Google has learned over the year to stop being a bully; just because they came up with Android. It should not mean they dictate how we use it, and those who have been rooting their phone have over the years sent that message home to Mountain View, California.
Let us examine some of the things your Android phone can do right now that previously Google did not allow. Yes, your current Android phone (if it is of a recent version) has features that previously required one to root in order to use.
Disabling Preinstalled Applications
Your phone (most phones) comes with preinstalled applications. Some are from Google while others are from the OEMs. If you do not find a use for these preinstalled apps, you can simply disable them and even go ahead to replacing them with alternative third-party apps.
Previously, there was no way you could do that and had to get used to running apps (one that came with the phone and a third-party one) side-by-side. The only workaround that inconvenience was to root your phone.
However, there is still room for improvement in this sector. We want the ability to not just disable, but completely uninstall apps that came with the phone.
Encrypting your Device’s onboard storage
Privacy and security have been a huge concern from day one of internet availability; though these days we appreciate it more than in yester-years. Today’s Android device will give you the option of encrypting the entire device storage.
Once encrypted, you will need a password to decrypt it and access data stored therein. Should you forget the password you set, there is no option or recovering the files stored therein since you will be forced to perform a factory reset. A double-edged sword that one!
However, in earlier years, users did not have the ability to encrypt their device’s storage unless they perform rooting. The advantage of rooting your device comes when you lose it, and it falls in the wrong hands. They will find it hard to get through your PIN, passphrase, or pattern lock, though in the right hands, they can access files stored locally on the device. If the device storage is rooted, they will find it virtually impossible to access those files.
You find something you like on the internet, or something incriminating, you take a screenshot by two-three taps on your screen. Simple, right? Well in the early years of Android, taking a screenshot was a highly technical affair; a privileged for the geeks.
One had to root their device before they could take a screenshot. It was a highly technical affair. Users with average tech skills could only do so by connecting their smartphone to their computer and use it to take screenshots.
Revoking App Permissions
If there is a major improvement Google has made on the Android mobile OS, it is the app permission controls. At the early years of the OS, users had no way of controlling what apps were doing on their devices or the type of information they were collecting.
These days, you can view what information apps are collecting and the phone features they have access to. You can then choose to revoke some or grant as you wish.
Things are said to get better with the upcoming Android Q, whereby permissions granted to an app will only be availed to them, only while using. More information on that here.
There are still some features Google is preventing you from using even in these modern day Android smartphones. That means there are still some advantageous and disadvantageous to rooting. More on that here.