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Root, ROM, restore: How to hack your Android OS

One of Android's best selling points is that it's open-source and relatively easy to customize. Check out these videos showing you how to gain root access, how to flash a custom ROM, and how to restore the device back to factory settings.

In this first video, we show you how to gain root access on your Android phone or tablet using the program SuperOneClick (and we give a shout to Unrevoked for HTC phones). If you're not able to watch the video, check out our written instructions on how to root your Android device.


So you've rooted your phone. Now what? How to install a custom Android ROM video and instructions details how to install a custom ROM, which is a heavily customized version of Android. Using a custom ROM can give you super-Android powers, such as better battery life, faster performance, and additional features.


Just because you're about to upgrade your phone doesn't mean that it's worthless, but a lot of people want to receive a used phone in as close to factory-fresh conditions as possible. Our how to restore your Android to factory settings video and instructions explain how to restore your Android device back to the stock version of Android.

In all three of these, there are some important things to note. First is that rooting will void your phone's warranty. Secondly, these procedures mess with the core interactions between your hardware and the operating system, so be careful. There's a chance you could wind up with a bricked device. Third, for purposes of demonstration, the instructions are geared toward one phone model, the original Motorola Droid. If you have a different phone or tablet, please be sure to research the proper instructions for your device.

If you've got device-specific advice, tips, or tricks, let us know in the comments below.