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To root or not to root? That is the question

Created by thatlad on Jan. 26, 2013, 5:47 p.m.
  • In September I got my first android phone, the S3. Been pretty impressed with it, the occasional performance issue but ultimately I'd rate it as even steven with an iphone once all the pro/cons are weighed up.

    One thing that has got me bothered is the lax schedule on updating and bloatware samsung have dumped on it. I'm told rooting the phone is the way to go but I thought I'd get some opinions.

    What are the pro's & con's of rooting?

    My main concerns are the security/malware situation, I'm a bit of a novice so worried I'll ruin things. Also worried about the phone getting glitchy and me not being able to go back to where I am now.

    What do you guys think? I always appreciate what you guys think

  • imho the only problem is the pain in the ass you get every time the official software's updated and you have to jump through all the hoops to fight the new anti-rooting measures it's implemented. That's what eventually stopped me jailbreaking the iPhone - laziness. It's too exhausting to figure out the new trick every time.

  • Root it and put Cyanogen on it and you'll love that you did it.

  • You definitely should because why would you want a major security feature of the OS?

  • 99.9% of potential securityrisks have nothing to do with your userlevel but with a flaw that grants a piece of software root acess anyway (i.e. every jailbreak on ios is based on such a flaw, like the safari pdf vulnerability).

    i'd also root just to install ad-block and remove annoying shipped soaftware if you are not motivated enough to get a "clean" rom.

  • I followed this:

    http://www.androidauthority.com/how-to-root-the-galaxy-s3-gt-i9300-video-95376/

    I did update to 4.1.2 first before I did the rooting. I only rooted because I wanted to use widgetlocker because the samsung lockscreen doesn't allow the doubletwist widget with music controls. very annoying.

    Also I use titanium backup. With this program you can freeze apps and do backup. Freezing is one of the biggest advantage of Titanium backup and rooting. You don't need to uninstall any (stock) app. You can just freeze and when you do have problems with something not working; You can unfreeze and voila. One of the most approved apps for the rooted smartphone.

    So you don't need to put a different rom on to it. just freeze the stuff that you don't use and is eating up memory.

    I also use Nova launcher prime. its a third party launcher that sits on top of the stock samsung one. Its crazy fast and highly recommended. In the settings you can choose speed over animation between all the startscreens. Its crazy how fast it is.When you uninstall it if you don't like Nova, the stock launcher will reappear with all the settings you had before.

    I used to put Cyanogenmod on my old Motorola Defy because i wanted a smoother and faster cleaner android experience. But the S3 has so much power you don't need to put a custom rom if you are afraid to break it. Rooting is simple. Then get widgetlocker and nova launcher prime be prepared for speed.

    FYI Nova launcher prime doesn't require root so I would try that first.

    Ad block is also recommended when rooted and really works.

    I don't think Samsung is that bad at updating. Motorola is worse. Even the S2 and Note 1 is getting a great update just now. On the bloatware I agree but you can uninstall or freeze it with titanium. I'm really happy with my s3. Best tech thing I ever bought.

    What kind of issues are you having with you're S3. I'm curious.

  • The Samsung Galaxy Note II was the first Android phone I didn't have the itch to root. That is until I realized I wanted a more robust backup solution like Titanium Backup. You can use Triangle Away to get around flash counter. That will allow you to receive carrier/manufacturer updates and pretty much make the phone act as if it were never flashed.

  • @hydrotherion1979 said:

    I don't think Samsung is that bad at updating. Motorola is worse. Even the S2 and Note 1 is getting a great update just now. On the bloatware I agree but you can uninstall or freeze it with titanium. I'm really happy with my s3. Best tech thing I ever bought.

    What kind of issues are you having with you're S3. I'm curious.

    Just niggly little things, hitches when going back to the main menu or rotating home screens. Slow to respond occasionally. I want this phone to run smoothly as often as possible

  • @thatlad said:

    @hydrotherion1979 said:

    I don't think Samsung is that bad at updating. Motorola is worse. Even the S2 and Note 1 is getting a great update just now. On the bloatware I agree but you can uninstall or freeze it with titanium. I'm really happy with my s3. Best tech thing I ever bought.

    What kind of issues are you having with you're S3. I'm curious.

    Just niggly little things, hitches when going back to the main menu or rotating home screens. Slow to respond occasionally. I want this phone to run smoothly as often as possible

    Try the free nova launcher. you can pay if you want more options. In the settings set the animation speed to fast or lightning fast. It will choose speed over animations.

    This is how i'm running:

    [URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/823/20130203010405.png/][IMG]http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/8960/20130203010405.png[/IMG][/URL]

    [URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/802/20130203012320.png/][IMG]http://img802.imageshack.us/img802/6861/20130203012320.png[/IMG][/URL]

  • @narkeeso: I've got a Galaxy Note 2 (AT&T) and have considered rooting it so I can use Titanium Backup, Tasker, use Sixaxis Controller, and get rid of the AT&T apps. I also would prefer to use CyanogeMod, but am concerned about whether or not the S-Pen functionality will remain. Also, how would you use Triangle Away? Does the app allow you to just unroot the phone, get the update, and then you'd have to root it again? And how do you find out whether or not an update is available for the phone? From what I've read online, many people get stuck in a loop, where the phone says there is no update. Or because they have rooted the phone, it is unable to do so.

    Sorry for the list of questions... Hopefully you (or someone else) can help.

  • @hydrotherion1979:  my god that looks boss. That's my other reason for wanting to root, the Samsung ui seemed nice enough when I didn't know better but I've been seeing much nicer ui screenshots

    So am I right in saying i can try this and if its not for me go back to the way it is now? Or once I've rooted that's it?
  • @hydrotherion1979: Holy smokes that looks amazing. Any chance you can provide links to those backgrounds?

  • Thanks guys. I write for dutch blogs about android. Kinda like Tested. Actually the Whiskey media stuff got me started with delving deep in to Android and writing about it. Android is so much more then a lot of people know. Sure it's menu settings is all over the place but the things you do with it is just amazing. Android is what you make of it not the other way around. Just like the old pc days. Will or Norm should use an android device for longer then a month. I hope the Nexus can turn Norm but I doubt it. That was my rant. Still love you guys though.;)

    @thatlad

    You can go back from rooted to unrooted. You have to install an app called Superuser when you want to root. You pay for the pro version and there is a setting in there to unroot.

    http://artproblogger.com/how-to-permanent-unroot-galaxy-note-2-one-click/

    If you never rooted before its fair warning that you may brick you're phone. And if you don't have the confidence just don't do it. I have the experience and tried it all before on a Motorola Defy so i was confident when I rooted brand new my Galaxy S3.;) Try the stuff i described down below. The great thing about Nova launcher prime is that when you remove it the stock Samsung launcher will be back. It's safe!

    Lockscreen:

    For the lockscreen I use widgetlocker. That allows for the customisation. You can use it without root but then sometimes the Samsung lockscreen will appear before the widgetlocker. With root you can force the widgetlocker to appear and disable the Samsung one.

    Its really annoying and one of the reason i rooted. Plus i use Doubletwist as my primary podcast and music player and i need the controls on my lockscreen when i'm in my car.

    Startscreens:

    Like I stated in the comment above you don't need root for the GUI changes i made. Get Nova launcher (prime). Its free, but with the prime version you'll get more options. You'll get the speed between the startscreens and now you are able to custimize.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teslacoilsw.launcher.prime

    Changing the icons:

    For example:

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fr.pooley.mintBetaIconset&feature=more_from_developer#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEwMiwiZnIucG9vbGV5Lm1pbnRCZXRhSWNvbnNldCJd

    One of the icon pack i bought throught the google play store. Download it and it will install. Now look in the Nova launcher settings where you can change the icons. And that's all. You can get more icons stuff and change as you see fit. It needs a third party launcher so it won't work with the stock samsung launcher. Some icons might not change. Just hold on an icon and choose customize. Then tap the icon logo and you can choose you're own icon and select the desired one

    Clock and stuff

    You need this app:

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=in.vineetsirohi.customwidget&hl=nl

    This allows for the custom stuff and Nova or another third party launcher is made to work with it.

    My clock is from the same guy as the icons:

    http://www.el-be.fr/beta/home/uccw.php

    if you scroll down his site. You'll see the clock i'm using. Download the zip file. Inside are the Uzip files. UCCW uses the Uzip file to recognise the clock. Open the zip with 7 zip or Winrar. Get the files on your smartphone. I have a folder called UCCW themes.

    Now you go to the UCCW app and in the settings you choose import skin. Select the Uzip file.

    Now the clocks will be in the UCCW app.

    Go back to your startscreen and hold finger on your screen until a menu pops up that lets you put a widget on you're startscreen.

    Select the UCCW widget and choose the size. Now it displays a menu where the clocks should be, select one and you're done.

    This is the simple version I explained here and you'll be using pre made skins but still looking awesome and different.

  • Wallpapers:

    I use Image 2 wallpaper app for the wallpapers. It has more options to get the right fit for your wallpaper. The pictures will be bigger. When you select a wallpaper through the gallery it crops the wallpaper way too much. The app doesn't do that that much.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shirobakama.wallpaper

    Pics:

    [IMG]http://imageshack.us/a/img849/9904/wallpaper16534.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://imageshack.us/a/img138/3162/wallpaper66032.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://imageshack.us/a/img194/8881/wallpaper2552963.jpg[/IMG]

    Here a pic of my UAG cases for the Galaxy S3. The blue arrived today.:)

    http://www.urbanarmorgear.com/

  • @hydrotherion1979: Wow, thanks so much for this. I'm using nova launcher now and it's much better than touchwiz. I think I'll hold off on rooting for now, this new launcher's given me the performance improvements I was looking for.

    I wish there were more android articles like this on tested. I wouldn't have gone near android several years ago but it's really matured in the past 5 years, it's surprised me how comparable it is to ios now.

  • @thatlad

    No problem, mate . I'm glad you like it.:) How about the speed of Nova? It's crazy fast when scrolling the start screens. One of the problems of Android is true. The fragmentation is a real problem. The settings I use can be completely different on a other smartphone because i use things like Nova launcher and Widgetlocker.

    And that's why some people don't like Android. IOS is what you get from Apple. Everything is almost the same for everyone. With Android you need to do a little more work to get it to be awesome. That's not what most users want from a phone.

    I too wish there was more focus on Android on Tested and not just the apps of the week stuff. If there was a job opening for a blogger who works for free....;) That's one of the niggles of Tested. I used too cringe whenever i hear the Android talk on the podcast. Either is really short, plain negative or both.

    I hope the Nexus 4 Norm got can change some opinions and make Will use it.;) Nothing against all the Apple talk. I even came from IOS. But Android is what PC was in the 90's and 2000's. For the geeks!:)

    Still love Tested and the podcast, guys! I got my Tested mug to prove it!:)

  • @hydrotherion1979 I'm using both android and ios now (s3 & ipad) so I'm still getting the best of both worlds. Definitely think it's like having chocolate or strawberry ice cream, it's personal taste.

    Have you ever noticed the android OS using a lot of data? Mine seems to be quite high, about a fifth of my data plan.

    Looked at the UAG case, not normally into cases but I like the look of that one. I can't bring myself to pay £30 for it though, not when it's half the price in the US.

  • @thatlad said:

    @hydrotherion1979 I'm using both android and ios now (s3 & ipad) so I'm still getting the best of both worlds. Definitely think it's like having chocolate or strawberry ice cream, it's personal taste.

    Have you ever noticed the android OS using a lot of data? Mine seems to be quite high, about a fifth of my data plan.

    Looked at the UAG case, not normally into cases but I like the look of that one. I can't bring myself to pay £30 for it though, not when it's half the price in the US.

    Not really noticing the high data use by Android. But I don't have any automatic syncing app turned on. Gmail, outlook, location services(GPS), Twitter, dropbox,.... I only sync manually so i control the data usage. If you got more Android questions shoot them here!

    Thought you were from the US not a fellow european!;) The UAG case is just amazing. It's a special kind of blue so it really stands out.

    Check out this forum for more case recommendation:

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=1565

    Maybe this is something for you: It's the same tpu compound as the UAG but just not so exiting design wise.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ballistic-Smooth-Case-Samsung-Galaxy/dp/B008D4X7Y6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360796597&sr=8-2

  • @hydrotherion1979: Great stuff, picked a good recommendation in that forum. I'll see how I go with a case, in the past I've gotten fed up with cases and took the risk. Don't think I can afford to do that with the S3, looked up the video and it's a pretty difficult job to replace the screen.

    Have you had any experience with the QI charging stuff? Saw a couple of kits on that forum for converting the S3


  • XDA forums is the place for all the custom stuff and there is where i found the UAG case. You will need a case for the S3. Its prone to scratches on the back and gorilla glass doesn't mean its unscratchable. The UAG case is what they call medium protection and for example Otterbox is heavy.

    Got a screenprotector the minute i got my S3 and the UAG case. Best protection for both sides and not adding to much bulk to the S3. I did drop my S3 just once and no problems.:)

    Don't have any experience with the QI stuff. But I have read that charging is sometimes dodgy with it. You sometimes have to align it just perfect or it will not charge. Also i don't trust the cheap chinese stuff in combination with the battery. Cases and cables are not problems for me but battery and such. I got cables everywhere anyway.I would've gotten a Nexus or Lumia 920 for the QI if it was something i was looking in a phone. It will be in S4 of sure.

    Let me now which case you got or if you're willing to do the QI stuff. I'm always looking for great stuff for the S3.

    I wrote some reviews for some blogs the last week for some interesting apps:

    Dropsync.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ttxapps.dropsync

    Got a 50 gb dropbox with the S3 for free(two years) Now you can do full backups of your phone in combination with Dropbox. If you lose your phone or it gets stolen be glad you got all the data backupped. You can do it manually or on regular intervals.

    Even better: set it to sync when you get home,put the charger on it and on wifi. Really great so it won't be syncing all the time and eating your data plan Always be backing up! The free app it will only sync with one folder. Its for testing. The paid app lets you sync any folder(s) you want.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.oasisfeng.greenify

    This app is only for rooted users. This app is similar to the freeze option we find in Titanium Backup Pro, but does the job in a much better way - it puts the app to hibernation.

    Key features include:

    1. You can add the apps to list which you want to hibernate

    2. After the app is added to list, Greenify does the rest of the job.

    3. No need to manually hibernate and de-hinbernate (like we manually freeze and unfreeze in TB Pro)

    To use Greenify follow the steps below:

    1. Open Greenify and give SU permission

    2. Add the app to list in the built in recent app list or if you want to add app manually then choose more and open the desired app from list and tap on Greenify in notification bar.

    3. In the main screen of Greenify you will see the apps that are currently running under "pending" category.

    4. Now turn off the screen and wait for 2-5 minutes. Open Greenify again and you would see that, all the apps added to list are movee to "hibernated" category. All these apps are as good as frozen/uninstalled.

    When the apps are in hibernated, they don't run in foreground nor in background. This will help in saving the battery and also increase the performance of the device.