Make it rain on tons of smartphones with Geohot’s new root tool [VIDEO]

George Hotz — the mastermind developer who made Sony so mad with his PS3 hacking antics that they pursued legal action — has returned to the scene with another huge development.

This is Towelroot, a root tool that targets a vulnerability found in older versions of the Linux kernel. The vulnerability is said to be in every kernel before the June 3rd patch, so many older phones (and even a ton of newer phones) that have yet to get the latest kernel update might be in for a treat.

The exploit has only been officially tested on a handful of devices so far, with the Verizon Samsung Galaxy S5 being the main benefactor. That said, the exploit is also found to work with the AT&T Galaxy S5, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (with KitKat) and more. Some users have even reported success with the Sony Xperia SP C5303.

Some devices it reportedly hasn’t worked for is the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 with the latest KitKat update, as well as the Moto X with the latest KitKat update. Geohot (the hacker’s nickname) has invited folks to give it a try on their smartphone if they’ve exhausted all other avenues. It doesn’t hurt to try to give it a shot if you’ve been itching for root on your smartphone. The XDA thread with all the information and download link you need is right here. Fingers crossed that it works out for you!

[TowelRootThanks to DroidModderX!]

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  • Haggie

    Worked great on my T-Mobile Samsung S5.

  • Montisaquadeis

    Works on Kindle Fire HDX 7 and 8.9 latest updates and even the Fire TV as well

    • improvius

      Holy crap that is awesome. A lot of HDX owners have been eagerly waiting for this.

  • Nick Vargish

    Worked on my VZW Galaxy S4 with the most recent 4.4.2 OTA. So very pleased.

  • Blane Stroud

    Curses. Damn you Moto X. You’re so wonderful to use, yet so root-unfriendly!

    • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

      But does it really need root? Really….. really?

      • Blane Stroud

        It would be nice to have Xposed.

        • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

          I used to root and run custom ROMs daily, flashing weekly builds and nightly builds for 4 years. I’ve had a Moto X since launch day. I don’t miss root and root things. I just love stock Android.

          (I do have other devices I tinker on from time to time though.)

          • Unorthodox

            Actually, after installing Xposed framework recently, I agree with Blane. Stock is nice, but if you could tweak just a bit to fade out those little annoyances, like loud volume warning, it makes experience even better.

      • Gideon Waxfarb

        Yes, it does. If for no other reason than to enable wireless tether. (I can’t find any other method that works, outside of paying the carrier extortion fees.)

        • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

          I use wireless tether on my Moto X. I guess it depends if you have a carrier locked down version that doesn’t have tethering in your plan. When I had my Moto X on Verizon, my plan included tethering. Now I have the GSM unlocked Moto X with Straight Talk and I can tether too.

        • Peter Wackadoo

          Have you tried FoxFi in the Play store? That works for a ton of phones to get free wireless hotspot even if your phone does not have root.

  • Dwight

    It’s funny, many of the devices people are rooting with this have easy enough rooting methods (that could be found on XDA), but towel root has gained so much fame many people who wouldn’t normally root are now doing it :)
    Good thing for the Android nerd community I guess.

    • ChicagoBob

      Verizon and AT&T have no root. I have looked on XDA.

      Please point out the link

  • ChicagoBob

    Does it hit the knox counter? aka does it void the warranty?

  • aw1974

    I used it to root my AT&T S4. I’m on the latest update, NC1.

    • Pitchy

      Trying this on my AT&T S4 running NC1 and I click on Install and nothing happens. The Install button doesn’t even light up. Did you do anything differently from the video?

      • aw1974

        Nope, pretty much did everything he did in the video. Do you have sideloading enabled? I installed it, opened the app, made it rain, it rebooted on it’s own and viola, rooted.

  • Dustin Miller

    Worked on my Razr M on the latest OTA (4.4.2.)

  • Luxferro

    Works on Amazon’s Fire TV :)

  • ookees

    Tried it on the Galaxy Pro 12.2 it did not work. :(

  • ChicagoBob

    S5 Verizon version 4.4.2 worked no problem how or where do I check the Knox?

  • RichHeimlich

    Worked flawlessly for me. I was at my wits end over my own mistake in not realizing there was no return once I gave up a ROM and flashed the stock 4.4.2 on my Verizon S4. All I wanted was stock and root. This gave it to me. Wow.

  • Sruly J

    Used this yesterday on my Sprint S3, it worked great and I was able to permanently remove the bloatware, unfortunately, I got a bit crazy and now my phone is hard bricked. Thankfully after spending 7 hours talking to Samsung, Srint, and Amazon (I bought it through them) I still have a few options available.
    As soon as I get a replacement (if I do), I’ll probably install this, remove bloatware, then unroot. I’m all for rooting, but its so much different than my beloved ns4g which I am stuck with again for now.

    • roninpenguin

      If you have to you can probably fix it using Odin. I bricked my Verizon S3 and used it to fix my phone and there are several tutorials out there that will help you do it. I would point you to the tutorials I used but you have to do the steps specific to your carrier. I’m honestly surprised that they will take back the phone after you tried to root it, if they do cool, if not try Odin.

      Yes it is a little more complex than most people are used to but it can be done.

      • Sruly J

        Samsung took it, and if they dont wanna fix it for free, a guy at Amazon (I bought it through them), said they can help.
        Odin requires my laptop actually recognizing my phone. Its hard bricked, so I cant do anything with it. As I told a guy at Amazon, the only thing is does is make an expensive paperweight.

    • ChicagoBob

      What app did you remove that you think bricked the phone?

      • Sruly J

        I didnt remove any apps that I think bricked it.

  • mreveryphone

    Worked on my T-Mobile LG Gflex running 4.4.2

  • Abstract

    Worked fine on my Verizon Note 3. Very smooth and easy to use

  • Treyhunnid

    Nexus owner….yawn…#noworries

  • ChicagoBob

    I can copy files to my SD card again over my network. YAY!
    Now that I rooted my Verizon Samsung S5 what apps can I safely remove ?
    Is there a list anywhere?