Android is an extremely customizable mobile operating system out of the box, which is more than sufficient for most users out there. But for anyone wanting even more control over their device, Android can be rooted, which is basically a method of obtaining privileged access to the system. Rooting allows a variety of changes and functions, including but not limited to accessing system files, removing bloatware, blocking ads, making advanced kernel-related changes such as overclocking, and more.
Samsung’s smartphones and tablets are usually the easiest to root (after Google’s Nexus devices, of course), and the Galaxy S4 is no different. It can be rooted using famous developer Chainfire’s CF-Auto-Root tool, and for those new to rooting or just looking for help, we have a step-by-step guide to walk them through the entire rooting procedure.
It’s pretty simple and a quick process, so without further ado, let’s look at how you can root your Galaxy S4.
The guide below is applicable only to the international unlocked of the Galaxy S4, both the quad-core and octa-core variants, with model numbers GT-I9505 and GT-I9500 respectively. Do not try this on any other Galaxy S4 variant.
- First, note down the model number of your Galaxy S4, it will be either GT-I9500 (octa-core variant) or GT-I9505 (quad-core variant). The model number can be checked in the Settings » About phone menu.
- Download and install the drivers for the phone. Best way to get the drivers is to install Kies, though you can also download the separate driver package from here.
- Take a backup of your installed apps and other data, such as SMS or Contacts, just to ensure you don’t lose important data even though the procedure is safe. Use apps like Helium or Super Backup.
- Download CF-Auto-Root for your device from the links below. The downloaded file will be a .zip archive. Extract it once to obtain a file whose filename starts with CF-Auto-Root and ends with .tar.md5. The file name may end at .tar, which is normal as Windows hides the actual extension from the file name, don’t worry about it. Ignore all other files.
Download – GT-I9500 | Download – GT-I9505
- Download Odin, which is the flashing tool that we’re going to use to flash CF-Auto-Root for rooting the phone. Extract the file you download once to get around 4 files inside a folder named “Odin_v3.07.”
Download Odin (Odin_v3.07.zip)
- Once you’ve gone through the above steps and downloaded the necessary files, turn off your phone and disconnect it from your PC.
- Press and hold down the Volume Down + Home + Power buttons until the screen shows you a “Warning!” screen. Here, press the Volume Up button to continue to enter download mode, also called Odin mode.
- Open Odin by double-clicking the Odin3_v3.07 file.
- Connect your phone to the computer (while it is in download mode.) Wait for the necessary drivers to finish installing. Once Odin detects the phone, the ID:COM box will turn yellow (or blue) and the words “Added!!” will show up in the white box at the bottom left of Odin. If you’re using a desktop computer, try to use the USB ports on the back as they’re more stable than the ones at the front.
- Now, hit the PDA button in Odin and select the .tar.md5 CF-Auto-Root file you extracted before. Again, even if it shows up as a .tar file, it’s normal and you should select it.
- Make sure you don’t touch or change any other option in Odin, and that the Re-partition option is NOT checked.
- Go through the above steps once again and make sure you’ve followed them to the letter, then click the Start button to start the flashing procedure. Make sure you don’t interrupt the phone’s connection to the PC.
NOTE: If Odin shows a FAIL message or doesn’t seem to be progressing for more than 4-5 minutes, simply disconnect the phone, remove and re-insert its battery, close Odin, then repeat the procedure from the beginning. Also try using a different USB port if possible.
- Once Odin finishes flashing, the phone will automatically reboot. CF-Auto-Root will then perform the necessary steps to root the phone and show the associated messages on-screen, and once rooting is complete, the phone will reboot back into Android.
Your Galaxy S4 is now rooted, and you can confirm root access by downloading an app called Root Checker from the Play Store. Whenever an app requires root access, you’ll be prompted to grant it superuser permission, where you can either grant or deny root access to said app. Be sure to leave a comment if you run into any issues during the procedure, and we’ll do our best to help you out.