Cell Phones

Is android rooting dead?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 3rd, 2020 7:55 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 5, 2008
1947 posts
649 upvotes

Is android rooting dead?

I tried to refresh and old tablet,
and realized that SuperSU is no longer developed/updated.

Instead ppl use a "Magisk".... A clumsy alternative which somehow inserts itself
in the boot sequence ( pre/post ? ) kernel, messes up bootloader but allows one to keep
the system intact in order to fool Goolge Safety.
Incidentally its author is an employee of Apple :)

Are there any unlocked bootloaders now from the manufacturers?
Are hackers still hacking for exploits in order to find root?

Are there any other alternatives to the above-mentioned duo?

I'm not an android techy, and would be grateful if someone
can provide a very brief overview..

TIA!
6 replies
Member
User avatar
Mar 2, 2017
287 posts
294 upvotes
Dead might be a little strong, but it doesn't seem to be as common as it used to. Boot loaders tend to be locked down more often now. Updates from OEMs seem to be getting a bit better. Privacy controls in base Android is slowing improving.

Magisk's just a different approach. Modify the boot files instead of the system files. Take your pick. But keeping SafetyNet intact seems to be a big motivator.

Google and OnePlus devices are probably your best place to start. They both allow unlocking and re-locking with fastboot. And there will always be exploits that people will find, but it's a game of cat and mouse.
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 5, 2008
1947 posts
649 upvotes
ddot98 wrote: Dead might be a little strong, but it doesn't seem to be as common as it used to. Boot loaders tend to be locked down more often now. Updates from OEMs seem to be getting a bit better. Privacy controls in base Android is slowing improving.

Magisk's just a different approach. Modify the boot files instead of the system files. Take your pick. But keeping SafetyNet intact seems to be a big motivator.

Google and OnePlus devices are probably your best place to start. They both allow unlocking and re-locking with fastboot. And there will always be exploits that people will find, but it's a game of cat and mouse.
Thank you! On the second glance, Magisk does not sound too clumsy. Kinda cumbersome, but actually pretty cool.
Though I miss many tech details, original documentation is interesting:
https://topjohnwu.github.io/Magisk/

Goolge SafetyNet BTW sounds ominous, almost like SkyNet :)
A naive question:
Magisk does not touch /system, which Skynet does not allow,
but it hijacks bootloader instead, and
hides a lot of its stuff here and there like a squirrel..
But is not it equally easy for Skynet to impose stricter checks on the bootloader?
It looks like Magisk is doomed too?

Also, if I unlock/modify bootloaders on Pixel or OnePlus, they do violate SkyNet rules, and thus banking etc won't function?
Member
User avatar
Mar 2, 2017
287 posts
294 upvotes
Tichi wrote: It looks like Magisk is doomed too?
I think the writing is on the wall for Magisk being able to hide root. But this is only relevant if you use apps that check with SafetyNet.

Tichi wrote: Also, if I unlock/modify bootloaders on Pixel or OnePlus, they do violate SkyNet rules, and thus banking etc won't function?
Once you unlock the bootloader to make changes (ie add root or install a different OS), SafetyNet will fail.

However the advantage of relockable bootloaders is you can always revert to stock. Reload the official signed OS, re-lock the bootloader and SafetyNet should pass again.
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 5, 2008
1947 posts
649 upvotes
ddot98 wrote: I think the writing is on the wall for Magisk being able to hide root. But this is only relevant if you use apps that check with SafetyNet.




Once you unlock the bootloader to make changes (ie add root or install a different OS), SafetyNet will fail.

However the advantage of relockable bootloaders is you can always revert to stock. Reload the official signed OS, re-lock the bootloader and SafetyNet should pass again.
Ah... OK. It seems, sadly, rooting will remain as a pastime for enthusiasts only.


I wish there was a way to assume responsibility for your own unlocked/rooted
phone (sign a waiver or something) and still being
able to use the whole spectrum of apps, banking etc.
But this might be too much headache for too many players...
Deal Guru
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Jun 27, 2004
14271 posts
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Vancouver.bc.ca
Tichi wrote: and realized that SuperSU is no longer developed/updated.
Is a newer version really needed? I don't run a lot of apps, and hardly any modern ones, but SuperSU has served me well. As long as you can run an app in a root shell, isn't that all that is required?
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 5, 2008
1947 posts
649 upvotes
rabbit wrote: Is a newer version really needed? I don't run a lot of apps, and hardly any modern ones, but SuperSU has served me well. As long as you can run an app in a root shell, isn't that all that is required?
:) haha good question. I agree with you and am perfectly happy with su
(plus some modest graphical interface like SuperSU in android).
Su was there before I was born, and it will be there after I die :)

It is just that I suspect the absence of updates, and this recents screws tightening
Im reading here about,
mean Google
(and app providers, and manufacturers) do not really want Su in android.

It is not the end of the world, somehow I've survived with a couple of unrooted phones
since many apps refused to function in the rooted ones.

Still one wishes to have a reasonable control of one's phone with su, and still to be able
to use all important apps...

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