Many people choose to buy Google Nexus phones because they give people the chance to run a purer version of the Android operating system. Android is known as the most popular OS in the world partly because it is installed on so many devices and partly because it is just a cool open source operating system that can be tweaked and modified in so many ways. Sadly, by the time we get our version of Android on our Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphones they are no longer anything close to stock. Samsung is one of the phone manufacturers that puts its skin on top of what they get from the stock version of Android that Android developers give them. What Samsung does to the Android OS is so different from the stock version that you can hardly recognize it.
Anyone who wants to go back and use the pure stock Android needs to root the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone. There are a few things you can do to take away from the look of the manufacturers skin like installing another Launcher, but you still find Samsung’s imprints all over other parts of the operating system. Some applications need root access to run that can remove all of the system apps. One of the best apps to do that with is the Titanium Backup app. Apart from doing some handy work by removing the system apps, you need to install a custom ROM if you want to remove the manufacturers skin completely and replace it with a completely stock Android with no bloatware. Moreover, you find plenty of custom ROMs out there that give their personal choice of skin with design elements and unique features that you do not get with Android. For the most part, that is not the case, and people are installing custom ROMs like CyanogenMod that always stay close to what stock Android is on a smartphone or tablet.
By following the guide below, you are going to install and enable the SuperSU on your Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone. The SuperSU is what grants the access to the root file system to anything that asks for it. That includes any applications that you install, as well as any custom ROMs or kernels that you want to upload. The only difference with your root apps and ROM is that a ROM needs a custom recovery installed as well as the root access otherwise you cannot install the ROM.
The CF-Auto-Root tool is made for each device and often it gets updated for each major software update. The version of the CF-Auto-Root package that you find in this guide is based on the MMB29M.N910R4TYU1CPC5 firmware build number which is part of an Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow update that rolled out to some regions around the world. That means it was the MMB29M.N910R4TYU1CPC5 firmware build number that Chainfire had running on his Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone with the SM-N910R4 model number when he created this rooting method. All you need to know is that he ran that; it does not mean that you need it running on your Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone before getting started with this guide. The CF-Auto-Root file in this guide should work for all versions of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow provided that you have the SM-N910R4 model number.
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 CF-Auto-Root tool for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 SM-N910R4 smartphone running on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow updates from here.
- Download the Samsung USB Drivers for the US Cellular Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone on the Windows PC that you are using the guide from here.
Note that any Samsung smartphone that runs with Knox security will be tripped by flashing the CF-Auto-Root tool. That means people can no longer unroot the smartphone to get the warranty working again if it is a device that has Knox security.
The following guide is made for the US Cellular version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone with the SM-N910R4 model number running on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow software updates. You can check the model number and the software versions of the US Cellular Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone by pointing to the Menu > Settings > About Device menu and then taking a look at the areas on the screen for both.
There are sometimes Android software updates that bring new bootloaders with them. These updates are usually the larger ones that update devices to completely newer versions of the Android operating system such as the jump from the Android Marshmallow to the Android Nougat builds. That is the main reason why we create our rooting guides based on software updates only, so you cannot mistakenly follow a guide that is outdated. With that being said, it is still possible to find new bootloaders arriving for future updated versions of the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow updates too. When that happens, Chainfire needs to apply updates to the rooting files on his end and those changes will then be automatically reflected on our end because we link back directly to the official CF-Auto-Root tool repository page Chainfire has set up. Moreover, for Chainfire to apply updates, he relies on you guys to submit the new recovery image files in the new firmware that is creating the problems to the CF-Auto-Root tool thread made over at the XDA-Developers website. He will see your message along with the recovery images you left and then used it to update the files. He cannot do this by himself because it is too much work to keep track of the new firmware across all devices.
Rooting the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 SM-N910R4 smartphone when it is running on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow software updates
- Log into the Windows PC with an administrators account just in case you have both administrators accounts and a regular user account that do not carry administrator permissions. (You do not get the Odin flashing tool to work and detects your device unless you are logged into an administrator’s account since it requires the maximum privileges to run. The Odin flashing application can make developments to the operating system and thus cannot be run by a regular user for security reasons).
- Unlock the Developer Options menu on the US Cellular Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone so you can use the set of options found within that menu that help us with the guide.
- Enable the USB Debugging Mode from the Developer Options menu that you just finished unlocking so that you can do developmental work from the Odin application on the computer.
- Extract the rooting file to the desktop of the computer so that you can see the Odin flashing application and the CF-Auto-Root file that you are using soon.
- Double-click on the Odin flashing application so that the Odin user interface opens on the computer.
- Run the Samsung USB Drivers on the computer so that when you connect the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone to the computer and the USB cable the Odin flashing application can detect your device and allow for the rooting to take place.
- Boot the USB Cellular Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone into the download mode and then connect it to the computer with the USB cable.
- Check that you can see a yellow or blue ID: COM port coming from the Odin user interface along with an “added” message accompanying it which are both letting you know that Odin has detected your device thanks to the Samsung USB Drivers working. (Those of you who do not see the Samsung USB Drivers working will need to check that you are signed into a Windows administrator’s account and that the drivers are working. Those who did install the Samsung USB Drivers package should try installing the Universal Windows ADB Driver instead and see if that helps).
- Do not make any changes from the default settings that are available from the Odin user interface.
- Click the AP button coming from the Odin user interface and then browse the desktop location for the rooting package that is ending in the tar.md5 file extension.
- Click the AP button from the Odin user interface and then the rooting begins.
- Check you get all of the correct messages on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone display which include your device being detected, mounting the system and the cache, resetting the SuperSU, running the SuperSU Installer, and then the boot image patcher.
- Now check you get the important notices from Chainfire on the display which include letting you know that it can take a few minutes for the first reboot, and it can also boot loop a few times before it is done. Do not panic as these are normal and part of the rooting process. Juts make sure that you do not interrupt the rooting process).
- lastly, check you can see the text say it is unmounting the system, restoring the stock recovery, cleaning up and then rebooting in ten seconds.
In conclusion, that is how to root the US Cellular Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone when it is running on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow software updates by flashing the new versions of Chainfire’s systemless root CF-Auto-Root tool. The CF-Auto-Root tool is a system less version of the infamous one-click rooting tool which means it is much cleaner and safer than the old version. Everything else remains the same, and you can continue to install the same root applications that you were running before, as well as install a custom recovery image if you should choose. That custom recovery can be installed either before or after you applied this rooting method on the device. One of the main differences with the systemless root versions of the CF-Auto-Root tool is that it will unroot each time you apply a factory reset from the recovery mode so make sure you are aware of that before you apply the hard reset. In the older version, it does not unroot unless you chose to unroot from the SuperSU application from your app drawer or if you flashed a stock ROM from the Sam Mobile website by using the same Odin flashing tool.
Those of you who can see the device reboot after it says it was about to reboot will find the device is booting back into the normal mode, and you can see the SuperSU application from the app drawer. That is the app that makes you the root user. Each time you install one of the root applications from the Google Play Store such as the Titanium backup application, a message appears on the display stating that you can either choose to apply for root permissions or deny root permissions to the app. Always deny anything you do not know and apply them to anything that you knowingly installed and trust so they can have access to the root file system. As soon as the apps you wanted to run have access to the root file system you can tap and open them up from the app drawer and begin using them just like you would any other app. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, you might prefer heading to the Google Play Store and installing the root checker application instead. The root checker app is available as a free version of the basic versions, and it is all you need to check the root status of your Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone.
Once that completes, it is time to see all the things you can do with the rooted Android operating system so that you can start taking advantage of what you just created. The things I am referring to include getting the chance to install robust applications that needed root access to run, installing a custom recovery image, installing a custom ROM, making the battery last longer, installing a custom kernel, increasing the hardware performance and even enhance your gaming experiences.
Those who checked the root status of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone by the US Cellular phone carrier network and were not so lucky with what they found can now start troubleshooting and find out the reasons as to why that happened. One of the common issues that arise from the CF-Auto-Root tool is the device not getting into the recovery mode during the flashing of the rooting file, and when that happens the SuperSU application still gets installed, but it does not result in it being enabled properly. To fix that, you can just boot the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone into the recovery mode and then it allows the SuperSU that way instead. In essence, it does not matter if it happens automatically or manually; as long as it gets into the recovery mode, it manages to root your device still. Those booting to the recovery mode using their hands need to time it right and wait until you see the last message on the display that says your smartphone is going to reboot in ten seconds and then as soon as you see it start to reboot, hold the hardware button combination for the recovery mode.
Furthermore, another thing you can try to fix the CF-Auto-Root tool not enabling the SuperSU on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone correctly is just downloading another version of the Odin flashing tool application. The Odin flashing tool is available in a few versions, and all of them can flash the rooting file for your smartphone. There is none of them that creates a problem. Moreover, we witness people trying to root using the CF-Auto-Root tool with versions of Odin, and it does not flash so they try it with another version of the Odin flashing application and it does work. These issues are random and cannot be easily judged, but if it does not work for you just try another version. Chainfire bundled in the Odin 3.10 version with his rooting files that are based on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow updates, but it will not necessarily work for everyone. Try using the older Odin 3.09 or the Odin 3.07 and continuing to work your device down until one of them works.
In addition to getting into the recovery mode and flashing with a new version of the Odin flashing tool, users can head over to the Sam Mobile website and see what versions of the firmware are available for the same mobile number smartphone. Sometimes you can get multiple phone carrier networks using the same model number and those devices can be SIM unlocked and that allows you to install different firmware versions from one of the other phone carrier networks instead. As long as you are SIM unlocked, nothing is stopping you from changing the firmware you are running with different firmware versions from one of the other phone carrier networks that use the same model number. Note that it must still be the same model number, and there isn’t necessarily that options for US Cellular devices.