No, it isn’t mandatory, but we highly recommend rooting an Android device. Guardian will still work on an unrooted phone, but it will be operating within the restrictions placed on it by the manufacturer. The impact that these restrictions will have on Guardian will differ from phone to phone. The major disadvantages of running Guardian on an unrooted device are that it will be:
- less well hidden – don’t panic, Guardian would still be hidden from the user and isn’t likely to be discovered, even by an advanced user. Its just that on a rooted device Guardian can run in total stealth (silent and invisible – even to the networks).
- less reliable – issues can result from the fact that the operating system (on an unrooted phone) has virtually exclusive control over phone hardware and other resources. Power saving features, for example, would allow the operating system to shut off phone components like the GPS receiver if the battery level dropped too low. That would prevent Guardian from providing the devices current GPS co-ordinates. Similarly, if the device’s memory or processor is being utilized by too many apps, the operating system can throttle individual apps and even shut them down.
- less effective – in general there would be a noticeable decrease in the amount of data captured and the frequency of data uploads – this means that you’ll get less data and less often than if you rooted that device. This is often caused by the fact that the operating system (on an unrooted phone) could prevent Guardian from running multiple tasks at the same time. This might mean that if Guardian is monitoring a WhatsApp conversation it may not be able to capture an incoming call that comes through at exactly the same time. On a rooted phone Guardian is able to run multiple tasks simultaneously without issue.