Whenever someone brings up the various advantages of Android and its operating system as a whole, one of the first things that get mentioned is rooting. If you buy Android, you can root your device and exert an incredible level of control over its every function.
Rooting allows you to control nearly every part of your phone. It’s pretty awesome. However, figuring out exactly how to root can be difficult. Android phones come in endless shapes and sizes and varieties, and they all require a different tool for rooting.
For a newbie, trying to figure out how to gain root access can be confusing. There’s so much information out there that it’s often hard to sort through it all.
That’s why we at TechNorms have prepared this guide. While it is by no means complete (that would be impossible), it does cover most models of phones running Gingerbread and Froyo. The tools below are some of the most commonly used for rooting. Good luck!
An Overview of Rooting
First of all, you have to understand the exact process which is taking place. Root access is when you gain access to all parts of your phone as “root” or the user who controls everything. There’s an increased danger of bricking your device, but rooting also opens up a lot of possibilities for doing cool things.
However, you may not be able to root just yet. Gaining this privileged access is possible only if your phone does not come with a locked bootloader. The bootloader is the part of the phone that starts everything. When you boot, it loads.
In order to gain root access, you must unlock your bootloader. Doing this invalidates your warranty, so proceed with caution. To check if you are locked, turn off Fastboot (Settings > Applications > Fastboot) and turn off your phone. Now boot into recovery mode.
Doing this once again depends on your phone. My device, the Evo 4G, goes into recovery by holding down power and volume down. The CyanogenMod Wiki has a great chart listing how to boot into recovery with the most common phones. If you can’t find anything there, Google “(your phone) how to boot into recovery” or use the app Quick Boot. It offers one-touch boot into recovery.
Check the line of text at the top of the screen. If you see S-OFF, you’re good to go and ready for rooting. If you see S-ON, then you have a locked bootloader. You have to disable that first.
Various Rooting Tools for Android devices:
This is one tool that lives up to its name. Revolutionary is certainly a change in pace as it unlocks the bootloaders of a whole plethora of HTC devices that were previously stuck in unrooted purgatory. This tool may only be a developer preview and only for Windows and Linux, but after using it I can attest that it really works.
It will unlock S-OFF and root these devices (the long numbers are the bootloader versions which you can find next to the “Radio” at the top of the bootloader):
- HTC Desire (bravo) 0.93.0001, 1.02.0001
- HTC Desire CDMA (bravoc) 1.06.0000
- HTC Wildfire (buzz) 1.01.0001
- HTC Aria (liberty) 1.02.0000
- HTC Incredible S (vivo) 1.09.0000 and 1.13.0000
- HTC Droid Incredible 2 (vivow) 0.97.0000 (Gingerbread only!)
- HTC Desire S (saga) 0.98.0000 and 0.98.0002
- HTC View (express) 1.09.0000 and 1.13.0000
- HTC Flyer (flyer) 1.10.0000, 1.11.0003
- HTC Sensation (pyramid) 1.17.0006, .0008, .0011 and .0012, 1.18.0000
- HTC Evo 3D (shooter) 1.30.0000 and 1.40.0000
- HTC EVO 3D GSM (shooteru) 1.49.0007, 1.49.0008
- HTC Thunderbolt (mecha) 1.04.0000, 1.05.0000
- HTC EVO 4G (supersonic) 2.15.0001, 2.16.0001
- HTC myTouch Slide 4G (doubleshot) 1.44.0007
- HTC Sensation (pyramid)
- HTC Evo 3D (shooter)
- HTC EVO 3D GSM (shooteru)
- HTC myTouch Slide 4G
Be sure to also install the appropriate Windows drivers that go with your phone so that Revolutionary can do its thing. Once the drivers are ready and you’ve downloaded Revolutionary, you’re ready to go.
Plug in your phone, set it to charge only and enable USB debugging. After that, just start up Revolutionary and follow its easy instructions.
At the end of the process, Revolutionary will ask you if you want to install a custom recovery framework, ClockWorkMod. I recommend installing this; it makes installing new kernels and ROMs very easy.
After that, you’re done. Enjoy that root, and maybe consider flashing a new ROM. We’ve got a list of a few good ones.
This one isn’t nearly as hard to use. As you might be able to tell from the title, SuperOneClick prides itself on being easy to use and doing the work for you. It requires a bit more downloading, but that’s the cost of ease and a tool that claims to work on all Android handsets.
First of all, you have to have the Android SDK debugger running. The SDK is free to download here. Once it’s running, connect your handset, enable USB debugging, and make sure the SD card isn’t mounted to the computer.
Start SuperOneClick and click root. That’s it. If the program says “Success” at the bottom of the scrolling text, you’re rooted. Reboot your device and go download some root apps.
Using an older firmware doesn’t have a ton of advantages, but hackability is definitely one of them. Check your official Android version in Settings. If it’s 2.2 or lower on the devices below, then you can use the app Universal Androot which does it for you.
Various devices supported are:
- Google Nexus One (2.2)
- Google G1 (1.6)
- HTC Hero (2.1)
- HTC Magic (1.5) (Select Do not install Superuser)
- HTC Tattoo (1.6)
- Dell Streak (2.1)
- Motorola Milestone (2.1)
- Motorola XT701
- Motorola XT800 (2.1)
- Motorola ME511
- Motorola Charm
- Motorola Droid (2.01/2.1/2.2 with FRG01B)
- Sony Ericsson X10 (1.6)
- Sony Ericsson X10 Mini (1.6)
- Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro (1.6)
- Acer Liquid (2.1)
- Acer beTouch E400 (2.1)
- Samsung Galaxy Beam
- Samsung galaxy 5 (gt-i5500)
- Vibo A688 (1.6)
- Lenovo Lephone (1.6)
- LG GT540 (1.6)
- Gigabyte GSmart G1305
If you’re one of the lucky people using those devices with that firmware, then download the apk from this XDA Forum’s thread (it’s not on the Market) and copy it onto your SD card. Then you can use a free file explorer app to find and install the apk for Androot. Just run the app and hit root.
Unrevoked is a slightly older tool (the team who made this is also partially behind Revolutionary), but it works quite well still. The first tool (unrevoked forever) will get you S-OFF. Its counterpart (unrevoked3) will root you and add a custom recovery system like ClockworkMod. It’s basically an older version of Revolutionary designed for the Evo 4g, Droid Incredible, Hero and Desire.
The instructions for Revolutionary apply here. Same development team, same steps to prepare your phone. Again, I recommend installing ClockWorkMod. It’s very useful for backups and installing new ROMs.
Rooting your Android device is no longer a difficult task. These rooting tools should make your task easy as long as you have Froyo or Gingerbread running on your device. Rooting has its advantages and disadvantages. So, first, be sure that you actually require a rooted device and only then go for it.
If you have any questions or find a part of this guide that’s out of date, let us know in the comments. We’ll update it.