Rooting your handset that runs Android 5.0 might not be such a great idea

Rooting your handset that runs Android 5.0 might not be such a great idea
A change in the way that the Android OS handles OTA updates, might have you thinking hard before rooting your Lollipop powered Android handset. Up until Android 5.0, OTA updates would patch each file on your system partition individually. When running the recovery program, it would apply the patch to files that had the correct signature. The problem with this, is that it is a time consuming process. On the other hand, it had the advantage of leaving alone files that were changed from customizing your phone.

With Android 5.0, OTA updates patch the entire system at once. This is done to allow for verified boot, which was added in KitKat. According to the Android website, "this experimental feature helps Android users be sure when booting a device it is in the same state as when it was last used." And not having to go through each file individually does have the advantage of being faster.

One downside to patching the entire system at once is that the signatures won't match on files you've changed. This would prevent any OTA update from working. If you must root your Lollipop powered phone in order to scratch your customizing itch, you will need to flash a clean, stock version of Android 5.0 on your handset before attempting to download and install an OTA update.

source: Android, AndroidPolice via BGR

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36 Comments

1. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2278; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

I'll update when Xposed works on Lollipop and when there's a way to update w/o losing data.

2. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2278; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

losing root*

3. afraaa

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

one who root phone and enter the pro games don't need OTA . OTA is for user who don't know anything about xda and hack .ordinary users .

19. vincelongman

Posts: 5720; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Agreed, Just download the factory image and remove -w in the .bat file So it updates but doesn't wipe your personal data and apps (-w means wipe) Most ordinary users dont root anyways And people who do root should know how to use a txt editor (to edit the .bat file)

22. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

I flash clean always every after new update. Brings the "new device" feeling. Titanium Backup always help me. Relieves bugs too left by the previous version.

4. BREvenson

Posts: 240; Member since: May 17, 2012

Rooting has always been a risk on Android, though earlier versions were relatively easy nuts to crack, thanks to the brilliant minds in the root community. Despite the change in how the OTA updates will work, rooting will still be possible on Lollipop devices. Those who root (like myself) are used to not getting proper OTA updates, unless they're running a custom ROM that the creator puts out updates for. Naturally, reverting to stock gets you the proper OTA updates from the manufacturer; nothing new to report about that, but it's good to get a heads up about how it's going to work from here on out.

5. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Assuming, of course, one can revert to stock. That depends on the phone and manufacturer and carrier (if applicable). I'm excited for Lollipop, but I have a feeling I'll be sticking with KK on my Nexus 4 and future phones for a while. Xposed is one reason, but these new measures with Lollipop are another. Maybe it's a good thing that I can't afford the latest and greatest, and have to sick with older devices.

6. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

The Nexus 4 is still the best looking Nexus, in my opinion, and it's still a good phone.

7. Sauce2

Posts: 199; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

='( I'm sad

8. bendgate unregistered

I hate this.

9. strudelz100

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Custom ROM users never use OTA software updates. We flash said updates.

10. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Kudos :D

11. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

If your running a custom rom you should NEVER use an OTA update anyways. Well, unless you like the high chance of a fancy brick in your pocket. So, not really news. :)

12. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Firstly, it's "you're", not "your". Secondly, the only OTAs custom ROMs receive are those pushed by such ROMs, not the manufacturer/carrier.

17. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

You missed my point. And who gives a crap. Its the internet. Talk to my phone for not spell checking properly. If your going to try brow beat someone, make sure its not someone that most likely knows more than you about the subject at hand. LOL.

18. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Yeah? Then explain to me how you'll get factory OTA when running a custom ROM.

20. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

If your running a "custom rom" that is an optimized version of factory, you will still get an OTA from the manufacturer. I've gotten a few on my Nexus that way. Installed one without thinking about it. Lesson learned. You dont know as much as you think you know.

30. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1264; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Reply 20 is very True... I got one such OTA for my GNexus, but installation failed...

25. ojdidit84

Posts: 462; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

As Remixfa said above, it's easy to download a factory OTA on a stock optimized ROM. I've done it myself in the past but easily fixed it by methods obtained from XDA. Also, why do people feel that they have to be so cocky about something that they're only halfway informed about? It's not that serious.

34. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

its the internet. Have a crap life? Act like a big guy on the net! lol

13. roozbeh101

Posts: 99; Member since: Mar 31, 2012

what about an unlocked bootloader?

29. felipe1295

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 30, 2014

I have the same question, unfortunately I'm not knowledgeable in the subject to know the answer. I hope it won't bring any issues

31. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1264; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

With unlocked BL and custom recovery flashed, there is almost negligible chance of phone can't be recovered / being bricked, imho...

14. dsmboost

Posts: 46; Member since: Nov 01, 2011

LOL @ the title of this article. Who cares about OTA updates if you root your phone and run custom roms. Stock roms are garbage. You should be returning to stock before using OTA anyway. Nonsense of an article this is.

15. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Well I wish the Moto G's custom roms didn't suck...

16. Blazers

Posts: 751; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Not everyone that roots installs custom roms. That being said, I guess they will have to start if they want the latest updates.

23. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

EXACTLY!!!

21. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Huh, just like with my Droid RAZR - on a Nexus or an LG G3, it is easy to return the device back to its original state - this article seems to make a bigger deal of it than it really is...

24. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Twrp or cwm a back up of system, root enjoy, restore back up when wanting next ota. What problem.

26. ojdidit84

Posts: 462; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

When you're on a completely custom ROM this really doesn't even apply but for those that are on optimized stock roms, all they have to do is reflash through download or fastboot mode and repeat the rooting process. For those that just root and use mods like xposed, anyone who's been on CDA in the past few years has seen the disclaimer that if you're going to download the OTA, you need to unroot and return to stock or just restore a stock nandroid or twrp backup. That's just good practice. This shouldn't even really be an issue.

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