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2,862 Tutorials

How to root a Google Android smartphone

Unlock your handset to access its full potential

Despite the relative openness and flexibility of the OS, a smartphone running Google Android isn't as powerful and customisable as it could be. However, we show you how to root your handset and unlock all of its potential.

Get root

Until fairly recently, rooting Android was a messy process that required installing the Android Debug Bridge and hacking the phone from a command line. Fortunately, some industrious hackers have produced a few simple apps that can root your device in seconds with the tap of a finger. In this tutorial, I'll discuss two such apps - Easy Root (for the Motorola Droid, Droid X and Milestone, and the HTC/Google Nexus One) and Unrevoked (which supports a variety of HTC handsets).

It's important to note here that although these one-click root apps are easy to use, they aren't completely trouble-free. For instance, as of this writing the developer of Unrevoked 3 is reviewing it to solve a problem with the HTC EVO 4G (but Unrevoked 2 is still available). And the latest version of Android, 2.2 (aka Froyo), will present new challenges for root users as carriers and phone manufacturers continue to try to block users from hacking their handsets. These obstacles are a basic reality for anyone attempting to root their device, just as Apple iPhone users must constantly adapt to Apple's efforts to block people from jailbreaking the iPhone.

Even though Easy Root and Unrevoked don't work on all Android phones, they do cover a broad swath of the Android universe. If you're interested in rooting a Samsung Galaxy S or another device, however, you still have options - they're just not as easy. Because the state of Android hacking is constantly in flux, your best bet for phones not covered in this tutorial is to google 'root' and the name of your phone, or to keep an eye on the discussions about your phone on a good Android forum, such as AllDroid.org.

NEXT PAGE: Root it

  1. Unlock your handset to its full potential
  2. Get root
  3. Root it
  4. What now?

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