Glossary of Android OS Terms

The list below defines some of the basic terminology of the Android platform


The term “root” comes from the Unix/Linux world and is used to describe a user who has “superuser” rights or permissions to all the files and programs in the software OS (Operating System). The root user, because they have “superuser” privileges, can essentially change or modify any of the software code on the device. You see, your phone manufacturer/carrier only gives you “guest” privileges when you purchase your device.

This is the process of applying root to your phone. Basically think of it as unlocking all the options of your phone. By default you are a user, and you have limited privileges to do things on your phone.

You cannot really modify any internal aspects of the phone. Rooting gives you a super user access, effectively giving you extra permissions and more freedom to play around with your phone. Things such as taking screenshots, backing up all data to do with an app or overclocking your phones processor.

“Rooting” your device means obtaining “superuser” rights and permissions to your Android’s software. With these elevated user privileges, you gain the ability to load custom software (ROM’s), install custom themes, increase performance, increase battery life, and the ability to install software that would otherwise cost extra money (ex: WiFi tethering). Rooting is essentially “hacking” your Android device. In the iPhone world, this would be the equivalent to “Jailbreaking” your phone.

Why root your Android phone or tablet?

Rooting AndroidThe main reason people root their Android device is for freedom and control, and when you root your Android phone or tablet you gain full control over your system and can tweak it to your liking.

  • Improved performance
  • Altering system files
  • More application choices
  • Install applications to your SD card
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Tethering

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