If you need to look how popular rooting is becoming, look no further than Steve Bass — a retired writer from PC World — who is emailing me to find out how to unchain and unlock his Galaxy S3 to better things. The Merit is not on the same level as the flagships from Sammy, however, once unchained, it does open up the internal system to equally as great advantages that all owners can take full advantage of. Unlocking will essentially take away all factory restrictions places by the manufacturers once they get boxed and shipped off to the phone carrier where we buy them.
Only follow the steps we list below if you are an advanced user since we use a lot of the command line. If you know a computer inside out and don’t have much experience with a smartphone you will be fine.
Safeguarding root is simple and in this case the only thing required is flashing an exploit known as “ChainSSD”. Obviously, we cannot do this successfully unless we flash the custom recovery image to boot with the exploit. From there, we install the recovery system so users can take full advantage of flashing custom ROMs and otherwise inaccessible applications from aftermarkets repositories.
The bootloader is a diminutive program running on your ZTE. In reality, the phone cannot operate without the software initiating the boot process. What we perform here doesn’t stop it from working bur rather opens it up so we can have further enhanced access that is otherwise chopped off by the manufacturers. Since we do that without their permission, they will not service the parts under warranty and it becomes void. However, if we locked the bootloader back up again and take away the root access you can take it into the shops and they will fix anything that is wrong with it so long as the warranty period still remains.
Two of the most popular custom recoveries include Team Win’s TWRP and ClockworkMod better known as CWM for short. People will tell you which one is better depends on who you talk to. There’s no correct or incorrect answer. Often it is the Team Win’s version that is slightly quicker and easier for some devices.
What Is Rooting the Android Operating System?
When you buy a new smartphone, you might not know it, but the Android operating system is in a “locked” state. For the most part, it will not make much difference to you: most apps are still available to use, and there are benefits to this locked state such as better security. When you root the Android operating system, you are gaining full administrative rights over the OS.
Why Would You Want to Root Android?
Gaining full administrative rights over the operating system has some perks to some people. For example, out of the millions of applications available on Google Play, some of them will not be able to run on your device unless it has root access. Until you have a specific need for wanting Android rooted, you probably want to leave Android as it comes out of the box. But if you need to unlock an app, then that is when you want to look into rooting methods. Using more apps is only one example of why you may want root access, here is the full list of benefits:
- Unlock more applications. Some of the apps available for Android cannot run unless you have root access. This is because the app’s features cannot run without the root permissions because the features require the full system access before they can be useful.
- Better battery life. Smartphones are great, but they have one caveat, which is each time you recharge the battery, it loses some of its overall lifespan. That means smartphones, in general, do not make great investments, and if your weekly paycheck is low, you will want to limit the number of smartphones you go through. One of the ways you can do that is by removing bloatware and creating a better battery life.
- Bolster performance. If you are the budget-conscious shopper, you may want to increase the device’s performance. This can be done by removing the bloatware as well. The more processes you have running, the more memory that is used. By removing some of the apps, it can help lighten the load on your hardware.
- Customize Android with themes. With root access, you can download and install any theme that’s at your disposal. That includes any customized theme you can find.
What Are the Risks of Rooting?
If you are buying a smartphone that is not running iOS, then it is probably the Android operating system that you want running as the ideal software to pair with your shiny new hardware. It is, in fact, the Android OS that offers you the chance to customize the OS considerably more than iOS: custom themes, run any app you know about, the works. For many users, the “openness” of an operating system is important, because it offers them more freedom which means running into fewer problems with their investments. But there is a reason iOS likes a far more locked approach: the ability to customize is not for everyone, and if you do not know what you are doing it can lead to a lot of problems which can define your time with the OS rather than freedom.
With power (full admin permissions) comes greater responsibility. Here are some of the main risk factors when it comes to rooting:
- Malware becomes a larger threat. You might read the occasional news article about how new malware is wreaking havoc in parts of the world on Android. But the Android operating system with root access becomes considerably more vulnerable to exploits because applications are no longer prisoned off in their own sandbox environments. This means if you accidentally download malware, it can do more damage because it can spread throughout the operating system and even jump into other applications and potentially view sensitive data.
- You can accidentally brick the smartphone. There is always a chance that you end up bricking the smartphone before you had the opportunity to use it with root access. That is because if you are going to brick it, it is going to happen during the rooting process.
- You may void the warranty. Most manufacturers do not allow you to root the Android operating system and still get to bring it in for repairs under warranty. Whether they are legally meant to do that or not is another question, but it is now common knowledge that most do not want to help you if they find out you have unlocked the OS with root access.
Details of Note
- Assuming the bootloader is locked before starting this guide, you need to backup the settings and data by using one of the famous applications available from the Google Play Store such as the helium for Android. If you were already with access and unlocked the better option is taking a full NANDroid backup or using Titanium for Android instead. For those hard to store SMS text messages, try using the SMS backup + application available from the same Google Play Store. You must sign into your Google account on your phone before downloading and installing the Google services. Once done, make copies of the phone contacts, EFS folder, videos, music files, audio files, picture galleries and all other data you don’t wish to risk losing. Sometimes we require a factory reset and if that happens the data is gone forever.
- Verify everything worked as planned by downloading the root checker APK. Do this after you finish working on the steps. It will not work unless we have done the operation prior to checking.
- You need a computer, laptop, or notebook with a fully operational USB slot so we can plug the mobile device into the slot. We recommend running Windows XP through to Windows 8 since we provide thorough instructions for that operating system. However, any OS with a command prompt will work.
How to Root ZTE Merit 990G with Chain SSD and Flash Custom Recovery
1. Download the ChainSSD file from here to the desktop of the computer.
– extract the files from the folder.
2. Download ADB here to the desktop.
– extract the content of the file.
3. Download the custom recovery image from here.
Note: To successfully extract the files all you need to do is right-click the mouse over the file and select the extraction option.
4. Fetch the USB wire that comes in the box with your smartphone.
– Look at the cable connecting the phone charger if you cannot locate it elsewhere.
5. Go to Start > Run > Type CMD to open up the command live in a Windows PC.
6. Type adb shell followed by
mkdir /data/local/logs and
7. Type one command at a time and press the Enter key to confirm the command. Now type
am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -n com.zte.emode/.logsetfollowed by
ls -l /data/local/logs/kernel/log_kernel.txt.
8. Next type in
rm /data/local/logs/kernel/log_kernel.txt followed by
ln -s /data/local.prop /data/local/logs/kernel/log_kernel.txt.
ls -l /data/local.prop and then
exit followed by
10. Now apply the rooting commands:
adb push su /system/xbin/su
adb shell chown 0.0 /system/xbin/su
adb shell chmod 06755 /system/xbin/su
11. And free up space by deleting all unnecessary files by confirming these final commands;
adb shell rm /data/local.prop
adb shell rm -r /data/local/logs
That’s it! You will now have root. Lastly, we want to add the custom recovery image.
1. Copy the recovery file to the SD card.
2. Go to Start > Run and type CMD to open the command prompt once more from a Windows PC. You can use the command line from a different OS such as Apple Mac OS X if you like.
3. Type these instructions:
4. Leave the ZTE to reboot itself and the new recovery is installed.
Occasionally things can go wrong and usually the resolution to the problem is to restore factory settings. Restoring the default settings takes away the root access and everything we achieved. Additionally, you will lose the data such as phone contacts and pictures.