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Home / Tips and Tricks / The Best Mobile Phones for Rooting & Modding in 2019 «Android :: Gadget Hacks

The Best Mobile Phones for Rooting & Modding in 2019 «Android :: Gadget Hacks



According to a study by Kaspersky, 7.6% of Android users roll their phones. That may not sound like much, but with over 2 billion Android devices, math works for over 150 million rooted phones – more than the total population of Russia, Mexico or Japan ̵

1; so the rooting is an important population deserve attention.

However, superuser status is not always easy to achieve. Many vendors lock their device boot loaders and add additional layers of security to prevent users from rooting and installing a custom recovery. However, people still find ways to get around these hurdles by using rooting to uninstall bloatware, block ads, and apply cool modifications and system-level optimizations. For many users, this level of customization is the reason they choose an Android device.

If you're a modder or just want to be able to tinker with your device, it's important that the next phone used is easy to root and has an active development community. Therefore, we have sorted out some of the most popular devices on the market today and created this list of the top four phones for rooting.

Table of Contents

Comparison Chart

Important Comparison Points

  • Bootloader Unblock Method: Traditional root methods are based on an unlocked [19459025BootloaderandyoucannotuseTWRPCustomRecoverywithoutit-onsomephonesyoucanunlockthebootloaderwithasinglefastbootcommandothersmayrequireyoutoretrievecodefromthemanufacturer'swebsitefirstQuitesimplebuthasabigdrawback:yourOEMwillknowwhenyouunlockedyourbootloadersoyou'relikelytolosethewarranty
  • Tamper Protection: Most phones have nowadays age A sabotage backup or flag that is triggered if you change the serial firmware in any way. If you ever need to return your phone for defective hardware, the manufacturer will read the condition of that fuse and likely will refuse the warranty once it is triggered. For some phone manufacturers, you can reset this backup and restore full warranty coverage, while other manufacturers track status by recording whether your account is registered for a bootloader unlock code or not.
  • Stock firmware: When you & # 39; When you root and modify a phone, there's always a risk that things will go wrong and you'll have a device with soft bricks. For this reason, it's important to be able to easily download the stock firmware for your model to restore functionality.
  • Project Treble: Google's new system for simplifying updates for vendors has a nice side effect for modders: Because Project Treble separates the vendor implementation from the underlying system framework, developers can create custom ROMs that simply replace the system partition. This means that there can be a custom ROM that works the same on all Treble-aided devices (GSI or Generic System Image), resulting in faster custom ROM update times.
  • Kernel Sources and Binary Files: When a device's kernel sources are released, developers must do the bare minimum to create custom kernels. All Android manufacturers are required to release kernel sources, although some may pull their feet. On the other hand, manufacturers do not need to publish driver binaries. If so, there is generally more choice of stable custom ROMs and custom kernels for the device.
  • TWRP: TWRP recovery may be the most important tool when modifying an Android device. While some phones are officially supported, others may only have ported TWRP versions that generally work well but may have some errors.
  • ElementalX and Xposed: Two of the most popular mods are the ElementalX kernels by Aaron Segaert and the Xposed framework. ElementalX gives you great features like double-click waking. With Xposed, you can install modules that change the core functionality and change the behavior of apps. Xposed is now available directly from Magisk (more on that in the next section), which means that you can have all your favorite mods without triggering SafetyNet.
  • Magisk: If you want to roam without triggering SafetyNet, Magisk is your best option. The popular mod not only gives you systemic root, but also a framework that lets you install modules and run system-level mods. Considering how important this is, all the phones in this list support Magisk.
  • Developer community: If great developers own a particular device, this phone usually gets some of the best mods. If a device has an active XDA forum, the choice of available mods also increases.
  • Custom ROMs and Kernels: Custom ROMs can provide additional software features, change the user interface of your phone, and even speed performance. However, with custom kernels, you can change the CPU frequencies and controls to find the right mix of battery life and performance, and occasionally add features like color control and double tap to wake up. Since these are two of the largest types of mods for Android devices, it is important that the phones listed here have a good selection of kernels and ROMs.

How We Picked These Phones

To create this list, we've created a set of basic rules. First, every phone had to be rootable, so multiple devices were excluded. The largest phone model that was excluded from this rule was the iPhone. The problem with Apple's flagship is that modding requires jailbreaking, which is currently not available in iOS 13. Unlike rooting, jailbreaking is usually achieved through an exploit that Apple continues to remove even for older versions of iOS. While modifying your iPhone is possible (under the right circumstances), it is removed from our list due to inconsistent root capability.

Second, as a manufacturer, we disqualified devices that were rootbar only through kernel exploits like Dirty COW or Towelroot rootbars. Block these methods usually shortly after their discovery. There are phones that use root techniques that always work, so you do not have to rely on sketchy hacks.

Traditional rooting methods focus on unlocking the device's bootloader and flashing custom images like TWRP Recovery. That's why we've only included smartphones with unlocked or unlockable bootloaders and phones with no fastboot interface for flashing the images.

Only one model was included per OEM. Two models, especially OnePlus 7T and Google Pixel 3a, have the same advantages as other models on the list, but were excluded by this rule. In these two cases, we chose the phone with the better hardware.

We also limited our testing to current-generation phones sold in the US. Because network operators' phones usually have locked bootloaders, all of the phones on our list are the GSM unlocked variants of the phone that manufacturers sell directly or through an online ecommerce site, such as Amazon. Finally, we compared how active the community was on sites like XDA to see if there were enough ROMs, kernels, and custom restores for the device, and just picked the phone with the more active community if we needed a tiebreaker. [19659005] Phone 1: OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus has launched phones that embody the Nexus product line since the OnePlus One. With the timely release of kernel sources and driver binaries, you can expect every new phone released by the root community to receive full support. They are also one of the few phones that can not break your warranty on unlocking the bootloader, which greatly simplifies experimentation.

With OnePlus support, changing your phone is easier than ever. The official forums are a source of information for each model and usually answer almost all the issues that can arise when trying to root your phone or add modified software. As with every phone on our list, there is also an active XDA community where you can find all the software you need to root your phone, install a custom recovery, and more.

From the perspective of rooting there is no no big difference between OnePlus and Google. Both have an active community and will be supported for years after the release of their phones (the original Google Pixel is still officially supported by Lineage OS for custom ROMs). The biggest advantage of OnePlus is that the 7 Pro is a better phone than the Pixel 4 and therefore more developers available.

Image of Stephen Perkins / Gadget Hacks

The OnePlus 7 Pro was in a sense a response to all compatible OnePlus users in the last few years. Do you want a higher resolution? Check. Do you want a massive battery? Check. Do you want all of this and the best specs at over $ 100 cheaper than the competition? Check it again. The OnePlus 7 Pro is the best mobile phone ever released, including the recently launched OnePlus 7T.

With a starting price of $ 669, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a great option, even if you do not want roots. However, rooting allows the phone to last longer. Whether you do not have the money for an annual upgrade, do not want to upgrade to avoid electronic junk, or just love the phone, rooting makes it easier to keep your phone for three or more years. You can still receive monthly security updates through custom ROMs, even though OnePlus no longer supports it.

Like the previous version of OnePlus smartphones, the 7 Pro has a software-based tamper flag that lets OnePlus know you've changed the software. However, flashing the worksheets for the 7 Pro allows you to restore the status of your phone and reset the flag.

Stephen Perkins / Gadget Hacks

While some of its predecessors have a more active community, only a handful of phones have been released last year that offer more options than that OnePlus 7 Pro. A large number of ROMs and kernels need to be installed to change how your phone works. There is official Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP) support for the 7 Pro, so flashing modified software is easier. It has official Magisk support, the rooting tool of choice, and works with most modules.

If you want one of the best available rooting options and live in the US, you're in the right place with the OnePlus 7 Pro. If you live in a market that does not have the 7 Pro, you probably have the 7T Pro, which is essentially the same phone, but with a slightly better SoC and faster wired charging. And if you want to save some money while still using the latest components, you should get the OnePlus 7T. You honestly will not be disappointed.

Picture of Stephen Perkins / Gadget Hacks

Buy an unlocked OnePlus 7 Pro directly from OnePlus for 669 USD

Phone 2: Google Pixel 4 [19659020] When switching from the popular Nexus series to Pixel, Google tried to bridge two worlds. They wanted to create a phone that appeals to the everyday user and at the same time has the heart of a modder in the center. It embodied the essence of its biggest competitor, the iPhone, and offered a good, but not a great performance, a fantastic camera, and a great price. It became a phone that met most of the needs of most, while modders had the flexibility to develop it further.

Let me first say that, unlike other phones on our list, it does not matter which Pixel 4 models you choose. If you want longer battery life and a bigger screen, choose the Pixel 4 XL. However, if you want the same experience at a cheaper price, choose Pixel 4. Phones are interchangeable, with only the size of the battery, screen size, screen resolution, and overall dimensions making all the difference.

Image of Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks

Despite Google's focus on safety with the Titan M safety chip, Rooten is still not hampered. Google has done a great deal to protect this chip from external threats while leaving the manipulation of users untouched.

Apart from OnePlus, no other OEMs were so friendly to the modding community as Google. You are one of the few companies that release the kernel sources on the first day, a requirement of all OEMs. While most people stick to it, they take their time while Google releases it on the first day. This helps the community to work on Mods earlier, for example TopJohnWu gets Magisk to work on Pixel 3 within a few days of its release .

At the time of writing, Pixel 4 is very new. Currently, there is very little in terms of mods and ROMs. However, with no significant changes reported, we expect the same level of active development from the community as from any of its predecessors. And based on pixels 1, 2, and 3, we can expect a very active root development scene.

Image of Jake Peterson / Gadget Hacks

The main reason So we recommend Pixel 4 as an easy-to-unlock bootloader. With the exception of Pixels, which is sold by Verizon, the bootloader for each model can be unlocked with a single fastboot command. Unlocking the bootloader will not void your warranty. Once a software update is released, you can easily restore the factory-published images from Google.

Pixel 4 supports Project Treble, making it even easier to create custom ROMs. Combine this with the release of kernel sources and driver binaries, and developers have all the tools they need to create ROMs for you, giving them a custom look for your Pixel 4 (and 4 XL).

Image of Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks

Ultimately, we could not classify Google Pixel 4 higher because it's no better than the OnePlus 7 (as a whole) Per. Yes, it has a top-tier display (like OnePlus 7 Pro) and an industry-leading camera, but where the benefits stop. OnePlus 7 Pro is cheaper, has better cooling, faster recharge, more memory and the same root community support.

If you are primarily interested in the cost, there are always the pixels 3a and 3a XL. These phones bring some small performance losses, have a headphone jack and a similarly powerful camera and are available at half price. And these phones have the same commitment to rooters as their higher-end comrades.

Buy an unlocked Pixel 4 directly from Google for $ 799.

Phone 3: ASUS ZenFone 6

The biggest surprise on our list is the ASUS ZenFone 6. This phone, with its flagship specifications, apparently came out of nowhere at a real mid-range price. In contrast to the two previous options, it even has a headphone jack. A bigger surprise, however, was the support of ASUS for Rooter and Modder.

As a big win for Modder, ASUS released both the kernel sources and a special tool to unlock the bootloader for the ZenFone 6 days after the phone was announced. The specialized tool has been downloaded to your ZenFone 6 in the form of an APK (Unlock Device). After installation follow the instructions of the app. Your bootloader will be unlocked and your device will open for the modding world. [19659003] ASUS was also aware that an unlockable boot loader and published kernel sources would not be sufficient without support. The company decided to try a development program by sending units to major developers in the modding community, including developers at LineageOS, OminiROM, Proton Kernel, TWRP, and others. With the kernel sources, the dedicated unlock tool, and the cell phone in the hands of the developers, the ZenFone 6 managed to create a fairly active modding community with numerous ROMs to choose from.

MKBHD / YouTube

All this work has been worthwhile. Proton Kernel has managed to add a 75 Hz refresh rate for the phone (the phone comes with 60 Hz). There is official support for LineageOS 16 (based on Android 9 Pie) and unofficial support for LineageOS 17 (based on Android 10). OmniROM has also created an official ROM for the phone, and there is a working Gcam mod for even better photography. While the community is not nearly as active as OnePlus and Google, ASUS has laid the foundation for the trust of the modding community, which will only grow if it continues to provide that support to the modding community.

In addition to the active community community, the ASUS ZenFone 6 is the best value of all phones on our list. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6GB (or more) RAM and a 6.4-inch 1080p display. With motorized cameras that allow you to use the rear view camera as a front camera, a 5,000 mAh battery, fast recharge, stereo speakers, and more, it has one of the highest screen-to-body ratios. And all for 499 US dollars, 170 US dollars cheaper than the OnePlus 7 Pro. It's only $ 20 more than Google Pixel 3a XL (another great option for modders), but with much higher performance.

Image from HardwareCanucks / YouTube

However, the ZenFone 6 does not come without compromise. The first is that ASUS invalidates your warranty if you unlock the bootloader. This means that if you run into problems where you do not have a fault with your phone (for example, faulty hardware), you will not be able to return it to ASUS for a free repair. Another problem is that, unlike the first two phones on our list, after unlocking your boot loader, you will not be able to return your phone to its original locked state. You will no longer receive OTA software updates. You can manually update your phone by updating the firmware provided by ASUS on the website.

The second problem with the ZenFone 6 is that, despite all efforts, the community is not as big as the first two options on our list. ASUS has never shown this commitment, so modders do not pay it the attention it deserves. However, over the months, support will continue to grow and you'll get more tools to help you optimize your ZenFone 6.

Image by HardwareCanucks / YouTube

Despite some setbacks The ASUS ZenFone 6 is still a very worthy member of our list. Her commitment to the modding community has been commendable, especially at a time when OEM support is dwindling. By value, there is no better phone on our list. If you do not want a specific ROM, kernel, or modification that is not currently available with the ZenFone 6, this is probably the best option if you are aware of the cost.

Buy the ASUS ZenFone 6 from Amazon for 499.99 USD.

Phone 4: Moto G7

Although Motorola is struggling with its flagship series of mobile phones, there are only a few handsets that are better on low-cost devices. Priced under $ 300, the Moto G7 series offers good to excellent mid-range performance at an affordable price. And in recent years, Lenovo (Motorola's parent company) has boosted the value of the phone by rooting and modifying it.

With an MSRP of $ 299, it's by far the cheapest on our list. It lacks performance, but it's not far from the other options. The Moto G7 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, a solid midrange option that provides enough CPU and GPU performance for most people. It is paired with 4GB of RAM, so that Android 9 Pie runs well. It also has a 6.2-inch 1080p display, a 15-W fast charger and two cameras.

Image from GSMArena Official / YouTube

With Rooting, you can take this phone to another level. To unlock the bootloader, you must visit Motorola's official website to generate an unlock code, which you then send via Fastboot to unlock your bootloader. To generate this code, you need to enter some information about your phone so that Motorola can keep track of whether you have changed the device or not. Motorola also states:

If you do not have a Developer Edition device and only then receive the unlock code, your device will no longer be covered under the Motorola Warranty.

– Motorola

Since you need to request the code, Motorola can track your unlocking the bootloader and void the warranty long before you worry about tampering with it.

Driver binaries and kernel sources are published on Motorola's Github site. As with all phones that run Android 9 Pie (or later) by default, Project Treble is supported, which causes minimal development issues for custom ROMs for this device.

The result is a phone with good, but not excellent modification support. There is an official custom recovery of TWRP. Root is possible with Magisk and there is even an unofficial port of LineageOS 16 (based on Android 9 Pie). The problem is that it's about it. There are no additional custom ROMs or kernels. There's a CPU and VM tweak that improves battery life and performance, but that's it.

GSMArena Official / YouTube

The biggest drawback to rooting the Moto G7 is the lack of Lenovo's stock firmware. While it is possible to locate firmware images from a third-party Web site, finding them is more time-consuming and you must take care to ensure that you download the correct firmware. All in all, the Moto G7 is a good choice if you want to focus on rooting.

Buy the Moto G7 worth $ 249.99 Unlocked by Amazon

This item was manufactured during Gadget Hacks & # 39 ;. annual tweaks & hacks celebration week. Read all Tweaks & Hacks Celebration Stories.

Cover photo of Dallas Thomas / Gadget Hacks


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