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How to root your Android phone or tablet in 2015 (and unroot it)

Is the allure of being a superuser tempting you? Android rooting opens up a world of possibility, but it can also void your warranty, or even leave you with a bricked device. Yes, when it comes to rooting your Android, you’ll want to know the benefits as well as the risks.

Manufacturers and carriers have a vested interest in dissuading you from rooting. The act of rooting can be inherently dangerous. Even so, for the careful user, the risk is minimal, and the potential benefits are impressive. This guide will walk you through the necessary steps to root your phone. Some devices can be rooted in minutes. Others take a little research. One thing is clear: rooting your phone can be one of the best ways to tap into the deep potential of your Android device.

Updated on 10-23-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in KingRoot information, as well as how to root the Galaxy S6 running Android 5.1.1 and Nexus devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Also added more info on installing the Android SDK tools and additional information on Kingo Root.

What is rooting?

Rooting is jailbreaking for Androids and allows users to dive deeper into a phone’s sub-system. Essentially, it’ll allow you to access the entire operating system and be able to customize just about anything on your Android. With root access, you can get around any restrictions that your manufacturer or carrier may have applied. You can run more apps, you can overclock or underclock your processor, and you can replace the firmware.

The process requires users to back up current software and flash (install) a new custom ROM (modified version of Android).

Why would you root?

sony unlock

One of the most obvious incentives to root your Android device is to rid yourself of the bloatware that’s impossible to uninstall. You’ll be able to set up wireless tethering, even if it has been disabled by default. Additional benefits include the ability to install special apps and flash custom ROMs, each of which can add extra features and streamline your phone or tablet’s performance. A lot of people are tempted by the ability to completely customize the look of their phones. You can also manually accept or deny app permissions.

You won’t find a lot of amazing must-have apps when you root, but there are enough to make it worthwhile. For example, some apps allow you to automatically back up all of your apps and all of their data, completely block advertisements, create secure tunnels to the Internet, overclock your processor, or make your device a wireless hotspot.

Related: How to disable Android apps

Why wouldn’t you root?

There are essentially three potential cons to rooting your Android.

  • Voiding your warranty: Some manufacturers or carriers will use rooting as an excuse to void your warranty. It’s worth keeping in mind that you can always unroot. If you need to send the device back for repair, simply flash the original backup ROM you made and no one will ever know that it was rooted.
  • Bricking your phone: Whenever you tamper too much, you run at least a small risk of bricking your device. The obvious way to avoid it happening is to follow instructions carefully. Make sure that the guide you are following works for your device and that any custom ROM you flash is designed specifically for it. If you do your research and pay attention to feedback from others, bricking should never occur.
  • Security risks: Rooting may introduce some security risks. Depending on what services or apps you use on your device, rooting could create a security vulnerability. For example, Google refuses to support the Google Wallet service for rooted devices.

Next page: How to prepare your Android phone for rooting

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