Do You Still Need to Root Your Android Phone in 2021?

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Rooting Android phones has been a key element of smartphone ownership life ever since they became popular. By rooting a phone, you take control over the key system admin functionalities of it, allowing for more advanced customization of the device. Back in the early days you may have heard people say that rooting your phone is a must that everyone should do. Is it still a valid piece of advice today? And if so, what are the benefits of doing so in 2021?

What Is Rooting?

Rooting is nothing more than “unlocking” or “Jailbreaking” your Android device. By rooting, you have access to the root software allowing you to have access to every ounce of the software. You will also be able to grant apps root access. Applications made for rooted devices need this access to perform tasks or enabling features not intended for your device.

Why Do People Root Their Phones?

To answer this, let’s look at whether or not the reasons people rooted their phones transited to the modern era. If the reasons still hold up today, then there’s still a case for rooting your phone in the modern day.

Removing Bloatware

“Bloatware” is the term for software that’s pre-installed on a device or computer. You don’t get a choice whether it’s installed or not – it comes as part of the default package. Some devices allow you to uninstall these apps, while some are rooted within the system files and can’t be scrubbed without elevated permissions. Root access allows you to have control over the bloatware, so you can delete even the most stubborn of apps.

Is this still relevant in 2021?

Yes! Most phones still come with bloatware today, some of which can’t be installed without rooting first. Rooting is a good way of getting into the admin controls and clearing up room on your phone.

Installing Root-Only Apps


Some apps (such as tethering, backup, and advanced video recording apps) require full control over the hardware in order to work. This, therefore, means they need root access to fulfill their designed usage. If you were in the market for these kinds of apps, you had to root your phone to be able to take advantage of them.

Is this still relevant in 2021?

Yes! There are still apps in the Play store that require root permissions for the full range of features. For example, Google has since denied the ability to record the screen with its audio on the default operating system. Rooted screen capture apps can bypass this and allow system audio recording alongside the video.

Better System Performance and Functionality


In the early days of Android it wasn’t easy to do specific tasks or ensure your phone was working optimally. Back in Android 3.0, for instance, you couldn’t take a screenshot without downloading the Android SDK first. You also needed root access if you wanted to better optimise your apps to save battery life.

Is this still relevant in 2021?

Not really! Some features are now in the stock Android OS – screenshots, for example, have been included in the base software since version 4.0. It’s also much better optimized than in its early days; while a rooted phone could probably be optimised even further, it’s at the level where you don’t need root access for a smooth experience.

It’s Easy – So Why Not?

Android was also pretty easy to crack open. Back in the day there were a few easy exploits and tricks you could use on specific models that could bust it open in minutes, all by yourself. As such, rooting was something recommended simply because it was simple to do and brought about some nice benefits as a result.

Is this still relevant in 2021?

No! Android devices are now much harder to root than in the past. Some phones are not designed to be rooted whatsoever, making the process a lot harder for the common user. On top of that, once the phone is rooted, there are apps that can detect root access and refuse to boot up if found. Recent examples include Pokémon Go and Super Mario Run.

Do You Need to Root?


Let’s go back to the original question: do you need to root your Android device on arrival? Back in the day Android devices were unoptimized, lacked basic features that needed root, and it was often very easy to do in a few minutes. These days, however, rooting is only a “need” for people who want to take the extra effort to receive what rooting offers. Even then, it’s a chore that could lock you out of a few apps that dislike rooted phones.

If you want complete control over your phone, want to install root-only apps, scrub away bloatware, and generally hate the idea of a developer having more control over your phone than you do, nothing has changed on that front. You do still need to root your phone to get the benefits you desire. This has gotten a lot harder in recent years, so be sure you pick a root-friendly phone before you’re left unhappy with the results.

However, if you just want a phone that comes with all the basic features, you’ll find they’re already in Android by default these days. As such, you don’t need to root your phone and can enjoy the stock experience the phone offers without worrying about if an app will lock you out of it.

Root of the Problem

While there is definitely a present “need” to root phones in 2021, it’s not as prominent as it was in the early days. The common user can use an unrooted phone without issues, while someone conscious about making their phone wholly theirs still won’t find any solace in the modern stock versions of Android.

Do you think phones should be rooted in 2021? Let us know below!

Image credit: Rooting my HTC Hero Android Phone

Simon Batt
Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.

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