What Is Tethering by Rooting a Phone?

What Is Tethering by Rooting a Phone? thumbnail
Tethering your Android phone usually requires rooting first.

Modern cell phones are capable of impressive computing feats thanks to ever-improving technology and wireless data transfer. One example is the ability to share an Internet connection with another device nearby, allowing both to get online. Unfortunately, many of the software and hardware capabilities of smartphones remain limited by intentional restrictions imposed by cellular carriers. Phones containing applications and resources to perform certain functions can only realize their full potential after implementing complicated and risky security-removal procedures.

  1. Tethering

    • Tethering is the act of connecting your smartphone to a laptop or other mobile computing device to share Internet access. Smartphones connect to the Internet via cellular signals, which are widespread and readily available. However, laptops, tablet PCs and similar devices typically do not maintain cellular connections and instead rely on wireless signals. In an area without Internet, Smartphones can be connected, or tethered, to other devices, allowing them to get online via the cell phone data reception. Jerry Hildenrband, on the Android Central website, simplifies the concept by explaining that "your phone uses its 3G connection to send and receive data that's requested by another device."


    • Rooting is the act of unlocking or removing protective restrictions placed on your Android smartphone by the cellular carrier or manufacturer. Most cell phone companies limit access to the device's internal file system to prevent unintentional deletion or manipulation of essential files. Additionally, carriers often install proprietary software on these phones that cannot otherwise be removed. Knowledgeable device owners can purposely alter the phone's software to grant themselves access to the root folder, or the base of the file system. Root access permits manual addition and/or deletion of any software or settings.

    Dangers of Rooting

    • In an article for the Android Authority website, Derek Scott explains that "bricking your device is a possibility if a freak accident occurs while flashing archives." However, he further states that there is little likelihood of such an occurence. "Bricking" your phone, a widespread slang term in the tech community, means accidentally rendering the device inoperable, or turning it into little more than an expensive brick. Aside from incorrectly manipulating your phone's software, the rooting process also voids both carrier and manufacturer warranties.

    Why Tethering Requires Rooting

    • Successfully tethering most Android devices requires rooting first because specific limitations on the transfer of data signals are implemented by cellular carriers. These companies acknowledge the benefits of tethering and the need for such capability, and attempt to capitalize on that fact by forcing users to pay additional fees for tethering. Independent software capable of transmitting a phone's data signal for others to use cannot be installed on the device due to existing restrictions. Once rooted, however, you can install and use any software application.

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