TowelRoot has caused a stir in the Android community over the past few weeks.
TowelRoot, in case you haven’t heard of it, can root several previously unrootable devices, including:
-Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on Verizon/AT&T
-Samsung Galaxy S5 on Verizon/AT&T
These two devices were notoriously difficult to crack. So difficult, in fact, that members of the XDA Developers Forum would eventually offer a $20,000 bounty to whoever could successfully root the devices.
That’s a lot of money. Eventually, George Hotz put together TowelRoot and won the bounty. TowelRoot is available for free on TowelRoot.com and claims to root any Android device in the world today.
But does TowelRoot actually work? Should you download and use it? Is rooting risky? Today, I’m going to answer those questions with this list of pros and cons:
Pros of using TowelRoot to root your Android device
It’s ridiculously easy to use
To root your phone using TowelRoot, simply go to TowelRoot.com in your mobile internet browser and tap on the lambda icon. The website will download ‘TR.apk’ to your device. Tap that file from your notification shade to run it. This will install TowelRoot, at which point you simply tap “Make it ra1n” to root your device.
George Hotz released TowelRoot for free – although he did get to claim the $20,000 bounty from the XDA Developers Forum.
Download useful root-only apps
There are hundreds of root-only apps available for Android. Some of these apps can significantly improve your device and your lifestyle. You can overclock your device, for example, or control your entire home using apps like Tasker. You can back up every bit of your Android device to the cloud using Titanium Backup or block advertisements at their source using the rooted version of AdBlock. Apps are the primary reason why you would root your device – and there’s dozens of powerful root-only Android devices out there.
Download the latest versions of Android before they hit your device
One of the silly things about Android is that we don’t receive Android updates until about 6 months after they’re announced. That’s really the only benefit iPhone users have over Android users – they receive iOS updates instantly on all devices. After rooting Android, you too can download the latest Android updates as soon as they’re released to the Android Open Source Project. Installing the latest version of Android is as easy as installing a custom ROM.
If your phone isn’t compatible, it won’t brick your device
One of the cool things about TowelRoot is that it won’t destroy your device if it doesn’t work. Not all Androids have this exploit, and if your phone doesn’t have the exploit, then it will simply reboot into your same old login screen: no harm, no foul, no root.
Better performance and battery life
You can install battery-saving root-only apps like Greenify to significantly improve performance and battery life on Android. Greenify effectively freezes apps when they’re not in use, which prevents them from using bandwidth or processing power when it’s unnecessary. Expect a major boost in battery life from rooting.
Custom ROMs totally change the appearance and feel of your Android device. They’re a powerful way to enjoy the latest and greatest UI improvements. There are thousands of custom ROMs out there and dozens of them are as well-supported as the Android versions you receive from your carrier and manufacturer.
Cons of using TowelRoot to root your Android device
After using TowelRoot, you’re temporarily exposed to a major vulnerability. Specifically, you need to download a root management app like SuperSU to give root permissions only to apps that need it. Otherwise, any app you use could gain root privileges without your permission – which poses a major security risk.
Voids the warranty
Rooting Android typically voids the warranty. If you’re outside the warranty period (which is typically one year to two years), then this won’t matter. If you’re inside the warranty period, then it’s something to consider.
Only works on KitKat (Android 4.4+)
George Hotz initially promised that TowelRoot would successfully root all Android phones and tablets. However, in real-world testing, that has not been the case. TowelRoot only works on Androids running the latest version of Android OS: KitKat 4.4+.
Doesn’t work for Motorola or HTC phones
For whatever reason, you won’t be able to root Motorola Android devices or HTC phones using the TowelRoot exploit. Unsuccessfully tested devices include the HTC One M8, Moto E, Moto G, and HTC One Mini.
No way to unroot when using TowelRoot
One of the major advantages of using One Click Root is being able to unroot your device with a single click. If you decide you don’t want to root your Android, you can simply unroot it with no harm done. TowelRoot only roots your Android – you can’t unroot with TowelRoot.
Conclusion – Is it the right choice for you?
Rooting isn’t nearly as big a deal as some Android users think. After rooting your device, it will reboot and look exactly the same as it did pre-root. It’s what you choose to do with your rooted Android device that will affect how you use it.
You can install powerful root-only apps and customize bizarre Custom ROMs, for example. Or, you can do absolutely nothing and simply relax knowing that you’ve rooted a phone.
With that in mind, I recommend rooting. Whether you’re using One Click Root’s powerful software ( which can also unroot your device with a single click) or you’re using the free TowelRoot exploit, rooting comes with a bunch of unique and powerful advantages.