Welcome to TheUnlockr.com, where we have a slight obsession with technology, and, perhaps more importantly, with the concept of pushing it to its limits. Along with this concept comes an issue, pushing our devices to their limits is sometimes frowned upon by the manufacturers of said devices. This is usually because they had other plans for the devices or they are simply scared of us messing up our own devices and blaming them when things go wrong. Either way this issue brings us to another concept we value here at TheUnlockr; the idea that our device’s are OURS and that once we purchase them, we can do with them as we please.
Following these two main concepts, we want to help others unlock the true potential of their devices. Whether that means hacking, modding, finding great apps, or just learning tips and tricks to help take full advantage of their device, we want to bring you how to’s and articles to help you do just that.
Now, some of the information you find on our site can be a little confusing at first so let’s go over some of the main concepts before we let you loose on the rest of the site, shall we?
What is Rooting/Jailbreaking?
You’ll hear the words “root”, “rooting”, “jailbreaking”, “root access”, and “unlocking” a lot on this site so it’s best to understand what each is and what the differences are before you get started. Firstly, rooting and jailbreaking are terms that are essentially used as the same thing, rooting pertains generally to Android devices (Motorola Droids, Samsung Galaxy devices, etc.) while jailbreaking pertains to iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc.).
Rooting/jailbreaking is used when describing the process of gaining root access or, in other words, getting full permissions on a device. When we say full permissions, its important to understand that when you get a device you are limited in what you are allowed to change, once you have full permissions (root access) you can essentially alter any files on the device.
This concept is often times confused with the term unlocking. To clarify, unlocking is the process of being able to use your device on another carrier (i.e. it’s an AT&T phone locked to AT&T service, but when we unlock it, we can use it on T-Mobile instead). For iPhones at least, the process of unlocking the device can often require it be jailbroken first (hence the confusion with the terms). You might have to jailbreak to unlock the iPhone but you don’t need to unlock the iPhone if it’s jailbroken, still with me?
Benefits of Jailbreaking/Rooting
Now, after reading that, you might be wondering, “why would I want to do that?” Well, there are a lot of good reasons actually.
- Overclocking – One popular thing people do with root access is they overclock their device’s processor. Essentially increasing the device’s performance (and in some cases increasing the battery life as well) by telling the device’s processor to run at a speed slightly higher than it was set to run at.
- Custom UI – Another popular thing to do is to change the look and feel of the device by changing the theme or custom UI. Custom UI’s are essentially skins that the manufacturer’s put on top of Android in order to differentiate their devices from other Android devices. But what if you don’t like the custom UI they put? Or want to try another company’s UI? Well, if you are rooted and a developer has made a ROM for you that has those changes, you can do something about it (we’ll get to what ROMs are shortly).
- Themes – Themes for Android and for iOS are available to those with root access and can be loaded on to the device to change the icons for apps, background, colors on menu bars, etc.
- ROMs – Developers sometimes will make ROMs for your specific device. These ROMs (read only memory) are the section of your device that contains the Operating System and most of the system’s core files. By changing this we can essentially package a lot of changes all in one .zip file and flash it to the device in one shot. These changes can include performance tweaks, custom UI’s, themes, apps, etc. Once you have root access, and a custom recovery image (we’ll get to that shortly), you can flash custom ROMs from our ROM repository. Try as many as you like till you find one that suits your needs.
What is a Custom Recovery Image?
When you start getting into flashing ROMs (which we highly recommend you do), you’ll need to learn about custom recovery images. A recovery image is basically a failsafe that Android has built in. Normally it is used to erase the device (and other functions, like updating the device) especially if the device is unable to be turned on. Developers have found a way to make their own versions of this recovery mode and once flashed to your device you can use their custom recovery image to then do all sorts of things, from making complete backups of your device to flashing custom ROMs.
So how do you get started with all this fun stuff?
Well, if you are using an Android device, head to our How To Root an Android Device procedure and root that bad boy. After that head to our How To Load a Custom ROM procedure and learn how to load a custom recovery image and flash a custom ROM (the ultimate in modifying your Android device).
If you’re on iOS (iPhone and iPad that is), then head to our How To Jailbreak an iPhone, iPad, iPod procedure and get to it. Jailbreak it and get started playing in the Cydia app store.
Windows Phone users, head to our How To’s for Windows Phone to learn how to do many, many things with your Windows Phone device using the procedures listed there.
Well, head to our How To’s section and find your Android device to find how to root it and optionally load a custom ROM on it or find your iOS device to learn how to jailbreak it and add fun new apps, themes, etc.
Want to chat with our founder about all things wireless? Check out his blog (after all this is how the site began way back when).
Have any questions or concerns? Feel free to get in touch with us.