How to Root Android: Our Always-Updated Rooting Guide for Any Phone or Tablet
Without a comprehensive root method for all Android phones and tablets, a device-specific approach is needed. And since we always cover each new rooting method for all the popular phones and tablets here at Gadget Hacks, we've built this always-updated guide to rooting any Android device.
Any time we find a new and better way to root, we'll be updating this post. Bookmark it now, and we'll be ready when you get your next new phone or tablet. Currently, this guide covers the following devices and methods.
Other(options for devices not covered individually)
You may click on the links above to go directly to the full rooting guides for those particular devices, or just scroll down below to find your Android device (in alphabetical order) and you'll be rooted in no time.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX
Even with all of the heavy modifications that Amazon has made, the Kindle Fire HDX is still an Android device at heart. Since it uses the same Linux kernel base that Google's version of Android has at its core, the HDX can be rooted using the Towelroot Method.
You'll have to install a root management app so that root access won't be doled out without your express permission, but that's as simple as installing any app from the Amazon Appstore.
Just because it's not a phone or tablet doesn't mean we shouldn't root it. Adding root-level permissions to the ROM that operates the Chromecastcan allow you to customize the welcome screen, make changes to the DNS (to watch locked-out content), and more.
The process is also fairly easy and straightforward, but does require a few pieces of equipment that you may or may not have lying around. Check out our full guide to rooting the Chromecast for all the details.
Google Nexus 4 / Nexus 5
As Google's own flagship phone, the Nexus has always been among the easiest devices to root. The N4 and N5 are no exceptions here, as legendary developer Chainfire created a handy tool that will not only root your phone, but will also unlock your bootloader to allow for installation of a custom recovery using the CF-Auto-Root Method.
Since the process of unlocking your bootloader wipes your existing data, you may want to use the Towelroot Method instead, which roots while leaving your bootloader intact. You can check out our full guide to rooting Nexus phones with Towelroot for more help.
Google Nexus 6
The Nexus 6 was rooted before it even hit store shelves, courtesy of renowned Android developer Chainfire. Using his CF Auto Root method, all you need is a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer and about 5 minutes. His fully automated method does require that you have an unlocked bootloader (which will wipe data if it isn't already unlocked), but his rooting script can handle that for you as well.
Google Nexus 7 (2012 / 2013)
Every Nexus owner should have the Nexus Root Toolkit installed on their Windows PC. This powerful tool has the ability to root any Nexus device, but is capable of much more. With functions ranging from creating a backup to installing a custom recovery, NRT is a great companion program for your Nexus 7.
For all your G3 root needs, be sure to check out our full guide to rooting the LG G3 (which covers both methods mentioned above) where we'll gladly help you get up to speed in the comments section.
For an all-encompassing method, you can also give Towelroot a try. Check out our full guide on rooting Android with Towelroot for help. Note that while the preceding link leads to a Samsung Galaxy S5 tutorial, the process will be the same on your LG G3.
With all of the customization options that the OnePlus One's CyanogenModfirmware allows for, root access can still add a lot of unique functionality to your device.
Using the Android Debug Bridge command prompt interface, you can easily install a custom recovery, allowing you to flash the necessary root files.
While Towelroot is compatible with this device, a more tailored approach is also available. After initially encountering hurdles with the AT&T and Verizon Wireless variants, the development team at Kingo uncovered a method that will work for all versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4.
This method requires a Windows PC and a USB cable, but the Kingo Root software offers a simple-to-use interface that will walk you through the process of rooting your Galaxy S4 in one simple click.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes in many different carrier-specific variants, so finding a root method that worked on all versions was quite the daunting task. In particular, the Verizon Wireless and AT&T variants proved to be nearly impossible to root, with a bounty of over $18,000 being raised for anyone who could get Superuser access to these models.
Not only is Towelroot one of the easiest root methods that Android has ever seen, but it supports the most devices. Beyond the original intent of rooting the Galaxy S5, this method also works on almost any Android, as you can probably tell from some of the other devices listed above.
It should be noted that recent updates issued by Verizon and T-Mobile closed the loophole that Towelroot uses, so folks with G900V and G900T models can only root their devices if they're running an older firmware version.
ODIN is a third-party Windows program for Samsung devices that allows users to install custom firmware on their phone or tablet. Using Samsung'sDownload Mode interface, ODIN can push system-level files to your Galaxy Note 2 without having to ask for Superuser permissions.
Once you've got everything downloaded, you can use ODIN to install acustom recovery, then you'll be all set to flash the necessary root files.
The Kingo Root Method has proven to be so effective that, not only will it root most Samsung devices, it can grant Superuser access to models from many different manufacturers. You will need a Windows PC and a USB cable, but the whole process has been streamlined to a single click.
We'll be using a tried-and-true method for rooting the Samsung Galaxy Note 4—Chainfire's CF Auto Root.
Check out the full guide here, but note that this method will not work for the AT&T and Verizon variants of the device.
Other Android Devices
While we try our best to cover the root process for most major flagship devices, we couldn't get our hands on every Android phone and tablet to test. But that doesn't mean you're out of luck if your device is not listed above.
The Towelroot Method is designed for any Android device with a kernel build date of June 3rd, 2014 or older. The only exceptions to this rule are HTC devices, so chances are, your phone or tablet is covered by this method.
With Towelroot, there's no harm in trying. Simply run the app, and you'll likely be rooted. If not, the worst-case scenario is that the app tells you it couldn't root your device, so you've got nothing to lose.
For any questions or comments about Towelroot, refer to our full guide on rooting Android with Towelroot. While the device depicted in that guide is a Samsung Galaxy S5, the process will be the same on any other phone or tablet.
In the end, root access will open up an entire world of new Gadget Hacks on your device. If you're looking for a place to start exploring this new functionality, give this link a try.
What were some of the first root apps you installed on your device? Let us know in the comments section below.