The first thing you probably did was to Google how to root YourDevice’sModelName , scouting for a guide for your specific model. Rooting is simply about combining techniques so you shouldn’t give up if you don’t find one mentioning your exact model.
Even worse, you end up at one of those blogs that seem to have rooting guides for every model under the Sun, most of which they’ve never even been in the same room with let alone actually rooted. Its all about traffic to them.
If you want to know what rooting is, its benefits and disadvantages then watch this video before you proceed.
What you probably won’t see in a rooting guide
Its usually assumed you know some things (e.g the importance of backups) before you attempt rooting. Nobody likes to ‘sound like a broken record’ in every guide. Here’s a short list to get you on the right track.
1. It begins with the OS version
Your OS version determines what securities would likely be in place; therefore, what to take note of. There is a reversal to this rule for models that implemented some features way before others; e.g Gionee implementing Secure Boot as early as Android 6 (Marshmallow) .
- For Android 5 (Lollipop) and below, one-click-root apps should do though some inject malware and bloatware. Though this technique modifies the /system partition, there’s not much security checks to worry about
- For Some Android 5 devices to Android 7 (Nougat) devices, you have the custom recovery + either SuperSU.zip or Magisk.zip approach. You could also just root by patching boot.img using magisk manager. Systemless (doesn’t modify /system partition) root is common here.
- Android 8 (Oreo) and above is where things get a bit messy. There’s Secure Boot (DA file) and Android Verified Boot (AVB / dm-verity) getting common.
The OS version gives you a rough idea of what to expect though this doesn’t apply for all models because brands tend to enforce some features at different paces.
2. Its all about the Build Number
Any talk of Mediatek firmware / stock rom without build number is incomplete. You can learn more about Build Number in this article. Bricking is inevitable, it comes with the territory. Rooting simply isn’t for you if you’re terrified of bricking your device.
Your Build Number tells you the right firmware you’ll need to fix your device if you brick it. This doesn’t mean you can’t flash firmware for other build numbers; the closer, the better. If you can have the firmware on standby then that would be even better for your confidence.
3. Inbuilt battery? Start when battery is low
This probably sounds contrary to some advice you must have heard but those mostly apply to installing OTA updates.
Its a good idea to flash when your battery is low (say 15-20%) if – for some reason- you have to flash the device using a tool like SP flash tool or box / dongle.
This is because an error could leave you stuck in flash mode, which brings it down to this fix. If this happened at 90% battery and you have no way to disconnect your inbuilt battery then you’re stuck. Add that to the lockdown and its not funny!
4. Backup NVRAM, NVdata and Tee
If you don’t have the firmware for your model and Build Number then our WWR + SP Flash Tool Mediatek backup guide has got you covered. Apart from the regular files in your firmware / backup, its crucial to backup your NVRAM, NVdata and Tee (if you have this partition for fingerprint sensors).
NVRAM will help if you encounter Null IMEI, NVdata will help if you encounter Privacy Protection Password and Tee will help if your fingerprint stops working, especially after a format. The Tee is locked to your device so you can’t use another device’s backup like you would NVRAM and NVdata.
5. Unlock Your Bootloader
Your old Mediatek device probably shipped with an unlocked bootloader. Your Lollipops to Nougat probably allowed you root and flash custom recovery on locked bootloader. Please, leave that thought behind from Oreo.
Its best you first ensure your bootloader is unlocked before attempting any modification else you might run into Red State. Don’t be alarmed by the orange state warning after bootloader unlock. You can try this general bootloader unlock guide though some brands require specific steps.
6. Disable dm-verity
This is where a lot of recent-Mediatek-device rooters bite the dust. Some might argue it should have come first but other steps above lead to this.
You’ll get stuck in a bootloop if you fail to disable dm-verity on a device with AVB before flashing an unsigned or modified file. The sad part is you might be unable to get into recovery mode or fastboot, bringing it down to flashing using a tool.
It gets even worse when the device has Secure Boot and the DA file (or auth) is unavailable. Save yourself this trouble by disabling dm-verity first.