I am using Odin and ChainFire on Samsung Galaxy S III i9300 to root it. This device is bootloader-unlocked and can be rooted with Odin and ChainFire. Could someone please explain in greater detail what the rooting procedure does to the system files, ie., which files are changed and how these files can be restored back to normal if needed? Also, how does a root app exploit the fact that the smartphone is rooted? Of course, it runs as root, but how does it tell the OS it is going to run as root?


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Rooting will add a few files to your system and will most likely remove the startup process that resets your recovery back to stock. The files it will usually add is the su binary, which is what will actually elevate your privileges, busybox, which will give you some basic command prompt commands, and a super user app, (usually either Superuser or SuperSU). Most stock ROMs have a file that is run during the bootup process that will reflash the stock recovery on every boot (for security). Most rooting processes will remove/rename/change this file to prevent your custom recovery from being overwritten.

Most rooting processes have easy ways to unroot. But essentially, you would just remove the files that it added and then flash your stock recovery back on the device. Many toolkits have an easy unroot option.

As to how an app can use root... when an app attempts to use the su binary, Superuser or SuperSU steps in and pops up a dialog asking you for permission to allow this app root access. You can approve or deny it and there is usually a checkbox asking if you want the Superuser/SuperSU app to remember your choice. An app is not able to get elevated privileges without you approving it through the Superuser/SuperSU app.

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