Chainfire’s Systemless Root for Pixel Phones is Coming
We all knew it was coming. It’s basically tradition that within days of Google releasing a new device, XDA Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire finds a working root method. In keeping with that tradition, earlier today Chainfire demonstrated he had achieved root access on his Pixel phone with a picture of ADB shell requesting superuser access. The news understandably brought much excitement to fans of the Google Pixel phones, but Chainfire quickly clarified that the method he used to achieve root access required modifying /system and disabling dm-verity.
Frequent readers of our Portal might recall that we wrote an article explaining the possible difficulties with rooting the Pixel phones, and it seems we were right on some fronts: Chainfire initially confirmed that disabling dm-verity would be problematic, and for a while he thought it would be impossible to disable dm-verity without changes to the kernel. But eventually he found a way to disable dm-verity, as usual, and within a day of poking around he achieved full systemless root by modifying the boot image:
Victory is mine! Full systemless root achieved. Boot image mods only, /system fully intact, dm-verity switchable. #pixel
— Chainfire XDA (@ChainfireXDA) 27 October 2016
This is exciting news for all Pixel owners, as systemless root has become the most common way of rooting devices since Android Marshmallow and now Google’s latest phone can enjoy the benefits of root access, without the need for altering the kernel. Chainfire has once again worked around Google’s changes to Android in order to bring root access to millions in the Android community, but the method is not ready for release yet. Chainfire says it’ll take a few days to automate the process, clean up his work, and package it into a flashable zip, so please wait patiently for the release!
Keep in mind that to even attempt to root your device requires you to unlock the bootloader, which will cause SafetyNet to fail, so don’t expect to play Pokemon Go or use Android Pay on your Pixel. Even with SultanXDA’s temporary SafetyNet bypass patch, it’s only a matter of time until Google updates SafetyNet to fix this loophole. Still, we were worried that disabling dm-verity would require modifying the kernel, but Chainfire proved us wrong. We can only hope that the ingenious developers on our forums can continue finding workarounds should the need arise, but at this point it’s basically a game of whack-a-mole between developers and Google.
Feature image credit: The Legend