What is ''root''?
Android is based on Linux. On Linux and other UNIX-like operating systems, the root user is equivalent to the Administrator user on Windows. The root user has access to the entire operating system and can do anything. By default, you don’t have root access to your Android device, and certain apps won’t function without root access.
With root access, you can disable the bloatware that comes with your phone, manually deny app permissions, run a firewall, access the entire file system, or tether your device, even if tethering functionality has been disabled. You’ll find many apps that require root access in the Google Play store (formerly known as the Android Market), although they won’t function until you root your device.
Rooting isn’t mandatory – you only need to root your device if you want to do things that require root access.
Before you root your Android phone or tablet, there are a few things you should be aware of:
Some manufacturers assert that rooting voids your device’s warranty. However, rooting will not actually damage your hardware. You can “unroot” your device and manufacturers won’t be able to tell if it’s been rooted.
Google Wallet, in particular, has a vulnerability on rooted devices that could allow other apps to access your PIN and other wallet information. Google Wallet displays a warning message if you run it on a rooted device. If you’re one of the few people using Google Wallet for NFC payments, you may want to reconsider rooting your device.
Rooting a device is a very safe process. However, there’s always some danger of “bricking” a device when you go outside the normal parameters and hack around with it — particularly if you’re trying to root a device or operating system version not supported by a tool. “Bricking” refers to breaking the device, making it about as useful as a brick. When you root, jailbreak, or install a custom ROM, or otherwise hack around, you do so at your own risk. It’s a good idea to do a little bit of research first and see if other people report success rooting your device.