Just hours after hitting the stores, a root exploit for the Qualcomm Snapdragon variant of the Samsung Galaxy S4 has been discovered by an enterprising hacker, paving the way for 3rd party kernel and ROM developers to make community-driven improvements and more importantly, trim the pre-installed bloatware on the device.
Good news for all those who are going to buy (or have already bought) their Galaxy S4, if your phone is the Snapdragon 600 based one then you can root your phone right away. Rooting allows users to gain superuser privileges which can do stuff like remove unwanted system apps (read: bloatware) that Samsung bundles along with their phone.
A word of caution, in case anything goes wrong your phone might end up as a dead paperweight (and a light one at that) as there are no stock recovery images or hacked bootloader available (yet). Here are the instructions posted at XDA for successful rooting:
- Extract the entire contents of the zip file.
- If you are using Windows, ensure you have installed the latest Samsung USB drivers available for your phone.
- Ensure USB Debugging mode is enabled on your device.
- Connect your device to your PC via USB.
- If you are using Windows, navigate to the extracted directory and execute "run.bat". If you are using Linux or OS X, navigate to the extracted directory in a terminal and execute "./run.sh".
- Approve the ADB connection from your PC on your device.
The root exploit (Motochopper) was originally developed for Motorola smartphones, but the same routines worked on the Qualcomm Galaxy S4 as well. Alas, there is a high chance that future OTA updates from Samsung may close the loophole.