The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is part of the new Samsung range of smartphone, and the SM-G850M is the LTE variant from the Vodafone phone carrier network. If you own that device and are running the official Android 4.4.4 KitKat software, you can follow the guide below for opening up the internal hardware away from the OEM restrictions.
Getting root access on Android is similar to having access to the root user account on Mac OS X where you are then given full administrative rights over the operating system. On a Mac, there is such a thing as a root account password, and you ought to think about password protecting your smartphone with root access as well if you don’t have a password on it already. You don’t want anyone else who is less educated with rooting the Android operating system using your smartphone when you’re not looking. They might install malware, and that’s a problem since it can now use the device with root access whereas before there wasn’t much it could do.
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.
- You must follow our guide below on the Alpha G850M variant only. You can verify that number matches with your device by navigating to the Settings > About Device and looking at the model number.
- Furthermore, you want that device to be running the official Android 4.4.4 KitKat update. You can check your software version from the same About Device menu as mentioned above. It’s possible Google patches this exploit in future OTA updates such as the Android Lollipop.
BEFORE WE BEGIN
- We recommend updating your Samsung USB Drivers from our direct link. Once done, you’ll need to reboot your Windows PC to have the same drivers working.
- As I said before, you must use a Windows PC for this guide. The Odin app doesn’t work for Mac or any other operating system.
- Applying the steps does void any warranty you have left; thus jeopardizing the ability to send it away for free repairs.
HOW TO ROOT THE SAMSUNG GALAXY ALPHA G850M LTE RUNNING ANDROID 4.4.4 KITKAT
1. Download the CF-Auto-Root tool you want from here.
2. Download the Odin tool from here.
3. Download both files to the desktop of the Windows PC and extract the files so they are unzipped.
4. Run the Odin application and leave it open.
5. Completely power down the Alpha and boot it up in Download Mode.
Press the Power button again if you get to the Android logo or warning screen.
Connect the Alpha to the computer via USB cable.
Click the PDA button in Odin and upload the tar.md5 rooting file from the extracted file on the desktop.
Leave the Auto reboot option on, and check the re-partition box is empty.
Click the Start button and wait until it rebooted automatically.
You are all done and ready to check out some custom ROMS or rooted application from the Google Play Store. You’ll find most of the app there, but there are also a few good ones situated outside of the Play Store as well. Sometimes they used to be there, and then Google took them down, and other times the developers just wanted to have the links set up on their own websites instead.
Make sure you know what you’re installing at all times, but especially if you’re downloading an application that isn’t in the Google Play Store. Anything outside it doesn’t have the same kind of protection monitoring it, and so it’s easier to find malware that way. There are some applications found on Google Play that are malware too from time to time, but generally speaking, Google does a good job and maintaining it.