Samsung’s recent devices have been notoriously difficult to root, with bounties for rooting AT&T and Verizon-branded Galaxy S5 phones shooting past $15,000 in a matter of months. It’s not just Samsung, too — more and more OEMs, possibly spurred on by carrier policies from the likes of AT&T and Verizon, have been restricting their phones from customization. Most of that changes today, though, a new root method has been unveiled that’s the closest thing to an end-all-be-all we’ve seen so far — Towelroot.
Towelroot comes to us from developer Geohot, of XDA-Developers fame. It should work on the Galaxy S5 models listed above, AT&T Galaxy S4 Active units, and the Nexus 5. The AT&T and Verizon Galaxy Note 3s “might” also be supported, and Android Police was able to get it working on the AT&T variant.
Even more devices are theoretically supported by Towelroot, though — every Android device with a kernel build date preceding June 3 will hypothetically be okay to use it. That means anything Android 4.4.2 or under, basically, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue; not many Androids have received the 4.4.3 update thus far. Motorola and HTC devices are not okay to use the method, unfortunately, as /system is write protected.
To actually use this root method, all one must do is download the APK from the Towelroot website, and press the “make it ra1n” button. After that, you’ll either be transported to the magical land of root, or denied access — if you fall into the latter category, email Geohot at firstname.lastname@example.org with your build and ADB logcat output from the app, and he’ll try to get it sorted out.
Of course, the developer is accepting donations via PayPal and Bitcoin at his website for his hard work.