Users of the latest Samsung Galaxy flagships under AT&T and Verizon rejoice! Now getting root access to your smartphone is just as easy as installing a third party APK and tapping on a button, thanks to XDA's geohot and his new Towelroot app.
Rooting methods for devices, especially popular ones are quite myriad, but they range from the arcane to the super easy. Most, however, require you to at least plug your device to a computer, at most run on a supported operating system like Windows. This latest method, on the other hand, is as easy as pie, at least for Samsung's current cream of the crop. All you need to do is download the APK from the link below, install it (remember to enable installing from outside of Google Play Store, of course), and then tap of the obvious and obnoxious button. Instant root!
The number of devices that work with this is somewhat impressive. It covers the Galaxy S5, in both AT&T and Verizon incarnations, the Galaxy S4 Active, and, on the non-Samsung side, the Nexus 5. The AT&T and Verizon Galaxy Note 3 initially had some problems but were later resolved and now works as well, but only if the kernel you are running is version 3.4.0-722276. There are some caveats to this process though. First, a rather minor one, the SuperSU version found on Google Play Store might not work with Towelroot, as it is claimed to be an older version. You'll have to specifically download version 1.99r4 from Chainfire to get things going. The second issue is that, given these are Samsung devices, this process will trip up KNOX, which is an indicator to service centers that you have practically voided your warranty.
The good news is that for some non-Samsung smartphones, Towelroot might also work, but no guarantees are given. The latest devices from Motorola and HTC are the exceptions because their /system folders are write-protected. The only requirement is that these devices' kernels are dated earlier than June 3 this year, which you can chceck by going to Android's Settings app, navigating to About device and scrolling to the Kernel version part.