I am Root: Rooting My Phone (And Clearing Some Space)

I recently rooted my phone, a Samsung GT-S5570 running Android Froyo, for the first time. Actually, the rooting I did on my phone was out of necessity instead of the urge of customizing something.

Last week, I got yet another ‘Low Internal Space’ notification. When I went to the Settings to check, I found out that I only have less than 10 MB of free space available, out of 180 MB.

Since I rarely install or update apps, I knew that it must have something to do with the system itself. I have heard that Android, especially older versions, could store megabytes of log files and caches without ever deleting them when they’re not needed anymore. And to delete them, I would need root access.

After clearing up as much space available (although the notification still appeared), I went to search for a file manager that enables its users to access root directories. There are lots of them available on the market, but finally I settled for the Cupcake version of ES File Explorer, due to its size and interface (the regular version is pretty hard to navigate on my 3.14“ screen)

When searching for file managers, I also found DiskUsage, a simple app that visualizes your folders and files using a treemap so you can easily find out which folder/file takes the most disk size.

And it’s time to pick the rooting app. The first apps I tried were one-click rooting apps (Framaroot, Gingerbreak, UniversalAndRoot), but they all failed.

Then I read about SuperOneClick, a desktop rooting app that could root up to Gingerbread versions of Android, and decided to give it a try. Although it has not been updated since 2013, and there are newer apps with better-looking interfaces, it has a pretty good reputation.

It’s pretty tricky to get the latest version. The developer’s website is not available, and the Google search result is full of shady download sites, but here’s the download link, which I found on an archived version of the website.

Using SuperOneClick is pretty easy: make sure you have your phone’s driver installed, eject the SD card from your phone (you don’t have to do this, but this makes the rooting process faster for me), turn the USB debugging option on, plug your phone in, click the big ‘Root’ button, and wait.

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rootest
After SuperOneClick has rooted your device (and clarified it from its test), reboot your phone, and you’ll see a Superuser icon on your app drawer. Superuser is an app that would manage which app could should be granted root access. When you open an app that could use root access, Superuser would pop open and ask if you allow the app to access your system files. It’s similar to Windows’ User Control Agent.

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You can use DiskUsage on the root directory to see which folder takes up the most disk space.

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To let ES File Explorer access your system, go to the settings page and tick the ‘Root Explorer’ checkbox.

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Now it’s time to remove some files. From what I’ve read, you can delete the files inside these folders:

  • data/dalvik-cache: This is the largest folder I found on my internal storage. To be safe, I didn’t delete all items in this folder; I only deleted files from apps I don’t use anymore.
  • data/log: There’s a bug on my version of Android that caused it to store cache files without ever deleting them. They can be quite large, and for a a casual user, these files are useless.
  • data/tombstones: This folder contains log files created every time something crashes.

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Don’t forget to unroot your phone when you’re done. The method is same as rooting, but this time, click the ‘Unroot’ button.

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In the end, I got 75 MB of free disk space. This doesn’t seem much, but it would be enough for weeks.

Right now, I don’t want to do more things with my ability to root my phone. Installing a custom ROM like CyanogenMod seems great, but maybe next time.

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