Smartphones that run the Android operating systems offer plenty of reason for people to buy them the way they come off the shelf. Often it’s not the operating system a device runs that ultimately becomes the cause for somebody making a device purchase but rather the hardware coupled with the price. Sadly, it’s the software that falls way down the list and often people don’t even know the difference between software versions when they see them. But make no mistake, Android developers are hard at working each day trying to better your experience on the smartphone screen you tap that allows you to do things — this, by the way, is the software.

Companies and corporations like Apple — the makers of the iPhone — love to have you staying within their boundaries. Apple makes their unique software called iOS, and it is what you find on an iPhone. That changes with Android. The Android platform is equivalent to iOS, but Android does not have a parent company who developed smartphones. Google own Android and Google own the Nexus range of devices, but those Nexus devices are manufactured by a new manufacturer every year — the latest being LG and Huawei. LG, Huawei, Samsung, Sony and other smartphone manufacturers all make smartphones themselves, but they all run the same Android software.

Asus Zenfone Max

Android is great as an operating system because it is based on the Linux kernel which is many geeks favorite kernel in the world and is known as the quickest operating system people can use. The problem — if you can call it that — to do with Android is that it was always open source and open source environments are some of the least secure environments you can find. That creates some problems when trying to sell something to a mass audience, and the problem is people of a mass audience need high levels of security. It’s not normal for most of the population in the world to be geeks or know technology anywhere close to its deepest levels, and that means when we give mass audiences something to do with technology most of those people aren’t going to have any clue as to how to use it. Consider is a hackers heaven.

There is one sure fire way to make the Android operating system more secure, and that is to take away the administrator permissions from the owner. If people know that they were not getting a device with administrator permissions, they would probably flip. However, people haven’t a clue, and that is what you are given. Imagine how bland Windows would be without the option of being able to alter your system and make changes that are required to have administrator rights to run. I’m sure most of us have used a computer and been prompted to give the administrators passwords before it allows us to make the relevant ad necessary changes to the system. Without root access on the Asus Zenfone Mac, we are not able to make those necessary changes, and that’s why it’s important to have the ability to root Android should you feel confident enough to use a device with root access.

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.

Files You Need

  • Those of you with the Asus Zenfone Max from the western countries need the file from here.
  • Those of you with the Chinese version of the Zenfone Max need the file from here.

Note that your rooting bundle will include a package for ADB and Fastboot both of which are available after you extract the files above. Should, for whatever reason, you feel the need to install ADB and Fastboot separately, you can do that by following our ADB for Windows, ADB for Mac and ADB for Linux guides. Anyone using ADB that is not for Windows will need to follow a separate guide because ADB commands for Mac and Linux are different in comparisons to the commands we run from the Windows operating system. The files in the guides for Mac and Linux are just the files you need to install ADB and Fastboot on your computer. We only give the guide for Windows operating systems because it is the operating system most people use and to write the guide for three operating systems will look confusing to most.

Rooting the Asus Zenfone Max running on the Android 5.0 Lollipop software updates

  1. Extract the rooting bundle from the files section above and then copy everything from the root folder over to the tools folder.
  2. Reboot the Asus Zenfone Mac smartphone by pressing the hardware key combination for the Fastboot Mode.
  3. Connect the Zenfone Max smartphone to the computer with the USB cable.
  4. From within the tools folder, hold down the Shift key and right-click the mouse on the white background and choose to open a new window here from the menu.
  5. Type the following command “fastboot erase system”.
  6. Type the next command “fastboot flash system system.img”.
  7. Wait for the rooting to complete and then type the command “fastboot reboot”.

In conclusion, that is how to root the Asus Zenfone Max smartphone — both for the Chinese version of the smartphone and the other version that is sold to the western world countries. You can begin installing your root requiring applications like the ROM Toolbox by JRummy or the Titanium Backup application that is waiting from the Google Play Store. You can check if your guide worked by installing one of the basic root checker app versions from the Google Play Store, which you should find is available free or charge. Moreover, there is a paid version of the root checker app available for those who want to take it to another level and use some more advanced features from the app.

In addition to the guide above, there is also a kind fellow who has made a great tutorial he posted to his YouTube channel so you can follow this one via video if you prefer learning that way.

Furthermore, anyone wanting to pair a custom recovery with the rooted Asus device can do so now by following our guide for installing a custom recovery on the Asus Zenfone Max smartphone. With a custom recovery and root access to the internal system to the Max device, you can start installing any new ROMs when they become available. Moreover, some people enjoy using the custom recovery for taking complete backups with the NANDroid Backup feature — a feature that is usually reserved for new ROM installers but can also be used by anyone who prefers it over apps like the Titanium Backup application.