Do you still hack your phones?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: January 28, 2013

When I bought my first Android smartphone, the last thing on my mind was breaking out my laptop and flashing the latest mod. I wasn't even sure what "rooting" was, considering it was the second Android smartphone to grace the U.S. market.

It was the HTC Hero and, considering it was a brand new phone, there weren't a ton of mods available. If I had kept the phone longer than two weeks, I likely would have hacked and modded it seven ways to Sunday.

But the very next device I purchase, the Palm Pre, I modded within days of picking it up. And the next 40 Android devices I got my hands on, I rooted within days of buying. I flashed tiny mods, custom ROMs, restored to stock and flashed more ROMs. I spent days on end modifying phones, never being totally content.

I also dabbled in jailbreaking iOS devices for a while, modding my iPhone and iPad to do exactly what I wanted it to do, adding features that should be available out of the box. But jailbreaking just wasn't my thing and back to Android modding it was.

Eventually, it all became old and monotonous.

I grew tired of the time it took to setup my device each and every time I flashed a new ROM. And I grew tired of constantly having to flash updates to patch bugs and fix the never-ending flow of glitches. The modding community was great, and getting the best of both worlds in almost any scenario (pick the best hardware and flash the best software) was fantastic.

But I neither had the time or patience to constantly flash hacks and mods to my phones. It's a never-ending process, one that can sometimes take you on a four-hour long detour because you missed a minor detail in the very beginning.

Back in August, I all but wrote rooting and modding off. Between non-Nexus devices and locked bootloaders, the modding community got much more cloudy for a while. ROMs were half-baked and mods were more and more ridden with bugs – at least for the several devices I had throughout 2012. So I all but quit modding altogether.

Along came the Galaxy Note II. It's the only device I have even remotely hacked since August. In November, I rooted the Galaxy Note II, solely to apply a simple mod that opened up the Multi-Window. I did a little research, discovered how quick and easy it was, so I decided to go through with it, knowing I wouldn't go all out with it and would stop modding immediately after.

Lately, however, I have been drawn back to hacking and modding. I haven't broken that barrier yet, as I don't have a device that I really want to mod. But I see myself digging back into CyanogenMod again very soon. My sabbatical has gone on long enough, and I'm ready to get back into the inner workings of Android and fixing any shortcomings that arise.

There's nothing quite like fooling around in a terminal for a while with ADB. And there's nothing quite like flashing a custom recovery or flashing a new ROM and completely refreshing the feel of a dating phone. Whenever I get my hands on a new phone, likely a Nexus, I'm digging back into the world of modding like there's no tomorrow.

Have you had your fair share of modding, ladies and gents? Did you ever get burned out of flashing new ROMs, recoveries and other mods? Or has it always maintained a certain luster in your eye?