#1 Posted by AlisterCat (5484 posts) -

After about 3 years with my iPhone 4 I am buying a Nexus 5. Having never used an Android phone, and only used an iPhone 4 as far as smart phones go, I need some guidance. What is rooting? Why would I want to do it? What are good apps, resources, UI skins, utilities? I have no idea.

Any guidance in to the world of android would be appreciated. Either links to reading material or recommendations.

#2 Edited by blueaniman93 (604 posts) -

If you're an android beginner, I wouldn't recommend rooting yet. There are many good reasons to do it but you can royally fuck up your device if you misstep.

Google play has essentials lists in the store that aren't very hard to find so just browse through a little and you'll find a whole bunch. Can't provide much else without a specific need.

#3 Posted by MattyFTM (14348 posts) -

I've never found a use for rooting that made it worth my time and effort (and most importantly, voiding my warranty).

As for suggestions. I'd get a custom launcher (I use Nova, which works great) to allow you more customization of your homescreens than stock. I'd also get Cerberus to give your phone extra security. I don't really know what else to suggest without having more direction as to what you're looking for.

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#4 Posted by rotorious (68 posts) -

You shouldn't have to root. Seeing as it's a nexus device, you get a clean version of android anyway, If that's what you want to root for.

#5 Posted by hakunin (384 posts) -

Rooting means unlocking the OS so that you attain Superuser status. I.e. it allows you to findle with things you probably souldn't be fiddleing with, unless you really know what you doing. Most people do it so they can install other versions of the Android OS and to run apps that have functions that require the app get Superuser privileges to work.

Most of the time you would have to unlock the phone at the hardware level to do this (a process that is a lot more complicated and different on nearly every phone), but the Nexes phones come pre-unlocked. So it's just a matter of flipping a switch in a menu or installing a Superuser app.

In short unless you know you need it, don't bother. But if you do decide down the line (after reading up on the subject) to root/install another AOS/fiddle around, the Nexus phones are the path of least resistance. Also no crappy bloatware!

#6 Edited by Neox (45 posts) -

Rooting is essentially removing the stock OS and replacing it with another compatible OS or adding apps and widgets that aren't normally offered on Google play (the app store). It is not difficult by any means but, until you are comfortable with the stock OS I wouldn't recommend it.

First things first, make a Google account so that your contacts, apps, games, etc. are backed up on a server for easy recovery. In contacts i do believe you need to go to options > merge with Google account to save them.

Zedge (customize text tones and ringtones) is a must, Flipboard for quick news, Kii Keyboard if you feel the stock one is blah, tho i personally just use Swype (texting by swiping you finger across the screen instead of tapping), it may be built into the phone already. Most apps have a "widget" where the app can display info without actually opening the app, widgets should be in the apps section at the top or bottom. Dropbox for cloud storage if needed, I believe it is free for a year once activated.

Just hop through the settings and apps and see what is available to you, lots of customization can be done there without adding a single thing.

#7 Edited by insanejedi (655 posts) -

The VERY VERY VERY first thing you should do is to encrypt your phone. You can do this through the settings>Security>encrypt phone menu. The reason being that not only is it best practice but, its because if you ever decide to root or install a bootloader, it will fuck up your phone if you decide to encrypt it later. There is no downside to encrypting, other than imperceptible CPU usage.

If you decide to encrypt the next thing wont be a problem which is that NEVER use the slide-to-unlock security setting. Security wise it's not very secure, it can be bruteforced, and there are not very many permutations on a 3x3 screen. If you encrypt Android will NOT allow you to use the weaker unlock systems. (which is a good thing)

Before rooting you have to unlock your bootloader. Your bootloader is what controls if you can run code approved by google in places where the recovery is. The recovery is where you can restore your phone back to factory settings. Wipe out all data, and start all over. In order to root you need whats called a "custom recovery" which is a recovery system that is different than what your phone came with.

This custom recovery can install code onto your phone into places that would be forbidden otherwise. You can install a piece of rooting software from the custom recovery (think of the custom recovery as a BIOS or second OS on your phone).

This rooting software allows you to play with files that Google normally doesn't let you on the phone. System level stuff like modifying the CPU Voltage, deleting system apps like the keyboard and replacing it, or deleting system sound files like the sound your phone makes when it first starts up. These normally are not allowed but since your device is "rooted" it allows you system level control like you would find on Windows with Administrative Privileges.

This also lets you do crazy things like how some apps ask you for your GPS coordinates, and you can totally block them from having your GPS coordinates OR give them custom GPS coordinates that are NOWHERE near you.

I highly recommend you at least unlock the bootloader and install a custom recovery IF for the ONLY reason because you can make a backup on your phone, that is like a PC or Mac backup/time machine. If you fucked up your phone not only can you restore it back to last when you saved it (all your apps, settings, everything is back like it was) BUT if you destroy your phone, you can actually go buy a totally new Nexus 5, take your recovery images if you backed them up outside your phone. Push them back into your phone, and be back and running in literally 30 minutes. If you want to learn I highly recommend this video.