One of the best things about Android is that it’s so incredibly versatile. Android is the only mobile operating system that will let you change everything right down to the appearance of the home screen and the way you select your apps. If you so desire, you can make your phone completely different from anyone else’s and completely different from the way it was when you bought it. It can be personalized specifically to your needs, it can be
But when doing this the problem is that you can sometimes open yourself up to attacks. Android comes as it does for a reason, and if you start playing around with that too much you can cause damage. Here we will look at some of the most exciting modifications you can make without compromising your security or the function of your device.
The first thing to look at if you want to considerably change the look and feel of your device is your homescreen launcher. This is basically the app that your phone returns to when you hit home, which provides you with the most customization options and which gives you access to all your other apps in a convenient fashion.
The great news is that this isn’t really a hack and doesn’t raise any security, these are a just apps that you can install and remove as you wish directly from the Play Store. The only potential downside is that downloading the wrong one could cause your device to go slow and make it awkward to launch your apps – but then you can just uninstall it from the settings.
Services are apps that run constantly on your phone and stay in your notification tray. This can be useful as it allows them to collect more data or do things that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. For instance you can use a service to pop up reminders or to record your distance travelled. Some of these can add some very interesting features to your system – such as ‘pop up windows’ that allow for true multitasking.
But services can also collect a lot of information without you realizing, and they can slow down your device while draining your battery. Make sure to read all of the permissions that these apps ask for before you agree to install and make sure they make sense. Read the customer reviews and look into the developer, and consider using apps like ‘Juice Defender’ to see how much battery each is draining.
Now for the big question: is rooting your Android device safe? We know that it can allow for some rather impressive features, but at what cost?
Well first things first, rooting is not illegal. So you are allowed to do it if you want to. What it does do though is to allow your apps to access the internal structure of Android. This might sound like no bad thing, until you realize that that includes things like key-presses. So if you have a banking app on your phone, or if you want to avoid your texts being recorded, then rooting might not be the best idea for you. If you must try rooting your device, then do it on a tablet without access to your contacts and bank details – and be very cautious.
And of course installing things like custom ROMs – which is what many people root their devices for in the first place – can potentially ‘brick’ your phone or tablet if you aren’t careful and if you install the wrong product.
While I’m all for tweaking and altering your phone, it must be said that there are many ways to do this that don’t involve rooting and messing with your device. Do experiment, but be smart and sensible in how you go about it!