While rooting and jailbreaking are technically two different things, they both offer the same kind of upside which taking more control over your device. Although companies like Android and Apple might not admit it, they do frequently steal ideas from the rooting and jailbreaking scene and then implement them over time into the stock software experiences people get when they open it up out of the box and start using it. A couple of neat examples of this include taking screenshots and using WiFi tethering. These are the kind of features that first start out by the developers who were creating apps for root users, and have been noticed and picked up by the real Android developers and install into the operating system by default.

Rooting the Android operating system by definition means being able to write to the root of the system partition. That means having the ability to do anything from the system partition. That includes being able to change the stock ROM for a custom ROM, being able to read other apps data and take advantage of better backing up a solution that is out there for root users like the Titanium Backup app, and being able to enhance your music listening experience with apps like Viper4Android.

Now it does not make a ton of sense for Android to open the floodgates and give the entire world root access because it can do people more harm than good if they do not know what they are doing. For instance, somebody who is not tech savvy could accidentally delete files that the device needed to run properly with root access to the system partition, or they could potentially fall victim to a virus much easier. Think of the current Android operating system that the Android developers give you (with stock Android) as an OS with training wheels. It is tough to make a mistake when you use the stock versions of Android that is locked down because even a virus is trapped and can’t go anywhere within your system. Now think of rooting the device has taken those training wheels off and riding on one of the fastest bikes out there. As long as you know how to ride that bike, you are going to have the time of your life, but it can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.

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.

Notes:

  • Chainfire was running on the LRX22G.T705XXU1BOJ8 firmware build number when he created the rooting file found in this guide. It does not mean that anybody else needs to be running on the same firmware build number necessarily. All it means is that you can use that information as an indicator later if it is not working. The guide should work for all people who have the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 tablet that comes with the SM-T705 model number.
  • You must have the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 tablet that has the SM-T705 model number to use this guide. The CF-Auto-Root tool made for each model number of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and flashing the wrong file on the wrong model number bricks the device.
  • You must have a Windows computer running to follow this guide that makes use of the Odin flashing tool. The Odin flashing tool works wonderfully for flashing the CF-Auto-Root tool, but it only does so if you are using the Windows operating system. Those of you who have a Mac OS X or a Linux computer need to run a Windows OS virtual machine to get the flashing tool working if there are no other options.
  • The CF-Auto-Root tool trips Samsung’s Knox security if your device is one that comes with Knox security. Knox means that it picks up on the flashing, and it does not un-trip itself when you unroot the device. That means that even when you unroot the device in future, the warranty does not work again.
  • The Samsung Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 SM-T705 might get some more software updates rolling out to it in the future and some of those can stop the CF-Auto-Root tool from working temporarily. To get it working again, Chainfire relies on users to submit the new recovery image found in the new firmware creating issues to the CF-Auto-Root tool thread made at the XDA-Developers website. He sees the messages people leave and then applies the changes to the rooting files with the new recovery images. The changes that he makes to the rooting files are always automatically updates in our guides too because we link directly back to the CF-Auto-Root pages created by Chainfire.

Files We Need

Rooting the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 SM-T705 tablet running on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop software updates

  1. Log into the Windows computer using the administrator’s account that is always created when we first install the Windows operating system.
  2. Unlock the Developer Options menu on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 so you can use the options given inside the menu.
  3. Enable the USB Debugging Mode from the Developer Options menu that you just unlocked so that you can connect the tablet to the computer and the Odin flashing tool can make some changes to the developmental work on the software.
  4. Install the Samsung USB Drivers on the Windows PC so that the Odin flashing application can detect the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 tablet and allow for the flashing to happen.
  5. Extract the rooting file to the desktop of the computer and the flashing application and the rooting file are both available for you to use.
  6. Boot the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 SM-T705 tablet into the download mode and then connect it to the computer with the USB cable that you use for charging the battery any other day.
  7. Double-click on the Odin executable file and then wait for the flashing tool user interface to open on the computer.
  8. Do not make any changes from the default settings once it does.
  9. Check you can see a yellow or blue color coming from the Odin ID: COM port and the added word appears on the display. (These two things are there to let you know that the Odin flashing tool is detecting the tablet, and everything is ready for the flashing to happen).
    Click the Start button from the Odin user interface and then browse through to where you extracted the rooting file (the desktop if you followed our steps) and then choose to upload the CF-Auto-Root file ending in the tar.md5 file extension to this location in the Odin app on the computer.
  10. Check the display of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and take in what the CF-Auto-Root package is programmed to show which includes text letting you know when the SuperSU is being flashed, cleaning up the cache partition and the reflashing the stock recovery.
  11. If a few seconds look back up at the computer display and check the Odin flashing tool gives a green box with a pass message inside.
  12. You can now unplug the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 tablet from the computer as soon as it reboots back into the normal mode.

In conclusion, that is how to root the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 SM-T705 tablets when they are running on the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop software updates by using the CF-Auto-Root tool by Chanfire. The version of the CF-Auto-Root tool found in this guide is the older version which still requires modification of the /system partition.The Samsung tablet should reboot now all by itself and then the SuperSu application is available from the app drawer. That is because Chainfire’s CF-Auto-Root tool has installed and enabled the SuperSU app. It is an app just like any other app which allows people to open it up and adjust the settings inside; however, none of the settings need changing. All you need to do is open up the Google Play Store and start downloading your favorite root applications and then they run when you open them up like you would any other app. Anyone who needs some ideas on what to download can check out our list of best root applications for the Android operating system and find some direct download links there too.

CF-Auto-Root on XDA-Developers

Chainfire, the developer of the CF-Auto-Root tool available in this guide, has created a CF-Auto-Root tool thread on the XDA-Develoeprs website. You can use the CF-Auto-Root thread on the XDA-Developers site for requesting new root methods for devices that are not currently available.

Encryption

Note that flashing a CF-Auto-Root file (regardless of the device) wipes the data if the device storage is encrypted. For everyone else, there should be no data loss when rooting with the CF-Auto-Root tool.

Samsung’s Knox security

Some smartphones and tablets in the Samsung range come with Samsung’s Knox security. The CF-Auto-Root tool trips Knox which prevents you from unrooting and using the warranty again.

Flash counters

Any device with a target flash counter is triggered when using the CF-Auto-Root tool. Chainfire’s Triangle Away supports many devices for this problem.