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I have previously nervously rooted phones I've owned (Samsung S2, S3) as I wanted to be able to use AdAway ad-blocker, effective not just in browsers (e.g. AdBlocker) but also in other apps. I say nervously because I always found the mode in which these modified ROMs are offered (websites such as XDA developers) a bit dodgy/flimsy. Nevertheless, this has worked well in the past, but I am aware that I might just have been lucky, as those forums abound with bad experiences, i.e. bricked phones, or at the very least tons of wasted time trying to at least make your phone work again even in its stock let alone rooted firmware.

Now I have a new phone, the most expensive I've owned so far (S7 Edge), and browsing these same websites again, I feel just as edgy performing this risky operation. For instance, the S7 Edge section of the XDA-devs website has several rooted ROMs available, however without spending hours and hours it is not obvious what the differences between them are. To name, just a few doubts:

1) how are 'recovery' firmwares different from ones just called 'Kernel' or 'ROM'?

2) in what way does each of those ROMs differ from the CyanogenMod, which I've happily used in the past but for which there is no S7 Edge version released from what I can see? Incidentally, I used Odin to install CyanogenMod on my old phones, rather than a 'recovery'.

3) are there major differences in how the S7 Edge will operate with such a rooted firmware/ROM as compared to the stock one? Specifically, will it be any more vulnerable to exploits etc, given that no-one can really tell whether these ROMs have e.g. built-in trojans?

Given all these concerns about Android rooting, is there any way that adblocking can be performed without rooting? If not, what is the least-intrusive and least-risky way to root an Android (in this case an S7 Edge)?

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    Since there already are two good answers here, I'll focus on what impact do "unauthorized operations", such as rooting through ODIN, flashing a custom Recovery, kernel or ROM, have on your warranty. Since the old S4, Samsung implemented a particular way to make sure users cannot mess with the device and then ask Samsung for repairs covered by the warranty. This system consists of a particular software, dubbed KNOX, being an irreversible bit which turns from 0 to 1 if you perform any of the above. This will both void the warranty, and forbid access to the KNOX containers. – Death Mask Salesman Apr 8 '16 at 17:49
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It would be better if you split your question into three individual questions, but since they are linked to each other, I'll answer them here for you.

1) How are 'recovery' firmwares different from ones just called 'Kernel' or 'ROM'?

They refer to different things altogether.

Recovery :

Recovery refers to the dedicated, bootable partition that has the recovery console installed. A combination of key presses (usually power + volume up) or instructions from a command line, will boot your phone to recovery, where you can find tools to help repair (recover) your installation, install official OS updates and/or custom ROMs and other stuff.

Recovery firmwares contain a custom recovery file that enables you to do a lot more additional things than what the stock recovery offers. This can include options to re-root your device, a file browser to browse through your files, format individual partitions and more.

Kernel :

Kernel is the core of the operating system that handles requests to and from the hardware, memory and process management and all the low-level stuff that is necessary for Android to be able to run. It is based on the Linux kernel with a few modifications to suit it to Android versions.

Kernel firmwares contain a kernel that, when installed, replaces the existing kernel and modifies the low level stuff in order to tweak the software to make better use of the hardware. Better battery life, higher performance, increased signal reception, etc. are some things a custom kernel can do.

ROM :

A custom ROM replaces your device's Android operating system — normally stored in read-only memory — with a new or modified version of the Android operating system. A popular custom ROM is CyanogenMod, which gives you a host of new options as compared to the original firmware.

ROMs may contain a different Android system altogether or might also include a kernel and/or a recovery. It's best to read the OP on those threads to find out what it contains.

2) In what way does each of those ROMs differ from the CyanogenMod, which I've happily used in the past but for which there is no S7 Edge version released from what I can see? Incidentally, I used Odin to install CyanogenMod on my old phones, rather than a 'recovery'.

This is subjective to the ROM you are referring to. Some ROMs use the RRO-Layers engine for theming, while others use the CyanogenMod theme engine. Some ROMs might have additional features over those present in CyanogenMod, others might have a different user interface altogether.

As to the unavailability of an S7 Edge version of CyanogenMod, this is because official builds aren't made yet or are in the works.

3) Are there major differences in how the S7 Edge will operate with such a rooted firmware/ROM as compared to the stock one? Specifically, will it be any more vulnerable to exploits etc, given that no-one can really tell whether these ROMs have e.g. built-in trojans?

Again, these are subjective to the ROM you choose. Basically, some offer better performance, others offer better battery life, and a few more offer a mix of the two. It depends on which ROM you choose.

There are a few ROMs that might be more vulnerable to exploits than others. Therefore, it is recommended to go for an official build of a popular custom ROM, as they are tested and checked so that they would not contain malware.

Given all these concerns about Android rooting, is there any way that ad-blocking can be performed without rooting?

As @xangua said, Adblock Plus will filter WiFi traffic, but needs a proxy server configuration.

If not, what is the least-intrusive and least-risky way to root an Android (in this case an S7 Edge)?

Rooting is device-specific. There are different ways to achieve root access on different devices. In the case of an S7 Edge, you could try Kingo Root, it has been claimed to work on an S7 Edge. However, be careful, one wrong step can brick your device.

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    Edits are welcome if I missed something or if additional information could be added. :) – rjt.rockx Apr 8 '16 at 17:38
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    many thanks for a great answer. ABP does not do a good a job as AdAway though (see my comment above) ... – z8080 Apr 8 '16 at 19:22
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Answering your first and main question: Ad blocking without rooting

On non-rooted devices running Android 4.1.2, 4.2.1 and higher, Adblock Plus will filter all WiFi traffic, but it needs to be configured as a proxy server manually. Detailed instructions are provided by Adblock Plus for not experienced users.

https://adblockplus.org/android-about

Avoid making multiple questions in one single post, make a single one for each single question.

  • ABP does not work well to block ads that are inside Android apps (such as YT), it produces inconsistent results, e.g. ads are blocked in some apps but not in others, or large blank spaces are left in their place. This has been my experience with it and so it has been for others (e.g. adblockplus.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=38777). I now remember why for my S3 I had chosen to root, as AdAway served me perfectly for years. It doesn't seem to me ABP is able of doing a job of the same quality. – z8080 Apr 8 '16 at 19:22
  • and point taken about multiple questions.. – z8080 Apr 8 '16 at 21:39
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I have no idea why anybody has not mentioned "Lucky Patcher" yet...

Lucky Patcher is an application that can modify applications/APK files present on the phone by patching them.

One of the things it can do, for example, is remove ads. It's ad removing mechanism is very powerful and can not only make ads not load, but also remove/shrink the ad boxes so you wouldn't even think they were there.

It needs root if you want to patch applications without reinstalling them but it can also patch applications without root by uninstalling them, patching them and then installing them again.

It can do many other things too (some which are illicit and I highly discourage you from doing them)...

The application's interface can be overwhelming and takes some getting use to but once you get the hang of it, you will find it's power beats almost every other adblocker for Android out there.

How to patch an application to remove ads:

  1. Open Lucky Patcher and tap on the application you wish to block the ads in.
  2. Tap on "Open Menu of Patches"
  3. Tap on "Create Modified APK File"
  4. Tap on "APK without Google Ads"
  5. Customize the ad-removal settings (if you want)
  6. Tap on "Rebuild The App"
  7. Wait until the patching process is complete and tap: "Go to file"
  8. Tap on the first item that is in the list that appears
  9. Tap "Uninstall and install" and follow Android's uninstall and install dialogs
  10. Open the app and confirm that the ads have been removed!

Lucky Patcher can be downloaded here.

  • thanks, good to know, but for those of us who just want to apply a quick fix (e.g. rooting + AdAway) to get ri dof ads and move on with our lives, this might not be the best solution – z8080 Apr 9 '16 at 11:42
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Samsung Galaxy S7 has a stock browser app named - "Internet". It includes ad blocking functionality as well as removing their containers on webpages. For it you will have to install one of the following apps from Play Store

  1. Adblock fast
  2. Crystal
  3. Adblock Plus for Samsung

After installing open Internet->More->Settings->Advanced->Block Content (enable the switch and choose the adblocker that you installed out of the above).

Unfortunately this is only an app based solution not system wide (which would only be available by rooting).

As far as rooting is concerned-

  • don't try to do it.You will lose Samsung Pay, Private Mode, Warranty and obviously Knox will be tripped. (if you don't mind losing these features go ahead!)

Ans 2- On S7 you will not be able to use Cyanogenmod for many months or never (as Samsung has blocked bootloaders on Qualcomm versions and they don't give Exynos source code). Hence all ROMs on XDA are stock modified ROMs (only containing small changes like adblocker, some x kernel, some changes here n there but mostly stock) If CM comes to S7 then you will have to install via 'recovery'.

Ans 3 As these ROMs will be mostly equivalent to stock, they will operate normally (except until You modify it heavily). These ROMs won't come with Trojans for sure😁

No, system wide adblocking can't be performed without root.

Least risky way to root will be flashing Chainfire's autoroot via odin (only Exynos)

  • Airplane Mode = effective ad blocker within games. ABP = effective ad-blocker using the web browser. What are we missing here? – Aaron Gillion Apr 9 '16 at 2:55
  • What we are missing is disabling ads within all apps (system-wide). ABP claims to do that but in reality does not (see my longer comment above), and either way is limited to WiFi traffic. – z8080 Apr 9 '16 at 11:50
  • the Chainfire rooting solution seems simple enough - but again, it all seems very questionable and flimsy to me, and would feel uneasy risking a 700EUR device by applying a patch which has insufficient testing and for which not only no responsibility is taken but also no support is offered -- looking at the Chainfire page, the developer himself never seems to reply to people's "I bricked it, help!" calls – z8080 Apr 9 '16 at 11:52
  • there is thread dedicated to this by Chainfire on xda. If you do it correctly ,device won't brick. There are many guides and videos on net for rooting with this solution. Even I've rooted my S6 by this method only :) – Sarvésh Biradar Apr 9 '16 at 17:54
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In principle you can root the device yourself and use iptables-based transparent proxying to forward DNS and http queries to proxies that are not running with root privileges. Then you don't have to trust anyone else's software to be installed as root. In practice I don't know if there's any good software setup to run this way on Android.

For what it's worth, DNS blackholing is one of the most effective ways to adblock in apps, and it's easy to do yourself.

  • The DNS method sounds promising, however after following the instructions at 7labs.heypub.com/mobile/…, either the WiFi stops working (for adbarricade DNS values), or it works but ads are displayed (for fooldns DNS values). – z8080 Apr 9 '16 at 21:07
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Coming to the main issue of blocking ads without rooting...

If you have an unlocked bootloader you can then boot a custom recovery (even without flashing it) and then install MoaAB.

I use the same approach on three different devices with effective ad blocking. Not sure of the specifics for Samsung S7 Edge though.

1

I'm not sure what you find dodgy about XDA, but it's not really any different from what manufacturers do when loading/updating phones. An official update could just as easily contain a backdoor, virus, etc and you would install it without a second thought. As long as it's done properly, phones being bricked as a result is not common at all, and is easily fixable if it does occur.

Rooting is extremely low-risk, but is currently not available for the S7 as they are still working on it. Things like that are also tested within the developer community before being released to the public.

As far as rooting, you MUST have the exynos version of the S7 for it to work. The Snapdragon version does not currently have a working root unless you install a custom rom.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/s7-edge/development/sm-g935-exynos-cf-auto-root-t3337354

If you prefer not to root, I found 2 options on a list of non-root apps for system wide ad blocking that does not require it. I can't post more than 2 links because my account is new, so I'll just link the thread I got them from.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/s7-edge/how-to/root-modifications-t3339094

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If you are unable to remove ads. Follow these steps: For this purpose, you need to download an app called as Lucky Patcher.

  1. So, Download Lucky patcher apk from above link.
  2. Install that APK in your android phone.
  3. Open Lucky Patcher.
  4. Now, select the particular app of which you want to remove ads.
  5. Click on Create modified apk and select remove Google Ads.
  6. Finally, Tap on Rebuild the app.
  7. Now, just uninstall old apk and install NEW apk again. You are done.
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Lucky patcher apk solved my issue :')

How to patch an application to remove ads:

Open Lucky Patcher and tap on the application you wish to block the ads in. Tap on "Open Menu of Patches" Tap on "Create Modified APK File" Tap on "APK without Google Ads" Customize the ad-removal settings (if you want) Tap on "Rebuild The App" Wait until the patching process is complete and tap: "Go to file" Tap on the first item that is in the list that appears Tap "Uninstall and install" and follow Android's uninstall and install dialogs Open the app and confirm that the ads have been removed!

protected by Community Oct 14 '16 at 17:29

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