Sometimes our smartphones are full of factory installed applications that we’d like to remove, either because we don’t use them or because they take up a lot of space.
Many manufacturers fill their devices with a multitude of apps and some operators even include theirs as well.
To remove them completely we need to be root, but there is also the possibility of deactivating them.
Disable/Disable Factory Android Apps without root
Instead of rooting to root out the problem and expose ourselves to the dangers that come with it, we’re going to try disabling the applications we don’t need.
This process will uninstall all updates received by these factory apps, erase their data and delete their cache.
Therefore some memory space will be released and the application will no longer be visible in the application drawer.
Without making root it is only possible to disable pre-installed applications, but this process already frees up some space.
To disable or disable a pre-installed application we need to follow these steps:
- Go to Settings > Applications
- Here is a list of all applications in alphabetical order. Find the app you want to uninstall and select it.
- Inside the application information just below its name and version you will find a button to disable or disable (the term depends on the manufacturer and both mean the same thing).
- You will ask for a confirmation and click on ‘Disable application’.
- Once disabled, we can erase your data and uninstall your updates, since we will not use the application to free up that space.
Delete pre-installed Android applications with root
Even if you are root it is not advisable to delete applications like crazy since many of them are directly related to the system itself (for example Settings or SystemUI).
The applications that you can safely delete are those typical of the operator or manufacturer in question (for example ChatON Samsung ) as well as others from Google such as Youtube, Gmail, StreetView, Facebook, the browser, etc..
The first thing you need is obviously root access. Then we will need an application that detects the applications in the system and allows us to easily delete them.
If you are a real Android expert I suppose you will like to do these things manually and for that you need a file explorer with root access, such as X-plore File Manager.
By granting root permissions to the file explorer and depending on the application you may also need to enable root explorer mode.
With these permissions you will be able to read and modify the system partition. Inside the ‘System/apps’ directory you will find all the applications of the system, but as I said before, be careful what you delete.
What’s Root? Advantages and disadvantages of rooting your Android
What is root? What is rooting a cell phone?
The word root comes from the English and its translation into Spanish is “raíz”. Being root on a Unix system (such as Android, Linux, Chrome OS, Mac OS or Orbis OS used on PS4) means having access to the root directory, where we have installed the entire operating system.
It is also called being a Superuser and ultimately is having full access to the system. Something like being (or having rights to) an administrator on a Windows system.
A normal Android user has no rights to delete or modify operating system files. When we become a super-user, doors are opened that the system had been closed until now, since we will be able to manipulate all its files.
This gives you great freedom to modify your own system. Being root is not absolutely necessary to enjoy our smartphone, but it does give us many more possibilities. On the other hand, it has its risks and disadvantages.
How does root work?
Being root implies having more permissions than other users. Generally, to have these advanced permissions we will have to modify our operating system.
All the Android systems that the manufacturers include in our terminals do not have root access by default to guarantee the security of the user.
To rotate or root a terminal we must install a firmware with this type of privileges, either installing the whole new system or at least a modification of the operating system.
The process to become root depends on the manufacturer, the model of our device and the Android version you are running.
The first step is to skip the bootloader lock to install new software. On some devices this is factory locked and does not allow the normal user to install another operating system or part of it.
There are manufacturers who offer unlock codes. In other cases, such as Nexus, the bootloader can be unlocked with the ADB from a computer with a single command.
But if the manufacturer does not offer to release the bootloader we will need an exploit that breaks the lock and allows us to install a custom recovery from which we can install what we want.
By doing this manipulation on our device, we are naturally altering the initial state and this can lead to problems with the warranty. In some cases the process may be reversible to restore factory settings and reinstall the ROM or official operating system.
Will I lose the warranty by being root?
We’re entering swampy terrain. We have all heard that when we do root we lose the guarantee, partly certain and partly not.
As I just said, if you manipulate the initial state of the phone, the warranty is lost. But with a bit of cunning and knowing the necessary European Union directives we can avoid that obstacle.
If you live in the European Union, and your smartphone was purchased in one of the member countries, the issue of root and warranty is a little more complicated, depending on the manufacturer and the device you can lose it or not.
In short, if the error in your smartphone is not the result of root, there is nothing to fear. However, if the matter is complicated for you, or if you don’t know why your smartphone needs to be taken to the technician, you may want to restore it to factory settings and flash the original ROM.
Beware of the flashing counter on Samsung devices, one of the first things the technician in question will look at. Therefore, it is highly advisable to reset the flashing counter (only on Samsung terminals).
What’s the point of making the smartphone root?
As I said before, with root access we get full control of our Android smartphone (who doesn’t want that?).
This control will allow us to install Custom ROMs, remove unused serial applications and make complete copies of data through, for example, Titanium Backup, and use an endless number of applications that need root permissions.
It should be noted that by switching to a root kernel, and without installing a custom ROM, we can make a lot of changes in our smartphone thanks to the Xposed Framework modules. If you are interested in this topic I recommend you to consult the best modules for Xposed.
Next I’m going to explain the main advantages and disadvantages of rooting the device. Changing the software that your manufacturer puts on your device has its pros and cons and you always have to be cautious.
Reasons to roote
1. A new world of applications
Android offers a wide range of applications for all kinds of occasions and purposes, but when we want to do something a little “more advanced” root permissions are always required.
With root access we can use programs to uninstall bloatware (preinstalled apps), in addition to Firewall, management systems for multi-touch control with gestures and all those applications for root that modify system files.
On the other hand there are applications that, although they work without root permissions, offer many more functions when we have them.
2. Personalization like never before
Android devices are famous for the ability to change launcher, icon packs, wallpapers, ringtones, keyboard sounds and much more.
However, this personalization is limited to a superficial aesthetic change. With root permissions you can modify the system files to your liking, including system sounds and boot animation.
3. Performance beyond
There are many applications that can free up your RAM and improve the speed of your device. In fact we even have a forum thread in which we propose several solutions, many with root, to improve the storage of your smartphone.
With normal methods it is very difficult, if not impossible, to overcome the limitations imposed by the hardware. Once again, root permissions come to the rescue and with them we can even speed up the CPU speed by overclocking.
4. Optimizes the battery
Smartphones continue to evolve, but the Achilles heel of almost all is the battery. Many devices struggle to make it to the end of the afternoon without having to recharge.
With root permissions you will be able to access different files that control the energy consumption, having a greater control of the CPU and its limits of battery control.
5. Xposed Modules
Xposed is a framework for which there are different modules that allow you to modify and customize even the most remote aspect of your smartphone. You can only have Xposed if you are root.
The possibilities are endless and there are many developers involved and very motivated to bring you the latest features.
Xposed to customize anything you want
6. Make deep backups
Each Android device has the ability to back up applications and certain data within the settings or by using Kies-type management software.
Even if you decide to use these functions and combine them with the services offered in the cloud, nothing can compete with everything that root permissions offer you.
Starting with the full backup that can be done from a custom recovery or with an application like Titanium backup.
7. Absolute control of your device
What bothers some users the most is not being able to use freely and without restrictions something that is ours. By its nature, Android is a free system that was born with the idea of creating an ecosystem of independent software and hardware, at least as much as possible.
Obtaining root permissions, in addition to the benefits mentioned above, makes you the only sovereign of your phone, being able to do whatever you want, customize it as you like and not depend on any manufacturer (neither for the good, nor for the bad).
Reasons not to rotate
1. Rooting jeopardizes the safety of your Android
As you can see, every time you install an application, it asks you to give it privileges. If you are a root user of your terminal, you can give any application access to all system files.
In other words, you override the action limits that applications normally have. The applications are no longer in a secure enclosure and have access to everything.
2. Fewer and fewer applications need root access
With each Android version more opportunities open up to the general public. At the beginning of the Android expansion, the system was more closed. You needed root access for a lot more things than you do now.
For example, with Lollipop you can record the desktop while doing any task or tutorial and edit a video, which until Android 4.4 Kitkat was something that was only reserved for root users. And with the next version, Android P, the possibilities will continue to increase.
3. Being root is complicated
To begin with, you have to search the web for information on how to rotate, as each terminal is rotated differently and sometimes the process can be complicated. But anyway I would say that rooting your Android is the easy part.
The hard part starts in the day-to-day life of the root user, since you have to be careful with the applications you install, what permissions you give them, what pages you browse, where you connect, what system file you delete, and so on.
And if something bad happens it’s just you and your brick, and pray that someone has happened before and you find it in some forum.
4. Problems with updates
When we are root users we may have problems updating the firmware of our terminal via OTA. Given the wide range of manufacturers, it is very difficult to give a general figure. However, the trend is that notices of new updates disappear when the terminal is rotated.
Although it will always be possible to install new software manually. However we get the update, the most likely is that it will end with the rooteado of the terminal, having to redo the process if we want to enjoy again their privileges.
5. You can lose the warranty
Obviously giving you root access privileges is something that is not officially allowed by the manufacturers. Otherwise they would sell the terminals directly rooted from the factory.
In Europe, and depending on the terminal, legislation can be benevolent to the user. If you are able to undo the root, surely you will not have problems in the technical service.
But in many parts of the world this is not the case, you can usually lose the warranty at the same time you rotate the smartphone.
Some devices, such as Samsung, also incorporate a flash counter that won’t take your eyes off when you install a new unofficial operating system on the terminal. Although this counter can be reset to zero, no one can assure you that you will not lose your warranty.
What is a ROM?
Generally speaking, the ROM is the part of memory that contains the operating system of your Android. But also called ROM is the software that contains the operating system which is installed in that memory, is like inheriting the name.
There are both official ROMs that are those that the manufacturer installs on our device and there are also custom ROMs or cooked ROMs that are developed by the community, from anonymous developers to organizations like Cyanogen. These custom ROMs often offer more features and options than we see in the original ROM.
What does flashing mean?
“Flashear”, also from the English “flash”, refers to the installation of a ROM. The flashing process can be done from a computer with ADB or Odin (Samsung) by connecting the device with a USB cable or directly from the Custom Recovery that you have previously installed in the terminal.
Will I receive official updates as root?
Yes and no. A rotated device does not usually receive updates via OTA. In some cases you can download the update but then it cannot be installed. Normally there is always a possibility to install the update manually.
What is a Custom Recovery?
The Recovery Mode is used to perform different operations such as correcting errors or restoring to factory settings. However, if we install a custom recovery we will get more options such as the possibility of flashing a cooked ROM.
To be or not to be root? Conclusion
Being root is not for all audiences. You have to be of age in Android knowledge. Being a super user on your smartphone opens the door to many functions but also endangers your device against viruses and Trojans.
Root can open the doors to many interesting things, such as installing applications just for root or install another operating system (ROM), but if you do not have these concerns to modify your system to the known limit putting at risk the security of it may not be worth it in any of the ways.