More or less, I've been a rooting junkie since the first time I got my hands on an Android phone. My very first was the CDMA HTC Hero on Sprint and it only took me a few days to realize that there were limitations and that the out of box experience wasn't quite up to snuff. Within a week, I had rooted the Hero and kick-started my obsession with rooting, flashing ROMs and exploring all of the ins and outs of Android.

That was over two years and at least 40 Android devices ago. Since then, I've rooted and ROM'd every Android phone and tablet (the Kindle Fire, for instance) that has crossed my path. Some, I did it because I needed to in order to enjoy the device, others I did it because it was a tiny challenge (DROID X, ThunderBolt, Inspire). But I have spent a week and two days with the Galaxy Nexus now and haven't been remotely interested in rooting.

But why? What could possibly posses me, a rooting and ROM addict, not to root a Nexus of all devices? (To most Android purists and Nexus die-hards, that's like a mortal sin.) Here are just a few reasons why:


Unlocking the bootloader wipes the device

For starters, if you're going to root the Galaxy Nexus, you have to first unlock the bootloader. If you're going to do it at all, do it early, before you spend the time setting everything up. When you unlock the bootloader, in normal fashion, it wipes the device. All of your precious time spent setting up your beautiful Nexus will have been in vain. After a week with the Nexus, I finally have everything exactly how I want it – folders and widgets in the perfect place, all of my apps logged in and synced, etc. The last thing I want to or have time to do is start from scratch.


Overclocking and underclocking the processor

Battery life has been an issue with almost every Android phone I've ever owned – some obviously worse than others. The HTC ThunderBolt would only manage six hours per charge (without or without use) when I first got my hands on it. Exploring different ROMs and different clock speeds for the processor, I managed to squeeze at least a full day of use out of the ol' 'Bolt. Unlike most devices before, the Galaxy Nexus has been respectable in terms of battery life. Still, it's not mind-blowing or mountains better than devices of yesteryear, but at least I can leave the apartment without fear of it dying on me by noon ... or mid-afternoon, even.



Typically, when I buy an Android device, it isn't a Nexus. However, when I bought the Nexus One and Nexus S, one of the first things I wanted to do was root them and flash custom ROMs. I've always preferred stock Android over custom versions like Sense UI or TouchWiz. But even with stock Froyo and Gingerbread, pure vanilla Android just wasn't enough to keep me satisfied for more than a few weeks. The CyanogenMod efforts have always felt like an extended stock ROM. And while there are slightly tweaked Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs making an appearance in certain forums around the Web, I would rather just wait it out for CM9. Even then, I may continue to use purely stock Android 4.0 as long as possible.


Other flashable mods

If you've ever been part of the Android development world – either yourself a dev or just an end user looking for a better experience – you know that Android forums are always full of different hacks and mods beyond just full ROMs. Of all of the Android devices out there, the Nexus line has always managed to muster more development support, because it's ... well, a developer phone.

The only two things that I have come across that I would like to see in the form of a mod would be the ability to remap the volume up button to snap a picture from within the stock camera app and the ability to permanently set the User Agent String to Desktop. There is nothing I dislike more than snapping a picture by tapping an on-screen button. It's counterintuitive, even with image stabilization. And when it comes to today's smartphones, I hate constantly being redirected to mobile sites.


Native screen capture function

One of my main reasons for rooting in the past was to take screen captures without plugging into a computer and firing up ADB. But the ability to take screen shots in Android without root access was added in Gingerbread, though few devices and software took advantage of it. On the Galaxy Nexus, holding volume down and the power button for a few seconds will take a screen shot. I'm bad for taking hundreds of screen shots, and being able to without rooting or using another app is fantastic.


Maybe I don't want to root because I'm finally getting tired of setting my phone up every week and I know I'll fall into the habit of flashing a million different ROMs. But the point I'm trying to make is that with every update, Android is becoming more and more pleasing to use. And Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy Nexus has almost entirely removed my desire to root. I am perfectly content with everything, as is.

Now, I'm not trying to say that I will never root the Galaxy Nexus. I fully admit that I will probably cave and root at some point down the road – possibly  once a stable CyanogenMod 9 ROM makes an appearance. But for now, I'm perfectly happy with my unrooted, stock Galaxy Nexus.

What about you, guys and gals? Have any of you Galaxy Nexus owners taken the plunge and rooted yours? What for? Have you flashed any ROMs yet? Overclocked or underclocked? Or did you root just to ... root?

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114 Reactions to this post

"Do you root your Android devices?"

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dsDoan I've rooted & ROMed 3 out of 3 Android phones
Anonymous fuck shit fuck shit sex
Anonymous See NYTimes technology 12/26/11 – Phonedog is a legal bully
Frank Dizzle YEs i already rooted my gal nexus man i love it
Anonymous Sense 2.1 works perfectly well for me, I have no need to root it.
Aaron Couts I got ICS on my droid 3 I am a happy camper
Anonymous I do because I love seeing different roms on my Incredible 2. If I don't like them, I remove them.
Sebastian Gomes Rooted and custom ROM loaded
Shahid Khan Aaron Couts & Jeremy brown.... you must try to be abit more lije me.....Dont hate, dont be jelous! It gets you no where in life, you must learn to love those with different opinions in life too. If we all had same opinions, life would be boring. I know you wud agree with me that if you could, you would hav an Iphone too. You wud need to hav some mental issues if you dont want iphone! :-(
Jeremey Brown I've taken dumps that were more productive than the iPhone....ANDROID ALL THE WAY, HATERS!!!
Aaron Couts I'm getting ready to load a ICS rom on my phone. @Shadid I would of owned an Iphone but I need a physical keyboard. Unlike some I don't have small fingers so typing on that screen becomes a pain in the butt I can be more accurate on my droid 3 which has an physical keyboard. And another good thing about android phones, your not stuck with one model you have a variety of different phones to choose from. I can buy an iphone for the same price of an android phone. So go whine somewhere else, and don't be like an republican think before you speak.
Shahid Khan Android is crap, its just for people who cant afford Apple, so have to make do with Android, wich is a cheap, tacky rip-off of Apple anyway. Then we hav Android users being bitter towards Apple users & try to delude themselves & others that they are happy with Android....yeah right, be believe you....Not!!!
Alvin Stockhaus I rooted my Galaxy Spica. First to get 2.2, and just a while ago to get an alpha release of CM with 2.3 for Spica. samdroid.net is awesome btw. :D
William Smith Wish there was a one click root for my thunderbolt!
Moses S M Kawuma Victor, go for SGS2
Ceban Victor guys hel me to choose nokia lumia 800 or samsung galaxy nexus pls help me
Frank Zambrano Rooted my nexus s 4g way back I'm loving android 4.0.3
Joel Diaz lol nope i'm afraid to hahaha i love my thunderbolt! android already rocks my socks !
Tom Parker The BEST way to root an Android is to dig a BIG hole by a tree, bury you Android phone, then buy a fabulous iPhone.
Daniel Lujan Typing this comment on a rooted thunderbolt.
Emmanuel Castro There is no need to root this beast of a phone.
Matt SnowPaw Dalton Yes, only for certain apps because Android is so horrible though.
Schyler MagicTrax Johnson Yes, I rooted my old android phone. It's almost a must in my opinion. They're so many great apps and features available for rooted phones. The main one being the ability to reflash a different rom onto the phone. Essential if they dropped support for your device and you still want the latest android software or just want Cyanogen.
Rick Johnson I unrooted my Nexus S so I could upgrade to ICS. Wasn't getting enough from CM7 to warrant less stability and ICS gives me some of the reasons I rooted anyway (screen caps).
Mario Alan Perez Arreola done whit my xperia x10 and now my sgs II and hopefully my samsung galaxy note
Sam Rick Root is the name of the game.that's what makes android so appealing to me.the ability to customize my phone to my liking.
Ben Conover @Tyler Ray Shoulders http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1219246
Donny Blanchette Jr. I wish i could root my samsung dart go ahead and laugh thats all i could afford
freakintyler Where can I root my incredible 2?
Cory Wilson I'll just wait for the Samsung galaxy s3,until then I'll just keep my HTC evo
Brett James Burgoyne Rooted on cyanogen with my G2. I've rooted loads of phones. I rooted the G1, mytouch 3G, mytouch 3G Slide, G2 and Mytouch 4G. It is actually quite fun.
Chris Poblano Yesss!!! Cyanogen mod all the way!
Alan Sharif Yes I do and I love kt
Orion Pax The best reasons to root is: 1. Titanium Backup. 2. Free tethering. 3. Get rid of crapware. 4. Better battery life and performance. 5. All the awesome tweaks that should of been there from the beginning.
Eric Kroh NO phones should be unlocked if not done by the carrier or factory
Anthony Dunlap No because I don't know how to... And I'm scared to try.
Perro Rosello After sooooo many android phones i have been through, my AT&T SGS2 (Exynos one, not the Craprocket) is the first one i have felt i did not need to root it. the performnce here is what rom developerz dream about when they do their magic. The only reason id root it is as soon as a fully working stock ICS rom is available :D
Byron E. Cóto No need to root ICS
Ben Kramer Coming from an OG Droid which I rooted and rom'd obsessively, I'm going to hold out on my new Nexus for a bit as I am liking stock ICS a lot!
Rodger Samiie Myers I have the Nexus also..coming from a iphone4, I use to have the G1 (rooted) Vibrant (rooted) and mytouch4G (rooted) but with my Nexus...I feel no need...its clean ICS and the battery last me like 9 hours now
Zac Soares Sounds like the argument for not rooting is your lack of discipline. That being said, I agree that this would be the 1st phone that I could use without root but u already added Google wallet witch I needed root for
Joe Czo No I hate it
Jason Grob I rooted my Thunderbolt. i love it now. running sense 3.5 and android 2.3.4
David Harness I don't have an Android phone, yet. But I don't like hacking so I won't root.
Susie Tracey There would be no point in owning an Android without rooting it IMO... I change roms more than people change clothes! lol And if you waited around for Samsung to give you an update you'd grow old and die before getting it.
freakintyler I want to root my incredible 2 but Ill probably mess up haha
Aaron Couts Liberty rom on my droid 3
Chris Narez Hell yea. But I have not been able to root by thunderbolt any one as a easy way to do it
Brian Walden No, my Kindle Fire is great as is. Rooting would be a total waste of time and effort that could be used for other things.
Eskias McDaniels Toot it and root it
Adam Brewington Rooted my epic, and running an ERA ROM. Love it. Fast as hell, no bloatware, free tethering, too many perks to list...
Joshua Kim Is anyone else experiencing low ringer and low signal issues?
Stephani Espinoza Always! Hate factory bloated phones
Mark MacCurrie I'm a root junkie. Always root. I like to try different roms. And titanium backup is a must have for every rooted user. I think devices should be rooted by default.
Darwin Carbajal Always. Link for evo 3d root pleasee.
Steve Gaudreault I get free Internet because I rooted.
Alekks Herrera on the nexus s wat would b the benufets off rooting??? Wrn is the galaxy nexus coming to t-mobile??
Kermit Frosch Before I even put my sim in.
Tyler McConner I usually do but I haven't since my sensation. It kills my phone life.
Bob Fitzgerald Yes, I do.
Xue Xiong Root+android = freedom
Hunter Tea As soon as the resound has perm root and s-off I will
Kevin Gray The moment ics is working for my device I will.
C Bryan Thomas The out of the box experience doesn't compare to rooting and jailbreaking my devices. I have an Ipad 1 and an Amaze 4G both of which are jailbroken and rooted.
Ben Conover If you have a piece of shit phone like me, you HAVE TO. My next phone I'll probably kep a backup of the stock rom so I can check out the ICS build for it.
John Villanueva I rooted my Infuse, beyond that, not much else yet.
Tomas Contreras i do not root for android
James Gustavo Hidalgo Why wouldnt I..Im not uptight as the apple users that like to be controlled
Kristofer Brooks Yessir...rooted the G1 followed by my mytouch slide 3G. Best choice I ever made. (Btw. For all you who don't know. Rooting refers to replacing the android OS provided on your phone by the manufacturer with a custom OS that usually gives features that may not have been intended for your phone model among other things. If performed incorrectly it can render your device useless and unusable - root with caution and do your research before hand!)
Rani Hinnawi i'm too lazy to figure it out
Omar Leon Hell yea
Tom Huggett Getting a sensation Tuesday:) is there any need to root? Someone help?
Andri Alfansyah Yes I do...Things must always be customised...and I will be upset if things just don't work out as I want...so rooting is a need...
Javier Olivarez what does "root" mean? what does it do? I have seen you talk about it several times. I have a Samsung Skyrocket.
Lorenzo Campbell Tempted to root mine for that Revolution HD from but I'm waiting as well.
Ethan Shrago Will best buy price match amazon wireless's price??
Anthony 'mrDeedz' Kennedy I root to get rid of all that bloatware/crapware that the service provider throws on
Blake Burkhart I dont know what that is.
Louie Villeda I am running mine all natural for a while before I unlock it and root it, loving my new Samsung Galaxy Nexus by Google powered by Verizon LTE 4G =)
Andrew M. Lowe I always root my devices and have successfully rooted over 20 devices for myself,friends,family,etc. I'm a root junkie!!!
Scott Pilgrim Never tried it.
Brain Roopull I rooted just so I could turn off the annoying camera shutter sound. I honestly haven't found any other reason to or benefit. There isn't a newer OS for mine (yet,) and with as fast as it is, there's no reason to overclock.
Carlos Quinones Depends on the phone. Some android phones that are glitchy or too laggy, yes. But some, like the galaxy s2 or some of the other dual core androids really don't need it.
Nicolas Flores I would root but im scared to mess up my mytouch 4G Slide. If theres an easy root let me know
Josh Therezo I just bought my Galaxy S II: Epic 4G Touch on Monday and literally the first thing I did when I got it was root and flash a custom ROM!
Gerald Dawkins I do, but haven't with the sensation
Mohammad Ashraf Mahmoud nope not yet. my sensation xe not rooted
Gunny Wallen I root too. Galaxy S II.
Brandon Johnson Lol well before I updated my N1 to 2.3.4 I used to have it rooted, now I can't really root it again. And none of those one click roots seem to work... Figures this would happen around a new update.
Trey Liggins I sure do. Rooting is a necessity!!!!
Nick White Every Android phone I get, I root it
Drew Smith iPhone :$
Husam Hammadi Of course, I'm cooking roms now, and learning
Bart Petersen I've just rooted my EVO 3D! And previously my xperia x10. I like!
Luis Reich I root all my devices on the first day... What warranty??? lol
Julio Maniratunga rhetoric question.
J Kasey Haggerty Nice time on the clock....stoner. lol
Adam Khana Charsi I have a working ICS build on my SGS.. OF COURSE I DO.
Cristian Tomasito What's that ?
Huy Pham I do :) Galaxy S II
Yusuf Bahadur I'm too tired scared to screw up my sensation
Devin Simpson Of course ;)
Ryan Gregory I Root/Jailbreak/Hack all my devices... mainly because imma control freak :D

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