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If I root my android phone (just so I can get access to Wifi Tethering, etc.) will that erase anything on the phone (apps, data, etc.)?

Will it change anything other than the ability to run app(s) as rooted?

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will that erase anything on the phone

Rooting itself should not erase anything (except for, maybe, temporary files created during the process). However, on some devices rooting requires to first unlock the bootloader -- and that usually includes a (which means: all data and user-installed apps are gone -- which you can work around on Android 4.0+ performing an adb backup –apk –shared –all –f /path/to/backup.ab before performing the unlock, and adb restore /path/to/backup.ab afterwards, as Compro01 pointed out in below comment).

Will it change anything other than the ability to run app(s) as rooted?

Yes.¹ As the necessary binaries (usually su, SuperUser.apk/SuperSU.apk, and busybox with all its symlinks) are pushed to the /system partition (which otherwise is mounted read-only), it will change that partition. Might sound trivial now, but the thing is: some s (and other updates shipping directly from the manufacturer/provider) first compare the partitions checksum. If that doesn't match (and it won't after rooting), updates might be refused/failing.

On the other hand: if those updates wouldn't fail, you might lose when they are applied. If they include a full /system image, that is.


¹ Update: With Magisk the changes described here are not applied to the system partition.

  • 3
    For dealing with the factory reset, the simplest method on recent android versions (4.0 and newer) is just to use the adb backup command. adb backup –apk –shared –all –f /where/you/want/the/file (backs up your apps and all user data) followed by adb restore /where/you/put/the/file after you're done unlocking and before you root. – Compro01 Apr 29 '13 at 14:47
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    @Compro01 Doing the backup before unlocking, yepp. I never tried that way, and it should not break something on restore (i.e. overwriting/removing the "root work"). With your permission, I'll include that directly with the answer. – Izzy Apr 29 '13 at 15:13
  • Specifying the path to backup doesn't work with my device moto-x instead after confirming the backup on device, it creates backup with name backup.ab in current directory. The version of adb that I have is 1.0.32. – DivKis01 May 9 '15 at 4:53
  • @DivKis01 backup.ab is the default name if not specified otherwise. I've never heard the -f parameter was ignored. Are you sure you hadn't a typo in? – Izzy May 9 '15 at 10:49
  • @Izzy: Yeah I tried couple of times and there was no typo. – DivKis01 May 9 '15 at 19:11
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It "shouldn't" change anything other than adding permission to su, and perhaps adding Superuser permissions app and busybox. It really depends on what method you use, though, there could be glitches that might delete something.

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No Rooting does not erase anything in most of the cases, it instead provides you with extraordinary backup capabilities.

When you're rooted, you can backup almost anything (user apps, system apps, all app data, call logs, SMS, game progress, Wi-Fi access points and more) that can be easily and seamlessly restored in case of a factory reset or otherwise so loss of the data.

I have listed some aspects of Rooting at my blog.

  • link to blog does not work anymore? – Matifou Sep 29 at 5:23
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I have rooted before and it doesn't erase anything.

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I root devices often. Rooting does not erase anything but if the rooting method does not apply properly, your motherboard can get locked or damaged.

It's always preferred to take backup before doing anything.

You can get your contacts from your email account but notes and tasks are stored in phone memory by default.

Also, after rooting you can install Clockworkmod recovery but do not wipe anything.

protected by Community May 13 '16 at 21:41

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