Rich Freeman on 7 Jan 2016 06:06:24 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Rooting Phone Experiences

On Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 7:39 AM, Mail List <> wrote:
> However, their web page has all kinds of scary warnings about rooting, and
> I definitely cannot afford to brick this device.  It seems like this is a
> fairly simple process, but the cost of being wrong is potentially very high
> (non-working $400 phone).  Before I proceed, I wanted to see how other
> people (who are braver and smarter, but not as good-looking as me) have
> fared rooting their phones.

You won't brick an android phone as long as:
1.  The phone supports fastboot and that is how you're flashing things.
2.  You either:
   a. Don't touch the bootloader/radio partitions.   (Note that boot
!= bootloader - you can touch the boot partition all you want.)
   b. Only update these following the proper procedure, ensuring the
two are ALWAYS compatible.

If you follow those rules you'll always have a working bootloader,
which means that if you mess everything up you can use fastboot to
reflash another image.

If you mess up your boot or radio images, then your options get really
hairy, possibly involving JTAG and such.  Sometimes a particular
version of the radio is not compatible with a particular version of
the bootloader, so I never touch these without care and without making
sure I'm checking both and updating them together following the
vendor's procedure.  Third-party ROMs and such shouldn't be messing
with these.  The only time you might mess with them is to root your
phone if the vendor doesn't support it, or to unlock the SIM if the
vendor isn't helping you out with this.  That, and normal system
updates, in which case you should be using the vendor's flashing
procedure and images.

If the vendor supports rooting then generally there isn't that much
risk if you know what you're doing.  The risks tend to come in when
the vendor doesn't support rooting, which means that at least at first
the phone won't support fastboot, which means you're probably mucking
about with directly modifying flash partitions, and if you get
anything wrong here a brick is definite possibility.  The whole design
of fastboot is intended for kernel/system development so that you
don't accidentally brick your phone.

If you ever read instructions that involve using dd to copy files to
/dev/whatever then you're treading in dangerous waters.  Usually when
you are going this route the goal is to carefully do a one-time
modification of the bootloader to enable fastboot, and then from there
reboot into the bootloader and use the MUCH safer fastboot process
from then.  To some degree this tends to depend on how easy it is to
enable fastboot - often it ends up using a copy of an engineering
bootloader either smuggled from the vendor or one that was released
for a similar phone (such as the original ADP bootloader being used on
the G1 - same hardware different software).

Hopefully this is helpful...

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