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Thursday, 7 April 2011

Fwd: The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone


A nice rooting article from lifehacker:

By Whitson Gordon

The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone

The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android PhoneWith all the different devices out there running different versions of Android, the rooting process can be a little different for every phone. Here's a one-stop guide that should get you up and running with root access, no matter what device you have.

Rooting, for those of you that don't know, means giving yourself root permissions on your phone. It's similar running programs as administrators in Windows, or running a command with sudo in Linux. With a rooted phone, you can run more apps (like backup or tethering apps), as well as flash custom ROMs to your phone, which add all sorts of extra features.

Just like our always up-to-date guide to jailbraking iOS, we're going to keep this guide up to date instead of publishing new guides every time the rooting process changes—it's one page to bookmark that will always have the latest or best method. It's a more hefty undertaking, what with all the different Android phones and rooting methods out there, but we're up to the challenge. Currently there are two main rooting methods that cover most devices, with a few outliers that require more work. To find out which method works for your phone, you can probably just hit Ctrl+F and type in your phone's name (e.g. hero). If you find your phone isn't listed, read through the first method, as it's probably the one you'll want to use.

Note: Our goal is to keep this guide as accurate and up to date as possible, but we can't test every phone out there, so we're relying on you guys a bit to help us out. If you have an outlier device who's method isn't listed, or one of these methods becomes outdated for a specific device, please let me know by emailing me at whitson+rootingguide@lifehacker.com (if you can help me out by providing the correct method, that's even better). I'll do my best to maintain this guide as much as possible, and if anything big changes, we'll be sure to let you know.

Most Android Phones: The SuperOneClick Method

The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone Photo by Raphael Schön.


The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone

The majority of you will be able to use previously mentioned SuperOneClick for Windows to root your phone. So far, it's been officially tested on the following phones:

  • Acer Liquid Metal
  • Dell Streak
  • HTC Magic (Sapphire) 32B
  • HTC Bee
  • T-Mobile Comet (Huawei Ideos U8150)
  • LG Ally
  • LG Optimus 2x
  • Motorola Charm
  • Motorola Cliq
  • Motorola Droid
  • Motorola Droid 2
  • Motorola Droid X
  • Motorola Flipside
  • Motorola Flipout
  • Motorola Milestone
  • Motorola Milestone 2
  • Nexus One: Outdated. If you've upgraded to 2.3 Gingerbread, there is currently no simple method for rooting. You'll either have to wait for a 2.3 exploit (which is rumored on the way for SuperOneClick), or downgrade to 2.2 using this method.
  • Samsung Captivate
  • Samsung Galaxy 551 (GT-I5510)
  • Samsung Galaxy Portal/Spica I5700
  • Samsung Galaxy S 4G
  • Samsung Galaxy S I9000
  • Samsung Galaxy S SCH-I500
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • Samsung Transform M920
  • Samsung Vibrant
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia E51i X8
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia X10
  • Sprint Hero
  • Telus Fascinate
  • Toshiba Folio 100

However, it should work on many more. Forum threads abound on the net where people claim it works with other devices, and they just haven't been added to the "official" list. With that in mind, I'd recommend checking the incompatibility list here. If you have one of these phones, you'll want to skip down to the next section:

  • Sprint EVO 4G (HTC Supersonic)
  • Droid Incredible (HTC Incredible)
  • HTC Desire GSM
  • HTC Desire CDMA (HTC BravoC)
  • HTC Aria
  • Droid Eris (HTC DesireC)
  • HTC Wildfire (HTC Buzz)
  • T-Mobile G2
  • HTC Thunderbolt

If your phone isn't one of these, SuperOneClick should work. All of these phones will need the Unrevoked method below, except for the G2 and the Thunderbolt, which have their own sections. If you want to double check that SuperOneClick will work with your phone, a quick Google (e.g. superoneclick droid x) will probably reveal whether its compatible. If it does work and it isn't on the compatibility list above, let us know and we'll add it!

What You'll Need

  • A Windows PC: SuperOneClick has ports for Mac and Linux, but it's pretty complciated to get it working. I haven't used it myself, but you can check out its XDA Developers thread for more information. For the purposes of this guide, we'll assume you have a working Windows PC to get this working. If you don't have one, borrow one from a friend—you'll only need it once.
  • The USB Drivers for Your Phone: You'll have to grab these from your manufacturer's web site.
  • Previously Mentioned SuperOneClick: This is the Windows program that will root your phone. It's portable, so just download it and unzip it somewhere safe—no installation necessary.

The Process

The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone

First, find, download and install the USB drivers for your particular phone. You can generally Google for your device's drivers, but you can just head to your manufacturer's web site too (e.g., Motorola Droid users will head to Motorola's web site) and navigate to your device's support page. Go ahead and install the drivers once they're downloaded.

Next, make sure your phone is in USB Debugging mode. Head to Settings > Applications > Development and check the USB Debugging box at the top.

Once you've done all that, start up SuperOneClick. Plug in your phone (make sure NOT to mount the SD card), and hit the "Root" button to root your phone—it's that simple. When it finishes, you'll see a message that says "Root files have been installed!" Hit Yes if it asks you to run a test, and if everything went according to plan, it should confirm that you have root permissions. You can now close out of the app.

To double check and make sure everything went well, when you open up your app drawer you should see an app called "Superuser". If so, you're good to go! You can now flash custom ROMs, run root-only apps, and more. See the "What Now?" section below for more ideas.

Certain HTC Phones: The Unrevoked Method

The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone Photo by Kevin Jarrett.


The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone

If you're running an HTC phone, chances are you'll need to use the Unrevoked tool. More specifically, Unrevoked roots the following phones:

  • Sprint EVO 4G (HTC Supersonic)
  • Droid Incredible (HTC Incredible)
  • HTC Desire GSM
  • HTC Desire CDMA (HTC BravoC)
  • HTC Aria
  • Droid Eris (HTC DesireC)
  • HTC Wildfire (HTC Buzz)

If you have an HTC phone that isn't supported by either method (such as the HTC Thunderbolt, at the time of this writing), Unrevoked may be working on support for it—they're still actively developing the program and doing a great job. It usually takes them a few months, but once they get it up and running, it's worth it—Unrevoked's one click method is a ton easier than the manual hacking you'll have to do if you want root access right after a phone is released.

What You'll Need

  • A Computer: Thankfully, Unrevoked is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. So as long as you have a PC handy, you can run it.
  • Previously mentioned Unrevoked3: When you head to Unrevoked's web site, you'll see a list of phones. Click on yours, and you'll probably be presented with two options—for a traditional root, you'll want to make sure you download the "Unrevoked3" tool, not "Unrevoked Forever." It will automatically detect your operating system (Windows, Mac, or Linux), so just hit the download link to grab the appropriate version.
  • HBOOT Drivers (Windows only): Windows users using Unrevoked will need to install a few drivers to get it working properly. Mac and Linux versions should be a plug-and-go affair.

The Process

The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone

If you're running Windows, the first thing you'll want to do is install the Unrevoked modified USB drivers (Mac and Linux users can skip the next two paragraphs). Download the drivers from this page, and extract them somewhere you'll remember. Turn off your phone, then reboot into the HBOOT menu by holding the volume down button and then holding power. You should boot into a white screen. Plug your phone into your computer via USB, and wait for your phone to say HBOOT USB PLUG.

When it does, head to Start and search for Device Manager. Start it up and head to "Other Devices", where you'll see an "Android 1.0" device. Right click on it and hit Update Driver Software. Click "Browse my computer for driver software" and navigate to the folder you extracted earlier. Hit next and let it install. If you get any warnings, just hit OK. When you're done, and you should see the Device Manager now lists an Android Phone with "Android Bootloader Interface" under it.

Next, make sure your phone is in USB Debugging mode. Head to Settings > Applications > Development and check the USB Debugging box at the top.

Now, start up the Unrevoked tool and plug in your phone (again, make sure to hit "charge only"). It should do everything for you automatically. Make sure you wait until Unrevoked says "Done" before unplugging your phone. If you open up your app drawer and see an app called "Superuser Permissions", you're done and can continue to flash custom ROMs, use root only apps, and more (see the "What Now?" section for more inspiration).

Rooting the T-Mobile (HTC) G2 and HTC Desire Z

The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone Photo by kuchingboy.


The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone

The G2 is a special case. You're going to need to use a tool called Visionary to give it temporary root, and then go through a bit of manual hacking to make that root permanent. None of the Lifehacker editors have a G2 to test this on, but we've taken these instructions from the Android rooters extraordinaire over at XDA Developers, as well as the below video from The Unlockr.

Note that the Desire Z got an update back in December that stops this method from working. Unfortunately, at the moment there is no other method to root the Desire Z running the 1.72 firmware. You'll have to downgrade using this extremely involved method before going through the rooting process. I'm not going to get into it here because it's very long and tricky, and I don't have a phone to follow along with. Plus it would also make this guide an ungodly size for one outlier. If you have a G2, you should be fine.

What You'll Need

  • Visionary: This is the app that will temproot your phone. You'll need to go through a slightly longer process, but this is pretty much all you need to start out—no PC necessary!
  • Android Terminal Emulator: The second half of this method requires a bit of manual hacking, so you'll need a terminal app on your phone. This one should work well.

The Process

The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone

To start, head into Settings > Applications > Development and check the USB Debugging box. Also be sure to check the Unknown Sources box in Settings > Applications.

Then, head to Visionary's download page, download and install it to your phone. Once installed, start it up and check the "Temp Root After Reboot" and "System R/W After Root" boxes. Then hit the "TempRoot Now" button. Wait until it finishes, and check your app drawer. If you see "Superuser" listed among your apps, you've achieved temporary root!

Next, we need to turn that temporary root into a permanent root. This is going to require a bit of manual terminal work, but nothing too difficult. Head to this XDA forum thread and download the attached rooting files. You'll need an account at XDA, but trust me, you want one. You'll use it more than you think. You can either download it to your PC and transfer them to your phone, or download them straight to your phone. Just make sure you don't reboot your phone (or you'll lose your temproot), and make sure to extract the zip file to the root of your SD card. When you're done, you should have a folder caled root_files on the first level of your SD card's file system.

Next, head to the Market and download your Terminal Emulator. Start it up and type the following commands, hitting enter after each one:

su cp /sdcard/root_files/perm_root /data/local/perm_root chmod 777 /data/local/* /data/local/perm_root 

You'll see the status scroll by as it performs the process. When you're done, it will return you to a regular terminal prompt. You should now have permanent root, and you can continue on to flash custom ROMs, use root only apps, and more.

Rooting the HTC Thunderbolt

The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone Photo by Eugene.


The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Rooting Any Android Phone

At the time of this writing, the HTC Thunderbolt has been rooted, and has a somewhat easy rooting solution. It's for Windows only, and will only work with firmware versions below 1.12.605.9 (Mac users can root, but they'll have to use the long, complicated method). The Unrevoked team is working on adding it to their list of supported phones, but we'll likely be into summer by the time that happens. If you can't wait, this method should work just fine. Start by downloading the very large Easyroot program from this XDA forum thread (you'll need an account to do so, but trust me, it's good to have—you'll likely use it again in the future). As with the G2 method, I have not tested this myself—only copied the instructions from XDA-Developers. Feedback is appreciated.

To start, make sure your phone has USB debugging enabled in Settings > Applications > Development. Plug in your phone and make sure it's in "charge only" mode. Open up the Easyroot app and click on Step 1. Wait a few minutes, and it should reboot your phone to a white menu with the Bootloader option highlighted in blue. Hit the power button to head to your bootloader.

After a minute or two, it should load a program and ask you if you want to update. Tell it that you do by pressing the Volume Up button. It will update and then say "Update complete". Hit the power button to reboot your phone.

Once you've booted back up, skip through the phone's setup options and head back to Settings > Applications > Development to turn USB debugging back on. Then, unplug your phone, and plug it back in. Click Step 2 in the Easyroot program. If you get an error, kill the Rooter.exe process from Windows' task manager, then restart it and hit Step 2 again.

It will reboot into the white menu again. Highlight the Bootloader option and hit Power again. You're going to go through the same process you did in Step 1—wait, hit Volume Up to upgrade when prompted, then hit Power to reboot your phone when it says "Update complete".

Once again, skip through your phone's setup options and head back into Settings > Applications > Development, turn USB debugging on, unplug your phone, and plug it back in. Click on Step 3 and let it go through its process.

Your phone should reboot when its done. If not, close Rooter.exe and restart it. Click on step 3 again and your phone should restart as expected. Once you're done, you should have root permissions. Check for the Superuser app in your app drawer to confirm, then head off to the Market to grab ROM Manager or the other root-only goodies you're looking for.

What Now?

Now, the world is your oyster. Like I said before, I'd recommend checking out our original guide to rooting the Motorola Droid to see some of the things you can do, but I'd also highly recommend considering:

That should get you started. Of course, share your own favorite root tweaks in the comments.


This guide should have you up and running with root permissions on nearly every Android phone out there. Like I mentioned before, I can't test every android phone in existence, so your mileage may vary. Again, goal is to keep this guide as accurate and up to date as possible, so if you find that one of the above methods change for a particular device (or if I haven't addressed your device), please email me at whitson+rootingguide@lifehacker.com. I'll do my best to keep the guide updated whenever I can.




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