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Android Lollipop might put an end to easy rooting, decries Chainfire

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Android Lollipop might put an end to easy rooting, decries Chainfire
Uh, oh, Google, what have you done? Under the hood, Android 5.0 Lollipop is not like any other release in history, as it does away with Dalvik, and throws us into the era of 64-bit mobile computing. Those desirable changes will bring over some not-so-welcome ones, too, according to the renowned root master Chainfire.

These actually stem from the new security features that Google introduces, in order to fight the snooping powers of government and other assorted threats. The newest Lollipop build, LPX13D, breaks root, but not in the usual, repairable way, as the script required for rooted devices is now barred from running at boot time, but rather unleashed from a SELinux dedicated context - a brand new surprise for all apps and services at initial loading.

This means that the root has to be at the kernel level, and you can't install custom kernel without root. If the bootloader is locked, however, and the manufacturer is reluctant to grant access, as so many are, you are out of luck, my friend. Still, we are pretty optimistic that once the final source code goes through the grind of folks like Chainfire, Google's fresh new protection will succumb to the power of crowdsourced hackery.

source: Chainfire via XDA-Devs

59 Comments
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posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:00 3

1. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1488; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Someday Android is going to another walled garden OS like WP and iOS , the lockdown in Android wear is a hint

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:19 19

7. boosook (Posts: 1419; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


Well, that day another more open OS will appear and people will migrate.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 11:48 7

29. Ashoaib (Posts: 3229; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


I will be the first to run away from android if it locks down... I already have a bad experience with ios and symbian

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 13:24

33. hemedans (Posts: 453; Member since: 01 Jun 2013)


symbian?? for me symbian is more flexible that android

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 15:16 1

41. Liveitup (Posts: 1798; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


Its going to happen I believe Android has gotten too large, they are basically following the Microsoft one experience trend for that to happen Skins, etc are going to be toned down , just this week apparently OEMs had to shoot down Googles Android silver proposal.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 14:08 3

37. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


The masses don't give a sht about "open source". If they did, Jolla would be on top already.

Giving the source away for free is just a bonus - and that typically benefits Amazon more than the end user.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:22 4

11. techspace (Posts: 1033; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


It may,android was an open source OS before it was acquired, now google is controlling it and moving it to a closed source model(Kitkat doesn't even allow you to detect kernel wakelocks by default).
Some users think that customization and changing default apps=open source...we can also do them on windows(desktop OS) but that doesn't make it an open source OS.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 14:07 1

36. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


You have no clue what you are talking about.

Android has never been developed via the community. It always was developed by Google and controlled by them.

The kernel and anything else GPL has and always willl be available - its the law.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 14:39 3

39. 90ninjas (unregistered)


Actually, Android was developed by a small team from Android, Inc. in 2003 which was acquired by Google in 2005.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 11:36

49. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


Which does nothing to prove me wrong. Android wasn't community developed - by your own admission it was developed by a team of engineers and never released to the public.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 14:02

52. 90ninjas (unregistered)


To be honest, he never stated it was made by the community either.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 15:23

42. techspace (Posts: 1033; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


Please do some research before commenting.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 11:37

50. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


Please come back with something to prove me wrong - the source of android always has been available and continues to be aside from version 3.0.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 11:54 1

51. techspace (Posts: 1033; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


I didn't say its already closed...but it is moving in that direction, Google is controlling android, they are making it the way they want it to be, they are preventing android OEMS from making dual OS devices, they have prevented all the ad block plus from the play store....if you had experience with older versions of android, you would know how easy it was to detect things like kernel wakelocks but now, they are restricting access just like closed source operating systems.
A truly open OS doesn't have these problems...and as I have said before, android was not made by Google and under Google, it's not that open anymore.
And if they take steps towards making android more difficult to root, it will not be more than a partially open partially closed OS.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:02

2. Rydsmith (Posts: 515; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)


So now I expect the amount of Android phones to run Lollipop by Match to be down to .1% if people are unable to flash it to non Nexus devices.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 14:10 1

38. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


Nothing in LP stops anyone from flashing it to another phone. The source to do so already is posted.

This is to stop root exploits from taking over android phones for better or for worse.

If you don't like it, don't buy a phone or tablet without an unlockable bootloader. Simple as that.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:08

3. Felix_Gatto (Posts: 897; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)


Off-topic: Does the ART runtime needs more RAM space than Dalvik? If yes, then it is sufficient for low-end smartphone with 512mb RAM to upgrade and run Lollipop?

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:09

5. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1488; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


yes ,but not in a good way ,minimum is 1GB or maybe 2

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:25

13. techspace (Posts: 1033; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


Even the $120 android phones are coming with 1gb ram these days so that should not be a problem...you may be able to run lollipop on phones with 512 mb ram but it's not enough for the apps.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 10:19 2

20. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


if you have a phone with 512mb of ram, you need to throw it out and get a new one. You can get a refurbed nexus 4 for less than $150 completely unlocked. There's no excuse to have anything less. The N4 is a beast, even today.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 13:48 2

34. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1514; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


RaKithAPeiRiZ obviously has no idea what he talks about.
ART is an AOT (ahead of time) runtime environment, while Dalvik is a JIT (Just it Time). JITs always need more memory as the compiler needs to run with the applicaition, also it has a less effective memory managemnt.
In other words: anything that can run in Jelly Bean should be able to run Lollipop.
So 512 should be OK, but also the bare minimum recommended.
A different story is if the OEMs will actualize the phones with so little RAM.
The only drawback is disk space and installation times: expect that applications become 10-20% bigger and installation times increase about 20% too.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:09 4

4. Finalflash (Posts: 2773; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


No code is perfect, they will probably find a way easy enough. But seeing as how Google has opened up so many APIs in the public sphere anyway, root is become less and less useful. Still, always good to have it just in case.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:21 2

10. Andrew5190 (Posts: 48; Member since: 23 Oct 2014)


Pretty much how I feel. With the Nexus line coming to Verizon, I'll almost have no need to even root, aside from Titanium Backup (which is probably also broken on Lollipop).

I think many people are missing the fact that Google is using root and custom ROMs as an inspiration for the development of AOSP just like Apple uses Jailbreak to inspire iOS features.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:26 1

14. Finalflash (Posts: 2773; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


In lollipop, during your initial setup it asks you if you want to restore your phone from previous backups on Google servers or another device you have. I am not sure how deep it goes but for me it restored nearly everything except a few apps which store information on the public SD card. So titanium backup might actually be redundant now.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:32 1

16. Andrew5190 (Posts: 48; Member since: 23 Oct 2014)


It only restores data that uses cloud backup, like those you mentioned. That's really the only issue I have, but that comes down to app devs, not Google.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 11:21

26. MartyK (Posts: 777; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)


Yeah, Google pretty much clean me out now on wanted to root.

No need for the Note Family, since the Nexus is just as big and have pretty much the same specs...

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:15 2

6. nodes (Posts: 681; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


Google is becoming more like Apple.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 10:07 1

17. jroc74 (Posts: 5986; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


It would help to actually read the article...

"These actually stem from the new security features that Google introduces, in order to fight the snooping powers of government and other assorted threats."

So which do you want, more open but less secure, or more closed but more secure...Either way, there is always a GPE device, developer edition.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 12:42

30. TA700 (Posts: 62; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


It's silly to think that the government will be able to snoop any less with these new 'features'.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:19

8. yoavst (Posts: 17; Member since: 29 Jul 2013)


Security is good... Root is still possible with flashing...
so STFU

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:23 1

12. Takeharu (Posts: 200; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


How are you gonna flash without a decent recovery? Many phones I know don't even have a recovery anymore so that will be troublesome. And who knows what will happen to Flashtool and adb, perhaps they really lock it down.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:32

15. Rydsmith (Posts: 515; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)


You obviously know not what you speak of.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 09:20 1

9. Takeharu (Posts: 200; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


I hope there will be a workaround since I really need root: custom roms, custom recovery, Xposed, AdAway, Viper4Android and a lot more.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 10:09 1

18. jroc74 (Posts: 5986; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I want root just for root features of apps. I do very lil ROM flashing these days. I havent been flashing ROMs as much starting in late 2010.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 10:16 1

19. xondk (Posts: 1203; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)


While I understand why those that like rooting are a bit annoyed by this, increased security is a good thing my mind, especially so if it is done in an effort to keep people from hacking/spying e.t.c. your phone, but lets not forget that almost everything that has said is unhackable has been hacked, if not everything. However if the difficulty increases it will keep the 'easy' hackers away, at the very least until someone makes a general hacking tool for them to use, and by then google can have changed something with an update.

Like virus/anti virus, hacking and hacking protection is going to keep evolving and changing , old stuff gets hacked and gets replaced by new stuff, and such.

As for them 'closing' the android OS, maybe they are, but as long as it doesn't disrupt/annoy/or in another way is negative to the normal user, is that really so bad? if so, why is it bad? Hope someone can explain it, if they think it is bad.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 10:20

21. trqster (Posts: 95; Member since: 17 May 2013)


Google needs to take control of Android a bit....with too much 'freedom' comes too much 'chaos'...as all he hideous OEM skins out there prove... For the common Android user (+95% of people out there) there's no real usefulness in rooting/modding anyways.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 10:47

22. LuckyS (Posts: 154; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)


.loki flash will still be possible, even with locked bootloader. If all devices become unrootable, I for sure will abandon android and actively persuade people to do the same. I'll close google account and stop using their services and products.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 07:18

45. jroc74 (Posts: 5986; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Thats the thing...all devices wont become unrootable.

Nexus, GPE, developer editions. And Sony and Samsung have been very root, ROM friendly over recent years.

I'm not settling....but no more root is ok by me. When the heavy customization just from apps goes...then I will definitely leave. And look at WP a lil more closer.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 09:36

58. madscientist_42 (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Nov 2014)


Samsung ROM friendly? Seriously? Tell that to Verizon and Samsung, from someone that had to TowelRoot his phone after he made the mistake of upgrading his S4 to the latest. There's apps that need Root perms for security researchers and professionals- and unless you can score a Dev edition phone...you're not getting Root with any Samsung on any of the mainline networks.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 11:01 1

23. Hatshipuh (Posts: 125; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)


"This means that the root has to be at the kernel level, and you can't install custom kernel without root."

How come I could install a root enabled kernel on the unrootable Lollipop preview?
And it took a mere 5 minutes to achieve root.
Which means the only unrootable Android devices with Lollipop and up will be the bootloader locked devices mostly from carriers.

Why is it that more and more PA articles with false information pile up? Readers should learn more information, not correct them.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 15:45

43. Topcat488 (Posts: 1393; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


I got my Note 4 from T-Mobile... I'm FFFRRRREEEEEEEEEE! O.o

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 09:38

59. madscientist_42 (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Nov 2014)


That's because you bypassed all of that with something that flashloaded it all, including the unsecure bootloader, built by someone with skills. Without root permissions, you have to LOKI or similar the ROM onto the device- you can't use root tools/exploits/etc. under most circumstances (I can assure you they freaked when Geohot nailed them with TowelRoot- because they were trying to lock the damn things down.)

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 11:08 3

24. nightfury (Posts: 71; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)


rooting is such a delight to have , it opens up so many hidden android features and android is tasted in a well cooked way in a rooted android phone...

unlimited apps like greenify xposed BBS etc which r our fav requuire root, cynogen PA omni roms bring unlimited customizations to the table...over clocking, under clocking changing voltage at different freq etc...

google u cant steal this freedom........plzzzzzzzzz

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 11:08

25. bendgate (unregistered)


This is bad.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 11:31

27. jesusnexo (Posts: 149; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


Mehh. I only block ads with that, and even then there is a way to do it without ads

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 11:34 2

28. Cyberchum (Posts: 664; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Ha, the beauty of Android is about to pale. Time for another (open) OS to take over. Even without root, android is better than the competition but haven used root features and gotten fond of them, you won't want to settle for less.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 07:20

46. jroc74 (Posts: 5986; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


The beauty of Android is so much bigger than root tho. I do get what you are saying tho.

posted on 01 Nov 2014, 07:27

57. diyi75 (Posts: 70; Member since: 30 Oct 2013)


Only for amateurs

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 13:05 2

31. Dee79 (Posts: 281; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


Massive mistake if android goes on lock down!

I buy android phones so I can customise it how I want and if I cant then whats the point in android anymore dont do it android. U going the wrong direction.

If something isnt broken then dont try and fix it.

If how ever google wants to lock android down then just do it to thos who want it locked. Ie the government.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 13:05

32. Dee79 (Posts: 281; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


Massive mistake if android goes on lock down!

I buy android phones so I can customise it how I want and if I cant then whats the point in android anymore dont do it android. U going the wrong direction.

If something isnt broken then dont try and fix it.

If how ever google wants to lock android down then just do it to thos who want it locked. Ie the government.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 14:06

35. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


Nobody but the carriers and any one else that disallows bootloader unlocking is stopping you.

Google's nexus devices will be unlockable as usual.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 15:04 1

40. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


Loads of cries in here from folks who only read the headline and nothing else. It's a by-product of shifting to a 64bit OS, so they removed all the crappy legacy stuff that makes the OS vulnerable as you the more popular an OS the bigger target it becomes for the unscrupulous. The XDA and others will come to terms and figure out something in time, but for Google and it's users are concerned rooting isn't something the majority of Android users give a crap about, it's simple use and customization along with affordability. Rooting is for the power user who likes to do those things, pretty sure once the source code is out these guys will be on top of it. As for the complainers, reading is fundamental. Some comments are mega facepalm through the face to the back of your head worthy. Humans why are we so quick to judge and so less inclined to listen to reason.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 07:22

47. jroc74 (Posts: 5986; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Good point....many must have forgot the changes to desktop OS's too with the shift to 64bit.

posted on 23 Oct 2014, 17:27 1

44. tacarat (Posts: 726; Member since: 22 Apr 2013)


Rooting is for playing, fixing or customizing. Remove the need for fixing and I can live without it. Fixing, to me, includes blocklists for adult sites my kids don't need access to. My customizing doesn't require root, but it helps. I can live without the playing. My phone would probably thank me for it.

Updates still require ROMs and an unlocked bootloader. That's a different ball of wax.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 07:39

48. diyi75 (Posts: 70; Member since: 30 Oct 2013)


If vendors allowed bloatware to be removed(not disabled) like wp, then i would not need to root. I hate bloatware!

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 20:28

53. roscuthiii (Posts: 2184; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Another, "the sky is falling" article to generate "the sky is falling" clicks & comments.

How many iterations now has some dire warning about locked-down phones and even the end of the Nexus line been posted?

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 14:36

54. AndyJenk (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Oct 2014)


Does Lollipop stop snooping or just stop anyone other than Google from snooping? I notice that with KitKat Google's Apps have full access to data on my SD card and if I attach the card via USB ANY app still has full access to my data. Security? Don't make me laugh!

posted on 31 Oct 2014, 09:16 1

55. BlackKatana (Posts: 1; Member since: 31 Oct 2014)


Some comments here are a shame of humanity. Now really, if natural selection says anything ,people who think "well, root, no need for it!", really should be euthanized.

To answer the question of why root is essential, let me ask another question.
Would you buy a car with a locked motor compartment, where if anything doesnt work, fck you?
Would you buy a PC where entering C "Drive" is forbiddden? This is a fcking joke.

Jesus christ. Supposedly for being a techsite, commenters here are extraordinarily on the low end of the IQ spectrum.One guy up there said "we dont need note series, we got a nexus, no need to root aswell"? Really? How retarded has one got to be to think that rooting made just because of Titanium Backup App? Really?

This move by google is to deny people who root the right to remove bloatware and and block ads. This is just more $$$ for google and carriers.

I'll be dammned if I update to 5.0, at least until somebody finds a workaround to that.

posted on 01 Nov 2014, 07:24

56. diyi75 (Posts: 70; Member since: 30 Oct 2013)


I 100% agree with you. I also thought this was a site for techies, but with all the idiotic responses to an important issue as this, I'm beginning to wonder.

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