To root or not to root (also, how?)

Today, I received the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone. It's shiny, and brand new. I haven't loaded much in the way of applications onto it yet, for one very specific reason: I am debating rooting it. Before I do, I have some questions though.

Firstly: Should I? Despite being a Verizon phone, it does not come with any of the un-uninstallable crapware normally associated with their particular brand of 'android'. This would have been reason number one. What other advantages are there to rooting? I know tethering is one, but while I like the idea of it, in practice I just don't see myself using it much.

Secondly: After rooting, what? I know you can install different things like cyanogen mod, but what do these do for me? In fact, from what I can tell, cyanogen is not even available for the Galaxy Nexus, so I'd have to find something else.

If I do decide to take the plunge, does anyone have any help resources? I did a quick google, but most of it seems a confused mess.

Thanks in advance for the help. I tried to search for an existing topic, but so far nothing. If any or all of these questions are already answered elsewhere, a link to that place would also be gratefully appreciated!

CM9 just reached "stable" status on the Galaxy Nexus, but the phone comes with ICS installed, yes? CyanogenMod9 is ICS, so considering that you say you're not interested in tethering, there's not much point in rooting unless you really just want to tweak and tinker with things.

Probably the number one reason to root is to be able to back up apps via Titanium Backup, and make complete system images with ClockworkMod Recovery. (Recoveries on Android are _somewhat_ analogous to the BIOS on a computer.)

My wife's phone is not able to be rooted, and she's had quite a few issues with it, several replacement devices from Verizon at this point (hopefully they'll finally let us get a different phone this time), and having to manually go through all the apps and make sure they're backed up is such a PITA. Same for me when I'm rooting and installing different ROMs on my VZW GNex. With the advent of JB I'm trying a different CM10 nightly or some AOKP kang every few days and it's just so much easier to use Titanium Backup to back up everytihng, and if something really goes wrong I've got my nandroid backup to restore and everything will be fine.

CyanogenMod is available for the GNex. The xda forum will be your best friend, that's probably the best Android modding/hacking resource on the 'net.

edit what does CM do for you? Performance can be improved over stock Android, but I think that lately it's more there are integrated mods and/or fixes. I know with CM9 and onwards they have replaced the stock launcher with their own, Trebuchet, which is very similar to the stock launcher but offers more customization as far as number of rows and columns, number of home screens, etc. On CM7 there was also very fine grained brightness controls, I think those will show up in CM10 at some point but I haven't used CM9 so I don't know if it's there or not. Notification shade setting controls are another of my favorite mods in CM. Also lock screen customization as far as showing your next calendar event, weather, custom shortcuts a la Sense, and so on.

I'm rambling but, well, you'll get the hang of it. If you have any questions I'm in IRC right now too.

edit2 Right now Verizon has the extended NFC battery for $25 shipped. The phone isn't quite as slim or as light with that battery but it's nothing like the Seidio monstrosity.

When I had an OG Droid, I rooted the sh*t out of it.

Now that I have a Galaxy Nexus, I haven't felt the need at all yet.

LilCodger wrote:

When I had an OG Droid, I rooted the sh*t out of it.

Now that I have a Galaxy Nexus, I haven't felt the need at all yet.

Yup, much the same experience here. With my HTC Desire I ran in to specific problems (slow updates from my carrier, internal storage limits) that I could work around by rooting and installing a custom ROM. Now that I have a Galaxy Nexus, I haven't had any desire to root or to install custom ROMs. I did install the stock Google ROM, to replace the Samsung-built regional variant my phone shipped with in order to ensure that I get OTA updates from Google in the future, but that's been it.

I just visited the CM site and noticed that indeed the GNex is not on their fancy-pants Devices page. It is on their download site at , however, codename toro.

Thanks General Crespin, that's a lot of information! It sounds like CM is not up to Jelly Bean yet, unlike the stock Google ROM.

Pneuman, I have a question for you: How do you know whether you have the stock Google ROM, or a variant thereof? I'm still on ICS, and trying to update to JB just tells me that the phone is already up to date, so I assume that I'm on the Verizon build, and they are holding it back, as usual. Furthermore, I assume I need to root my phone to get it to the stock Google build. Oh, and where would I go to get the stock Google ROM?

Thanks again, everyone, I really appreciate the help.

The biggest reason to root I think is the ability to do things that increase battery life. Right now i have a Razr maxx so I don't feel the need to root this time

I am actually quite impressed with the battery life of the Nexus. I'm sure the automatic screen brightness is helping an awful lot, but I get a full day use out of it, including a lot of wifi and bluetooth use per day. It's generally around 20 - 30% by the time I plug it in at night. I'm really happy with this phone!

Another point to make is that you can be rooted and not really on a custom ROM like CM9/CM10. There are stock ROMs with root that are easily used as well if you don't want to get all exotic.