Why Hack Android?
So why would you want to hack your Android phone? For those with older handsets, rooting the device lets you install customized ROMs which can deliver major speed improvements and performance increases. For example, the popular CyanogenMod, created by one of Android's most notable hackers, optimizes performance for both the G1 and MyTouch 3G handsets.
Another good reason to root your phone? Multi-touch. One of the surprising omissions from Google's own Nexus One handset, for example, is the ability to use more than one finger at a time to operate the device. Although available on iPhone from the start, the Nexus One excludes this valuable feature from its mobile operating system. Why? No one knows for sure, but it might have something to do with some patents Apple owns. But that's no matter to the hacker community. Thanks again to cyanogen, Nexus One owners can enable the feature by copying some files over to their device. Other Android owners can perform similar procedures to enable multi-touch Web browsing. But before you can get started with any of these hacks, you first have to root the phone.
How to Root Your Android Phone
Before getting started, remember to back up your phone, including your contacts, SMS messages, files and photos.
- The first step is to download and install Superboot, a boot image that, when flashed, will root the device the first time you boot up. You can grab a copy of the Superboot zip file from the Modaco forums here.
- Once downloaded, extract the files it contains to a directory on your computer, just like any other zip file.
- Now put your Android phone in bootloader mode. (Note, owners of a retail N1 should see instructions here).
- To do so, turn off the phone, remove the battery, and plug in the USB cable. When the battery icon appears onscreen, pop the battery back in. Now tap the Power button while holding down the Camera key.
- For those whose Android phones have a trackball, you have an even easier method of doing this: Turn off the phone, press and hold the trackball, then turn the phone back on.
- Depending on your computer's OS, do one of the following:
- Windows: Double click "install-superboot-windows.bat"
- Mac: Open a terminal window to the directory containing the files, and type "chmod +x install-superboot-mac.sh" followed by "./install-superboot-mac.sh"
- Linux: Open a terminal window to the directory containing the files, and type "chmod +x install-superboot-linux.sh" followed by "./install-superboot-linux.sh"
- That's it, your device has been rooted!