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I recently purchased an Android TV box that claimed to come "pre-rooted", however there is no SuperSU apk or SU binary installed. The interesting thing is that I am automatically logged in as the root user when I connect to the device with ADB (I can run reboot commands etc), which tells me that I have at least some level of root access. Can anyone explain how this might have been set up and how I can grant root privileges to my apps as well?

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Two different sides of the card deck:

  • apps need the su binary to be able to use "root powers"
  • the ADB daemon does not; it gains root access while being started by the system in the corresponding mode

The latter is a simple setting in your device's build.prop file: ro.secure=1 (default on most devices) tells the system to start the daemon in "secure mode", i.e. not with root powers – while ro.secure=0 would turn off that security and run the daemon "as root" – which will be the case with your device.

Knowing that, the claim of being "pre-rooted" is partially true: you can use ADB to "push" the relevant files to your device. Four steps should do it:

adb shell "mount -o remount,rw /system"
adb push su /system/bin/su
adb push superuser.apk /system/app
adb reboot

After that reboot, your device should be "fully rooted" – and "root apps" should find everything they need to work, with you being in control of it via the superuser app.

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    In addition to Izzy's response, the firmware was compiled either with "Engineer" or "User-debug" builds/flavors, because "ro.secure=0" will not work on "Production" flavors/builds
    – M. A.
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 7:43
  • also, where can we find the relevant su binary? Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 21:30
  • where can I find the su binary?
    – Gizmo
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 18:04
  • @Gizmo you could guess that from the code box: it's part of the SuperUser package. The su binary alone won't be much useful without the app controlling it.
    – Izzy
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 18:10

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