jerdog · Apr 4, 2013 at 05:30 am

Chainfire Finds Actually Working Galaxy S 4 Root Method

Often times in the world of media, the first to the story gets to claim they were first. They get the worm, and they get the page views. And we won’t say that page views aren’t great; they are. They end up helping to pay the bills that mount when you grow. The obvious downside to that, is often times that same media outlet can fall victim to their own success, and in turn report on things that aren’t actually real. We’ve done it before, and we’ve had to step up and admit it.

At XDA, we take pride in the fact that most of the mobile development news originates here. We are the source that all others report on. We also take pride in the fact that while we may not be the first to the news, we endeavor to report the real story after it’s been tried, tested, and verified. After all, we are the source.

Recently, news went around the internet that the new darling of the mobile world, the Samsung Galaxy S 4,  had been rooted prior to its release. Generally that is great news, but in this case the person who did the “rooting” didn’t have the device to test the process. In many cases, like previous versions of the Galaxy series, that is OK because the way to root Samsung devices has been the same via repacking Samsung’s firmware package with su and then flashing via ODIN. While that old way worked, it doesn’t work on the new S4 as XDA Recognized Developer Odia proved in a thread similar to the original “root” thread.

What is different about the S 4 is that Samsung utilizes a new security feature to enable BYOD to make the S 4 more palatable for the Enterprise customers, and that feature is Samsung Knox. Without going into a lot of detail, Knox effectively isolates your personal side of the device from your companies private side.

XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire began toying with the Qualcomm version of the Galaxy S 4 (GT-I9505) back in early March, and immediately began to have issues with the “tried and true” process for rooting previous Galaxy devices. He noticed that while you could “inject” the su binary into the firmware, the device would immediately reboot when that same binary was executed. 

After much testing, Chainfire figured out a way to root the device using his tried-and-true CF-Auto-Root process and posted the method in this thread. Be warned that this currently only works on the GT-I9505 (Qualcomm LTE) version of the S4, with Odia finding that there are issues with the Exynos 5 Octa version. As is always the case, be warned that there is a risk in performing any procedure such as this on your device. Let’s hope that Samsung hasn’t decided to really turn their noses up at the development community.


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