Systemless root vs System root

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

If you have tried to root your phone and searched online for the way of rooting your device you may have noticed there are different types of processor rooting your devices. If you haven’t noticed or even searched, don’t worry. We will be discussing about all the types and the ways of rooting your device.

So first of all, how many types are there and why? So, there are actually 2 types of root.

  1. · System Root

  2. · Systemless Root

Before diving into System or systemless root let’s see what are the main goal to be achieved to get a device rooted.

The device has to run a process called daemon as superuser (as root user). Now if you don’t know what is a superuser or root user I would suggest you to read this:

To run this daemon process as root you have two ways and these two ways leads us to two different type of rooting:

System Root: -

This is the traditional method of rooting. Here some files inside android/system partition of the device are modified to automatically start the daemon process as superuser when the devices boots. As the files inside “system” partition is modified to achieve this result this method is known as system root.

So, the question is, if this method was working good all along traditionally then why we needed systemless root?

The answer is, mainly because of 2 reason.

The first reason is new android versions. The new android versions like Nougat, Marshmallow these versions came up with some new security measure that won’t let you modify files inside system partition in some devices (the devices with a locked bootloader).

The second reason is Google SafetyNet. This is a google service which checks if the system is somehow tampered or not because if the system is exploited somehow it will be a security threat for other services or apps on that device. So, if you somehow overcome the first reason and unlock the bootloader and then apply the system root somehow the google safetyNet will be able to detect some changes in system partition and the SafetyNet verification will failed. This will stop some apps from working on that device if it found that the system is tampered.

Because of these two unavoidable reasons we have to choose an alternate way to achieve the same result without modifying the system partition. Here comes the second method. –

Systemless Root: -

As the name is already telling us, it is systemless root so you may be assuming that here we are not modifying the ‘system’ partition. If yes, then you are right but what about staring the daemon process during boot as superuser? This is where things get tricky. As we’ve to start the daemon process during boot, why don’t we modify the ‘boot’ partition instead of the ‘system’ partition. In this method a custom boot.img is created and it is flashed in the ‘boot’ partition of the device so the ‘system’ partition is untouched and SafetyNet verification won’t fail.

Is there any restriction for any of these methods?

As traditional system root modifies ‘system’ partition it is a bit risky to hamper your original system and sometimes it Is hard to unroot your device on the other hand systemless root can be unrooted easily as it doesn’t involves modifying the ‘system’ partition.

Only con about systemless root is, locked bootloader. If you can unlock the bootloader it is always a wise choice to have a systemless root over system root.

Magisk is a well-known root management tool for systemless root.

To know more about Magisk root and its uses you can check out “Magic of Magisk”.

Please feel free to comment and share with your friends and comment if you have any questions about system or systemless root. I would try my best to answer you and also mention if I’ve missed something.

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