Android L developer preview now rooted on Nexus 5 and 7

June 28, 2014

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Well that was fast. The Android “L” test firmware – a developer preview for the Android version that was revealed at the Google I/O keynote and the one that we will all probably get the full version by later this year – was released for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 devices yesterday. And today, root access is delivered by the good folks at XDA (hooray!).

Brought to you by XDA Recognized Developer “savoca” just a few hours after its release, root access will now be available for your Android L Developer Preview. The Google keynote gave us a good view of what the “L” version would look like, and it’s mostly good. Our review will give you an idea of what it looks like, but it will not be that big of a departure from Android 4.4. The keynote hints at subtle changes and new features, not far removed from what Android 4.4 Kitkat users are used to today.

The procedure to gain root is fairly straightforward, but there are a few prerequisites. Your Nexus 5 or 7 needs to have a custom recovery installed. Then you flash, flash Chainfire’s SuperSU. The pick your device’s bootloader and fastboot from the list and flash the appropriate boot.img for your device. Easy, right?

Chainfire does warn that root access in the “L” version doesn’t work quite like as it did in the past. There will be apps that can write to /system and there will be others that cannot. Chainfire attributes this to previous root app breakage and the need for new security contexts. But other than this, root access will be available to you for Android L preview, which should be pretty useful moving forward. Grab the links from this XDA post.


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  • Given the propensity of many (I won’t say MOST) Android users to at least root their devices, do you not think Android L would be a great time for Google to add a “root” switch to the developer options, similar to the “unknown sources” switch ? That would allow those of us who want to experiment to “officially” root and de-root our phones – obviously under the same terms and conditions as the “unknown sources” switch (i.e. if you screw it up, it ain’t our problem) ??