Something pretty awesome happened over the last couple of days. George Hotz, better known as Geohot, the infamous hacker known for jailbreaking iOS and exploiting the Sony Playstation 3, has brought joy to owners of just about all Android smartphones and tablets, especially those on AT&T and Verizon.
His latest offering, TowelRoot, roots Android devices in about twenty seconds, and it works for all carriers, not matter how much yours may try to lock you down. With TowelRoot, not only have root capabilities come to the masses, but Geohot has likely claimed himself over $18000 in various bounties for root exploits.
Note that the video above is showcasing the Galaxy S5, but the steps will be exactly the same for any variant of the Galaxy S4, as well as other Android devices, except for HTC and Motorola. For a more detailed explanation behind this exploit, check out Dallas' article for a full breakdown.
We're rooting using a pretty genius method. It basically exploits the kernel, which freezes Android, and while the OS is sitting there panicking, it asks for root privileges and Android gives them to it. Then, it copies over the necessary root files and reboots the phone. But because of the way this exploit functions, you'll see a nice scary warning when installing TowelRoot—check that you understand the risks, then hit Install anyway.
Now hit the make it ra1n button, and let the app do its thing. It'll automatically reboot your device, and then you'll be rooted!
Yes, it really is that easy. Really.
While TowelRoot will root your device, it will not install a root manager, which is critical for keeping malicious apps from gaining root access. Far and away the best root manager is SuperSU from developer Chainfire. Head to the Play Store to grab the app directly.
Install it and run. You can skip the part where the app asks if you'd like it to remove KNOX, but to each their own. Either way, you're rooted and ready to roll. And it couldn't have been easier.