Rooting the Samsung Galaxy S4 (T-Mobile, SGH-M919)

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Rooting Android devices have come a very long way since the time of rooting say the original HTC Evo 4G back in 2010.  Between phone manufacturers and wireless carriers there’s always going to be hoops to jump through to get your device rooted.

Rooting the Galaxy S4 is incredibly easy, except for Verizon- they of course had to go and lock the bootloader, so you have to do a few extra things to root your phone.  Either way, I have T-Mobile and below are the steps to root your Samsung Galaxy S4.  Before you do anything, you must understand that I am not responsible for what you do to your phone.  Second, please read this entire post before doing anything.  At the bottom of this I have some links out to the XDA website that contains extra details, everything you need to download and even a video of this entire process.  If you’re not sure what you’re doing then read/watch everything over again until it makes sense.

  1. Download and install the Samsung drivers.  You actually have to install the Kies application, which will get those drivers on your computer.
  2. Copy the root zip (this will get the SU app on your device) to you device and just leave it there so its ready when you need it.
  3. Download and install Odin.
  4. Decide which recovery application you wish to use- ClockworkMod is probably the most popular- they have a touch version of this which works really well.  Ultimately download whatever recovery application you choose.
  5. Get your device into download mode – turn off the phone, then press and hold the volume down button + home button + power button.  When you feel the phone vibrate release the power button, but continue to hold the volume down and home buttons until you see the download mode screen.  From here, press the volume up button to continue to download mode.  At this point connect your phone to you computer.
  6. Run Odin as an Admin, as long as the drivers are installed on your computer Odin should be able to connect to your device and you’ll notice that you are connected through COM.
  7. Make sure to uncheck the “auto-reboot” option within Odin.
  8. Click the “PDA” button and navigate to the recovery image (zip file) you downloaded from step 4 above.
  9. Click the start button.  Let Odin do it’s thing, it’ll take no more then 10 seconds.
  10. Once the process is finished unplug your phone and do a battery pull on the phone.
  11. put the battery back in and restart the phone into recovery mode.  This is similar to step 5 above, but instead of the volume down button, it’s the volume up.  So, press and hold the volume up button + home button + power button.  When you feel the phone vibrate release the power button, but continue to hold the volume down and home buttons until you see the recovery menu load.
  12. At this point you have flashed a custom recovery on your phone which will allow you to install SU (as in Super User)
  13. Within your recovery you now need to flash the root zip (from step 2 above) that you copied to your phone.  Allow recovery to run until completion
  14. At this point your phone is rooted.
  15. Restart your phone and to verify it’s properly rooted you should run an application that requires root privileges.  The app i always use is Titanium Backup, this will check for root access as it opens.

 

At this point the smartest thing to do is make a ClockworkMod backup (or nandroid or whatever you want to use).  This way you can always get your phone back to the state it was just freshly after rooting it.

Now you can remove all of the crapware that Samsung and TMO put on your phone.  It you are not 100% sure what an application may actually do, it’s best to “freeze” that app within Titanium and see how your phone behaves.  If everything is fine then go ahead and uninstall that app.  Again, make sure to have everything backed up first.

 

A video that i found that is extremely useful is here: http://www.xda-developers.com/android/how-to-root-the-t-mobile-samsung-galaxy-s-4-xda-developer-tv/ (this also contains links on how to root the Galaxy S4 from different wireless carriers.

Here is the XDA thread that contains most of this info as well (and all of the files you need to download): http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2268880

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