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How can I check and see if my phone is rooted?

Unlocked Nexus FTW
Unlocked Nexus FTW (Image credit: Android Central)

So you just went through a bunch of instructions you didn't fully understand, or downloaded some program to your computer and let it run, and your phone is supposed to be rooted. (And yes, naysayers, this is more common than you think — not everyone lives and breathes this stuff.) How can you be sure it worked?

Because the people who make our phones (most of them, anyway) don't want us to be able to root them it's not as easy as installing an app from Google Play, and sometimes it doesn't work out like it should. You'll need to verify that it worked — and is working properly — before you use root to do whatever it is you wanted to do with it. Thankfully, that's pretty easy to do.

  • If you used a "systemless root" method and everything finished without an error, you're rooted for all intents and purposes.
  • Install a root checker app from Google Play. Open it and follow the instructions, and it will tell you if your phone is rooted or not.
  • Go old school and use a terminal. Any terminal app from the Play Store will work, and all you need to do is open it and enter the word "su" (without the quotes) and hit return. You might get a dialog asking you to allow the terminal app to run as root (that's what you're doing when you enter su) from a root control app. That's a good thing. In any case, if your login prompt changes from $ to #, you are the superuser. You can even do this via ADB from your computer.

No matter how you check, make sure that you have something watching so that apps can't do root "stuff" without your permission. Any good root method will include something to act as a watchdog. If you are rooted and don't have an app that monitors root access, ask for support from the folks who made the root method you used about it.

And as always, be careful. Using root permissions is a great way to ruin the software on your phone if you aren't paying attention or do something without knowing what's gonna happen. Read everything you can find on the internet, then look again and read some more before you break something.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

32 Comments
  • Having rooted and greenify and custom kernel has saved my note 5. It's strictly business and I get tons of emails and group chats and texts etc a day and my battery life is lovely now. Note 5 - deoxed rom with twisted kernel v2
  • Is deoxed the name or that a typo? Deodexed. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No, no. He's trying to say his phone is free of any oxen. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Whoops. That typo lel. Didn't even notice thank you. Note 5 - deoxed rom with twisted kernel v2
  • Now that's funny typing lel after "that typo lel". Proof reading helps most people. Posted via the Android Central App
  • He's laughing exceptionally loud :p Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lel is another form of lol. And proof reading is something I'm not quite good at to be quite honest. Meh. Note 5 - deodexed rom with twisted kernel v2
  • What does meh mean? Young people these days
  • "Read everything you can find on the internet" OK that's going to take a while. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've been trying to start from the beginning, flipping back, looking for chapter 1 let alone page 1 of the internet, but my back page arrow keeps taking me to porn. Who knows, I think it might show me how to "root" the old fashioned way. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes. I've "heard" that "rooting" can give you hairy palms. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wondering why heard is in quotes....one may get the impression that you know more about those furry palms than you're letting on.
  • I've finished it. There's a picture of Tim Berners-Lee at the end. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If you can't tell if your phone is rooted or not you probably shouldn't be rooting it in the first place. Just saying. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I was literally just about to say that. Posted via what ever tickles me at the time.
  • Probably, but as Jerry said, "And yes, naysayers, this is more common than you think — not everyone lives and breathes this stuff."
  • Also people buying used phones don't know if they're rooted or not either. Note 5 - deodexed rom with twisted kernel v2
  • Oops I accidentally hit "Report" and can't take it off. My apology kelayz. :O
  • Meh, we all start somewhere. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Root checker lol Posted via HTC 10
  • Thank you its not complicated Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Dawg pound grovin...eastside is the greatest"..... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't know much about this yet, but is putting something like Cyanogenmod on your phone considered rooting? ~Games, chocolate, and anime. Reasons to live for.
  • Your phone needs to be unlocked and rooted to flash Cynogen. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It needs to be unlocked, it doesn't need to be rooted. And to the above, no. Root is basically just a higher level of access to make changes to the system partition. With cyanogen mod installed, your phone would have an entirely new operating system. but that operating system would not necessarily be rooted. Although there are many builds which include root and a super user app. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Unlocked? You mean like the version of the phone where you have to add a sim card? Is that what that means? ~Games, chocolate, and anime. Reasons to live for.
  • No, I mean the bootloader needs to be unlocked. Which actually is usually easier to accomplish on a sim-unlocked (ie carrier free) phone. As an aside, here in the UK we generally call carrier-free phones "sim-free" rather than "unlocked". Makes things a bit less confusing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Does that only works on certain phones or something? Unlocking a bootloader? ~Games, chocolate, and anime. Reasons to live for.
  • Some phones are easier than others. With something like a Nexus or OnePlus it's pretty easy. I think there's some carrier locked phones that can't have their bootloader unlocked at all. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I use Pure Nexus ROM on my Nexus 6 and Nexus 5X. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I bought a phone that was not supposed to be rooted (brand new) and can't install any apps from the app store) . found out its rooted (tried to install banking app) Panasonic said they didn't root it. I've only charged the thing. How can I tell if its rooted. For sure. And how can I prove it cane like it?
  • There's one remaining item that still needs root, and that's a battery charge limiter. It wears down the battery to charge to 100%, and it's well-neigh impossible to always pull your phone off the charger in time. There are apps out there that will limit the charge, but they require root. Why Google won't build that into Android, I don't know. It could even be under the advanced options. I use a third-party device along with an app, to limit my phone's charging. But sometimes I don't have the in-line dongle or I forget, or I close apps and the governing app won't run to tell the dongle to stop the charging. I want to run banking apps and Pokemon Go, or I'd root my phone.