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



Rooting a Verizon-branded Galaxy

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

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.