Even though you bought and paid for it, your Android device prevents you and your apps from gaining root (aka administrative) access to the operating system. However, if you follow a few simple steps, you can root your phone or tablet. With that access, you can install a custom ROM, uninstall bloatware, undervolt your device for longer battery life or run special rooted apps that give you new capabilities such as the ability to shoot screen videos, grab your laptop's Internet connection or remote control your phone from Windows.
Here are instructions for rooting today's top Android devices.
The most popular Android phone on the market has speedy Snapdragon 801 CPU, gorgeous HD Super AMOLED display and amazing 16-MP camera with plenty of software. However, you can get even more out of your Samsung Galaxy S5 if you root it: running rooted apps, deleting bloatware, overclocking or customizing the UI.
How to Root the Galaxy S5 (Verizon and AT&T)
How to Root the Galaxy S5 (T-Mobile)
LG's flagship phone sports a sharp, 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 display, a speedy Snapdragon 801 CPU and an accurate 13-MP camera. However, to really unlock the G3's potential, you'll want to root it so you can remove bloatware apps permanently and customize the UI. The G3 Tweaksbox app, for example, allows you to control how many apps are in the launcher dock, change the LED color for alerts and turn off the camera shutter noise
HTC's One M8 has a gorgeous unibody aluminum design, a brilliant screen and a unique Sense UI on top of Android. However, if you want to make the most of it, rooting will allow you to change to a custom ROM without HTC's overlay, overclock or remove carrier bloatware.
One of the first watches to run Google's Android Wear OS, the LG G Watch can bring your email, calls, SMS messages and other alerts from your phone to your wrist. Rooting the device gives you the opportunity to improve performance and potentially change other key settings.
Google's Nexus 5 offers a sharp HD screen, a powerful processor and a pure version of Android 4.4 KitKat. However, it doesn't come with root access out of the box. By following a few simple steps, you can gain the ability to add extra features to your Nexus 5 or change it to another ROM.
Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 offers a ton of features out of the box, but once you root it, you can install a custom ROM in lieu of the phone's heavy Sense UI, add any app you want to the phone's very-limited list of split-screen-capable apps or get rid of the annoying crapware that your carrier polluted thephone with. With a rooted Galaxy Note 3, you can even make any app you want appear in a floating "Pen Window."
LG's G2 smartphone features a full HD, 1920 x 1080 display, a 2.2-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and a sharp 13-MP camera, but this 5.2-inch high-end phone doesn't give you administrative access out of the box. With a few simple steps, you cna gain full control of your LG G2 to install custom ROMs or dump any apps you don't like.
When you buy the Moto X (from AT&T at least), you can customize its color scheme, but you can't replace its ROM or remove bloatware. However, if you root the phone, you can upgrade to the latest version of Android or install custom versions of the operating system such as CyanogrenMod.
The Sony Xperia Z is made to withstand up to 30 minutes under water and still maintain its Bluetooth connection. However, it's also not made to allow you access to all parts of the file system or to change your ROM to something like Cyanogen Mod, unless you root it.
With an HTC One, you can take great low-light photos, watch movies on a brilliant 4.7-inch screen or keep up with your social updates on its BlinkFeed home screen. However, you'll be running out of juice pretty quickly with the device's non-removable battery. If you root the HTC One, you can undervolt its CPU for longer endurance, remote carrier software or install a clean ROM without the HTC's heavy Sense UI.