The Samsung Galaxy S4 can now be anytime installed with official XXUGNI2 Android 4.4.2 firmware. The new Android firmware has already begun rolling out OTA and many of you are running it already. That brings me to my first point: don’t start using the steps listed below unless you are running this firmware. You see, each new release comes with patches issued by the Google and Android developers for fixing the exploits found in past builds. That means the developers focusing on opening the OS up must find other exploits from the new build. That’s why they are always specific. You can check the build you are running now by turning the smartphone on and stopping over at the Settings > About Device and taking a look.
We know Android 5.0 Lollipop is rolling now for all the Google nexus range of smartphones and tablet. Additionally, the Motorola company has a couple of releases. We still haven’t seen any Samsung Galaxy releases. Since the S4 isn’t new in the Galaxy range, that means it’s still a while away from any of the latest candy love with material Design UI. Why do I mention that? Because it means there’s every reasons to update to the XXUGNI2 build and find root access. Sometimes owners think it’s more effort than it’s worth. However, it’s still months away from Lollipop. If you want to unlock the system internals away from the default factory restrictions so that way you can install custom ROMs or custom firmware.
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.
Details of Note
- A good idea will be to check the USB charging is working. Most modern-day smartphones come with USB charging as s stock feature. That means when it’s plugged into the computer of choice, it starts charging the battery all by itself. It charges slower than a traditional battery charger, but you’ll notice the battery going up and not downwards nonetheless. So, if we are plugging into a computer for most of the guide there’s no point worrying about the battery level so long as you know the USB charging is working. You want to reserve at least 50% battery power before starting if you know it’s not working. That way you’ll get through the guide in its entirety and it won’t shut down. Making sure the handset doesn’t turn off is vitally important since shutdowns often lead to bricking. We must see through the flashing process before we can reboot and load it with the new unchained operating system.
- Furthermore, you ought to use a Windows PC since we are using the Odin application. Odin is specifically made for Windows PCs and does not work with mac or Linux. You can flash firmware by using different tools, but you can’t root using Chainfire’s tools.
- Nothing during the steps expects to wipe the data from the phone. However, you never know what is going to happen with technology. It’s best practice to back up the data stored on the phone so that way you don’t lose it if something happens. Backup the phone contacts, call logs, SMS texts, videos, music files, audio files, pictures and EFS folder. The EFS folder is essential for rooting since if corrupt you’ll get in trouble.
- For accomplishing this root process, first you must download the Cf-Auto-root tool on a computer or laptop. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small notebook, as long as it has the USB slot in the side so we can connect our phones. As you know, to successfully connect to the computer with the phone, first we must install the up-to-date USB drivers. Numerous people already have them working. You can always test yours by plugging in and heading over to “My Computer” and clicking on the phones drive. If you can get access to the data from the computer you know the drivers are already working fine. If not it’s time to head over to the official website and grab your file. Alternatively you can install Samsung Kies and install the drivers automatically from there. Just remember to disable Kies before starting the guide since it interferes with the Odin app.
- Correspondingly, another program that interfere with Odin is the security on the computer and Android device. Therefore you ought to disable both of them until leaving here. Remember to turn them back on again before you start browsing the web or else you can find viruses.
- If you get stuck in a continuous boot loop, first you must attempt wiping the cache. Select “wipe data factory reset” and “wipe cache partition” after entering recovery mode. If that doesn’t work you ought to try a factory reset. A factory reset wipes the data clean as if it’s brand new. That’s why you should always backup the data just as we suggest.
- Lastly, you want to stopover at the Developer options menu where you must enable USB Debugging mode. The mode is essential for connecting to the computer. If something isn’t working during the steps it’s likely for this reason or the drivers. That’s where you want to look if you need help.
How to root XXUGNI2 Android 4.4.2 KitKat on the Samsung Galaxy S4 I9500
- Start by turning the computer on and logging into the user account.
- Download Chainfire’s CF-Auto-root pack here.
- Use the desktop of the PC.
- Download Odin 3.09 here to the desktop and extract the contents.
- Have Odin open and running on the PC monitor but don’t touch anything inside until we come back to it in a minute.
- Boot the galaxy S4 in download mode by pressing and holding the Volume Down + Home + Power buttons at the same time.
- Find the USB cable.
- Connect the S4 to the computer using the USB wire.
- Watch as Odin writes you a message to tell you that it’s added.
- Watch the ID: COM port change color.
- Click the AP button and upload the ja3g-ja3gxx-gti9500.zip‘ file.
- Leave the default settings as they are already.
- Do not check the re-partition box.
- Click the start button when you are ready for the flashing.
- The S4 will automatically reboot once the flashing is done since we checked the Auto reboot box.
- Moreover, you’ll see the ID: COM port changing color again and another message on the screen notifying you that it’s passed.