New Android releases are almost always welcomed by Android users, but power users, especially those who routinely root their devices, have mixed feelings. While it brings new features to play with, a new Android version usually also patches up exploits that are used to gain root access. Defying expectation, however, Chainfire, developer extraordinaire known for his SuperSU utility, has announced a preliminary root for Android O on the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P, just days after the first Android O developer preview was announced.
While Linux-based, Android locks down the system in a way that makes getting root access more difficult, at times even impossible. While understandable from a mobile security perspective, power users consider it their prerogative and right to gain root if and when they want to. Usually, that’s done through low-level exploits, which are often plugged up by patches.
Android O is no different, with the SELinux security system beefed up for good measure. That said, at this early stage of its development, Chainfire says that Android O is not yet that too different from Android Nougat, which somewhat made it easier to start work on rooting these two devices.
Sadly, the root only works for the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. The Pixel and Pixel XL’s new A/B partition, used to make updates faster, is unfortunately also causing root to fail. The Pixel C and Nexus Player don’t have such a partition scheme but have not yet been tested to work. Considering how the Nexus 5X and 6P have sometimes been left out of new features, it’s almost poetic justice that they get to be rooted first.
Chainfire advises against trying new SuperSU on anything other than the 5X and 6P. It might also be too early to rejoice. Android O is still at its earliest stages, and some things can still change drastically, for better or for worse.