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John Wu, developer of Magisk, published a blog State of Magisk:2021, a couple of days ago which led to some confusion as to what is to be expected.

Can the changes be explained in non-technical language?

Note: This is a self-answered question as a reference, consolidating from various sources. Moderators are welcome to convert this into a wiki in case future developments are added by other users.

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References:

  1. State of Magisk: 2021 by John Wu (you need a medium account to access (free)
  2. Explanation by Chris Renshaw (better known as osm0sis on XDA)
  3. Magisk is dropping support for hiding root access from apps - XDA blog

John Wu is working with Google (after interning with Apple!) and there have been no updates to Magisk since then, because his job is working with Android security.There is therefore a clear conflict of interest (he has full access to source code) which prompted changes(below). As asked in the question the explanation in the answer is for a non-technical user (like me).

MagiskHide reaches end-of-life

This was always a hide and seek game as explained here Magisk will fail Safety-Net hereafter. Why?.

  • Magisk hide will retain a minor subset of infrastructure for apps to fully “opt-out” of modding[1], which is explained

MagiskHide is gone but will be replaced by a module, most likely very soon, which by the way can be even more powerful now thanks to @topjohnwu implementing a "Zygisk" hooking API a la Xposed.[2]

Basically, MagiskHide will no longer be hiding root access from apps and will instead be used to ensure that user-selected apps won’t be modified. Making it easier to revert changes will also speed up testing on emulators, as developers will no longer have to reboot or patch emulator images.[3]

Zygisk? What's that?

Zygisk is Magisk in Zygote. This will run parts of Magisk in the zygote process to make Magisk modules even more powerful[1]

Zygote is the OS process that handles forking each application process, so running parts of Magisk in the zygote process will make modules even more robust (including making root-hiding even more powerful).[3]

The end of the centralized Magisk Module Repo

Modules aren't gone, just the official repo module list won't be shown in the app anymore. The official repo will change hands, but still exist and be maintained. The app will eventually allow adding multiple module repos, so you'll be able to add the former official back.[2]

Another upcoming change to Magisk is the removal of the Magisk module repo from the app. The integration of the Magisk-Modules-Repo into the Magisk app is what currently allows users to search and download modules from within the app. Its removal will mean that users will have to manually download module ZIP files and install them from within the app, which is a little inconvenient compared to the existing solution but not difficult at all to do. Plus, apps that come with a Magisk module component can easily install the module for the user by running the magisk --install-module ZIP command, taking the manual step out of the equation for users.[3]

The bigger loss, though, is for discoverability of new modules through the centralized, curated repo, but topjohnwu says the Magisk-Modules-Repo will be transferred to “trusted community members” soon. This means the repo itself won’t be gone, but the app won’t point to it for now. Eventually, though, topjohnwu does want to let users point the Magisk app to whatever online module source they want, kind of like F-Droid, but this isn’t a high priority for him to implement at the moment.[3]

What won't change?

Root access in apps, and terminal root prompts with su will remain working, as always.[2]


Edit: 03 September 2021

The Magisk manager stub responsible for hiding the manager was closed source. It has now been made open source.

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