So, the S5 has been out for a little while and I’m getting on the bandwagon now that there has been a bit of time to work out the kinks. I think now’s a good time to root my S5. Why would I want to? Well, it gives me access to the system, custom recovery tools, and more control over my device. Also, it allows me to install custom Roms (phone operating systems). Here we go…

It turns out that the S5 came in two variants: locked and unlocked. Thankfully, T-mobile received the unlocked version. What this means is that we now have access to edit the system and partitions without problem. If you’re using VZW or ATT, I believe you’re out of luck because you’re version of the S5 is locked, which means, unless the carrier allows it, you cannot do any type of modifications with your device.

As always…Doing this will void your warranty…You Have Been Warned!

Another thing I learned about Samsung devices, as this is my first, is that it uses a system called Knox. Infoworld.com describes Knox as:

Knox is Samsung’s way to get past IT’s legitimate concerns over Android’s generally weak security and join Apple’s iOS and BlackBerry in the golden circle of trustworthy mobile devices.

To put it in regular terms, Samsung has this “security” “feature” called Knox that is tied to multiple aspects of the mobile devices operations, such as the partitions or operating system. In order to gain full control over our mobile devices, we have to perform a rooting operation. This allows us to have access to the Android sub-system, giving us the ability to perform elevated actions. For example, let’s say that you do not want that carrier specific application on your phone. Having a rooted device (with the addition of certain other apps) allows you to uninstall those specific apps. Or, let’s say that you want to backup your application settings (using a program like Titanium Backup); having root access allows this to be possible. There’s so many things you can do, but the first step is being rooted!

Okay, went off course there…Back on track: Knox is tied to the system and knows when something happens to the device, specifically, when changes are made. What does this mean? Well, if you root your device, you’re making a change to the most lowest level of the device, and Knox sees this as a security compromise, at which time, Knox is ‘tripped’ so to speak. This allows the carrier to know if you’ve modified your device. Why is this important, because if Knox is tripped, you’ve voided your warranty. So, if you think you can do any of this, break your phone, and return it under warranty…think again!

So to recap…Doing this will trip Knox…AND VOID YOUR WARRANTY!

That being said, let’s get going!


Tools We’ll be Using

Please not that this is only for SM-9000T (which means means it will ONLY work for the T-Mobile version of the S5; for other variants, please visit XDA)

Step 1 – Download Everything

Download Odin above and extract. You should have a folder called Odin3_v3.09 and inside that you should have a couple of files. Download the Root file and the Recovery files above. Extract them and put them into the Odin folder. Download the Aroma FileManager and place it in the Odin folder; DO NOT EXTRACT the aroma zip file. So, inside the Odin folder, you should have Odin.exe, CF-Auto-Root-kltetmo-kltetmo-smg900t.tar.md5, philz_touch_6.26.6-klte.tar.md5, and aromafm.zip.

Step 2 – Root Your S5

Disconnect your phone from your computer

To get the best use out of Odin, and avoid any problems, it needs to run in Administrator mode. Right click on Odin.exe and select “Run as administrator” and accept any prompts you are presented with.

  1. Click the AP/PDA button (older versions of Odin are PDA, newer versions are AP)
  2. In the Open File window, select the CF-Auto-Root…..tar.md5 file
  3. You should now be back at the Odin window – DO NOT CLICK ANYTHING
  4. Put your phone in Download mode
    1. Turn off your phone; once off, do the following
    2. Hold VolDown+Home+Power to boot
    3. If you are asked to press a button to continue, press the listed button
  5. USB Connect your phone to the computer
  6. In Odin, verify that Repartition is NOT checked
  7. Click Start

NOTE: Sometimes the device does *not* boot into recovery mode and root your device. Just do the entire procedure again if this happens. If it still will not install root and such, make sure that in Odin “Auto Reboot” is not checked. Then after flashing, pull the battery, and boot with VolUp+Home+Power button to boot into recovery manually. This will start the install process.

So, to recap what’s happened to your S5…
We’ve downloaded the necessary files to root your device, we’ve set the S5 into download mode, and we’ve pushed the root files to the device. This installs the stock recovery options, as well as SuperSU app. If you boot your device, you should now see SuperSU in your apps.

SuperSU – What is it? This is an app that allows access to the very core of your device’s operating system. For example, if you had a file manager, like ES File Manager, and you wanted to look at the root level of your device (“/”) you would get an error and denied access to the system’s root folders. However, if you have root access, instead of being denied access, SuperSU will ask you to give it permission, and when you do, ES File Manger would be able to show you all root level files. Note that anytime an application wants to access a function that would typically require root access, SuperSU will prompt you for permission (Grant or Deny). If you do not select anything within 10 seconds, SuperSU will auto-grant access.

Step 3 – Recovery

I’m going with Philz CWM recovery package. Normally I use TWRP, but I wanted to give this a try and it works out pretty well.

So what is Recovery? Recovery is an option that you can use to wipe caches, install system apps, format your phone, install a new operating system, and make backups of your current system.

To install, follow the instructions above for rooting, but this time select the philz-touch….tar.md5 file. This will push Philz Touch CWM recovery to your device.

To Boot into Recovery mode:

  1. Turn off your phone
  2. Hold VolUP+Home and press Power to turn on your device
  3. You should see some text at the top of the screen (blue, red, yellow text probably)
  4. Then you’ll see the recovery screen

Take a minute to go through the settings, but be careful not to select anything you don’t want. Remember, from here you have the ability to wipe out your device.

Step 4 – Your First Backup

Since you’re in the recovery (and if you’re not, use the above steps to go into recovery mode) let’s go ahead and make our first backup. What this will do is take a large snap-shot of your phone’s system. If anything ever happens, say the system get’s corrupted, you could always restore to this point. Many times, I’ll make a backup before installing questionable apps or making system changes. If something goes wrong, I can always boot to recovery and restore the system.

In recovery, we’re going to use the volume up and down buttons to select options, and the home button to select. Also note that Philz is touch based, so you can just touch your options, but touch also means you could possible tap the wrong option sometimes. There’s probably up/down/select/back buttons on the bottom of your screen as well

  1. Select option “Backup and Restore”
  2. Notice “Backup to …” option, this is where your backup will be saved (change it in Misc Nandroid Settings)
  3. Select option “Backup to …” where “…” is your backup location
  4. Recovery will check for free space, and if there is enough, will create your backup (which takes a while)
    1. If you have a microSD card, it should be listed as /storage/sdcard1 (while internal is listed as /sdcard)
  5. You should now see the backup progress on the screen
  6. When finished you can go back through Recovery for other options or reboot back to normal operating system

Note: I like to set my recovery options so that all backups go to the external microSD card. This way, I always have an external location, and it keeps my backups off the less amount of internal storage. Also, take a look at the other settings in Recovery so that you have a better understanding of what’s there.


 

Recovery – Let’s Recover Our System

Let’s say you think the ringer volume is too low, even at max volume. You find a post online that says to edit some system files, but it recommends to make a backup of your system before making any changes to system files. You make a backup, boot back to normal, and start editing system files. You finish up your edits and reboot your phone, then this happens: Oh, crap! Something went wrong and now my phone won’t work! It tries to boot up, shows me the logo, but never get’s past it! HELP!!! Thankfully, you made a backup, so everything is all good. Here’s what to do…

  1. Boot into recovery with VolUp+Home and select option “Backup and Restore”
  2. Use the options to select the option “Restore from …” where “…” is the location your backup file is at
  3. Select your backup file and let Recovery do it’s thing

Note: When you recover a backup, or restore a backup rather, you may inadvertently restore on top of a bad system. To make sure this doesn’t happen, as a general rule, you might want to perform a factory reset. This will wipe out your phones caches, system, and data files (installed apps and app settings). To do this:

  1. Backup your current rom (see above)
  2. Select “Wipe Data/Factory Reset” and then “Wipe Data/Factory Reset”
  3. Then Wipe Cache partition from main screen
  4. Then Wipe Dalvik (under advanced)
  5. Then format /system (under mounts and options”)
  6. Install new rom

Also, note that newer versions (including this version) of Philz CWM allows you to do the following:

  1. Backup your current rom (see above)
  2. Select “Wipe Data/Factory Reset” and then select “Clean to Install a New Rom”
    1. This will wipe your /data, /cache, /system
    2. Your device will not restart unless install a new rom
  3. Install new rom

Either of those wipe processes will be acceptable.

Once recovery is finished restoring a previously made backup, reboot to a normal state.


 

Recovery – File Manager

By default, Philz CWM doesn’t have a file manager, but you can install one by doing the following:

  1. Boot your phone to normal mode
  2. Connect your phone via USB
  3. Access the files on your phone through your computer and transfer the “aromafm.zip” file to your phone
  4. Disconnect your phone from USB
  5. Using a file manager (such as ES File Manager) create a folder called “aromafm” inside of the “/clockworkmod/” folder
    1. Note that in order to do this, you will need to give the file manager permissions, here is the process for ES File Manager
      1. Open ES File Manger (a.k.a. ES File Explorer)
      2. Tap settings button
      3. Scroll down to Root Explorer and tap slider to “ON”
      4. Tap Root Explorer option and on pop-up select Mount R/W
      5. On next pop-up window set “/” as RW
    2. Tap on “/” in top navigation bar
    3. Tap on “sdcard”, then “clockworkmod”
    4. Tap + icon to create folder and name it “aromafm”
    5. Using ES find your aromafm.zip file, long-press on the file to to select it, select CUT
    6. Navigate to “aromafm” folder and PASTE file here
  6. Exit ES
  7. Power Off
  8. Reboot to reovery

You should now be able to double-tap anywhere in recovery to bring up the file manager, or go to options and file manager.

Note that you may have to use other methods to get the .zip file to your device.

Here’s some more info on the subject: Philz Touch CWM

 

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