Difficulty Level: Advanced User

You've probably heard of the terms root and rooting. In short, rooting unleashes the full potential of your Samsung Galaxy! This article takes the mystery out of rooting, explains what rooting is, and shows you the top reasons for rooting and the many useful things you can do once you've gained root access on your mobile device.

A Word of Caution GalaxyUnlocker is not responsible for any outcome on your mobile device as a result of rooting, flashing, or hacking it. You are fully responsible if your device gets bricked, which can happen if you do not implement procedures correctly. Rooting, flashing, and hacking may void your warranty.

What is rooting?

Rooting refers to the process of opening up your Samsung mobile on a system level, thereby gaining full control over changing, adding, and deleting anything on the device. This means you’re also making your phone open to apps that require access at the heart of the device to do their work. This can be good or bad. Before rooting, access to system files is denied and that’s for a good reason. If your phone would be open on a system level to begin with, you could accidentally make fatal changes, leaving the device inoperable. It would also be vulnerable to outside attacks. The correct way to have root access on your phone is to maintain the protection and still be able to allow root access to the apps you trust. This is achieved by the apps called Superuser or SuperSU, which usually get installed during the rooting process. A superuser app is your friend because it makes you manually confirm the permission when an app tries to get root access. In the mobile world, the person who has root access is also commonly referred to as a Superuser. On computers, this person is called an Administrator.

After rooting, every root app always has to ask for your permission for it to work. The first picture shows SuperSU in action, prompting to grant or deny superuser rights to the root app called Rom Manager. The second picture shows how SuperSU manages a list of installed root apps that I granted root access to:

Warranty Claims

Whether you void the warranty of your mobile or not as a result of rooting is not so easy to answer. Generally, if you do not damage your device as a result of rooting, flashing, or hacking, you are still entitled to have the warranty that manufacturers must give you by law. However, a manufacturer has the right to refuse claims on the optional warranty that comes with some phones. For example, if Samsung offers the warranty of the phone being waterproof, they can refuse a warranty claim if you have rooted the device as long as such a stipulation can be found in the terms for the warranty.

The reverse procedure of rooting is called unrooting. If you unroot your device, you are preventing access on a system level again. Before you send your device in to Samsung, it is always good to unroot it and get it back to its original factory state if possible. This includes resetting the secretly hidden flash counter (called Custom Binary Counter) on Samsung Galaxy devices that shows Samsung how often you modified the device. The procedure for rooting, unrooting, and for resetting the flash counter will not be explained in this article because there are just too many methods, which differ from model to model. If you want to root your mobile, do a detailed search on the Internet and absolutely make sure that the tutorials match the details of your device. For example, if you have a Samsung Galaxy S3 i9300 but the rooting guide is for the i9300p, it will most likely not work for you and you can easily damage your phone! Always make sure to read the comments sections for tutorials to see whether the procedure has worked for other users. So in your keyword search, always include the specifics of your device. For example, search for “how to root Samsung Galaxy S3 i9300 Android 4.1.2”. You can also take a look at the CF-Auto-Root method, created by developer Chainfire, as your first stop because it supports many of the latest Samsung models. If you want to reset the flash counter on your Samsung Galaxy, research the Triangle Away app, which was created by Chainfire as well. I personally have used the CF-Auto-Root method by Chainfire on my Galaxy S3 i9300.

What to do after rooting

Okay, so you’ve rooted your Samsung Galaxy. You are now a Superuser! You can now begin to discover the great things you can do with your mobile that would otherwise not be possible. Let’s get you familiar with the top reasons for rooting your Samsung phone or tablet.

Make your Samsung Galaxy faster

Once you have root access, you can easily overclock the processor unit on your mobile. Overclocking means making the device run at its operational limit. Although it makes a mobile run faster, it comes with two tradeoffs. First, overclocked processors drain the battery more and second, you can brick your device as a result of overheating. Nonetheless, overclocking is well worth a try to see how fast your Samsung Galaxy can really run. In order to stay in the safe zone, I recommend the Android Overclock app, which lets you create profiles that automatically manage battery usage and protect the device from overheating. By putting such protection mechanisms in place, you can operate your mobile at its full capacity while avoiding the risk of damaging it.

Extend battery life

There are many ways to improve the battery life on your Samsung Galaxy. The two most effective ways are to use a custom ROM that was built for long battery life (such as CheckROM) and/or battery management apps that optimize how your mobile handles battery usage (such as Power Manager or CPU Tuner).

Flash a ROM

If you haven’t received the latest Android update from the carrier or manufacturer yet, you can often find the official firmware or a custom ROM that is based on it on the web and flash it on your mobile yourself. You can also flash customized versions of a Samsung ROM to meet specific needs such as needing a faster phone or longer battery life. Read more about some of the best custom ROMs for Samsung phones.

Create a Nandroid Backup

A Nandroid backup is a 1:1 snapshot of everything that is on your mobile device from apps and settings to data and everything in between. It’s literally like backing up the entire OS as it currently is. A Nandroid backup is absolutely essential for anyone who wants to hack a Samsung Galaxy. If you ever run into a problem and bricked your device, you can simply revert to its original state by restoring the Nandroid backup. One way to create this type of full system level backup is to use the ROM Manager app, which lets you restore a backup directly from your phone by getting into the Recovery Mode, a special mode you can access before booting up the phone. Create a Nandroid backup with this guide.

Customize apps on a ROM

When you’ve found a ROM you’re interested in, you can customize the apps that are on it before you flash it onto your device. This way you can remove unwanted apps, add new ones, or substitute ones with a better alternative to meet your needs. For example, if you prefer a stripped down version of a custom ROM and want it to be as clean and minimal as possible, you could remove all unwanted apps before flashing. There are several ways to do this. One method involves unzipping the ROM on your computer, locating the app folder, removing the apps in question, zipping it all back up and then flashing it. If you have a Samsung Galaxy S or Captivate, you may use RomKitchen, an online system that lets you do the job by point and click.  

Back up apps

By using a Google account you can buy apps in the Google Play store and have your phone back up the app history of all your installations. The next time you need to get previously used apps onto your mobile device (i.e. after a reset) you can check the purchasing history in Google Play and download them again. But this means you need to sort through all of the apps you ever used. And the app settings you’ve put in place have to be reconfigured too. A more efficient way is to use a backup app with root access. You can take a snapshot of every app that is installed on your device and restore it later on along with all of the settings you’ve put in place. One of the most popular root backup apps is Titanium Backup.

Remove bloatware

Mobile devices often come with loads of branded carrier or manufacturer specific apps that can slow down the performance. Uninstalling these apps is usually not possible. In most cases they cannot even be moved to a SD card to make room for other applications. With a rooted device, you can remove all of these unwanted apps but you do have to ensure that you’re not removing system apps that are necessary for the device to run. The NoBloat app lets you systematically identify, back up, disable, restore, and delete unwanted apps. If you removed an app that was required for Android to run, you can restore it and then try another. Learn how to remove Bloatware with this guide.

Improve sound quality

With a rooted device, you can flash a custom ROM on it that is specific to your needs. If you’re an audiophile, try one of the most successful ROMs in the Android market, CyanogenMod. It comes with an integrated DSP Equalizer that lets you tweak sound to its optimal level.

SIM unlock your Samsung Galaxy

When your mobile is locked to a carrier, you can only use the device with the SIM card of that carrier. Unlocking refers to the process of removing the SIM lock on your mobile so that you can use a SIM card from any other carrier. Although rooting is not necessarily required to unlock your phone or tablet, some of the latest Android models of the Samsung Galaxy line require that you first root your device. Almost all Samsung devices can be unlocked with the GalaxyUnlocker software.


Rooting may be well worth the risk because it lets you get the most out of your mobile device. The three things you need to remember are:

  1. Rooting gives you and third party apps access to your device on a system level, where you can add, delete, and modify anything. 

  2. Root apps are apps that require root access. It is these apps that help you unleash the full potential of your device. 

  3. You can flash a custom ROM on a rooted device that can improve the entire mobile experience.

What to do next:

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