Hello. After almost a month with my Nexus 7 I am beginning to get comfy with Android. (So comfy I want my contract to end so I can switch to an Android phone...) Anyway, I have seen a few cool things pop up whilst going around the web consuming Android related content and some stuff requires rooting. I am wondering, is rooting fairly safe? What are the real risks of it? Mostly I am talking just rooting without a custom ROM, but some info on that would be of interest too. Thanks.
asked Jan 22 '13 at 21:48
The real risk of rooting in your case (Nexus 7) will be what apps you grant root access to.
On your particular device in order to root it you will need to unlock your bootloader. While this is a fairly trivial task with all of the instructions available it does come with a trade off. On all Nexus devices (and most devices with an unlockable bootloader) you must do a factory reset on the device (It will prompt you as you unlock it) to unlock the bootloader, this will wipe all the data you have on your N7. This is why when most people decide to root their devices they do it right away, so they don't end up losing data.
To get back on topic, granting root access (commonly referred to as "SuperUser access") is no different than using the sudo command in linux or logging in as root. The app will have access to everything. It's an all or nothing situation with root, and while a lot of apps need this for legitimate purposes (backing up your data, accessing advanced hardware features, modifying system files) they also have the risk to, theoretically, take all of your call logs, your messages, emails, phone numbers, etc. and send them to a server. Or if it is particularly malicious wipe your phone into a potentially unusable state (I haven't seen this personally but I'm sure it exists somewhere).
Regardless, safe habits such as looking at reviews, asking questions, even looking at source code, are recommended. If it looks fishy, it probably is.
answered Jan 22 '13 at 22:37