These are the instructions to root the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini smartphone with the model number GT-I9197 running on the Android 4.4.2 KitKat software update.
The CF-Auto-Root file you will find in this guide is based on Android 4.4.2 KitKat and the KOT49H.I9197XXUCNG1 firmware. You should understand that it does not mean you must be running that same KOT49H.I9197XXUCNG1 firmware but rather the information is used as an indicator. We know that some devices in the Samsung range refuse to boot up the older images. That’s why Chainfire gives this information.
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
- Download the new CF-Auto-Root file for the GT-I9197 on 4.4.2 from this page.
- Download the universal ADB driver directly to your computer from this page and install the driver before you start the guide.
- Download the Odin flashing tool from this page.
- You should check that your Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini smartphone does have the GT-I9197 model number before starting the guide or else it will brick the device. You can check that by tapping on the S4 Mini’s Menu > Settings > About Device > Model Number.
- You must have a Windows computer to run the Odin flashing tool that is available in this guide.
Rooting the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9197 on Android 4.4.2 KitKat
- Installing the universal ADB Driver on your computer running Windows.
- Extract the Odin and the CF-Auto-Root files to the desktop of the computer by dragging them from the default Downloads folder over to the desktop and then right-click > extract here.
- Enable the USB Debugging Mode on your S4 Mini by navigating to the Menu > Settings > Developer Options > USB Debugging Mode. You can unlock the Developer Options menu on your S4 Mini if need be by pointing to the Menu > Settings > About Device > Build Number 7 times.
- Connect the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini to the computer in download mode. Start with the S4 Mini device completely off and then boot by holding the Power + Home + Volume Down to get it in the download mode. Press the Volume Up button on the display when it says to do so.
- Wait for the ID: COM port to light up a green color so you know the universal ADB Driver is working. Anyone who does not see the device added message needs to get the drivers working. Try installing the Samsung drivers and reboot the computer if necessary.
- Do not make any changes to the default settings you can see available from the Odin user-interface, including the Auto Reboot, Re-partition and F Reset Time options.
- Click the AP or PDA button that is available from the Odin application and browse the desktop for the CF-Auto-Root tar.md5 file for the S4 Mini handset.
- Click the Start button when you are ready to flash the rooting exploit on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini smartphone.
- Wait until you get the text on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini’s display stating that it is restoring the stock recovery, cleaning up and rebooting in 10 seconds.
- The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9197 smartphone will now reboot in recovery mode and the SuperSU is fully installed and enabled on the device. You can start using it to install your root-requiring apps like the Titanium Backup app from the Google Play Store.
- Anyone who does not see the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9197 smartphone reboot in the recovery mode like it should must get it done manually by holding the Power + Home + Volume Up buttons during the booting stages.