Android

How to safely root the Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4

If you have a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S4, build VRUEMK2, and you want to root the device, Jack Wallen offers step-by-step instructions.

 

Rooting the Samsung Galaxy S4
 

Have you ever found an application on the Google Play Store that you really wanted, but you couldn’t install because it required root access? Root access means you gain access to the root user on the device, which gives you more power and enables you to:

  • Install software that requires root access
  • Remove carrier-installed bloatware
  • Install custom ROMs for your device

The problem with rooting is that the process varies for different devices. Some devices can’t even be rooted. Because of this, I want to walk you through the specifics of rooting a single device -- the Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S4, build VRUEMK2, with Android 4.3. The process I'm outlining will only work on this particular device. However, before you begin, I must warn you that there's always the possibility that you could brick your phone (render it useless). So, complete the steps below at your own risk.

What you need

Here are the things you'll need in order to root your Samsung Galaxy S4:

The process

After you’ve collected the download(s), you’re ready to begin. The process can be done on Windows, Linux, or Mac. I'll be running the process from a Ubuntu Linux 13.10 machine. If you’re using a Windows machine, you'll need to first install the USB drivers for the device. If you’re installing from Linux, you’ll need to install adb and fastboot. From Ubuntu, this is done with the following three commands (run from a terminal window):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8 

sudo apt-get update 

sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot
 Once you’ve done that, let’s walk through the steps for rooting the Samsung Galaxy S4.

  1. Extract the saferoot.zip file
  2. Move into the saferoot newly-created folder
  3. Give the install.sh executable permissions with the command chmod u+x install.sh (if rooting from Windows, you’ll double-click the install.bat file)
  4. On your Galaxy S4, enable Developer options (check out my article “Pro tip: How to enable Developer options in Android 4.2” to learn how)
  5. Still on the Galaxy S4, enable USB debugging (Go to Settings | More | Developer options, and tap USB debugging to enable)
  6. Plug the device into the PC
  7. From the command line (within the saferoot folder), issue the command sh install.sh
  8. When prompted about the Computer’s RSA key (on the device), tap OK
  9. From the command line, you'll be prompted that the Galaxy needs to be rebooted -- this will happen automatically
  10. If the process gets hung up at “Waiting for device to re-appear…” unplug the device and plug it back in
  11. When prompted (on the device), allow the installation of Busybox

That’s it! Now you need to install another app from the Google Play Store. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Search for root checker
  3. Tap on the entry for Root Checker (by JOEYKRIM)
  4. Tap Install
  5. Tap Accept

Once the app is installed, run it, and then tap the Verify Root button. The results should report that the device has root access (Figure A).

Figure A

 

Figure A
 

Rooting a Verizon-branded Galaxy S4.

With your phone finally rooted, you’ll find a lot of new apps that you can install from the Google Play Store. However, if you upgrade your phone to a new build (such as KitKat), you’ll need to go through this process again, most likely with a different tool.

Remember, it’s very important that you only use the rooting tools developed for your specific device and build. Doing otherwise could end up bricking your phone.

Have you rooted your Android device? If so, what rooting tips and tricks would you recommend? Share your thoughts and experience in the discussion thread below.

 

 

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

15 comments
mlinares927
mlinares927

How do I do this: 

  1. From the command line (within the saferoot folder), issue the command sh install.sh
kjiles
kjiles

if my galaxy s4 and i updated it wont let vroot root it what do to root it without a computer and sd card

kjiles
kjiles

what to do if your galaxy s4 like the vroot says it wont root it

bootdoc
bootdoc

thanks so much for this utility

i tried rooting my s4 sometime ago and it shows the unlocked padlock at boot but rootchecker always came back with your device has been incorrectly rooted, something like that.  

this utility worked awesome!  not a glitch.

thanks again

ixcknyxi
ixcknyxi

Total noob here, but could you explain step 7? "From the Command Line"? Currently I have Saferoot in its own folder on the desktop. Appreciate the help!

G2marine
G2marine

wow that was easier than I thought! Thank you... I think.

icy_cola
icy_cola

Thank you so much.  I have no experience with this kind of "stuff", so this evening I did a whole LOT of reading and managed to confuse and confound myself. Then, I found your guide.  Simple, easy to understand, and effective.  Score!! Thank you for taking the time to write this awesome guide on Rooting for Dummies. :D

NotHuman
NotHuman

Can confirm this approach is useless for MAC.

maxdout80
maxdout80

well i did as everything suggested,and i have this specific build,and everything says  the rooting was successful but when i do the root checker it says device does not have proper root access

joseph_mcmanus
joseph_mcmanus

Hey Jack, 


Nice, Very nice article!  


Got a question for you, I know that there are allot of other "More popular devices out there, but being new to "Android" and the concept of "Rooting" I'm confused!  I got a Hisense Sero 7 Pro Tablet for myself last Christmas and there's allot of "Stuff on it I'd like to get rid of (like VUDU) and some other Google stuff.  


Would it be asking too much to do an article (just like the way you did this article) on the Sero 7 Pro?  


I've red thru the stuff out there on doing it but I'M hopelessly confused not only by the terminology, but by the steps and the files necessary to do it!  


I'm NOT new to computers (been doing Windows since Win 4 Workgroups 3.11, I know a little about Linux & BSD, not much) but I can't aford to brick my tab because I did something stupid in the process.  


Can you help?  


Tnx

(for Any questions, feel free to contact me via email in my profile)

John W.
John W.

Do you know if this will work on the NOTE 2?

beetlebeetlebeetle
beetlebeetlebeetle

in the top line of the batch file it reads "samsung i545 VRUEMJ7 Root". dose that matter considering that this guide is for a VRUEMK2

hturner
hturner

Jack, nice article. Any word on how to do the same for a VZW Galaxy S3 (SCH-I535) updated to 4.3? Thanks.

mlinares927
mlinares927

it says "system/bin/sh: su: not found

rogerogeroger
rogerogeroger

@NotHuman  if you mean OSX, then I'll pitch in that I got it to work. the instructions don't spell out the OSX steps yes, but it does work


the main stumbling block i found was that the adb executable is in the awkward 500MB bundle download: https://dl.google.com/android/adt/22.6.2/adt-bundle-mac-x86_64-20140321.zip

you can't just yum or apt-get for it


the other steps i found were pretty close to the Linux steps. it's still the install.sh shell script


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