Rooting the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge will break Samsung Pay mobile payments


Samsung Pay 2

Rooting our Android devices has long been a way to unshackle our phones and tablets from the confines of OEM restrictions. Things like completely removing bloatware (not just disabling), or running custom ROMs are all made possible through the power of root. While most of the time rooting allows you add cool features and tweaks, it’s not always be the case. The Sony Xperia Z3, for instance, took a big hit to its camera quality thanks to missing DRM keys breaking Sony’s proprietary image processing (although a workaround was eventually found).

Those of you thinking about rooting the Samsung Galaxy S6 or Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge take heed, doing so will break arguably one of the best features of the device: Samsung Pay. To be fair, Samsung Pay isn’t even available yet, but it wont be too much longer until it officially launches (sometime this summer). Once it does, you’ll be able to make mobile payments using your smartphone — not just at NFC-based terminals — but anywhere you can swipe a regular credit card using Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST).

Of course, that’s just something you could do, providing you don’t root. Because Samsung Pay is so heavily tied into the Galaxy S6’s security, rooting your Galaxy S6 compromises its security and consequently, breaks things like KNOX and mobile payments. Just a little something to consider before you run off to root the S6, only to find you are forced to use your physical credit card like an animal.


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Why would anyone use Samsung Pay anyway when there has already been Google Wallet out for years now? We don’t need yet-another-competing-service going against Apple Pay. I’ll happily be rooting my GS6 when I get it.

    1. Non-NFC mobile payments is the only reason to use it.

    2. Kid..

    3. The fact it lets you use it on ANY terminal, not just NFC supported ones. It puts out a magnetic field that ‘regular’ swipe card readers see as a card being swiped. So you can truly leave your wallet ..or cards at least..at home..

      1. Not sure how that could work, but that’s an awesome feature if true.

  2. I’d sacrifice this for root anyday. Some things, no. This, yes. Even using mobile based pay is so hit and miss it is not a big loss and IF I want it, I will just use Wallet.

    1. Cash is king.

  3. Are we supposed to believe that people rooting their phones care about Samsung Pay a whole lot that they’d rather not root?

    And also, considering that nfc pick-up has been on the rise, I don’t think this would exactly matter most of the time.

  4. Isn’t it sad that we have to waste time figuring out workarounds to not having some faceless corporation tell us what we can and can’t do with our device that we just paid hundreds of dollars for?

    1. For this particular scenario, I think I’ll take Samsung’s side on this one. Unless you know what you’re doing, rooting your phone can leave a big hole in its security. Something I wouldn’t want tied to my bank or card.

      1. Nah. What hole? What security risk comes with root? Those apps are locked down. You need passcodes to even open the app. So what “big security hole” does root expose?

        Every phone or tablet I have had, and do have, and those of friends and relatives I have rooted. Zero security issues. And I have had Wallet since day one of release on all of my devices.

        I’d say the real reason they no like root is (1) then it is admittedly hard for them to troubleshoot issue with you since you could have side loaded or modified a phone in such a way as to make it unstable and they cannot account for that and (2) it allows you to remove nonsense they don’t want you to remove.

        And I agree.. when you pay $500-900 for a phone you should be able to do whatever the F you want to it.

        1. for starters, an app could secretly track your touch input to see what security codes you fill in.

          but I still think this should be allowed, just move responsibility for security to the user.
          if a device is rooted, show a big warning about the risk, and let the user ignore it.

          1. People that root are not random people. They are people that seek out XDA threads to find out how to root. These people, likely over the years like me, know the ups and downs and ins and outs and risks (very few) of just root. Root itself is low risk once achieved.

            And the keyloggers you mention, a keylogger can be installed without root. As well, sideloading an app via root – just like you can and do do without root – is always carrying a risk. But hopefully before someone side loads an app, others have vetted it and are promoting the app and thus, the risk is low.

            My point is, the upsides of root most often heavily outweigh the downsides and any downside can be mitigated. Root rocks.

        2. With all of the credit card fraud going on can you really blame Samsung for blocking Samsung Pay after you root it and make it unsecure?

      2. First, most if not all people that root are “power users” who *do* know what they are doing. Second, you have to approve or deny each app that attempts to gain root access, so if some fishy app is asking for root you just deny it. Third, you don’t have to be rooted to get malware, sideloading apps from questionable sources is dangerous regardless of whether you are rooted.

    2. No, its not sad at all. If you don’t like it, you can always build your own phone and write your own OS. No one is stopping you from doing that. But if you want them to keep making the phones, they’re gonna do it their way(The way that is making them billions of dollars btw).

  5. I would rather they just leave that crap off my phone. I imagine Samsung Pay has a very small following here in the US. All ~20 Samsung Pay users that root their phones will be disappointed. The thousands of users that have their phone rooted have already deleted the .apk.

    1. Whether it has small following or not. Samsung payments is different to anything else out there. It’s basically your credit/debit card unlike apple and other offerings limiting it on certain vendors/shops.

      For this reason alone, I will not be rooting any of Samsung phones in the future. This killer feature alone makes Samsung almost the default way in choosing a phone which implements digital transactions

  6. This is hardly news. Rooting any phone/tablet will almost certainly cause a number of ‘secure’ apps to fail. Amongst those I have seen are all sorts of banking apps and some subscription video services. However, for me, the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages.

    1. “This is hardly news these days”. There I fixed it as it never use to be this way until the last year or so with DRAM. As a matter of fact, for many many years and hundreds of devices, this stuff never happened. You rooted and went on your wow. Only really in the last year or so have makers being tieng in functions that would bust if you rooted.

    2. Most apps don’t “break” because of root, they check for root and refuse to run if detected. The app developer will say its due to security, but in most cases the reality is that there won’t be anything you could do to break an app’s security with root that you couldn’t do without root. Developers use root checks as a crutch. Rather than developing a secure app, they throw in a root check and hope that’s enough to make it secure.

      1. I think though that it is easier for someone with limited knowledge (like myself) to bypass any applications security features with root access than without ?

        1. Doubtful… are you really going to go about just randomly modifying files you don’t understand? (that’s making a large assumption that there even is a way to modify a particular app or its data files that would harm its security but not break it completely)

          The worst thing an uninformed user can do is install apps from untrusted places, with or without root (albeit its more dangerous with root).

  7. Who needs rooting when we got Touch-Wizzzzzz!! Lol

  8. wouldn’t xposed module and rootcloak fix this? It did on other rooted phones using softcard/ISIS and other payment apps. You’re rooted, no reason not to go xposed

    1. Depends. Rootcloak isn’t a magic bullet. It doesn’t work for everything. And some secure apps even check for the presence of Xposed now. Good for Enterprise is one such app.

    2. Samsung’s root detection goes much deeper, it still knows you rooted even after flashing a stock rom and factory resetting.
      this is part of the Knox security features.

      on some older devices this can be fixed with triangle away, but with the note 4 and S6 once you root you can’t go back.

      1. This makes me remember that root back to the S3 knew you were rooted. Once rooted and modified in anyway, an unlock lock icon and something like “custom” would show whenever you booted the phone. You did not have to use triangle away though because at that time, root was not not counting against you in any way such that you had to be sure to cover your tracks like it did in later models.

    3. No way that xposed will be able to fix this issue anytime soon seeing as xposed still doesn’t work for touchwiz lollipop Rom due to the amount of changes they made to the android system.

    4. Knox checks an e-fuse that can only be “burned out” to indicate Knox void status and cannot be restored (as far as we know).

  9. When will we come together as consumers and sign patitions to have these carriers make there bloat capable of being deleted not just disabled

    1. I’d sign that petition in an instant, haha.

  10. Give it time. Devs will find a way to fix it and disguise root.

    1. True that. +90% of the time, these early root issues get resolved.

    2. The problem is the e-fuse used for Knox void status.

  11. Here’s the thing. Once rooted, the OEM can’t guarantee the device is secure and won’t certify it as such to protect themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised if Google does the same thing with Wallet, eventually. They’re much more security conscious than in the past and are pushing things like encrypting the file system and only allowing apps write access to their own directories.

    With customers’ financial data at stake, they’re not likely to take chances that can lead to a law suit.

  12. Hm, for me the first priority is a smartphone that works fine. For me is a smartphone not usable if the half of my apps didn’t work because of extSdCard limitation.
    In February I read that the Lollipop update will arrive the next days and with Lollipop the extSdCard issue should be solved. So I decided to buy a Note 4 but had to wait until last week until Lollipop update. And now? extSdCard access didn’t work propperly even with Lollipop: half of my apps (more than fifty) didn’t work propperly….
    So I have a smartphone just usable for some selected apps????
    Now I rooted my Note 4 and all works fine (after an additional extSDCard fix).
    Here we are told a new paying method is about to come… without any information about the expected time range. So if I compare it with my Lollipop update experience and how Lollipop works, why should anybody wait for such new feature possibly coming (and functioning) in some years???
    For me first priority is a smooth working smartphone. If I get this only without samsung Knox and other Samsung special software – OK then without Samsungs special software! But this way my fifty and more apps works fine!!!

  13. Could I just use an app to hide root whenever I am planning on using it?

    1. Not unless it hides Knox being tripped, as Samsung Pay looks for Knox status. My banks mobile app used to tell me I was using a “modified” device on rooted phones but still allowed you to use it after being warned. Hiding root could avoid those type if issues but not with Samsung Pay, at least until root without tripping Knox is gained.

  14. “arguably one of the best features of the device: Samsung Pay”

    Who exactly is claiming that? What does Pay offer that Google Wallet doesn’t?

    1. The fact it lets you use it on ANY terminal, not just NFC supported ones. It puts out a magnetic field that ‘regular’ swipe card readers see as a card being swiped. So you can truly leave your wallet ..or cards at least..at home.

      1. That’s nice, assuming it always “just works” (we’ll see).

        Are you claiming that to be the “best feature” of the S6?

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