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There are so many guides that say SuperSU is a "rooting app".

A method of rooting a phone is to install SuperSU as a .zip: How to Root Redmi Note 3

Then, SuperSU shows up as an app in Play store that requires root: SuperSU - Google Play

This article says that the way to root zenfone 2 is to install SuperSU.zip

Here is another guide where installing SuperSU is a way to root a phone.

Who is correct? Is it a way to root or is it an app that requires root?

  • The other question does answer the confusion. However, the answers here tells things that the other questions do not. – user4951 Feb 18 '16 at 6:54
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From app's description in Play Store:

SuperSU is the Superuser access management tool....

SuperSU allows for advanced management of Superuser access rights for all the apps on your device that need root. SuperSU has been built from the ground up to counter a number of problems with other Superuser access management tools....

(Emphasis mine)

In more simpler words, it manages whether an app should gain superuser privilege per the settings chosen by the user. It requires a specific su binary, so first, it attempts to gain root access to mount system partition in rw mode, then it attempts to replace the existing su binary with its own binary (an educated guess). This technique sometimes (often in my device) fails so it suggests you to root the device using the recovery mode.

I suppose it should be clear now what that app is about and why does it need root access.

Edit:

You misunderstand the meaning of rooting the device and managing root access to all the apps in the OS. This link takes care of the former (that zip also installs the SuperSU as a system app) while the app takes care of the latter.

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  • Yes I am aware of that page. However, other pages say differently. – user4951 Feb 17 '16 at 16:40
  • What about this howtorootmobile.com/… – user4951 Feb 17 '16 at 16:44
  • See my edited answer. – Firelord Feb 17 '16 at 16:47
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    No, installing that particular supersu.zip (the zip is created by developer of SuperSU app - Chainfire) roots the device because it installs su binary which gives apps a legit option to gain root privilege. It also installs SuperSU as a system app. Now think that if there is just about any su binary in the system, any app can use it to gain root privilege. This poses a security risk. This is where SuperSU app comes into the scene. It installs its own binary su binary so that it can listen to calls made to that su binary by apps and take decision of allowing or denying root access. – Firelord Feb 17 '16 at 23:12
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    No. Those apps can always access su and gain superuser privilege in the absence of SuperSU app (having a superuser manager app and su binary are two independent things). Even in the presence of that app, those apps can always access the su binary. What they can't successfully do when that app is installed is to gain superuser privilege without user's discretion. That app listens to calls made to su and then per its settings decides what to do with the call: allow it or deny it. – Firelord Feb 17 '16 at 23:47
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IMHO, as I read your question at least 5 times... Supersu is an application. Root is a system state (uber-administrator). Yes, I'd imagine you need Root Access to run the SuperSU application. That would take another application to give your user account "root privileges" I hope that clearifies...

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