Android 6.0 Marshmallow is here, bringing new features including Google Now on Tap, automatic cloud backup of app data, a customizable Quick Settings area, and the ability to decide which permissions you want to grant apps.

But if you want even more control over the way your phone or tablet works, you may want root access. The good news is that you can root a device running Android 6.0. The less good news is that you’ll need to install a modified boot image with a custom kernel and ramdisk.


Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to load a custom recovery (like TWRP or ClockworkMod) to install SuperSU so you can run and manage apps that require (or benefit from) root access, including Titanium Backup, Root Explorer, Greenify, or Tasker.

The modified boot image requirement could cause problems in some situations, and you’ll have to go through the same process on a regular basis if your phone maker receives monthly security updates that you want to install. Depending on what phone you’re using, it may be simpler just to install a custom ROM… or give up the idea of rooting your device altogether.

I used to be a root-a-holic, primarily so I could install Titanium Backup and make nightly backups of all of the apps and data on my phone. But now that Android 6.0 performs automatic cloud backups of data, I’m less worried about the idea that I might lose data or settings if I have to perform a factory reset. So I unrooted my Nexus 5 after I started running developer preview builds of Android 6.0.

That said, it would be nice to have the option to restore a previous version of an app if I don’t like the latest version that’s downloaded from Google Play. That’s something that was simple to do when I used Titanium Backup every day, but which would be much tougher to do without it.

What about you? Are you still rooting your phones?

via Android Police

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13 replies on “You can root Android 6.0, but not without a modified boot image”

  1. Pretty simple for me, if I have root it is my computing platform, without root it is somebody else’s and a phone is not something I’m entrusting to somebody else. Once we give up on demanding root we -will- regret it.

    1. Will we? How many smartphone users even know that there is such a thing as “rooting” let alone actually do it? Apple has locked down its devices from the start — the only available roots are from exploits that are patched in the next version of the software — and yet they are still the number one smartphone manufacturer in the world. Not seeing much regret there.

    2. ‘We’ will, as in you and me and maybe the commenters here. But, the average person, they don’t even know what root is.

  2. still rooting, due to the fact that I can undervolt my CPU through a custom kernel, and the fact that I can install either a custom ROM or Xposed modules to give me volume button wake functionality. Also certain notification bar quick toggles require Root to be able to toggle certain settings.

  3. Been looking into this for hours now… Go ahead check how many apps are being backed up on your latest greatest 6.0 device. WHAT only about 10 of your 100? I believe it is because the app needs to be using the latest API 23. Which at this point the majority are not.

  4. I don’t think it works with system apps, and it also doesn’t back up the data, but yet one more thing ES File Explorer can do is make backups of your apks so you can easily reinstall an older version of an app if you want to.

  5. I used to root my devices. My primary reason was (back in the day of Kit-kat) using a 3rd party file explorer to copy files to an SD card. I use ES File explorer, and I often copy files from my home server to my phone’s SD card, and vice versa. Now with Lollipop, you don’t need to root for that anymore.

  6. I used WugFresh’s Nexus Toolkit to update my Nexus 7 2013 to Marshmallow last night. When I got to the rooting step it went into a bootloop. Redid Marshmallow and fixed that, and find out today about the extra bother rooting requires on Android 6.0. I’ll probably roll my N7 back to Lollipop, because there are things I want, primarily blocking YouTube ads and sysbar/navbar tweaks, that I get through Xposed, which requires root. There’s nothing in Marshmallow that’s worth losing — or jumping through extra hoops to keep — those.

    1. yeah biggest things are battery saver, per app permission, but these are both you can add through xposed in lollipop

  7. Yes, found out the hard way. I was not wild about installing a non-stock kernel, but I went with the StephanMC one on my Nexus 5, which was the least tweaked (while still rootable) one available. Overall Marshmallow is fine, not radically different – I was pleased to see the new App Permissions settings picked up my App Ops choices from 5.1.1.

    1. I was almost fine not rooting and enjoying the snappiness of 6.0 on my Nexus 5, until I got into bed and remembered just how unsettlingly bright the backlight is without Lux to temper it. Remedied that by installing ElementalX the next morning and all is well again, for now. Still, nice to see fewer and fewer reasons to need to root with every release. The changes in Marshmallow may be small, but I’m enjoying the added sprightliness over 5.1.1, and I didn’t even think Lollipop was lacking in that department.

      1. The brightness issue would be a problem for me too, given how everything has bright white backgrounds since Lollipop. Not to mention, almost no phone allows you to set the brightness low enough.
        I’ll continue to root for multiple reasons, including adblocking and tweaking the build.prop. Without root I’d rather be on an older release.

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