Root Your Android Device

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and root your Android phone.  Maybe one of these reasons pushed you over the edge.  So how do you do it?  Depending on your phone, there are different steps required.  Some are very easy, while others require some tech knowledge and command-line code.   This article will discuss the rooting methods for the more popular Android phones available right now.

Disclaimer: Rooting your device is risky.  It may void the manufacturer’s warranty, and may ruin your device – even if done properly.  Hijinks, Inc. and myself take no responsibility for any damages that may occur by doing so.

Motorola Droid (2.1 or 2.2 FRG01B), Motorola Droid X ( 2.1), Google Nexus One (2.2)

  • If you have one of these devices, there are several ways to root.  This first option is very easy, but does cost at least $0.99 for the app.  You can pay for an app called “EasyRoot” that is a one-click app that will root your device.  It works very well, but requires a PayPal purchase and downloading an app from outside the Android Market.
  • Link to EasyRoot Site
  • Difficulty: 1 out of 5
  • Risk of bricking: 1 out of 5 (Droid/Nexus One), 2 out of 5 (Droid X)

Motorola Droid (running any Android OS version)

  • If you don’t want to pay for an app to root your Droid, and have access to a Windows PC, you can follow a different set of steps to root your device and install a custom recovery.  These steps are a bit more involved, but will work even if you have the second Android 2.2 update (FRG22D).  MotoCache1 from Droidforums.net wrote up an awesome how-to on the forum.
  • Link to how-to
  • Difficulty: 4 out of 5
  • Risk of bricking: 1 out of 5

HTC Droid Eris, HTC Droid Incredible, Sprint EVO 4G, HTC Desire (2.1 Only)

  • The unrevoked team had developed an app for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS that will root and install a custom recovery on any of these devices (running Android 2.1 only).  The program is very polished and makes it pretty painless to root these devices.  You simply turn on USB Debugging (Settings -> Applications -> Development), plug your phone into your computer, and start the app.
  • Link to Downloads
  • Details Page
  • Difficulty: 2 out of 5
  • Risk of bricking: 1 out of 5

Sprint EVO 4G (2.2)

  • If your EVO is already running Android 2.2, the current rooting procedure is pretty complicated, but doable if you have some patience and are willing to risk it, here’s the link to the steps.  You will need a  Windows PC and will have to install the Android SDK.   Hopefully someone will build an easier process (I would imagine unrevoked will be doing so) before too long.
  • Link to forum
  • Difficulty: 5 out of 5
  • Risk of bricking: unknown but at least moderate

Motorola Droid 2

  • The Droid 2 has been rooted, but the process is not simple, and fairly risky at this point, since there is no full firmware flash available if something goes wrong.  Most of the devices above have ways to be restored to stock if they crash, but the Droid 2 doesn’t yet.  Definitely proceed at your own risk here.  Sebastian Krahmer managed to discover this process, and like the EVO running 2.2, requires installing the Android SDK on a Windows machine.
  • Link to forum
  • Difficulty: 5 out of 5
  • Risk of bricking: probably 5 out of 5

UPDATE: HTC Droid Eris (2.1) – if unrevoked doesn’t work

  • So I tried rooting my wife’s Droid Eris using unrevoked, but couldn’t get it to connect to the program.  I found a very simple replacement process that works like a charm.  It’s a program you download to your phone and it roots it and installs a recovery from within the app.  I can confirm that it works perfectly.
  • Link to forum
  • Difficulty: 2 out of 5
  • Risk of bricking: 2 out of 5

    As you can see, the rooting process varies widely among the major devices, going from very simple to extremely complicated.  If you’ve got a Motorola Droid or one of the HTC devices, there’s almost no reason not to root.  The process is easy, and opens up opportunities to remove useless system apps and do things like wireless tethering.

    If I’m missing your device, leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can dig up and add to this post.  If you’ve found a better/easier way to root one of these devices, leave a comment as well.  I’d also love to hear if you tried any of these methods and how it worked for you.  Happy Rooting!

    Published by

    Ryan Minert

    is the resident Android nerd. His hobbies include golfing, video games, and tinkering on his Motorola Droid. He is currently a database/project analyst for an education planning and financing corporation.

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