A quick post here…
I must have root, I always must have root on my Android smart phones.
Since my first Android smart phone, the Motorola XT720, I have always rooted my phones and threw on a custom recovery. Yes it might void my warranty, but I go through phones faster than underwear.
I kid you not, I have some bad mojo when it comes to smart phones, I lose them or break them very quickly. This is why I have 3 backup phones sitting in my drawer at home, just in case, I never know with my habits.
Recently I had the pleasure to use the Nexus Root Toolkit. It`s a collection of applications and adb commands used to backup, restore, custom recovery, root and un-root all and any Nexus branded devices. This kit also pulls all the necessary applications and images from the web if necessary. The Tool kit has many options and menus, I will only cover the basic ones here that are needed for rooting and backing up the device.
Whats nice is that qbking77 has a YouTube video of the entire Nexus 4 rooting process, it is also linked from the WugFresh site. It does not get any easier than that.
adb shell is a command line tool knows as the Android Debugger Bridge it is used to send commands to an Android phone that would otherwise not be available in the OS via GUI. One particular command that comes to mind is the backup command. It allows you to backup all your applications and your phone state via adb command shell.
This shell is available via the Android SDK kit for free on the intewebs. Useful for non nexus users if you`re gong to root your phone and you have already put some mileage on it.
Some other applications available in the root kit are SMS Backup & Restore which is available on Google Play, and Call Log Backup & Restore from the same developer.
All these tools are available in in one neat little package with instructions on how to backup, unlock, root, and restore your applications. Anyone that has ever installed an application is able to use this method to root a Nexus device. A lot of it is automated, and if it is not it gives you step by step instructions with screen shots on how to perform said task. When I rooted my Nexus 4 I was expecting to start from scratch as unlocking the boot loader of a phone wipes it`s contents, and a previous attempt a few years ago to backup my phone via adb failed. You could imagine that I was skeptical when I saw the backup option in the Nexus Root Kit.
My first backup attempt via the root kit failed and yielded a backup file with the size of 0kb. If was my own fault though, there is some user interaction required on the device when performing the backup steps. I was not quick enough to click accept when prompted for permission on the phone. So I tried again, and the backup yielded a 4GB backup file, and took about 30 min. Success!
Then I proceeded to backup my SMS messages, this process installs the actual application on your phone and the user is presented with steps on backing up their SMS.
Then came the unlocking and rooting parts, which in my personal opinion were the easiest steps of the whole process. Your phone will be rebooted several times during all this but in the end you will have root and your boot loader will be unlocked allowing you to install certain applications and custom ROMs like CyanogenMod. Also you can backup your entire phone to a file with a custom recovery, so if you decide that you want to try different ROMs you can restore your phone to a previous state in minutes.
Of the whole process the most difficult part was installing the proper drivers on the Windows machine. Followed by the application backup.
One thing worth noting, when restoring the adb backup via Nexus Root Toolkit after unlocking and rooting your phone, sign into your Google account on the phone or your paid applications will not be restored.
The rooting process has become super easy, I remember rooting my first phone and it was a pain in my ass.
Also check out Lifehackers The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting the Most Popular Android Phones, if you do not own a Nexus device, it`s a good resource for rooting.