The Samsung Galaxy S5 models right around the world are starting to find Android 5.0 Lollipop rolling out over the air. Each have a unique build number, this time it’s KSU1BNL2 for the G900S variant. That means you shouldn’t attempt installing the same on any other version. They all require unique guides.
By now you should have spent at last a few hours checking out the new Android 5.0 Lollipop features. Hopefully you know the new material Design UI, smart notifications, Material Design in the app drawer, card alerts for notifications, Head-up mode, priority mode, multitasking makeover, device sharing, new battery saving mode, added security features, quick settings and more. Some of our other favorites include improved network hand-offs, New Android runtime (ART), easier WiFi connections, professional photography features, tap-and-pay NFC easy switching, 64-bit architecture support, 68 different languages and print preview.
Now that you are familiar with the new software update, it’s time to open the system internals with root access. That way we can extract more out of our smartphone experience. Why not start installing custom ROMs and create a design that suits you even more for your own personal preferences? You can do that and keep many of the Lollipop features. You’ll need to wait a while longer until third-party developers create more custom ROMs. We know the CyanogenMod team are hard at work for Lollipop after just releasing the latest M12 ROMs for heaps of devices. Once the amount of custom ROMs grow it’ll be a ton of fun.
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
- Perhaps you are sick of the usual Samsung bloatware installed on your device and the Google Play Store isn’t giving many games or tweaks you enjoy? Well, there’s a cure for that with root access too! Now you can use more applications and perform tasks such as overclocking the CPU and increasing the device power. There’s other helpful apps that makes your life better. All you have to do is find out the names and install them from the same Google Play Store!
- Only flash the corresponding files for the G900S variant of the Samsung Galaxy S5. Check back for more guides later in the week if you are hoping to find root access on a different model number. You’ll find that many models are updating this week. If you don’t listen and install the files on the wrong number you can easily soft-brick the handset. That requires a different guide, likely from XDA Developers, to fix.
- You must enable the USB Debugging option from the Settings. You find it inside the Developer Options menu. The same is hidden in earlier versions of Android but you’ll have no worries finding it this time as it’s visible from KitKat and Lollipop.Temporary disable the adware, spyware, malware and virus protection from the Android handset and the computer.You can use any computer, notebook or laptop for the guide. It doesn’t have to be Windows. Apple Mac and Linux work just the same.
- You must have USB drivers that are up to date. Most Android enthusiasts have these already since they are connecting to the computer regularly. You can always test if yours are working by plugging the phone to the computer and opening up the pictures. If you are viewing the phones pictures on the PC you know the drivers are working. Those who need the drivers can install Samsung Kies and install them that way. Moreover, you can find direct links from third-party sources or visit the official Samsung website and download them that way.
We are installing a custom recovery before we open up with root access. Follow the steps for the recovery first starting here:
- Download the ClockworkMod recovery file here.
- Download a suitable version of Odin here.
- Extract the contents of the CWM folder and the Odin folder.
- Have Odin running on the computer.
- Connect the S5 G900S to the computer using the USB wire.
- Watch as the ID: COM change color.
- Click the PDA button and upload the recovery file.
- Leave the default settings the same.
- Click the start button to begin the flashing.
Keep the phone plugged into the same computer and continue on with the steps for rooting:
- Download the SphinX-root file here.
- Download the SuperSU zip file here.
- Do not extract the files as we are transferring them unzipped.
- Transfer the files from the computer to the phones internal storage space.
- Disconnect the phone now and reboot it up in recovery mode.
- Select “install zip from SD card.”
- Select “choose zip from SD card.”
- Pluck out the SphinX zip file and upload.
- Do the same with the SuperSU file.
- Go back to the main recovery screen and select “reboot system now.”
If you are experiencing instability you can return back to the stock Android by flashing the kernel from here. If flashing the stock kernel is too difficult you can always try installing the root checker and unroot pro app available from the Google Play Store here. You can easily return the device back the way it was before you unlocked the system internals.
Readers can fix the “Unfortunately SuperSU has Stopped” error by downloading Superuser.apk from here. From there you must transfer the file the same way as the others above and move it to the phones storage. Now go to the Settings and find the ‘Clean Up’ menu. Tap the ‘Re-install’ button to clean up the recent installations. Go back to Google Play and download the official SuperSU app. Now update the binary if it prompts you to make the change.