I’m a years-long user of Android, and I have some some basics security skills when it comes to using computers (hygiena, etc).
My current Android-phone is NOT rooted and thus it prevents me from installing / using some useful apps.
For newbies about Android or computing, you have to know about the operation named Rooting a device (read on Wikipedia). The goal is to get full access (all rights), just like the Admin privileges on Windows, which are almost equivalent of root access on Linux systems (Android is derivated from Linux, nerds say “forked”).
The rooting is very specific and you need to think twice before doing it. There’s no coming back.
AND in addition you can’t ONLY do it on the very start of your “journey” : during the very first steps of launching you new device. It deeply affects your phone and files, and this is why I post in this section “Setup”.
Not to be confused with:
- flashing = replacing the ROM (ie the actual files that run the system) by another one (circa: injecting an other version version of Android onto a current smartphone, after wiping all previous files, the phone/tablet will now boot on the new ROM you have chosen),
- encrypting = “one-way encoding” (actually cipher) of all files so that only YOU can access / read / write them. Encrypting can be done at any time on an Android device. Warning: Some countries or laws may force you to deliver the code/password to decrypt it so that a Judge/Police can access/read/copy everything on you system, both config files or personal data. Know your rights.
Basically when it comes to rooting (correct me if I’m wrong) :
- you get and unbox you brand-new or refurbished phone, or you have successfully flashed it,
- you root it NOW, at THIS STEP, then reboot,
- and now, you may do whatever you want : creating users, downloading F-Droid for Libre Apps, browsing the web, importing contacts, SMS, syncing data with you previous phone… because rooting gains you full access but wipe all data in the process. So IF you want to root, EITHER you do it on the very first days of you new smartphone, EITHER you need to backup everything before trying it. NB: rooting might void your warranty.
Most apps don’t need root access. Most users don’t need it.
Is rooting a /e/ smartphone very specific compared to other common versions of Android?
May it create / occur “interferences” / issues with upgrades… or microG or other micro-services… or any other pieces of software?
Do the Developpers have on official position about it?