Will Verduzco · May 18, 2012 at 02:30 pm

Root Achieved on the Samsung Galaxy S III

Not too long ago, we went hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S III. In fact, XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire, who was later kind enough to go on camera for a fun interview and unboxing, even made a brief cameo in the video as we tested USB Host functionality on the SGS3 using his popular DSLR Controller app. Needless to say, much of the Android community is eagerly anticipating the launch of Samsung’s new flagship.

However, many people won’t bother with devices that aren’t rooted. Luckily this has been quick to achieve on Samsung devices in the past, and the Galaxy S III is no different. Before the official release, Chainfire has managed to root the SGS3. While Chainfire is currently unable to release the insecure boot image because it may be traceable, this most likely won’t be the case for long. In his words:

Unfortunately, I am not able to share the “insecure” kernel with you at the moment, because of fears it is traceable to the leaker (this is said to be the last traceable firmware revision).

This root is, as expected, trivial. It was a simple matter of repacking the stock kernel, with a modified adbd binary that thinks ro.secure=0 (even if ro.secure=1). This gives access to all adb root commands (see screenshots). Then SuperSU was installed manually.

Kernel – The modification was trivial, because this time around, Samsung is using the standard boot.img format, instead of the zImage format used for SGS1, SGS2, SGNote, etc, that is much harder to repackage.

Recovery – The recovery partition is also being used this time around. And thus we can flash recoveries separately from the kernel.

Bootloaders – There was no warning triangle at boot-up after flashing the modified kernel, but download mode did show a custom kernel flash counter which increased. Whether or not flashing a custom recovery also triggers this counter is as of yet unknown.

Final note – This was all tested on a current (release candidate) SGS3 firmware. There may be a newer firmware on true retail/production devices. Though some things may change, it is unlikely to changemuch. Let’s hope nothing 

Also, Triangle Away did not work. They have hidden the boot partitions again as on the latest SGNote firmwares.

(No, I don’t have an SGS3 yet, everything was done remotely)

Now if you take a closer look at that last line, you’ll see what is perhaps the most impressive aspect of Chainfire’s achievement. Not only is he the first to root the device, but he did so working remotely, sight-unseen.

What are you waiting for? If you’re lucky enough to have your hands on a pre-release SGS3, head over to the original thread to learn more. This is exciting news even if you don’t yet own the device, but wish to purchase one in the near future!


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Will Verduzco

willverduzco is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. Will Verduzco is the Portal Administrator for the XDA-Developers Portal. He has been addicted to mobile technology since the HTC Wizard. But starting with the Nexus One, his gadget love affair shifted to Google's little green robot. He is also a Johns Hopkins University graduate in neuroscience and is now currently studying to become a physician. View willverduzco's posts and articles here.
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