The Galaxy S9 and Note 9 can now be rooted — with a lot of caveats

Galaxy S9
Galaxy S9 (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Developers have found an exploit in the U.S. variants of the Galaxy S9, S9+, and Note 9 that allows for these devices to be rooted.
  • However, it only works if you have specific Android versions and firmware installed.
  • It does not void the phone's warranty, though.

Samsung's Snapdragon-powered phones, sold in the U.S., are particularly hard to crack, and nearly two years after the S9 series release, rooting the phones was still not possible. Until now, that is.

XDA Developers reports that Team Syndicate, the folks who crafted a similar rooting exploit for the Galaxy S8, have now cracked the Galaxy S9, S9+, and Note 9.

There is a long list of caveats for users to fulfill, however, and the exploit only works if you're way behind the times on your Android updates. Specifically, the devices need to have Android 8 or 8.1 installed in order for the exploit to work.

In addition, you need to flash combination firmware onto the device, which XDA explains to be "firmware that Samsung uses in the factory for testing." Doing so, however, will lead to an 80% cap on your battery capacity.

Once you've got all that setup, the good news is that Samsung Knox itself isn't compromised, which means that you can continue to use services like Samsung Pay and Secure Folder. Your warranty is also not voided, as the bootloader is not unlocked.

On the other hand, while Samsung's payment platform works, Google Pay won't. Nor will any other app that relies on SafetyNet Attestation, such as Pokemon Go — let go of what you love, right?

The list of caveats continues: once you've got it all set up, power users and enthusiasts won't be able to use TWRP with this solution, which means every time you boot the phone, you'll have to go through a specific set of motions in order to "disable write protection."

You can, however, use the Xposed Framework alongside this root exploit, which seems to be the only silver lining attached to the long and complicated list of limitations it comes with.

If you're still curious about trying your hand at it, you can find the full set of instructions for implementing the exploit and rooting your Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, or Galaxy Note 9 on XDA's forums.

Muhammad Jarir Kanji