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.


  1. If one uses ones phone to connect to the “enterprise” (read, work), keep in mind that rooting may prevent one from using 2nd factor authentication systems like Duo for authentication. While one can work around this, this can be a problem. Similarly, payment system can be a problem if they detect root. I have been having ongoing battery life issues with my Axon ZTE 7 which led me to abandon using my phone without root (had left it stock). In retrospect rooting this phone given may have not been worth it.

  2. I reckon ALL phones should be able to be easily rooted. No Ifs. No Buts.

    I have a Samsung. It has numerous (non) essential apps that I want OFF. I don’t use them, I don’t want them, I won’t ever use them… because they are of no use to me. Which many millennial’s may find rather heretical. But truly… I have absolutely no use for Hangouts ffs! Totally useless to me. Along with sound recorder (I have a hearing disability and my speech is… well crap actually). And in the list is also Google+, Google Drive, Voice search, Navigate, FM radio etc. I want a machine that is clean and lean… let my pimp it out the way I want… which is clean uncluttered and on no more than 2 fecking screens.

  3. Well, there’s a reason all devices are not naturally rooted. These companies like Xiaomi and Samsung want us to use their own apps rather than prefer third-party ones. This is also one of the reasons why I do not depend on Google Play to download my apps. Sites like has all the apps available in the market and I can manually download and install them.

  4. As long as it’s Android/ Linux…It can, and will be rooted. ASOP can never really be roped off. Just the Google parts.

    I’m no 14 year old teenager, so I have zero need for GAPPS/ Hangouts/ Facebook/ or any other bloatware pre-installed with an Android device…Deleted.

    I do use Maps, but I shut off ‘Location’ instantly when done. I never, ever turn on location history. Google has creeped me out.

    I’m a tin-foil hat guy, so I have stripped out most of Googles’ data collection services from my device(s). Google gets about 15-20mb of data fro me per month opposed to the 1+ gigabytes they get from others (Yikes!)

    I love the ability root gives me to shut down Firebase Analytics, logging, advertising, crash reporting, and metrics processes built into Google Play Services, the OS, and most apps on the market.

    What I am left with is only my apps, a lean device, a FULLY customizable ROM/ Kernel, no ads systemwide, Viper4Android (My weakness), admin rights on a device I paid for, and supreme battery life.

    I get the actual ‘Android Experience’ without the spying/ battery draining parts. Not that anyone cares.

    Root has also given my Galaxy 3 (Data Plan) and 4 (Wifi Only) Tablets relevance in 2018. Also data-mining free.

    Yes, root is still needed for those who don’t like to be told what to do while simultaneously paying for such a privilege.

  5. You forgot the most important reason: many phone manufacturers andr cell service providers do NOT update the Android OS, either not frequently enough (On my ASUS/Google Nexus Tablet, I did not and could not get Security patches for 2 years (!) until rooted) or not at all (tracfone phones for example but really many others)

  6. Do I need to root my phone? No, it works fine as it is.

    But do I want to root my phone? Hell yes! The reasons for rooting my phone are:

    – Better control over what is installed on the phone, no more having to go with a cell phone plan with more data allowance just to accomodate the spyware among the bloatware. Why should I pay more just so some corporations can spy on me?

    – The removal of unwanted bloatware means better performance for more resource intensive apps, great for gaming.

    – The ability to install an android version that actually has regular updates and security patches long after the manufacturer stops supporting the device (which in most cases happens after a few months) meaning there is no need to worry about the latest security threats.

    – The ability to install better security and privacy oriented software that requires root access, no more choosing between a dns changer, firewall, ad blocker and proxy client. I can have all of them and have greater control over the device’s network activity.

    – Better performance from programs like greenify that help to reduce unnecessary background processes improving performance and battery life.

    – On android devices where using the device is impossible without first signing up for a google account, the choice not to have a google account. If I need google playstore apps I can use Aptoide or Yalp Store to get them without an account. This also has the added benefit of making tracking you harder for Google if you are concerned about privacy.

    – The ability to use software that further restricts apps that are needed for the device to function without disabling them completely which can imporove performance and reduce data usage.

    – The ability to install local backup and recovery software that surpasses the recovery options that already exist in android rendering your phone virtually impossible to brick (for those who do not know that term, it means rendering a device unable to work giving it no more functionality than a brick).

    In conclusion, as long as a person who rooted his/her device takes precautions and makes sure he/she knows what he/she is doing, rooting your device can grant you full control over it and allow you to not just make it yours but also improve the security and performance of the device as well as use alternatives to the stock android operating system which tend to have a longer support life than stock android on most devices.

    The only downside is if a person installs malware that requests root access and root access is granted to it then said malware can do more damage than if a device is not rooted but that is not a problem if you download from trusted sources and of course do your research because face it, 90% of free android applications including the bloatware manufacturers refuse to allow you to remove are spyware which is a form of malware so if you are concerned about privacy then you should do research on each app that you install which would desire or require root access. If you download root access programs from the f-droid app then you are guaranteed to be safe on that front and you can deny root access to all other apps.

  7. Without root, it is just a phone. With root, it is a business tool.
    1. With root, you get a real backup, locally, that will restore your phone back to the way you had it. That is NOT possible without it.
    2. With root, I can record all of my phone calls in both directions. There is NO way you can take notes during a phone conversation without missing details, and notes cannot document a conversation because all of the voice inflection is not there. (This does not work with Bluetooth) I’m not interested in comments about in some states it is illegal. It’s my phone and these are my business notes, and I use them for documenting my invoices when I do support.
    3. Control of Updates – When the carrier attempts to force on you some update that will destroy your productive update, you can rename the operating system binaries that enable him to do so.
    4. Privacy – You can use apps that can monitor and control your device to prevent it from leaking data to government entities that today are tax-sponsored organized crime. Even the IRS is engaged in industrial espionage for the benefit of competing companies of their own political persuasion. (Cover your selfie camera when you are not using it)
    *The drawbacks are: You cannot use your phone as a credit card, and it may void your phone warranty.
    *As far as bloatware, I disable and hide them. Some I group together in a folder. There can be consequences for getting rid of some of them, so I don’t. I simply get them out of the way.

    1. “There can be consequences for getting rid of some of them.”

      What might be the consequences, Jack?

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