Hi, Don Depresso readers! As you may know, every once in a while I post a tech-y/Linux-y article or update that doesn’t have much to do with Don Depresso. (And, as you also may know, I’ve also written articles for “legit” tech magazines and blogs like Linux Journal, Linux Magazine, and MakeTechEasier.) Well, this is gonna be one of those posts, so non-geeky readers beware!
Ruji C.’s Guide to Rooting Your Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 (Build VRUAME7) for Linux Users
I decided to write this tutorial after struggling to root my own Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4. I read through numerous online articles and threads, never quite sure if the information was up to date or relevant to my specific phone model. Through my research and a lot of experimentation, I finally succeeded at rooting the device, and along the way I learned a few things that I hadn’t seen explained in enough depth in any of the articles I’d read.
This article will take you through the rooting process for the VRUAME7 build of the Samsung Galaxy S4, which is specific to Verizon customers in the USA. I will spend some time reiterating information that can be found elsewhere, and I will also attempt to fill in the gaps left by many of the other currently available information sources.
What Firmware is on Your Samsung Galaxy S4?
To find out if this article is relevant to your phone, go to Menu::Settings:: More:: About phone::Baseband version. If you see the sequence “VRUAME7” then you’ll know this article is for you.
Preparing Your SD Card for Rooting
For this exploit to work on the VRUAME7, your phone must have an external SD card formatted as exFAT. You basically have two choices here:
(A) Purchase an SD card that’s already in the exFAT format, such as this $49.07 64GB SanDisk microSDXC card. In general, manufacturers only offer exFAT formatting on SD cards with a capacity of 64GB or greater. If you aren’t prepared to shell out the money for a 64GB SD card, go for option B.
Skip ahead to "The Root Exploit" if your SD card is already in the exFAT format.
(B) Format your SD card to exFAT. This step must be done from a computer, not your phone; although the Galaxy S4 does come with a formatting utility, it won’t let you choose the exFAT filesystem.
Formatting Your SD Card to exFAT on Linux
First, you must have a microSD card reader. Simply connecting the phone to your computer with a USB cord will not allow you to access the SD card for formatting. If your computer doesn’t have a built-in card reader that supports microSD, you can get one for under $10. I purchased the Transcend Information USB 3.0 Card Reader (TS-RDF5K) for $8.61 and can verify that it works on my Gentoo Linux system.
Got your card reader? Good.
You can safely unmount the SD card from your phone while it’s on by going to Menu::Settings::More::Storage::Unmount SD card. Now take the card out of your phone (be careful not to grab your SIM card instead), stick it in your card reader, and hope your computer reads it!
If your computer doesn’t recognize the card, all is not lost. You probably just have to install
exfat-utils. If you happen to be using Gentoo Linux like I am, the commands are:
emerge fuse-exfat exfat-utils
Once you get that taken care of, you should be able to identify your SD card’s mount point (/dev/sd**) with the fdisk command. Still as root, run:
Once you know which device your SD card is, go ahead and format it as root:
mkfs.exfat -n LABEL /dev/sd**
Replace LABEL with the name you wish to give your card and replace /dev/sd** with the actual device identifier revealed with
fdisk -l (e.g., /dev/sdc1).
All right, now the hard part is over!
The Root Exploit
Although most of the current root guides for the VRUAME7 will tell you to connect your phone to your computer for this part, you really don’t need to. The only benefit of doing so is that it’s more straightforward to unzip a compressed archive on a computer than on a phone, but your phone can still do it. Here’s how:
Getting the Root Exploit Package on Your Phone
Extract the files from RootforVZWS4.zip directly into the root of your SD card. If you need an unzipping utility, I recommend ES File Explorer.
Navigating to the extSdCard root directory in ES File Explorer.
View of root exploit files properly unpacked in root directory of extSdCard.
Running the Rooting Commands
Open Android Terminal Emulator (install it if you don’t have it already).
Enter the root directory of your SD card:
And run the root exploit scripts:
Congrats, you should be root now! But beware: If you’ve previously installed any root administration apps (such as Superuser), they will conflict with the SuperSU app invoked by these scripts, so uninstall any of those before proceeding.
Now open the SuperSU app (or install it fresh from Google Play if you have problems). Allow it to update your su binary when it prompts you, and…
YAY, YOU’RE ROOT NOW! Congratulations, now have a beer or smoke a joint or both.
Life is Wonderful
Stuff to Install on Your Rooted Samsung Galaxy S4
- Wanna flash a custom ROM? Get ROM Manager!
- Get Wireless Tether for Root Users to wirelessly tether your computer to your phone’s internet connection (useful on public transportation and in other situations where there is no WiFi network available).
- Take screenshots with Screenshot Ultimate.
- Run a kazillion different servers on your phone (FTP, HTTP, VNC, NTP, NFS, MySQL, WebDAV, and over 50 more) with Servers Ultimate. Note that the previous link is a 14-day trial version; unfortunately, this app is not free, but I believe the paid version is worth the few bucks if you want a convenient way to run multiple servers on your phone.
- WiFinspect provides you with several useful network auditing tools.
- Like sniffing network packets with Wireshark? Check out Shark for Root and its companion app Shark Reader.
Hope that helped!
Exciting-ish news: I made a free Android app for viewing Don Depresso comics!
Don Depresso Comics (app description):
Don Depresso is a clinically depressed freelance writer who pines for his ex-girlfriend and self-medicates with drugs and alcohol.
This app is a mobile viewer for the official Don Depresso comics website and social media pages (Facebook and Twitter).
If the button above doesn’t work, get the Don Depresso Comics app here.