Reports are circulating this morning, suggesting that the Samsung Galaxy S4 has been rooted prior to its launch. Keep in mind, this news relates to the Exynos 5 version of the device (the GT-I9500 to be exact), not the Snapdragon 600 version that will arrive here in the states, so for most of you, this root news is mostly meaningless anyway. With that said, this news is slightly premature, according to Samsung dev and root-specialist Chainfire.
In a Google+ post, he notes that all he has seen thus far are modified stock ROMs that have both the Superuser.apk and su pre-loaded, a method that has worked in the past to root Samsung devices. Unfortunately, this method does not appear to work this time around, as Samsung may have added in extra protection.
Here is part of his statement:
With a lot of (Samsung) devices in the past that really has been all there is to rooting – just get the files in place somehow and voila – and flashing a modified stock firmware to do this is certainly a valid method for this.
However, I would like to point out that we’ve tried this trick with the I9505 weeks ago (and we actually tested it on a real device), and this time around, it is not a simple case of injecting the files. There is some further protection in the firmware that prevents the su binary (which is needed for root access) from functioning properly – without any known workaround at this time. No doubt somebody will quickly figure it out when they have the device in-hand though.
Chainfire admits that he has tested this same root method on the GT-I9505 version of the Galaxy S4 and came up empty thanks to this new protection. So for now, hold off on the champagne and cigars. Until someone shows proof that the Galaxy S4 is rooted rather than simply claiming it through a tweaked stock firmware, we aren’t rooted.
He doesn’t think that it will take long once the device is in the hands of devs, we’re just not at that point yet.