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Old October 24th, 2012, 03:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default To root or not to root

I've rooted my past two Android phones and flashed more ROMs than I care to admit. My Nexus 7, however, has gone unrooted to date. I haven't seen enough of a reason to root the device, especially given that it is used in a family setting, having a ton of games and game data on it that would be wiped every time I flash a ROM.

I'm getting a new N7 soon due to an issue with my existing one, so I will be starting from scratch in terms of data and apps, making me reconsider the root situation. I've already decided I have no interest in flashing a bunch of ROMs since I don't want to feel compelled to flash new ROMs every two weeks with this device. What I'm considering is rooting the device and keeping stock 4.1.2 on it. Couple questions:

1.) If I root the N7 but don't put custom ROMs on it, can I let it update through Google's OTA updates without losing root and having to re-unlock (and wipe) the device? I know 4.2 will come out next week (or at least I hope it does), and I want to be able to get it seamlessly, just like I got 4.1.2 within days via OTA. I don't want to have to flash a ROM and backup / restore data.
2.) What are the major benefits of rooting for a tablet if not using custom ROMs? I do occasionally play emulators, but don't have a bluetooth controller; could I use a USB Xbox 360 controller via OTG (just learning about this technology...)?
3.) I guess more importantly, is there any downside to rooting and not flashing any ROMs? Will it change my daily usage at all or require more maintenance during new OS releases? If not, I guess I no reason not to root my new N7 up front, then load it up with games and data, as long as I don't have to factory reset any time in the future.

Let me know if you need more info on my usage habits. Thanks!

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Old October 24th, 2012, 05:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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In the least, an ota will cost you root access. Depending on what you did after rooting, it could fail too. I'm on stock too but I messed around with some system apps, which will make it fail the checks before installing an OTA.
What you could do out of the box, is unlock. Since that's the part that wipes your device, you can feel free to wait however long you wish to push the files necessary for rooting, like after 4.2
When you've rooted, you can properly back up everything. Usb OTG supports a 360 controller out of the box if I'm not mistaken.

So in short, you'll have to re root after an ota update, given it doesn't fail. And in general, if you don't really have a reason for rooting yourself, why would you?
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Old October 24th, 2012, 05:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have mine rooted but haven't seen the need to flash a custom ROM.

Root only apps just opens up a new world of things for you
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Old October 24th, 2012, 06:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I rooted my N7 just because I wanted to use USB OTG, and that succeeded. No custom roms or kernels or anything, just pure stock N7 bliss. Up until I got the 4.1.2 update. That lagged my tablet up so much that I decided to throw Bugles Beast as my rom of choice because it's the closest thing to stock, which is what I wanted, with a few extra goodies (faster boot time, overall smoothness).

I'm in no means as big a crackflasher as I am with my Galaxy Nexus which is exactly what I wanted to avoid. I just want my Nexus 7 to work, and Bugles Beast did that for me only because stock 4.1.2 was being laggy for me.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 03:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Unlock immediately. Always. Then you always have the option to root later without losing anything. And if you don't, well, you haven't lost anything either.

If you had done this to your current device, you'd be able to to a full backup and restore to your new device, including all game statuses etc. So it's win-win: even if you don't plan to root now, you could save yourself hassle in the future.

For root I mainly use DataSync (actually the newer DataSync Beta) to keep my game progress and other things synced up between my N7, GNex and Xoom so I'm always up to date, rather Han just being able to do certain things on certain devices.

If you use SuperSU you can enable Survival mode or OTA root keeper which allows you to keep root while using an OTA. Just remember to re enable the app afterwards. (And don't have a custom recovery if you want to take OTAs, keep the stock recovery after using CWM to flash SuperSU.)
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Old October 25th, 2012, 10:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If I unlock on day one, but then find out I got a faulty device, is it simple to re-lock and return the product?

DataSync looks very interesting, but I don't really play games on my phone, just on my tablet. So what if I install 20+ games on my tablet, make progress in all of them, then need to do a factory reset for some reason. I know I can use Titanium Backup to backup the apps themselves, but I never use it for data. Is the best solution just to restore app+data using TB for games or is there a better way using DataSync or another app?
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Old October 25th, 2012, 10:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Yes, locking is as simple as unlocking (haven't had to do it tho).
And yes, use TB for data too. There's lots of free apps that backup apps alone, TB rocks because of how it handles data.
No idea about data sync but I assume if you don't want to sync app data across devices, it'll have nothing on TB.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 10:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Its as easy as typing Fastboot OEM lock
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Old October 25th, 2012, 12:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help guys. I think I'm going to unlock the device when I get it and likely root shortly thereafter. Is there a preferred method to make sure that when an OTA update arrives, I will be able to easily accept it and keep root? I know I need SuperSU, does that come with any standard root method?

Are there multiple root methods? For Gnex, I used Wug's toolkit which was almost completely automated. What's the best root method for N7 for my needs?
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Old October 25th, 2012, 01:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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We have wugs toolkit for us too. I'd suggest using it.

Frankly, googles ota updates have been flashable from a custom recovery so I don't think keeping the stock recovery for an ota is all that important.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 02:45 PM   #11 (permalink)
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As in the official OTA is flashable? Is that released pretty shortly after it's actually released OTA? If so, I may go that route.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 03:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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As in the official OTA is flashable? Is that released pretty shortly after it's actually released OTA? If so, I may go that route.
Yes, it can be downloaded from goggles servers as a zip file and flashed in recovery. You can usually do it this way days before your device gets an ota notice
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Old November 1st, 2012, 11:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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what do you mean by unlock?
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 12:24 AM   #14 (permalink)
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what do you mean by unlock?
These devices ship with the boot loader locked... meaning that boot.img's (kernels/recovery) are not able to be flashed... once you unlock the boot loader, you unlock the full potential of the device... at the cost of voiding the warenty
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 09:11 AM   #15 (permalink)
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can i root without unlocking?? basically i just want a few appz that need root, droidwall, some ad blockers, etc, for now anyways, havent flashed a rom for awhile and i think this thing is smokin' right outta the box
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 09:12 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Nope, unlocking is the first step.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 09:58 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Unlocking is required to install a custom recovery and flash (install) the superuser files that give you root.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 11:06 AM   #18 (permalink)
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got it done, quickly, thanks all
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Old November 7th, 2012, 08:21 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I rooted my N7 just because I wanted to use USB OTG, and that succeeded. No custom roms or kernels or anything, just pure stock N7 bliss. Up until I got the 4.1.2 update. That lagged my tablet up so much that I decided to throw Bugles Beast as my rom of choice because it's the closest thing to stock, which is what I wanted, with a few extra goodies (faster boot time, overall smoothness).

I'm in no means as big a crackflasher as I am with my Galaxy Nexus which is exactly what I wanted to avoid. I just want my Nexus 7 to work, and Bugles Beast did that for me only because stock 4.1.2 was being laggy for me.
bugless beast was my rom of choice 0n a motorola x2 i think, i liked it for the same reasons u do, it simply works, okay will flash when i get home
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Old November 8th, 2012, 02:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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one other quick note, the reason we root is because we can, if you want something thats all laid out and does everything for you, get an ipad, if you want to make a tablet expressly yours, get a nexus, because we can!
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Old November 8th, 2012, 04:25 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Old November 8th, 2012, 04:36 PM   #22 (permalink)
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one other quick note, the reason we root is because we can, if you want something thats all laid out and does everything for you, get an ipad, if you want to make a tablet expressly yours, get a nexus, because we can!
Doesn't even have to be a Nexus. Could be absolutely any tablet other than an iPad or any Apple product at that lol
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