting something that is not an iPhone and that does not have iOS. The last time I used an iPhone (my sister’s), it was so restricted that I could copy music to the phone using iTunes only. I wrecked the software of the phone in a few moments after trying to copy music into it with Real Player. I had to download and install iOS to fix the phone. There were also no options to install apps externally.
Now some of those restrictions might have changed with Apple’s devices, they are still way too restricted when compared to Android handsets. With newer phones and Android versions you can easily install apks from external sources and use the device freely like you own it yourself. You can get unlocked versions of the phone right off the market. Users might be able to use Android phones just like they want to without even having to root. So if you don’t feel restricted with your Android phone, you might not even need to root it.
100th post =)
Note: This post is a part of my Awesome 7 lists. You can check out other posts from this list: