The version of Android that you are always given comes locked much the same way as iOS comes locked. Apple locks people into using Apple’s environment, so Apple continues to make as much money as possible from purchases. With Android, it is more about security than it is Android wanting to make more money from you, but it’s still a locked operating system nonetheless.
Although smartphones and tablets running iOS are becoming increasingly harder to unlock, the Android operating system is still relatively easy. There are also many reasons for why you might still want to root Android whereas most of the reasons for iOS are taken away already, thanks to Apple integrating the features into the native operating system. The iOS 11 that is about to be released, for example, is going to offer an unlimited amount of app icons in the dock; we already know this feature from Cydia as the Harbor tweak. All up, you can expect at least ten Cydia tweaks now being integrated into iOS 11, so you don’t need to jailbreak.
Many of the reasons for wanting to get root access have also been taken away in Android over the years, but there will always be at least a few reasons for still wanting to use the Android OS with root access. The Titanium Backup app is an app that comes to mind because of its ability to be able to backup as well as it does come from it having the chance to dig deep into the Android system, and that isn’t possible to do without root access. That’s why the best backup solution on Android without root access is the Helium app — and everybody knows Helium is no match for Titanium Backup.
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 We Should Know
- The Android 7.0 software update with build number NRD90M.G920FXXU5EQD7 was running on Chainfire’s Samsung Galaxy S6 SM-G920F smartphone when he created the rooting method available in this guide. However, that does not mean you need to be running the same software update. Chainfire states that it should work on any firmware build number for the Android 7.0 Nougat software update.
- If you flash the CF-Auto-Root tool using Odin on the Samsung Galaxy S6 SM-G920F smartphone and it causes the device not to boot up, don’t stress. The smartphone is not bricked permanently; it just needs firmware flashed on it manually using the Odin flashing tool. You need to let Chainfire know about the problem by leaving a message on the CF-Auto-Root tool thread so he can update the file, so it starts working again.
- You need to have the Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone that comes with the SM-G920F model number to use this guide. Flashing the wrong CF-Auto-Root file for your model number does not work, and you need to flash the firmware with Odin to get the device working again.
- All versions of the CF-Auto-Root tool need to be flashed with Odin. The Odin flashing tool needs to be used on the Windows operating system.
Files We Need
- Download the CF-Auto-Root tool for the Samsung Galaxy S6 SM-G920F running on the Android 7.0 Nougat software updates.
- Download the Samsung USB Drivers for the Windows operating system running on your computer.
How to Root Samsung Galaxy S6 SM-G920F on Android 7.0
- Log in to the computer running on a version of the Windows operating system using the administrator account.
- Unlock the Android Developer Options menu on the Samsung Galaxy S6 SM-G920F smartphone so you can turn on the USB Debugging.
- Enable the USB Debugging Mode on the Samsung Galaxy S6 SM-G920F smartphone so that the Odin flashing tool can make changes to the operating system when flashing the rooting files.
- Install the Samsung USB Drivers on the Windows operating system so that Odin can detect your device when you connect it to the computer.
- Extract the CF-Auto-Root tool to the Downloads folder on the computer and then double-click on the Odin executable file from the Downloads folder.
- Boot the Samsung Galaxy S6 SM-G920F smartphone into the Download Mode and then connect it to the computer with the USB cable.
- Wait for the ID: COM port to light up blue or yellow and give an “added” message. If you do not see that, then the USB Drivers are not installed correctly on the computer yet.
- Do not make any changes to the default Odin settings from either of its tabs on the Odin user interface.
- Click on the AP button and then navigate through to the Downloads folder and select the rooting MD5 file to upload to the Odin.
- Click on the Start button from the Odin user interface and then wait for the rooting of the Samsung Galaxy S6 SM-G920F smartphone to complete.
- While the smartphone is being rooted, have a read of the information that is running down the display of the device, so you know what to expect.
- When complete, the Odin user interface shows a pass message in a new green box.
The CF-Auto-Root tool has just installed the SuperSU app on your device, and you can find it from your app drawer, hovering around the same place you would typically expect to find a new app that you have just installed from the Google Play Store. Think of SuperSU as your gatekeeper to the operating system now. Each app you install that requires root access before it can run is going to get stopped by SuperSU no matter what. There is no way around SuperSU. It’s the God of all gatekeepers. Malware isn’t even going to try to get around it. That’s why when people say root access isn’t secure, they are wrong. The part where the security comes into it is after SuperSU stops it and leaves it up to human error.
You now have to decide if you want to grant an app root access or if you don’t. As soon as you choose to give an app root access, it has the root level permissions over the operating system. That’s why you can only grant root access to the apps you know and trust. Using trusted apps is pretty easy. You should only download apps that you have already researched and know the names of. Then when it comes time to download them, only download them from the Google Play Store or sources where you can see have had plenty of downloads and offer plenty of feedback so you can tell if that app is legit or not.
If there does ever come a time when you think you have granted root access to an app that you shouldn’t have, you need to navigate to the SuperSU applications and open it up. Look in the SuperSU settings for the chance to revoke root access to the apps. You can always change your mind from within the SuperSU app settings. You want to go in there as soon as you can and not let an untrustworthy app have time in your system to give yourself the best chance of it not causing any harm. Once the root access is taken away, it doesn’t matter where that app has currently gone inside your operating system it will be stopped in its tracks and unable to cause any harm.
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