Ask NerdGirl: What’s all this Rooting about? And Permission to do What?
May 8, 2010 10:30 AM –
I knew this topic would be one of the first! I just totally called it!! Rooting! It’s almost as trendy as Twitter and way cooler than Facebook. So let’s get down to the “root” of the questions and I’ll administer some answers. (Come back and read that when you’re done with the rest. It will be WAY funnier!)
I appreciate your time and response.
I have owned the motodroid since it came out, and I can never settle with one design. With different launchers (home++,helix) and bgs I’m always changing the style. I have done the root once before 2.1 update came out but quickly changed back to make sure I got the update. Now I want to go back. I used sholesmod which was in the market and is was fairly simple now need to download much and didn’t take to much knowledge. So what I’m getting at is there something out there that’s simple to root and get all the different roms out there. I’ve seen the steps on routing but all way too confusing for me. Thanks 4 help!
As of right now, Corey, there is no “simple” way to root Android 2.1. The only way is to go back to 2.0.1 and go from there. It has to be a STOCK 2.0.1, not a rooted one. If you go to http://www.droid-life.com/2010/04/05/how-to-root-android-2-1/ it’s a pretty good walk through on how to get your phone back to stock 2.0.1 and up to rooted 2.1.
As their website says as well, WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU BRICKING YOUR PHONE! If you choose to root your phone that is up to you and if something goes wrong no one is responsible for that but you!
Do you know how to uninstall preloaded Android apps? I tried ‘adb uninstall’ (getting the apk filename using a downloaded file manager), but it failed without giving me a reason.
Thank you in advance,
This question sort of ties into the previous one, Roger. One of the benefits of rooting your phone is the ability to uninstall (or rename or hide) the preloaded apps. If your phone is stock, then unfortunately there is no way to uninstall your preloaded stuff.
For those of you who are confused as to what “rooting your phone” means here’s a brief explanation:
Android comes from Linux. Root means Administrator in Linux speak. When you root the phone you are giving yourself administrator access to system files and the like. Think of it as the difference between a normal user on your windows computer and an administrator account.
Once you root your phone you can do things that the carrier wouldn’t really want you to do, like make your phone into a wireless hotspot or use a custom version of Android.
Just keep in mind. If you choose to root your phone you will void the warranty on your hardware. I am a firm believer in once you buy it you should be able to do whatever you want to it because it’s yours! Unfortunately, the developers and manufacturers don’t feel the same way.
Yes, rooting is a form of hacking, but it’s not the hacking that you probably think of when you hear the word. Android is open source software. This means that no one actually owns it. Changing it or installing it or downloading it from somewhere is all perfectly legal. You are not stealing anything. The reason that companies like Verizon don’t want you to do it is because if you root your phone and do something like make it into a wireless hotspot, you don’t have to give them more money to buy the hardware and the plan to use it.
I was wondering, do you know if there is basic breakdown available somewhere of all of the different permissions schemes? Something in layman’s terms that would help me decide if I want to install a particular app if it claims to have access to something like my Google account (does that include password?), or my personal data (like what?), or the ability to modify/delete SD card contents (just within a particular directory assigned to the app, or anything on the card?).
This would be AMAZINGLY helpful to me, and I think alot of other people too. Thanks in advance.
There are a TON of permission settings that an application can have, JG. I don’t think there is a complete list, but these are the categories
Default – This is something like checking your battery.
Hardware Controls – This controls your physical phone; the vibration, the LED, etc.
Network communication – The app may be able to control if your WiFi is on and if you can connect to WiMAX where you are.
Services that cost you money – If you don’t have unlimited talk or text, an app with these permissions may cause some extra charges on your bill.
Storage – The app may read and/or write to your phone or your SD card.
System tools – This is where most people get confused. If it sounds shady to you, don’t use the app until you confirm if it is okay!
Your accounts – Your Google question falls here. Your Google password is stored in your phone, as well as any others you might have saved such as your Facebook or Twitter. Normal applications will not take your password, but they may use it since the phone already has access.
Your location – This is one of two things. Course means the app will use triangulation, or where you are in relation to towers to try to place where you are. Fine means that the app will use the GPS to more accurately find your position.
Your messages – An app with messages permissions may be able to read and write your MMS and SMS messages.
Your personal information – These apps can look through your phone book and saved friends to gather information.
Most of these are harmless, like an email app being able to read your Gmail. Or a photo app using your phone book to send MMS messages. However, keep your eyes peeled. If you download an app for making the screen a strobe light, there is no reason for it to be able to get your fine location. These are the things you have to be careful about and really watch out for.
I’m so excited that I have gotten so many awesome questions already! Keep ‘em coming! Send them to email@example.com