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The Death of Root

Android 4.3 introduces some new and much needed security features which not only restrict setuid binaries on the system partition (su), but also limit the capabilities of processes. In the current architecture, even if you could get elevated privileges, you can't do anything out of the ordinary. Root in the shell via ADB is all I use, and it still works just fine.

This isn't a problem for me, since I use CM. When there is a situation that I'd need root, I just modify the system to accomodate what I'm trying to accomplish in a secure way. I can understand the desire to have full root on stock ROMs, since you're severely limited in what you can do and there is no provision for making any sort of real changes or improving the architecture. 

+Koushik Dutta and +Chainfire are working hard to permit root in some way on 4.3, but I feel that anything done at this point might severely compromise the security of the system and we should start considering better options.  Going forward, I'm interested in building framework extensions and APIs into CM to continue to abolish the root requirement.

A few good use cases for root are:

 * Firewalls and network software, potentially requiring raw sockets.
 * Managing the DNS resolver
 * Tweaking various sysfs nodes to control the kernel

All of these can be done without exposing root, and they can be done in a very secure way.

If you're using CM or another custom ROM, what do you actually use root for?
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496 comments
Karan Das
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I use root for backing up my apps via helium/carbon and tweaking with the kernel via trickstermod.
 
The only thing I ever really rooted for was tethering. :) 
 
I use root to just have freedom....to customize everything or just have the option ....I love the options to do just about everything ..
 
Mostly backup apps but I rarely use them. There's only a few apps I need to backup. Other than that I dont use it. 
 
I use root for backups via titanium and for removing bloat ware / freezing att apps that I don't want but need for OTA purposes.

I've also used root over the years to gain tethering capabilities. 
 
Adblock and Titanium Backup mostly, but I really think that root is more important on stock roms than CM since it allows deletion of bloatware. 
 
#1 reason I'm using it now is to remote control our family android devices from anywhere with Teamviewer Quicksupport which requires root for the Nexus 4 and 7.
 
I mainly use root to use logcat apps. 
 
Basically just kernel tweaks with an app that requires root and Titanium Backup
 
One of the first root required apps I always install is SixAxis control to use my PS3 controller to play games on my Android device.
 
I honestly don't remember the last time I used root, that wasn't related to un-screwing a mistake I made while hacking my device.
Regular day-to-day, it's just not relevant to me anymore.
 
+1 to Edoardo's comment. Forgot about Greenify.
 
The problem is that there is still no full device backup native in android, and until then root is the only easy way to have routine full device backups. It's absurd that the android team thinks this lack of what many consider a required feature is not only okay, but perfectly okay. If you can't push a button to restore your device if you receive a replacement, they're doing it horribly wrong. I'm not sure if Franco needs root for his magic, but that and titanium are the only reasons I can think of for needing root. 
 
I use root for the AwesomeBeats rom to make my Galaxy Nexus sound like a real music player. I also use it for SixAxis Controller, AOSP Browser and GMD Auto Hide Softkeys. 
 
Tasker third party plugins like Secure Settings.
 
Kernel tweaks, file system changes.  Nothing I couldn't live without.  If a non-rooted version would allow me to run CM at work with our brutal MDM solution, that would be the greatest gift ever.
CS Wong
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Same use case as +Karan Das for me.

The reasons to need root have gradually been eroded over the years:

- I no longer need it for tethering since more than 2 years ago.
- I no longer need it to remove unneeded system apps since I can just disable them in the app manager (and have abundant disk space in my phones) since ICS came out.
- I no longer need it to replace system Google Maps with ownhere's version just to have turn-by-turn since a couple of weeks ago when they enabled it in Thailand.

I'm pretty much fine, really. Having the option to root is nice, but it's not a crutch anymore.
 
I use root mainly for making backups, fiddling around to get better battery life and to bind folders to external SD Cards.
Devices: Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE (N8020), Sony Xperia Z (C6603)
 
The main reason I root is to use Titanium Backup and ROM Toolbox. Not much besides those apps.
 
Helium backup/restore, Tasker, ROM Manager, Adblock.
Rob Hamilton
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Blocking ads, controlling CPU governors and sd I/O schedulers, overclocking the GPU and controlling screen off behavior to extend battery life. More than anything, though, it's too liberate non Nexus devices from bloat!
 
I use root for modifying system files with ESFileExplorer, running scripts for various reasons (mostly tinkering), online nandroid backup (app on market), installing/deleting system apps, manipulating/monitoring app data... I could go on ;-)
 
Presently: File exploring, but as you said this can be done via ADB. App bu/restore, automatic app data b/u has been improving however and CM has been adding more elements to the Google bu cloud, Helium is a no root option, and ADB is again an option. Droidmote, it's nice to be able to control my U2 via my N4. Very occasionally Terminal Emulator and a Logcat app, both replaceable with ADB.

I guess the more important things for me are easy, and selective, app data and b/u and file exploring, editing, etc... Root makes these more convenient on the go.
 
Greenify, Adaway, Root Explorer, kernel apps.
 
I've always used it for:

Tethering
Titanium Backup
Getting Google Wallet to work
Root required apps (AdFree, Root Explorer, FauxClock, etc...)
 
+Koushik Dutta I actually have it installed but have never been able to get it to successfully restore a backup. 
Tim M
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Only pretty basic stuff now that you mention it... My SU apps include Adaway/Adree, Cerberus, FPS Meter, Root Explorer, Terminal, Titanium Backup and Wiimote Controller. I don't doubt the majority of what I do could be done without SU elevation, but how long will that take and what must be done? I assume app devs will need to update their apps and appropriate (new?) permissions?
 
Titanium backup & Greenify 
 
AdFree, titanium backup, Game Guardian for game hacking, xposed framework for app DPI editing.
 
I used root rarely for: app backups, tethering (before switching to CM), and bloatware removal (again, before CM), and lately top get G+ locations to work on CM.
 
Without root android is not android to me ... Haha
 
Cerberus, Backup, Installing recovery when away from PC... Hopefully Nemisis phase X has some crypto magic for the recovery. Let's secure this shit.
 
I use it for a lot of things...... Titanium trickster mod root explorer lots lol
 
Nothing so far described actually needs root :) Developers need to step up and consider ways to use CM as a proving ground for securing their apps.
 
Like everyone here as said, root apps. Some of them are insanely useful.
 
ROM manager, helium, file explorers, emulators..
 
Titanium backup doesn't need backup??!!
 
I can back up and restore with TitaniumBackup and successfully used RootExplorer to move some apps to system on stock rooted 4.3 so if those kinds of things are still possible then I have no worries.
 
Since 4.0 I have less of a urge to root. 4.3 even less so.
 
+Quentin Jenkins (^ิ艸^ิ)

Yeah i use root for kernal settings but to be honest that is the most hardcore thing i use root for
 
root for titanium backup, under clocking, uv, kernel Tweaks, greenify, xposed installer, ViPER4ANDROID, obackup, running scripts and messing with /system and /data file system

power user :) 
 
+Ani Ravi What I'm saying here is that using root is a shortcut for these "root apps". There are a zillion ways to do it better and more securely when you have the freedom of an open OS like CM.
 
Root explorer definitely requires root right? I use this to change boot animation occasionally (in /data/local)
 
I have a nexus 4.i have yet to root it. I used to root my phone within days of owning them and it is months since I got this one. I'm planning on installing cm on it soon (maybe once stable 4.3 mods are out) but this is mainly for things on the app that don't require root.

If android had a native backup option like nandroid I wouldn't see any reason for root.

I think cm moving away from all access root is a good thing.

/sub as well 
 
+Steve Kondik I expect the new limitations may provide the spark of creativity necessary to make that happen. I don't think anyone is opposed to alternatives that don't require root. But until they work better/easier than root options they will not be adopted.
Jerry B
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Center clock,themes, and to mount system to add my own notification sounds (espeicially on oem builds like sense or t.w )
 
My use cases:
- Application-level firewall, e.g., DroidWall).
- VPN support, both OpenVPN and tinc.
- Mounting network shares, e.g., sshfs, cifs, NFS, etc.
- Wireshark to debug network-level issues, particularly on the cellular interface where I can't run wireshark interstitially.
- Debian chroot environment, mostly to support the above activities with prepackaged software.

Now, I can (and have) modified ROMs (CM, stock, or otherwise) to support those activities.  However, it's really nice that CyanogenMod allows for these out of the box.  I've been using a few groupers specifically for VPN and network debugging, and being able to deploy with CyanogenMod, a Debian image, ConnectBot and a shell script was/is really convenient.

I understand, and agree with enhancing the security of the system in the default case.  But it would be nice--for myself anyways--to provide some kind of "escape hatch" to allow folks to trade security for the ability to do unusual, privilege-requiring activities without having to source hack.  That said, it certainly would not be a recommended configuration, and as many common privilege-requiring activities we can provide with secure, blessed interfaces the better.
 
Adfree, titanium, goo manager, file manager for ftp/samba, lmt, clock sync, k.a.t tool box for my rom, flash roms, custom kernels etc... in other words all the good stuffs
 
I use root for ad blocking, .apk backups, and I also use greenify on my phone. I'm currently only missing ad blocking on my new nexus 7
 
How does Titanium Backup not need root? 
 
App backup and management (titanium backup, data sync, root file explorer), Adblock, Touch Control slide to wake, kernel management 
 
Before CM10.1 added back in lockscreen rotation I would edit the build.prop after every nightly to reenable it.  The only other things are the same thing I'd imagine everyone else who roots wants (including my wife on stock rooted): adblocking and automated Titanium backups.
 
Haven't been rooted in like a year and a half. 
 
I'm with +Will Keaney. I used root with Helium because it was convenient but it isn't necessary. Other than that I can't recall the last time I used a root app.
 
I think the day you can back up app data(which google seems to be working on at least somewhat) and being able to uninstall bloat root won't really be needed except for those flashaholics
 
Cerberus, android tuner for backups, firewall, permissions, apps management and sys and kernel tweaks.
 
For small mods and access to modify system/app 
 
+Steve Kondik sorry I didn't see your comment above mine. So for example, what you meant is that instead of an app using root and technically exploiting the system open, you can do the same thing without using root at all? And I'm kind of confused as to how the fact that cm is open has to do with the "root" apps not using root. Sorry for so many questions, and I'm honored to talk to the founder of cm. I've always seen you as a genius and I'm completely in love with the CyanogenMod project as a whole. I'm looking forward to all the amazing things coming to cm in the near future!
 
GMD Gesture Control on Nexus 7. That's it. Not as much need as in the past.
 
Market enabler, Gamecih, Freedom, Sixaxis
 
I expect this question is for more everyday users of Android rather than developers although you can't get rid of root just yet as it's needed to view dmesg.  
 
+Steve Kondik and also, how would you browse and edit files under the root directory of android (and not the sdcard) without root? Now I feel like I know way less about rooting and what it actually does. 
 
HOSTS file (AdAway), OpenVPN, various system tweaking
 
Firewall, backing up of apps and removal of crud apps
 
Haven't needed root since my n1....do you need to over clock these days. Don't need to delete bloat on cm.
 
add blocking, GPU tweaks, apps like Greenify and wake lock detector 
 
Titanium backup, going through my system partition via root explorer, ect
 
If I don't have access to a shell with root privileges and busybox, then I won't be using/getting the device/ROM. Depending on what workarounds CM brings I might be able to run 4.3 on the tablet, but running CM on the phone means giving up 4G. 
 
Not to sound like a dink but how about the always popular "I root because I can"

Having root (aka Full Control) over my device (N4) is basically a mantra that I apply to everything I own. If it's mine (e.g. not rented/borrowed) then I want to be the master of my domain. Full stop.
 
When I had my Samsung Captivate years ago, I rooted to get rid of Samsung's terrible TouchWiz software and for backing up via TB so I can restore easily after trying a new ROM. I got a Galaxy Nexus GSM in November 2011, Nexus 4 in November 2012, and a Nexus 7 yesterday. None of them have been rooted ever because the software is exactly how I want it out of the box.
 
Taking logcats, changing build.prop and other system files, creating OpenRecoveryScripts in /cache/recovery. And I'm sure there's more.
 
+Steve Kondik re: "Developers need to step up and consider ways to use CM as a proving ground for securing their apps."

What about the [poor, huddled] masses unwilling or unable to run CM? What do they do to get the apps that become CM-only if we all move this direction?
 
I think +Steve Kondik is proving his point. I'm hoping the point is that the things we rely on that we THINK require root can actually be accomplished in other more secure methods.

I think the point is that what we all actually use root for doesn't
actually require root access?

+Steve Kondik Help me out here.
 
I use it for modifying some system files with ESFileExplorer, AdAway, TiBackup, changing the build.prop for different screen dpi, And logcat now and then.
 
Same reason I have root on my ubuntu machines. It's required to do what I need to do.
 
+Polo Heysquierdo Yep, I know.  But I'm still running completely stock on my N4. heck, I only reset it once to encrypt it.  Generally I had my phones rooted and running a custom rom before my buyers remorse period was up.

It's amazing how far android has come, and how much you can do, as a default, without requiring root.  
 
TB, scripts, terminal emulator, fully customize the device to my liking ex: themes, kernel/voltage and other kernel related setup. Tether, and among other crazy things just have fun. 
 
+Peter Wang considering google doesn't want you doing adaway ;)

I think when it comes down to it, you could create a user policy in selinux for developers that would allow specific developer/administrative tools/files like dmesg, access to sysfs/proc, and other filesystem/socket access that you really only need for developing/porting in -eng. No one likes running their phone with an -eng build. developer mode not available in -user or -userdebug.

/sub
 
Honestly I use it to UV my kernel and allow helium to work without a PC tether. I also enjoy crack flashing too. 
Ray Dar
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When developing, it is very handy to pull and push databases from/to any app via ADB.
 
Death of root = death of android
 
Ad block and call recorder. Rest I could lose with no issue. But love adblock and callrecorder
 
Nothing anymore, disabled it long ago.
 
Tether and sixaxis controller. I just wish CM came stock on phones.
 
Titanium. Ip tables, Droidwall etc. AdAway. Folder mount. Greenify. Build prop editor. File manager. DroidMote. Etc. Pp. There is to much that is important to give up on. I would rather stick with 4.2.2 just to have root instead of updating. Seriously. I am on cm 10.1 tho. 
 
Backup system and app data with titanium backup. I know Helium from Koushik doesn't require root but it's no where powerful or feature rich as titanium. This kind of backup might not be needed in a long distant future, where all apps backup itself in the cloud. But for now, at least for me, it's a must needed feature.
 
" abolish the root requirement" of an interesting statement. 
 
Titanium Backup is the only thing I use that as far as I know needs root. Other than that the reason I "root" a phone is to put CM on it (esp if it's a non-aosp) device.
 
I use root to make backups of my apps with titanium backup, I also use TB to freeze unwanted apps. I have also used root to remove unused/unwanted system apps, use it for greenify to hibernate apps running in the background that I don't want running. Use it to allow me to flash custom kernels and control the kernel with apps like Trickster. Basically to have complete control of every and all app/file on my device to make my phone look and run how I want it to. 
 
The ad blocking. Forgot to mention that one.

If root will compromise security then I for one am glad that +Steve Kondik brought this up. I myself wouldn't want to do anything to my phone that could compromise my privacy.

#cm team, why not just make your own phone already lol. 
 
I ran rooted stock for a while. I always end up on CM, but being able to customize a stock ROM is important.
Ryan R
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Modifying the hosts file. Mounting system partition read/write.
 
I use root for 2-way call recording through kernel or alsa with: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skvalex.alsamixer and https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skvalex.callrecorder

Also when the barometer sensor craps out on my N4 "stop sensors && start sensors" in a shell recovers it without reboot (requires su)... I would submit a bug report but it's intermittent and hard to catch a logcat... Happens on all my n4's (i work with them and manage 6 of them)... All using CM10.1... Doesn't happen with stock roms. using this widget crashes it every day https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=sy.android.sypressurepro
 
The report of my death was an exaggeration.
 
I use root to adjust display RGB intensity and brightness. The Android API simply doesn't give you that level of control. In devices like the Nexus 4 you don't even need a custom kernel which is great. 
 
I'll say this right now... Folks need to stop with the ad blocking. It's BS. That is all.
 
When using the factory ROM, root was often necessary

+to get rid of carrier bloatware that only existed to extract more money from me.

+ to enable side loading of apps, specifically to allow me to install android scripting environmental.

+To enable a firewall to minimize data useage when on 3g.
 
I need Root for the MarketAccess app in order to enable location reporting. I need it for Helium too, to sync app data between my devices. I need it for Tasker (turn off schemas unlock when on my home WiFi etc..)

I also, for security reason, keep my Nexus on stock recovery and the bootloader locked. Then when I need to hack something, I unlock the bootloader using an app and use RomManager to flash a recovery. All that do need root.
 
Hey guys many of your use cases can be achieve with a custom recovery...
 
Root to modify system functions, overclock processors and run custom Roms
 
What about uninstalling system apps? As long as CM gives its file manager the correct permissions or introduces a recycle bin of sorts, that's why I mostly need root. Plus like mentioned I like the ability to use a firewall via avast. Also ad away... 
 
Using a chroot environment with the implication of creating device nodes withing to fully contanerize the rootfs. Withing the chroot installing software requires root privs also.
 
FWIW many workplaces that allow you to use your own device will continue to push a Mobile Device Management strategy that refuses access to corporate resources on any system with root.  This would be the best possible news.  I have a Galaxy Nexus (VZW) and am frustrated by the slowness of updates.  CM is a great OS and in many ways better than AOSP.
 
In my case, backup using Titanium Backup, saving power using Greenify, and device admin using Cerberus. 
 
I use root for nandroid, custom recovery upgrades, tethering, backup of apps, editing my Navy bar, over clocking, under clocking, system installation of apps, removing throttle, editing system files. Tweaking roms, six axis support, using Google wallet on Verizon gnex, and much more.
 
I use root to free myself from carrier images by installing custom recovery and Cyanogenmod 
 
1) Removing bloatware

2) TiBackup & automatic nandroids

3) Tasker & Secure Settings: I want to programmatically do things (like turn on/off adb, GPS, lockscreen password, locking/unlocking bootloader, change input method) based on location, that Android won't let apps do. So I do it anyways.

4) Exploring the entire filesystem.

5) Quick reboots

6) Scripting key presses to automate processes that don't have an intents to do it.

7) Because I can. I have and use root on every Unix box I've owned, as well as MacOS, ChromeOS, and Administrator on Windows. I expect the same control of my palmtop computer as my laptop and desktop.
 
I /do/ agree with the sentiment of having total control over MY computing device, even if I don't ever use it.
 
+Steve Kondik I know the context of your post, but I agree with the earlier comment about users running devices not supported by cm. My fear would be that high quality apps like those by +Koushik Dutta and others will move toward the use of CM apis and not include proper support for users who rely on a root exploit to do the things they love with their devices.
Every time I see the warnings in superuser about not declaring root permission in the manifest and support being dropped in the future for this I worry.
I make these comments as a moderately informed non dev user. 
 
Those of us with the want of full control may be looking into the currently underwhelming Ubuntu touch
 
Usually I use it for logcat and other things that I could do with adb. It's often more convenient to do it on the device itself.

And sometimes I allow root to ES File Explorer when I don't actually need it, just to shut it up.
 
The only time I use root is to modify build.prop values as a step in getting a modded Google wallet apk to set itself up correctly. 
 
Basically so I can do whatever I want. I am not limited by those [ROOT] apps on the Play Store. 
 
So going forward, rooting will be obsolete? If apps found another way, i wouldn't mind at all
 
What's going to end up happening is that people who want root are going to back up ROMs on earlier versions such as 4.1& 2. And not upgrade to 4.3 - 4.4 unless rooted ROMs are available
 
I believe there is a misunderstanding between having root and giving root privileges to every app that doesn't utilize just the provided Android APIs to accomplish its task. 
 
I use root for TiBu, Folder Mount (damn gs4 and 9 GB available), better battery stats, kernel tweeks. 
 
I need root because I love customizing the look of the various apps through Xposed Framework and PA's Hybrid properties. Options that weren't available without root access.
 
The reasons for root access are diminishing all the time for me. I only need root now to put certain APKs in /system/app, backup and restore data with Titanium backup, block ads by modifying the hosts file, and that's it. I used to use root for a lot more such as network security apps for work purposes but I really don't use them anymore.
 
I use my devices for development. Sometimes using a SQLite Explorer for File Explorer to view the files my app has created in its /data directory is the fastest and most convenient way to debug an issue.
 
Backups, small tweaks to build.prop and DNS changes! :D
 
I want to delete bloat apps. If there's a way to do it without root, then please enlighten me.
 
Me? I realized I hated TW and CM was the cure. Next device I buy will be pure Google.
 
how about things like apk uploader and other tools to get apps on another device where said apk "thinks" it doesn't run, but actually will run just fine? Maybe that doesn't need root, but I think one end or the other probably still does for now.
 
As much as I want root. It's great to see better security and selinux being used.
Paul C
 
Changing fonts, for Chroot, use custom kernels to OC or UC, ROM toolbox and of course ADBlock. Great post! +1,000 
 
I use root just for apps that require it. I've had root so long though, that I don't even know what apps they are. I know root explorer is one, and I think complete Linux installer is another. 
 
I can't even think about using an android device with out root, I have seen and used other android devices that weren't rooted and I'm like what (he-ale) because the people that own them complain about there devices being slow & sluggish filled with bout apps , carrier stock themes . I just say man I I'm glad that I'm"rooted" 
 
Modding, tweaking, tuning and various other things. It's honestly hard to resist not rooting anymore...
 
I use root for using apps like titanium, and in nexus 4 tweeking thermal throtling values.
 
I got to be rooted for my custom ROMs like liquid. Stock ROMs just don't hit it for me
 
DriveDroid for booting OS installers. I'm not sure where they all went, but I think I'm the only person in America without a flash drive right now. This app is actually even easier than a flash drive though, and I would hate to lose it.

Various kernel stuff; notably, USB fast charge toggling, which is important to me as an Ingress player.

I occasionally need root to toggle rw or mess with the file system in general, for random stuff like installing leaked apks, or replacing some image in some file somewhere. 

I would actually be fine with another non-root method of doing these things but if root stops being an effective way to get things done and there isn't a good, working solution for the things we've all gotten used to being able to do, it's going to be pretty disappointing. 
 
My root apps that I really wouldn't want to live without are:

Aldiko Sync -- sync the place in my books that I'm reading since the Aldiko application restricts access to its data (intentionally, at one point in time Aldiko Sync didn't require root).

Call Recorder & Alsa Mixer (record phone calls) ... generally used for when I've had to call some company (Comcast for example).

AdFree -- block ads (haven't bothered to use it in quite a long time though)

Titanium Backup & Helium -- Back up apps.

Cerberus -- Track phone and other useful features.

Getting Google Wallet going on toro (build.prop edits)


It's possible for the call recording to be integrated in some way with CM.  I guess the app data backup is basically the same concept as what Aldiko Sync is doing and it's likely that would be something on the agenda to get an API.  
 
I use root for breaking arbitrary restrictions.
Ray Dar
 
I use root to delete some system apps like Apollo (gets in the way of other Bluetooth players) and Voice Dialer (terribly intrusive when the 'call' button on a Bluetooth device in one's pocket is accidentally pressed by bumping into something).
 
1. Remove bloatware.
2. Backup and restore apps.
3. Root explorer (especially when applying mods manually instead of flashing)

I dunno if I'd want to live in a world without root and ROMs. I don't flash ROMs because I want my device to work better. I flash them because I get bored. Sometimes I want Sense 5. Sometimes I want AOSP. It doesn't matter which one I use, I still use root for all of them. 
 
FWIW, I'm not advocating that we ditch root in CM. I want people to actually consider the implications of using it, and what the alternatives are.
 
+Steve Kondik admittedly, root isn't as big of a deal as it used to be. If the base 3 can be achieved (debloat, app restore and backup, and / level file management), a great number of people would forget about root.

As long as we could still flash ROMs :-D of course. 
 
+Steve Kondik , is there any possibility of being able to use the new method you describe AND/OR root?  Perhaps a toggle to disable root access and re-enable all the new security features?
 
+Steve Kondik Please could you explain for the lay person (me) why a users' ability to use root on a phone is security issue but same ability never seems to be an issue on a desktop machine?

I use root for TB, LagFix, Cerberus and Adfree primarily, though I use it for a number of other apps, and generally I enjoy the flexibility of having rw access to all partitions. I'd be very disappointed to lose root access.
 
Stupid OT question.... What's '/sub'?
 
I use root for xposed and all of its modules.
 
+Grant Smith it means I want to receive comment updates so I'm subscribing. Basically two Android engineers commented saying the are interested in what happens on this post... Or they're hungry.
 
This is an interesting move for Google - but I agree that it may yet turn out to be positive. I got an HTC One back in May (before that I had an S3 running CM), and since then I have been using it completely stock - no root.

I can honestly say I have not missed having root one little bit. I don't use Adblock (and for good reason) and I have zero need to back anything up (especially since I am not flashing a new ROM every 3 days). I am on Sprint, which means that even if I could enable tethering I never have a good enough signal to be useful ;) I am... content with the device just the way it is (with the possible exception that I am still waiting on 4.2.2 :P).

In the end, I guess this is just another extension of the intrinsic trade-off between freedom and security...
 
Avast anti theft...
 
Root within the OS? Don't care that much. Access into the boot loader and ability to replace OS should the mood strike me? Not an option: on my hardware it's a must
 
Franco.kernel updater, greenify, rom manager (for when I'm lazy), titanium backup (occasionally), lookout security, cm file manager or other file exploring apps, maybe a few others here and there
 
+Grant Smith /sub means jbq is looking for Steve's exploits in 4.3 so he can patch them in android 5.0 ;)..only teasing
 
Off Topic - Google+ really needs a good way to scroll to the bottom of the comments. 
 
How many devices need you to get root on them first to enable you to then install CM in the first place? I think I had to do that first on my i9300 and my e975. 
 
+Ross Moore Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought all you really needed was an insecure bootloader in order to flash ROMs. Rooting is often done at the same time and, I believe, has caused many to become confused into thinking that rooting and flashing non-stock ROMs are the same thing...
 
I use root for screen taps for automated gui tasks, backing up with Helium, and running zANTI.... Adblock for Android is nice at times as well as shell commands. 
 
+Ryan Evans understood, it's not required. Especially if you can just ask htc or whomever to unlock the boot loader. Then I'm totally in agreement
 
I use root for Helium backup (without the PC connection) outside of that, I can't think of anything else I need it for. 
 
I use root exclusively to fix the order of the nab buttons on my S3. I'd love to see that option added to CM, so I don't have to refix them after every update.
 
Titanium backup, kernel settings/profiles, and greenify are about the only things I need root for these days. I actually removed root from a custom rom for work-related reasons and didn't really miss it. 
 
How could I forget Tasker? I use that as well and sme of my profiles/tasks require root. 
 
Just root apps like titanium, lagfix, xposed, Franco updater and root browser
 
Use CM .. root for .. Network firewall .. xposed framework .. CWM
 
I read /data/misc/wifi/wpa_supplicant.conf regularly to tell people the password of their wireless lan (that they told me before)
 
+CyanogenMod only for running CID on any device that is supported and all the tweak options
 
The two uses that jump out to me is networking(tethering) and back ups(titanium backup). Other than that I'm not thinking of much else.
 
Touch control APM is my "must have" app on my CM+Franco kernel nexus 4
 
I flashed the 4.3 rom on my vzw gnex, along with the root zip and everything seems to be working like any other old root.

Am I missing something?
 
Things that come to mind: ad blocking, Titanium Backup and Cerberus.
 
Syncing the clock via NTP (Clocksync is a great app), why isn't there a native ntpd support in Android is beyond me. Yeah yeah, cell radio offers clock sync, but let's not forget about the Wifi only tablets.
 
Titanium backup, greenify, adaway, prepaid widget, cerberus.

Rarely file manager. 
 
Guys, stop repeating the mentioned apps or use cases. It's getting difficult to read and find relevant comments. You can use +1's instead. 
 
I used it for Titanium Backup! But I recently switched to Helium! Reading logcats... And iptables! But all those can implemented better right? I remember some time ago, you asked the same thing! I believe it's better to be handled somehow else..
 
In my institute, the Wi-Fi network is behind a proxy having authentication.. So I use proxy droid so that all apps can access Internet through the Wi-Fi. Then the usual, ti backup, greenify, trickster mod, battery calibration etc.
 
For changing system files on the fly
 
Backup and bloatware control.
 
+Steve Kondik main reason everyone is useing root is to install custom roms, the first thing i do when i buy new phone is rooting and installing some of those custom roms...
 
I can see where +Steve Kondik is going with this line of inquiry, but the fact remains that his example in the following thread only provides a glimpse into the future of what might be possible when we don't have to trade off security for convenience. No, I don't want to have to tether my device to adb every time I want to perform a su operation. Ain't nobody got time for that. I'm glad he got the discussion going though. What needs to happen next are hypothetical examples of how regular Joes like us can accomplish all the cool things we do today in alternative secure ways without sacrificing the convenience we've grown to love and expect. Don't just say there are a myriad ways to do it and just leave it there. Go ahead and showcase a few of them and let the users judge for themselves whether that is sufficient for their use-cases.

P.S. Actually, I believe Moxie Marlinspike might have had some insight into how to do this right with his custom ROM back in the day that implemented per app firewalling.
 
Wireless tethering (first n foremost), VZW bloat free experience, VZW horrible updates (signal n battery issues) free, flashing ROMs therefore need for Tiatanium Back up.
All of this would be absolutely unnecessary if I had the option to buy Nexus 4 (factory unlocked) n use it on T-Mobile. All this hussle because of the network coverage, nothing but that. 
 
- File explorers
- LMT
- My own app that lets me configure the vibration on the n4

And changing system files/apps
 
I used root to fstrim emmc, limit auto starting apps, disable some widgets, and backup the apk for future reinstallation. 
 
Adblock, Titanium Backup, Greenify, GMD Gesture Control, Samba Filesharing, Tasker/Secure Settings, full acess to file system, Xposed hacks (like per-app DPI). These are a must for me, so root is a must.
 
Back up and control of app behavior mainly via titanium. 
 
I use root for only 2 things: AdBlock and deleting camera sound files so I can take photos without the annoying focus and snap sounds.
 
Folder mount app (some kind of partition mapping?) to give me more space on internal memory for large apps. Samsung are idiots y'see :-) 
 
File explorer, Franco kernel updater and Titanium backup. Don't really use root tbh, only for Paranoid Android stuff
P Diddy
 
It's gotta be because they want media partners. Nothing else makes sense. Cash rules everything around me get the dollar bills y'all.
 
I use root for OpenVPN an to do a scheduled/daily fstrim (with crond)
 
I use root to backup apps and on my Nexus 4 to tweak the display and reduce the microphone sensitivity to be able to take video in loud surroundings (small concerts, me playing drums etc.., very sad that this isn't done automatically..).
 
Mainly use root for titanium backup, greenify, rom manager, goo manager, absolute system root tools (mainly for changing boot animation and backing up data folder) aokp backup, Franco kernel updater, and file manager for exploring all folders in the fs. 
 
+Steve Kondik The killer issue here is that once you start to modify the formal SDK, CM will need to support its own API level and control the revisioning on this carefully, at the CM app store and into the dev community by publishing an CM SDK and document these additions etc... Root had an extremely convenient backdoor that skirted around this issue in the main, leaving CM with mostly per device issues to sort out.

It sounds like the right step, but it needs a fairly formal level of control and publishing of the APIs etc...
 
+Steve Kondik Yes, most of the "common users| of "su" are void now. The only valid answers are: ALSA recording (work around a bug in Android),  changing hosts (a real ugly hack, which works!) and chroot (only developers need this).

However - if you do add some new "manager" to Cyanogenmod, how can I as a plain developer will access it? Will you provide a new CyanodgenmodSDK? this is a really bad idea.

The other option is to provide the AIDL and NewServiceManager.java for me as a developer to incorporate into my app, and when Context.GetSystemService("blabla") returns NULL - I am not running on CyanogenMod. Again - this is ugly.

What I am trying to say - this is not your problem to fix. I am not really happy with all the new features available in CM. This distro is becoming  the same as other proprietary Android distros. I wish you would stick more to AOSP.
 
A quite good amount of people here posted that they wan't a good backup/restore solution, so they started rooting their device for that. We all know about BackupTransport, but you can't control that process, developers are required to built in support (which mainly they don't) and there's no way to see which app will actually be in the backup. I wonder how many people would still root if there was a backup/management desktop tool available from Google in the beginning.

As for Greenify, this wouldn't be needed if there was a bit of quality control possible for apps to not go havoc with resources and services.
 
Without proper JNI support from Android System for accessing many of the kernel tunables via sysfs, root is required for any type of performance tuning of the kernel.  I would re-write my kernel tuning apps if there were JNI available for accessing those tunables via secure method without resorting to superuser privileges...  I haven't seen anyone create such JNIs for native java access of kernel tunables yet.
 
Everything I need root for (except presumably full /system read/write) is just for when I'm too lazy to do it via adb (or I'm not right next to the computer).

For example I presume +Koushik Dutta wouldn't need root in RomManager if there was a secure way in CM to reboot to recovery.
 
It'd be great if a lot of things could be exposed via APIs (device admin seems a good target for a lot of these), as root is the big black hole where security goes to die - as soon as you run a single root app that you haven't personally verified every component of, all is (theoretically) compromised.

My daily driver isn't even rooted. That being said, as an app developer, I really only see a point in this if there's a chance of it getting back into the main Android branch. While certainly apps could use root for one firmware and the APIs for CM, that doesn't sound particularly maintenance friendly.

" but I feel that anything done at this point might severely compromise the security of the system

As opposed to 4.2 ? When 4.3 support is fully done for SuperSU and similar apps, I see no reason for it being less secure than it was on 4.2.
 
Rooting (as a hacking method) isn't necessary if Google open his mind and realizes that Developers USE their software! Why Google can't provide a su account, like any other Linux distribution, natively?
The developers use their mobiles not only to call and receive calls, we use our phone to backup (TB for ex, really annoying to soft brick your device twice a month or need a full wipe each week), mount partitions as rw, execute Linux native commands, create ssh servers for personal use, change props via setprop... Those features are blocked natively from Google (don't blame me saying "I can perform those utilities without root" as you're getting worse results). So I expect a big update on klp, the recent App Ops must be the solution. We should be able to access the su binary on stock (pure android) devices and decide if an app should have this access via App Ops. +Jean-Baptiste Quéru Take a look, please.
/sub for #stayparanoid 
 
Root completed the device. Allows me to do anything I want, whenever I want. 
 
Backup: apps+wifi, dns, adding ringtones to system folders. 
 
You know that scene in Monty Python where they are trying to understand their new messiah, "Its a shoe!"
 
For backup, root explorer, Rom toolbox, Rom manager
 
Wifikill to mess with my friends, backing up apps, nanoifiod backups, load app to system folder (like Google wallet in my T-Mobile S3) flash kernals and roms, changing SD speed and a few other things I'm sure I'm forgetting at 4am.
 
Implementing su as a daemon of some sort sounds like a terrible idea. This ought to be terrible insecure. How do apps authenticate against the daemon? I would never install something like this on my system.
Extending the api sounds like a way better way to handle this. Especially since we could use se policies to secure these apis further.
+Steve Kondik please don't not listen to all the idiots who want root just to have root at what ever cost.
If this means 'normal' phones can not be rooted any longer; great android is finally a secure Plattform.
If you wanna do more just install a custom Rom. If you can not install a custom Rom because your bootloader is looked; attack the boot loader - you can do this without attacking the system. Or, the better idea, buy a phone with an unlocked bootloader. 
 
In my phone I use root (su) for
- rsync backup
- firewall
- terminal emulator (when ADB is not available)
- openvpn
- NTP

In dedicated Android based "servers" I
- remove unneeded apps
- read full logcat (from apps)
- make quick reboots
 
I think it's enough to give developers additional permissions on CM for common things. Devs can check for it and use SU if not running on CM.
I don't think this would be an ugly solution since it wouldn't afford much additional code and there are not much root apps used.

 
Uninstalling system apps and stuff that requires essential file system access such as adding system apps and ad blockers.
 
I use it for Kernel settings, Greenify, Titanium Backup, Terminal Emulator, Root Explorer etc. pp.

 
I use root to hack games(score,money),greenify and delete bloatware from crapwizz roms
In cm i use root for only the first 2
 
Titanium Backup, Greenify, Screenshots in AirDroid, TeamViewer QS and sometimes editing some system files (either directly or modifying via Xposed Framework).
 
Backup with Titanium, ClockSync (ntp), recover my Wi-Fi passwords (using root explorer), automatically enable/disable GPS, mobile Odin (for stock roms) and Rommanager (for recoveries)
 
I'm using root to control other users apps on my device (as owner), firewall, installing xposed, using gmd gesture, SDmaid, pushing files to other users accounts, syncing app's data, titanium backup.
 
Compiling software like c4droid and other, also auto enable / disable GPS, mOdin removing system (cr)apps, raw network access 
 
General system maintanence from the command line, mostly. 
 
TiB (Titanium Backup), StickMount, General USB-OTG stuff, some command line stuff (fixing permissions set by TWRP), etc. 
 
root for: titanium backup, modify some apps settings, dsploit, wifi kill, android sheep...
 
Yes backing up Apps and Data via Titanium Backup is essential to me. 
SHANE M
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Pretty much for all the reasons listed above
 
To echo many above for me its pretty much only app and app data backup. 5.0 needs this functionality built in to backup to Drive straight from within the O/S.
 
I'm another user who no longer roots his devices due to improvements in Android, sticking with Nexus devices and no longer requiring root for backups since the introduction of Helium. Also, there's an increasing amount of services that don't allow themselves to run on rooted devices (e.g. Sky Go)
 
Also I have to laugh at people proclaiming to be "power users" and believing they're able to get any real life gains by overclocking or undervolting. Been there, got the T-shirt and realised it's just pointless in the end - now I just enjoy using my mobile.
 
Tweaks, flashing stuff (roms, kernels, mods), managing the whole filesystem with root browser, removing bloat, screencast, greenify and gamecih (yes I'm a dirty cheater)
 
i use root for beer, squares and even canals
 
Security is like sex... once you're penetrated you're ******ed. All this is doing is making it so the only people who can own your device are other people with an exploit.
 
People do root their phones just to categories themselves from normal users, yes I too have rooted my nexus bt hardly I can use the rooting functionality, 
 
I use root to modify the hosts file, for backup solutions like TB, and helium, anti theat cerberus and trickster mod to set system/kernel stuff, but this could be accomplished via init.d too
 
Wifi adb. Although that can probably be manually enabled once you have adb root shell via USB. Not as convenient though, I routinely dev on multiple devices at once.
Gran PC
 
Killing root would probably break all apps that rely on it. I personally like being rooted because it lets me edit files, it lets me remove stuff, it gives me freedom over my device.
 
Apps: Android Firewall, File Manager / ES File Explorer, ROM Manager, Mobile ODIN, etc.
 
+Steve Kondik  I'm on the S4 with MDB firmware (stock US Cellular firmware from out of the box) with root.  I use it to have things like XPosed modules like Nottach for changing colors, battery mod, ets...and App settings to change the DPI of certain apps to give me "more screen" sort of.  Besides that I use it for multi window mods and LMT launcher.  Not to mention I get into the root directory and delete unused sounds and add my own and change the boot animation and other things.. I forgot about Tasker, Cerberus, and ROM Toolbox for an assortment if things...like a faster read/write to my SD, file explorer, app backups and deleting bloat, and UV the kernel (not on one currently that allows it). I like having the option to do more things...it's one if the big reasons I chose Android. It has seemed the more I've come along the quicker I am to root a new device...my last one lasted a few months and my S4 lasted a few hours mainly due to a lack of a computer to do so.
Eze Uba
 
Thank you Sir Steve for all your work. For me, root is: Titanium Backup, AdAway, MobileOdin, System App Remover, among other stuff...
 
Cerberus, backing up apps and games, overclocking, tethering, deleting bloatware, and anything else magical... 
 
Most often use? Kernal module from an app called Touch Control. I just wish there was a version for every device. 
 
An API to ask the system permission to replace one file with another on /system would be nice. Most root apps that I use just do that (gps.conf, awesomebeats files).

Now the apps that do that will have total control once su is granted, I can see the benefits of a more fine grained system although I like to call all various busybox applets as well.

Maybe unlimited reading permissions combined with limited writing permission could be a first step..
 
It's a UNIX system, quit trying to turn it into Windows. 
 
To be able to use Root Explorer, Titanium, Tasker and Cerberus.
Ahmad S
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ONE ROOT TO RULE THEM ALL !!
 
Cerberus, Root Call Blocker , Ad Away, Greenify, Root Explorer, Titanium Backup and various Kernel tweaking apps.
 
I especially root to get instant access. To my phone So to remove with root explorer. System / app manually etc. Also to use that app root questions.
 
Multi touch gestures are basic in the use of my tablet, and now it's gone... 
 
Titanium backup, adblock, and starting an ssh server
 
I often use the awesome ProxyDroid for managing iptables rules, letting me easily MITM device network connections while I'm developing/debugging Android apps.

Aside from that, root access is just handy on a device during development in order to access the /data/data directories, etc.
 
I feel bad if i don't have administrator access to everything i use..
 
You know, sometimes you just feel like writing stuff to the system partition.
 
Anti theft software installed on system. Titanium backup. 
 
+Ani Ravi root is simply the most privileged 'user' on an Android device - look up root on Linux, to get a bit more information. When you 'root' your android device, all you're doing is providing a way for apps to make use of the root user account (through apps like SuperSU, Superuser, etc.). It provides (loosely) the same functionality as UAC on windows.

The presence of root is not really the issue - as far as I'm aware, android always has the root user account, it's just inaccessible to you or your apps by default. The issue is that by providing access to root to do common things, you make it much easier for nasties to make use of the same path to do bad things to your device. The idea is that anything that is currently done through root is also achievable through other, more secure, pathways.

Another way to look at it is giving all of your keys (including house keys, office, etc) to the mechanic when he fixes your car. A better way is just give him the key that he actually needs. 
 
Oh and faster fix since every ROM seems to think I should get my AGPS data from a US server. Which as expected makes GPS lock slow.
 
titanium backup, Cyandelta, secure settings/tasker
 
+Steve Kondik does root in a terminal emulator work? I currently have Fedora and Ubuntu (on separate devices) in chroot on my devices. My current script to launch these environments uses root, though would it be doable through another system? 
 
Turning a phone into a blue tooth hid device and permission blocking.
 
Clocksync, cerberus, complete linux installer, xposed framework, app quarentine, x-plore, terminal emulator, backups, remove bloatware
 
Because Verizon doesn't have any stock devices, stop the lag on my s4, tether, see the improvements of the developers. Timely updates.
 
Root File Explorer to edit /system/build.prop and MoDaCo Xposed to enable the use of Google Wallet on my Verizon Galaxy S4.

BetterBatteryStats to check Alarms, but only when battery life is wonky.

Root File Explorer to delete system apps that can't be disabled (Trebuchet for example, but I'm sure that's for a good reason).

All of the above are for stock Android and CM. The list is longer for factory images (ie - TouchWiz, Sense, etc). 
 
I use it for bluetooth control of my PS3 controller. Titanium backup. Lucky patcher to remove ads. I'm on paranoid android. 
 
Cerberus so it can take screenshots, Titanium Backup, tethering apps which will send tethered connections over VPN, occasional tweaks to /system when I don't feel like making a fully signed ZIP, DSploit, and that's about it.
 
Titanium, Adaway, adbd insecure, and root explorer. I know it's only 4 apps, but these 4 I can't live without.
 
I use root to bind-mount external sdcard with FolderMount. Until CM natively supports some form of leveraging the external SD I will really need this. 16GB is not nearly enough. 
 
Ad blockers & changing system files, such as the build.prop & keyboard layouts.
Eze Uba
 
Google engineers have really got folks in a bind here... but I'm pretty certain with folks like +Steve Kondik +Koushik Dutta and numerous other great devs this will be licked in no time. ..
 
I use it for Helium, and for ES File Explorer when I am installing a beta app, such as VoicePlus back when it was Babel.

Honestly, if I see Helium working 100% on 4.3 without su or a nearby computer, than no su is fine for me
 
Primarily need it for blocking ads, Greenify, used to use it for VPN, but agree most things could be handled by exposing more APIs
 
Apps need root and so any app that requires root will require to be updated to use the APIs.

Then it means that since the APIs will not be available on the stock ROMs those apps will have to use another method that is common across stock and custom ROMs and not specific to CM.
 
+Steve Kondik I'm going to have to go with root being pretty much unneeded. The absolute only reason I use root (and im not stock not a custom rom) is to restore Google authenticator between devices.

Having su installed, is itself breaking the security model of Android. Each app and/or feature that makes use of su, or otherwise runs as root opens up the device to more potential attacks.

So +1 to doing away with su
 
Backup, ROM Manager, adblock. Not to forget AndroidLost.

+Ryan Evans No need for backup? So you bet on never losing your phone (or getting it wet)? You're welcome to join the (guesstimated) 99.9% who make the same bet, but don't force it on the rest of us.
 
Yea I restore google authenticator as well using TiB. 
 
+Mark Hands your correct, slowing down/speeding up the way your phone runs has no effect on battery savings........
Foolish.

What doesn't work for you, can and does work for others.

How is it laughable that others use their phone different than you do? Nothing wrong with using your mobile in any way you can/want......another thing, the power users are actually "using" their device, whereas you use yours.

Ignorance.
 
I'm not sure it's directly root related, but I rooted my phone to get a custom kernel with gamma control on my Nexus 4. I manually calibrated my display and found it hard to go back to the stock settings. 

I also use AdAway. That's about it, though. 
 
+Peter da Silva - "It's a UNIX system, quit trying to turn it into Windows."

True, but even Windows has the Administrator account which is effectively a superuser. And Microsoft and your ISP don't jump up and down saying "ZOMG U ENABLED THE ADMIN ACCOUNT! THAT'S DANGEROUS!"...
 
Root fixes lots of Android functionality for me. Looking through my Superuser logs:

1) Enable mass storage. MTP is ridiculously slow with more than a few hundred files, that indexing is way too slow, and it magically finds old, non-existent files or hides existing ones.

2) Cerberus, NFC Task Launcher. Enable GPS from a user app. I think the baby got thrown out with the bathwater in that Gingerbread update. Not able to track my phone when it gets stolen unless I perpetually leave GPS on? :(

3) AFWall+: Android should let MMS data go through even with the mobile data toggle off. Without modifying the iptables, just to let an MMS send, I have to let every darn app on my phone gobble up battery-expensive and money-expensive data.

4) Greenify. Android, IMO, should stop apps from killing battery needlessly. Looking at you, Google Maps, Facebook, Google+, etc. There isn't even a method to view wakelocks in stock Android. I can't wait for AOSP to catch up when Google Maps is keeping my Wi-Fi on 24/7.

5) OBackup and Helium. Android was taking too long to exposing ADB backup, so Helium fixed that. And, I flash once in a while, so a handy Nandroid is always welcome.


 
Orbot/Tor, helium, ROM manager, adaway, AFWALL firewall, goo manager, don't kill root, there are many other reasons I use it as well.
 
Oh I forgot to mention Orbot/Tor. Transparent proxying needs root.
 
As the developer of DataSync I feel root still has a place here. A per-file backup/sync has many advantages over sending entire backups back and forth.

 It would be great if such a thing could be implemented in CM directly, but if CM decides to get rid of root all together, are app developers supposed to code specificly for CM and other AOSP-based roms? A significant number of users run stock-based roms, what about them? I can imagine there'd be confusion over what ROM supports what functionality.

I don't think widening the gap between stock (Sense, Touchwiz) and "AOSP" is going to help those who're looking into switching to CM, or app developers who would then have to deal with ROM support. I would love to get rid of root (working on "regular" apps is a big relief every once in a while), but I don't think we're at that point yet.
 
FS drivers (Fuse is slow and power hungry), iptables, backups, process managment (Greenify/etc).

While I welcome SELinux done properly for CM and other open ROMs, I'm glad you guys are working on keeping root exploits coming as Carrier/OEM ROMs are nearly unusuable without it (given the unstable bloatware usually shipped).
 
I need to be able to push an eri.XML to /data
 
It's MY device. I want to be able to do with it whatever the hell I want.
 
AdAway !!!!!  
Proxydroid, SetCPU, Orbot, Tasker
 
Firewall (DroidWall) and Titanium Backup. If they would include those capabilities in the basic Android system, then I wouldn't need root at all.
Other apps that ask for root, but I probably could live without them: Xposed framework, BetterBatteryStats.
 
DataSync is my main use case right now - the fact that we only now have cloud save support in Android, and it needs to be explicitly implemented by each developer, is a massive oversight for anyone with multiple devices. As for Cyanogenmod, I love what you guys are going but every single time I've installed it on my GSM Galaxy Nexus, it's been worse than stock, with battery life issues and incredibly slow Wi-Fi.
 
+Matthias Urlichs That's not it at all. I keep anything and everything even remotely important in the cloud - no need to back anything up beyond that...
 
I don't want to need adb for root.. So a terminal app ought to be able to get a root shell displayed to me the user.

Otherwise mostly viewing some advanced system files (usually to view a wep or WPA WiFi password for me to copy into another device or provide it to someone else.. In rare occasions editing them.

The first I feel is required for owning the device.. But is rarely needed.. The second is something most people will not (or ought not) use on a well designed device.. And I can't think of a situation I needed to besides the WiFi apps in a long time.

Otherwise there are operations that require additional permissions.. But need not have full root access to the device. Ie: may require access to a sys file for OC/UV or some other special restricted access.. But need not have both access to all of root. This goes for non-nandroid backups I think as well.

In short I think I the advanced user ought to be able to access root on both the phone and adb.. And ideally never need to access it. Otherwise while some system apis may be needed no downloadable app ought to have full root permissions (and obviously ought to request those special permissions specifically)

But this is always my goal.. I ought to be able to do what I want with root if need be... But I ought to be noting it's use as either a mini custom update or a ugly work around to something done wrong.
 
Killing root is basically the same as killing SMS.
 
I don't root my anymore: I don't have the time to manage a rom and to update it with the latest Nightly from CM (i9100) and I don't want to spend Sunday afternoons browsing XDA to find information on the overflooded device threads.
Then there's also the problem of trust. I don't trust downloading a GoogleApps.apk from the internet.

So for now I'm sticking to the Nexus devices. I might buy an Android Developer device at some point to get root access to hack on Android Vanilla.
 
It's the principle of the thing.  Sure, CM can add new APIs to make performing "power user" tasks safer.  That's great.  However, we've seen Google threaten CM before when they tried to add truly revolutionary features, and I wouldn't be surprised if it happened again.

Besides, security always comes at a cost.  Are we likely to see APIs for something like Sixaxis Controller, which can fake touch events?
 
Root access its the main reason I got an android phone. 
 
I use root for:

1) Titanium Backup 
- adb backup wants list of packages as parameter, but does not allow to list all packages installed
- adb backup still needs another computer for backup
- titanium can make backup to sdcard or online

2) AdAway
- Chrome is slow even without ads, with ads it is much slower

3) LagFix (fstrim)
- To make using the tablet bearable. No, 4.3 won't help, Asus didn't even make 4.2 for Transformer Prime owners.

4) Autostarts

5) Cerberus

6) Droidwall

7) freezing vendor-supplied junkware, that cannot be disabled by app manager (again, see Asus)

8) insmoding Logitech gamepad modules
- I don't expect non-root alternative there 

9) sometimes I need to grab file from application private directory, modify it and upload back (for example, there was Swype bug, that required exactly that - or else you would be without dictionary for your language)
 
A common reason is backing up apps and data. And while there exist solutions that work without root, such as the internal backup API, none exists which is truly universal, AND works just as well as some of the "root" ones.

I do not see root dying out, despite the aims of the CM team, until we remove the need for root in stock, off-the-shelf, carrier-issued devices. Once carriers stop installing crap on devices which users cannot "disable" from the Settings app, and ruining phones with their "features", we might be getting somewhere.

For my own uses of root, aside from using Titanium Backup to take versioned, encrypted backups, and then migrate data between devices, I also use root to:
1) Fix boot loops and other issues on devices. Yes, this includes stock devices/ROMs. From an expert point of view, no root means having to do things the "slow" way, like wiping all of /data when I know I could just deleted a few files manually from the shell to fix the issue.
2) Writing to files which are on /system by default. For example, I have custom init.d scripts to modify my ROM after each flash, which are preserved with the zip backuptool. 
3) Eradicating Gapps from stock devices. There's no need for them, and I get much better battery without them. But I get no choice on stock devices, so I need root (currently) to eradicate any proprietary google apps or frameworks. 

Finally...

I use root to implement privacy protection features which CM rejected. But fortunately for us all, AOSP obliged and added AppOps, which is essentially what I needed anyway - fully granular permissions control. While it's not quite as good as XPrivacy in terms of sheer amount of protection offered, it's better than nothing. 

At the end of the day though, I agree entirely this is the way forwards - a while back I said CM should add a set of new permissions, which require the owner-user's password/PIN for installing or upgrading an app using those permissions. These permissions should at least cover:

- Mount arbitrary filesystems with arbitrary flags
- Backup data of other apps, without itself getting access to said data (ie. requires encrypted app data containers, that the backup app doesn't get access to)
- Restore data of other apps, again without direct access to the plaintext data
- Remounting RW, deleting file from /system, remounting RO
- Remounting RW, adding file to /system, remounting RO
- Direct access to input devices (ie. for stylus gesture handlers etc)
- Configure IPTables firewall with arbitrary rules
- Directly write to arbitrary device partitions (ie. kernel, recovery)

This could be similar to Device Admin, but with the difference that the user must INDIVIDUALLY allow each of these permissions. No "allow by default". No ability to passively acknowledge. They should appear, one-by-one, and require the user to move a toggle to yes, to allow that one, or leave it at no, for the app to not get that ability. And it will still run without it - dev's problem to deal with it via error handling.

Then you have to persuade AOSP to accept these upstream, so it is possible for an expert user to have 100% control of the device they own. And allow all these wonderful things.

At the end of the day, root won't die out until a stock Android device offers this kind of customisation on its stock OEM-ruined ROM. And Google won't allow it, because the carriers won't allow it. If someone told the carriers "tough, it's happening", we might get somewhere. But there will always be a place and need for root for some people, until it's possible to get down and interact with stuff at a low level on Android - I need a proper root shell for accessing dmesg etc, and I want to ensure that only I can get to it... Not just someone randomly accessing adb on my phone. 
 
Titanium Backup primarily, Overclocking and Downvolting the CPU and such, and File managers. 
 
I'm an app developer, so it's incredibly useful to me to be able to jump between debug and production builds using the same data-set. Titanium is still the best solution for that. I also use root to go into my app's files in /data/data, especially the database, when I'm debugging things. I've needed to manually change the schema of my db a few times, since it was changed and reverted and changed again in between releases, and I installed a bit too early on my primary device. 
 
I bought Root Checker Pro so I am committed now.
 
I think Helium will eventually surpass TB Pro but until then I need my TB with root access. Once Helium can do what I use TB for (scheduling/drive syncing) then I'll gladly pony up the cash for the premium version and retire TB. +Koushik Dutta 
 
1) titanium backup
2) root explorer (although I'm giving CM file manager a try)
3) deleting system apps I don't need (realize this is less important on newer devices but I hate having things needlessly installed.
4)freedom. This should probably be first. I love android because while it's dumbed down for the stupids by default, I can gain the power to totally control my device easily. I consider my android devices to be like my pc - I own it and I should have the freedom to do whatever I wish to it. If I wanted restrictions I'd get an iPhone / Windows Phone
 
Backing up and restoring apps and system images (very important to be able to restore stock and unroot, if I want to trade in my phone), also sixaxis, cerberus, and Greenify. If all of this could be kept possible, then I'm not sure if I'd need root anymore. I'd feel kind of helpless without it though, I'd discover something I want to do and realise I need root to do it. -i9505

Edit: also, of course, root directory access.
 
i am a tinkerer and just like a fresh look of a new rom every couple of weeks or so. I really use root just to customize everything I can about the look and feel of the UI. 
 
Blackout Updater, changing kernel settings such as schedulers and governors, and Ingress Drop app
 
Various "Gesture Control" apps like GMD, LMT require root.

"Swipe to wake" like PGM also.
 
+Steve Kondik 

Here is what I use root for:

1. Titanium Backup
2. Tasker
3. Greenify
4. LagFix
5. AdFree
6. SetCPU
7. Any third party WiFi Tether when I'm using a ROM with a buggy stock Tether app.
 
Definitely for backups but also to do things like using a manager to add or remove system apps and mess with init.d type stuff from time to time. I understand most of this can be done without root using things like recovery installs and ADB, but its been nice to have.

Edit: I'd rather have security though, so I'm OK with giving up root as long as the system does what I need it to (so I'll never run stock)
 
Helium, Trickster, Titanium Backup, Stick Mount and Root Explorer 
 
Adfree, greenify, droidwall, titanium, Xprivacy, root explorer.
I like the new permissions settings in 4.3, along with a new CM that gave elevated privaledges without exposing root that would be awesome. Good work +Steve Kondik 
Jay G.
 
I use root for a number of things, depending on which phone I am on.
Nexus 7 - Not rooted and using stock

For Gnex
-Backups
-Lagfix
-AdFree
-Kernel Tweaks
-Modifying a file in System if needed

Nexus4
-Backups
-Adfree
-Kernel Tweaks
-Modifying a file in System if needed

Galaxy S4
-Backups
-Removing the bloat from both Samsung & VZW
-Adfree
-FolderMount
-Modifying a file in System if needed

On any other phone I may buy now or in the future, I would use root for some of the same things listed above.

Now if possible I would love to have a true way to do a backup like I do with Titanium Backup for all my phones, this is for both apps and their settings, messages, account, and system settings. This is one thing that Android is truly lacking compared to other smartphones out there.

Also I truly believe that if each carrier/vendor would offer a way to de-bloat a phone so the user has free choice on what is on their device they pay for that would also alleviate another reason people would want/need root.

These are just my own opinions and I am sure they matter little to others, but that is why I do what I do to root my devices.
 
I know I'm kind of an edge case here, but I use root for malware analysis so that I can grab files not otherwise accessible to me (in the application's data directory). I use it for Android application reversing in general for the same reasons. Having to reboot into recovery to get root over adb would be a major hassle.
 
I just need root access because my application Droid Manager requires root for managing files and installing apps (as system apps). Also for adding init.d scripts, editing build.prop files, change system sounds (like alarm sound) and last but not least changing bootanimation (which I never did, but users asked for it :P )
And for STweaks or SetCPU + Titanium Backup. 
 
I use root to confound my friends who use iPhones.
 
Root is mandatory if you want to run a service that binds to a privileged port (<=1024) eg ftp, ssh... I know, I know, not many users want that but many of us geeks out there do!
 
I use root to install custom ROMs and move my apps/data between them. In day-to-day use, I don't ever use root, but I will need it as long as it is required to install custom recoveries and run titanium backup
 
CM isn't an option on my phone because I'm not willing to make compromises in things like camera quality and noise cancellation.
I regularly use:
Greenify
Adblock (only on select sites whose ads make mobile browsing impossible)
Root Explorer
XPosed framework for DPI tweaking
Titanium Backup
Wiimote Controller
WiFi Tether
 
Really, this is ultimately a basic question of device ownership. If you cannot obtain root access on a device that you ostensibly own, you do not have full control of that device. This isn't an issue for most people, and improved security overall is excellent. But for persons who have need to inspect and modify the systems, there is no valid reason why -- with full understanding of the associated risks -- they should not be permitted to do so. This is very basic, philosophical as well as technical, and more necessary than ever in an age of increasingly complex exploits. If we feel we need to have root access and accept the attendant risks, we must have the right to control what we own, fully and completely as permitted by law.
 
Maybe we need to implement PolicyKit on Android?
P.S. Root on my phone used for iptables.
 
Carbon/titanium backup
Tethering
Teamviewer
Tasker
Kernel
ROM manager

After reading through the comments now though- if Steve says we can make it happen without, then let's elevate our game and get on with it...
 
I largely use root for various Tasker profiles/tasks and for certain scripts that I run in scripting layer 4 android. Also is used for sixaxis and backup apps. If I didn't have root my phone would be vastly less useful to me.
 
* Backup

* iptables

* SSH daemon

* Removing useless / carrier apps  (before I got the Nexus 4)

* Kernel updates

* Changing the colour profile on the Nexus 4
 
Removal of the bloat on the non-nexus devices (but I'm usually running CM or CM-derivative custom rom on these anyway);
Root Explorer
Autostarts (seriously, why the hell do i need a gazillion of apps i don't even use on a daily basis to start up alongside with my OS, really?) - this is the most important point to me. Find a way i can edit these w/o a root and i can live w/o the above. Gotta tinker around with the 4.3 app permissions though, those seem very nice.
 
I still think people are missing the point here.  Here is a bit of history:

In the begging there was no root.  Users were locked down to whatever the phone had capabilities for.

Then 'su' was added and shortly after GUIs to 'authorize' use of root.  Although there is an prompt to allow root and to save setting users still have no idea what the program is doing or what programs that are actually going to request root.

Just recently GUIs and apps were expanded to look at (and eventually enforce) the android.permission.ACCESS_SUPERUSER permission.  Now users know that a program will request super user privilege.  App is still allowed to do whatever it wants and user still doesn't know exactly what the app is doing.


So to recap an app like all the ones are mentioned here on this post may do ANYTHING it wants to the system.  Most of the time these apps are trusted, but it would be trivial to do something malicious or accidental since there is only one method to control what an app can do.  Either you have no privileges or you have full access to do whatever the heck you want.   

Obviously this is less than ideal.  What is being proposed is not to just eliminate all root access, but start defining fine grained privilege control over what an app can do.

* Want an app to open privileged ports (<1024) then add a privilege to allow that.  This can be done with SELinux and capabilities in Linux... no root needed.  Use Android framework to control access 

* Want an app to flash to the recovery or kernel partitions?  Add a privilege.

* Want an app to be able to browse all filesystem access (this one may be a bit more tricky in the framework, but still possible). Add a privilege.  

... you start to get the point.  Allow the same access to applications that "require" root, but instead of giving them a blanket access to everything on the system limit them to common tasks that are controlled and audit-able by the system framework and better yet describes to the user exactly what the app is intended to do even before installation!



TL;DR;   To those who say root is a must, there is a zen-like better way.  
 
My 2 cents. I agree root access is 80% of the time just the easy way to implement something, and it's a poor security practice. In CM (and other open roms) there is an opportunity here for a better way, such as a backup option like titanium being included in the rom. For stock rom users however, I think I'll be a few versions before root becomes less needed. If KLP included per app backup, and moved more of its configuration files into user editable areas, it would be a good start, although I don't think the carriers would like this. 
 
To Learn, develop, test, customize, and Improve. 
Translate
 
Too many comments previously to scan through all of them, but I also have an ubuntu partition on my external sdcard so that I can run "normal" linux applications.  This is a pretty open-ended case so it's more difficult to anticipate why I'd need root, although the typical reasons are for accessing raw devices, mounting filesystems, modifying routing or firewalls, and debugging.  For Android apps, almost all of these cases are addressed these days via standard APIs (except for running custom firewall rules), but the non-Android cases are more nebulous.

That said, I'd love to have something more granular than su-or-nothing.  For instance, linux Capabilities can extend various kinds of network privileges to non-superuser applications.
 
Thats like having windows with only a guest account not having it they can keep 4.3 stick it up there ass root is not a security flaw pls you sound like a sell out
 
I use root for at least 90% of the reasons given by all the prior comments. I'm not sure you can really do a full authentic nandroid backup without root, but even if it's possible all the other 90% mentioned above remain fundamentally important to me. 
 
The only programs I have that use root are titanium backup, two different file manager programs, Rom manager, busy box and Adaway
 
I use a linux chroot environment. And droidwall. And es root explorer. 
 
I need root for:
Greenify
Dateimanager
Set DNS
DroidWall
App Quarantine
MacroDroid
 
I use root to install CM on my RAZR MAXX because the latest JB update lagged my phone so bad it is sometimes unusable. CM 10 is sweet and no lag.
 
Without Tasker I would abandon Android.
 
The needs for it have definitely decayed. TimeSync comes to mind (need root for that, sadly).
 
Linux chroot environment.  Without that possibility Android isn't a tenth as useful to me (on a tablet -- on my phone I don't care).
 
I agree one hundred percent.  I think people should be able to unlock their bootloaders to install whatever non carrier version of Android they want but is there really a need to root?  Why cant the custom OS'es just do what people want without needing root?  The security lost doesn't justify the feature gained especially when the feature can just be merged into the framework of the custom OS you were able to install via the unlocked bootloader.  We should be focusing on enabling unlocked bootloaders on every device not finding vulnerabilities that result in root with baggage (malware attack vectors)..

just my 2c
 
I use Root for -- Removing Bloatwares ( i know i can disable it), Install XPOSED framework for recording and To greenify apps which run in background otherwise.
 
I use root for just one thing - sshfs (via fuse). A bit ironically fuse means filesystems in user space, yet there are no means to use them on android without rooting.
 
The main app that I use root for is WiFi Kill - although, if there is a desktop variant I would gladly pick it up if it uses the same processes as the app. 
Otherwise, I'm trying not to root on 4.3. CM is very good, but I feel Google have done very well squeezing more battery life out of the Nexus 4.

TL;DR WiFi Kill.
 
I use root for over clocking and just optimizing my phone with out it it isn't any faster..
 
+Janis Pusmucans in user-space means that it isn't in kernel-space, not that you won't need root... It depends on what the program wants access to.
:-)
 
I use Root for Titanium Backup, Cerberus, SixAxis controller, and replacing a couple of system apps.
 
DO NOT REMOVE THE ROOT!
It's needed for example to run a NORMAL LINUX in CHROOTed environment with FULL CAPABILITIES!
If you restrict the USER from being root, you'll be like any f**king apple or microsoft thinking the user is an idiot and your software is more clever than the user!
Cyanogenmod without freedom is ridiculous.
 
+Josh Armour It would be good if you manage to force ALL f**king MANUFACTURERS to make totally free and opensource bootloaders (and I don't know how you'll manage it).

But it still won't be enough! You need a TOTALLY OPENSOURCE system to have freedom to gain your features OUTSIDE android. And now android isn't ANY close to being fully opensource. There are tons of driver blobs, proprietary system components, proprietary modifications of Android itself, there is no opensource radio, and there are DRM (DEFECTIVE BY DESIGN) components and Google incorporates more and more of them in new Android versions (instead of making good things that for example Cyanogenmod does like supporting one version for all devices). And I'm pretty sure there are backdoors. And Android has bad system design - not Unix-like and not modular in any way.

So now it's nearly impossible to have normal support for normal Linux on your android device.

SO - WE NEED ROOT. WE NEED THE FREEDOM ON OUR DEVICES.
 
I solely use root for titanium backup, use it to retain my data
 
root explorer, kernel apps, cwmapp
 
Autorun manager, root browser, data sync, secure settings, wireshark, backup, bbq screen, sixaxis, market helper, ssh tunnel, shell, sshdroid, cerberus
 
I use root for Titanium Backup, Root Call Blocker, Root Explorer, AdAway and a lot of perf. customizations... root privilege can't go away like this, it's a must have!
 
For me root is useful for automated task, such as enabling Airplamne mode at night,backing up my data once a week. If all this kind of operation could be done without root, tell me how i can.
 
+Steve Kondik True, while all of these COULD eliminate the "root required" workaround by modifying the framework - you find yourself on a treadmill where, once you've spent the time to integrate various "root" features in the OS, someone will always figure out a new use for root access.

For example, with Sixaxis Controller, while Sony has integrated support for Sixaxis into their firmwares (and we probably could too - I should talk to the Sony guys, I've just been too busy with non-Android stuff lately...), eventually some other device with an "oddball" Bluetooth protocol may show up.  (Ideally this won't happen with Sony - they have been on a move towards open standards, so the PS4 controllers might be designed to allow interfacing with unmodified Android devices.)  One problem is that while integrating this into the frameworks eliminates the need for root, it could lead to the frameworks/base OS code being full of all sorts of weird hacks to support all of these semi-esoteric use cases.

I think the two uses of root access I find myself encountering the most from a "user" perspective are the detailed statistics (such as network stats) of BetterBatteryStats (probably solvable via framework modifications) and Sixaxis Controller.
 
Here's tough one from LWN that doesn't appear to have made it here:

http://lwn.net/Articles/561192/

Agreed, special privileges should only be required for special situations. But they come up, and as an owner of the device, I need the ability to gain those privileges as needed -- not just through ADB. If gaining root locally on the device is rendered impossible, that would really suck.
For example, my USB port is acting up in my Galaxy Nexus, which causes the screen to turn on randomly. It's a hardware problem, as discussed at http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=39625, and the real fix is to replace the USB port. The next best fix would be to replace the kernel driver with one that can suppress spurious signals from the USB charger detection chip, but I'm running the stock OS and that's not trivial. Instead, I used the unlocked bootloader to install a small setuid root app that uses direct I2C writes to enable or disable the interrupt line on the offending chip. I use shortcuts to toggle it from the home screen. A hack for sure, but it's turned out to work wonderfully.
It sounds like upgrading to 4.3 is going to make that process (which only took about an hour to figure out and set up) significantly harder for me, and replacing the hardware is probably going to be a more attractive solution. Which I don't like at all -- software should do my bidding, not force me to write even more software or hack on my hardware. Whatever CM comes up with in their version of Android is very unlikely to cover this sort of use case.
 
CM Superuser Settings says I use root for:
Titanium Backup
Tasker (with Secure Settings for launching activities., toggling of GPS, security locks, etc...)
Greenify
Screen Standby Lite
OS Monitor (Taskkill & CPU scheduling)
ROM Manager
Logcat viewer
Wifi Key Recovery
 
+Steve Kondik the only way I can see this being solved across the board is to create a new root operations library, open source and available for any developer to drop into their application.  The library exposes a set of typical functions that at one time would require root.  On CM these would use the secure methods, on other ROMs these functions would fall back to requiring root or throwing an exception if the operation couldn't be done.  Over time more and more secure methods will be available in various ROMs, and fewer users will get the "You need root" message. Without something like this in place it will be hard to wean developers away from using the root crutch for their apps.
 
I like to put APKs to my /system/app, do different tweaks, etc. I really think Root access should be possible.
 
Last time I used root was to troubleshoot tethering issues (changing netfilter rules, network sniffing on an interface).
Other than that I have no real use for it on a daily basis.
 
I use root to dynamically clock my Note II's processor when benchmarking and for gaming.
 
I use root for tethering, backup, AdBlock, removing bloatware, and clocking the processor.
 
I use root to push apks and manually fix permissions etc. Oh, and to save snapchats. Lol.
 
 The only reason i root it is for Titanium Backup, and TWRP Recovery.
Google or any other Android rom doesn't have an efficient and reliable way to backup APPS and Datas (for example like apple with iCloud or iTunes Backup). Titanium Backup or nandroid backup through the recovery do. I also purchased a pro licence of Titanium to make my life easier since i really like to flash a lot of custom rom on my Nexus. The day i won't need to use Titanium, i won't use the root.
My motorola Xoom tablet, for instance is not rooted because i don't flash it.
 
I use root to backup apps/data as well as for running scripts at boot with init.d scripts. I'd be fine with losing root by default though, definitely not something that should be mandatory in CM or other ROMs. 
 
I use root to run Titanium Back Up, Tasker and load custom ROM (mostly to get rid of bloatware from the carrier). 

If those three things could be done, especially getting rid of bloatware and a native backup solution, without rooting I think I would be fairly happy. 
 
Titanium Back Up, Tasker, Ad Blocks, and TWRP. That's as far as my root needs go. 
 
Now that I am on the Share plan I do not use root for tethering anymore so other than roms that require it I only use root for backing up apps.
 
I need root for Adfree and Wifi Key Recovery
 
It seems reasonable that i could do a lot of what I do without root.  But I like to mess with system files on occasion, and I don't think I could do that without root.  Everything else - already mentioned here, tethering and backup being the loves of my life.
 
I use root for installing Custom ROMs, because 99.9 percent of the time, I am not satisfied with the stock interface.... Also, I use it for Nova Launcher Widgets in app draw along with backing up all my data each time I reset my phone, or in case I break my phone and need a replacement. I can easily root the new phone and restore my data and everything else so its like I had the same phone all along...
 
+Steve Kondik , I utilize root for the following tasks:
1.) enabling NFC functions that are not available to me otherwise (this is huge for me).
2.) Titanium Back up
3.) Clockwork Mod ROM manager.

I understand the need to balance security with functionality.  I hope a middle ground can be found.
 
I use terminal emulator very little and use it to flash ROMs 
 
-backing up apps
-making build.prop edits
-push/pulling apks from the system partition.
 *changing the permissions on those apks.
-getting logcats (does that need root?)
 
Keep root permissions alive 
 
Everything I do can be done via recovery.. No need for root privs anymore...
 
Never. That means that all of the work that people put into root. Is wasted
 
I use root mainly for custom kernels and changing out some system files with a root explorer and changing their permissions when needed.
 
Root is everything for custom thing on Android. 
 
Titanium Backup, AdAway, Cerberus, and Solid Explorer
 
Management of system apps, etc. I need root on my phone. Period. I expect the same abilities on my handheld computer as my desktop. Its not just about what I actually use it for. Its about the freedom to have it available.
 
Just to add my voice to the masses, while I agree that root is a workaround to make things like backup work, and it could be done another way, I don't think you can get around root if you want to do a linux chroot.  Linux chroot is a major productivity enhancement for me, with it I can skip the laptop entirely and just bring my tf700 on trips.  Without it I need my tablet for presentations, emacs, etc.
 
I only need root on CM for three reasons: TiBackup, flash updated versions of my recovery and to read/write  on the root filesystem.

If CM could do these three things with built in apps that don't require SU to be present. Then it could be removed! I actually agree with you. I'd prefer not needing to have CM rooted.
 
I use root for Titanium Backup and to access Time Warner Sports app on my phone that's cognizant of a rooted device trying to access their network, so I use Build Properties to remove the test-keys line from ro.build.tags, so TWS thinks its a un-rooted phone and will allow the app to work.
 
i use root for linking my apps to sd  to give me more space and backing up apps an it help me a lot, cause it cause a lot for a cell phone so by me wanting more space i will need to buy high capacity phone which i cant afford 
G Ragib
 
The apps for which I need root access are:
1. Lagfix/fstrim (not an issue in 4.3 going forward)
2. Orbot (Tor sounds like fun)
3. Greenify (I <3 terminating Facebook)
4. Carbon/Helium backup (painless backups, just the way it should be)
 
Titanium backup and tweaks with Franco kernal downloaded. Also forced Google wallet on a device or 2 it should not have worked on.
 
Like most:
1. Helium
2. Tasker
for the most part.
 
TitaniumBackup, AdBlock & Tethering... occasionally Root Explorer. 
 
U dong ge JB 山
G Ragib
+
1
2
1
 
+Gary Graf To use Helium without root, you need to connect it to your desktop and do the dance after every reboot. No such issues with root; more convenient with root.
 
If tethering & app backups like Titanium are available, root is unnecessary
 
Currently I use root for backing up and restoring apps easily from my phone, as well as free WiFi and USB tethering. If I could do this without root I don't think I'd need it.
 
Bypassing tether limits, and more customizations
 
Bypassing tether limits, and more customizations
 
Bypassing tether limits, and more customizations
 
Titanium Backup, Nandroid Manager, GooManager, Cerberus, FasterGPS, SoftKeyz, franco.Kernel updater. And occasional file manager use.

I mostly use root for roms and customization as you can see.
 
The main thing I use root for is Titanium Backup and, specifically, its ability to backup my accounts and things other than the apps themselves.  I would love to have all the functionality of TB Pro w/o the root and USB Debugging requirements.  I also use tools like Root Explorer to poke around in the system files that stock ROMs don't want you to have access to.  Sometimes this is for extracting an asset from an APK, sometimes it is just being curious.

Being a Linux SysAdmin myself, I love the idea of CM embracing SELinux and any other security that is coming with 4.3.
Dave D
 
Wwithout root how would we install custom roms like cm
 
The app datasync. I like being able to sync gamesaves and such across multiple devices and it is by far the best way to do it that I've come across. Syncing through dropbox still requires root, in order to get to the files.
 
PS, definitely like root for adblock (when it works)
 
Adblocking is pretty much the only reason I root. 
 
UX, SystemUI, Hardware control plus Linux w/o root renders our devices useless.... ;)
 
GMD Auto Hide Softkeys,
I wish the original Android 4.3 can support Auto Hide Softkeys function.
 
I use root for backup any app, remove private app... I use root for cheating in many game too !
For use a another font, use a personal boot animation :)
I use root for record my screen and do some tuto (using root) on YouTube, latest, yesterday for cheat into Drag racing
 
Personally I use root for complete app backup mainly. In recent times I've started using the Tasker plugin Secure Settings as well.
I also use root to change the fallback-font.xml to force the Japanese font to become first in line, so that whenever I'm reading anything in Japanese it falls back to a proper Japanese font instead of a Chinese one. This has more to do with Android and the way it handles Asian languages than anything, but being able to do this is a complete game changer.
 
I use root for apps which needs it, e.g AdAway, Root Explorer or Titanium Backup.
 
I use root for Titanium backup, although im looking at trying helium. from what i understand that still requires root access for some functions although not all. I also use root access for wifi tether. although i dont use it often i think having the option for root should always be there. There have been a few times where i need to use a file explorer with root to install a system app. although its not something i do on a daily basis, this is the reason i got an android phone, to be-able to have that option should i choose!
 
I agree with your motivation to add framework extensions and APIs to remove the root requirement. I think this will be the correct way to provide root capabilities with out the need for a setuid su binary. With the addition of SE for Android in 4.3, my initial thought is any solution that allows setuid su binaries to live on an Android 4.3 device will do so by negativity impacting the device's security. 

My only use case for a setuid su binary is when I need a root shell via ADB. 
 
Another app: EncPassChanger - allowing my encryption password to be different from my unlock code.
 
I use for system backup, kernel tweaking and time synchronization via ntp since my cellphone operator just give a awkward time reference which changes every time...
 
#1 reason I can think of right now for me would be to block ads, they're so annoying... 
 
I think an effort to abolish the NEED for root is great, but not an effort to get rid of it altogether. I agree that Android is far more secure when it's not rooted, and that an effort to increase security is certainly welcome. The more things that can be done without needing to invoke root privileges the better, provided said method is just as effective and reliable.

However I do feel that the option needs to be there, and anyone flashing a custom rom should have the expectation that root options are always there built right into their rom.

I've long wondered why Android doesn't seem to implement the Linux permissions very well. All OEM versions have superuser access completely blocked off, and all the means of restoring it basically give you open su access at all times with no password or anything required. I understand it would be annoying to have to type in a password all the time, but it would be nice if we could have the ability to invoke su permissions, or grant them to particular apps as needed, without it basically being wide open all the time. And it would be a great step in this direction to involve apis that eliminate the need for most apps to use root, so we don't have to give open root access to so many apps, and could reasonably allow it only as needed for a given time, just like most Linux distros.

Doing this would make things far more secure for the user who flashes an AOSP based rom simply because they want to improve performance and functionality, don't trust the OEM code to not have backdoors in it, or simply want to extend the useful life of an older device. Yet it would still allow those of us who are enthusiasts and do have some idea of what we're doing to still have the freedom to mess around with system files and such like we're used to.

Those are my thoughts, I'll be interested to see how this develops going forward +Steve Kondik 
 
I use root for improving my battery life with apps such as Greenify, for occiasional kernel tinkering and little else. Also because I think to be able to handle it, being an informed adult.
If #Android keeps on improving, then a small fraction of its user base will keep on feeling the need for root, but the large majority could be completely cool with unrooted devices. It all depends on how well the OEMs personalise Android in the near future: some of their ROMs suck noodles pretty bad and offer no comparable advantage over an AOSP-based ROM.
 
ClockSync (NTP)
Cerberus (Anti-theft)
TitaniumBackup
 
I'm the author of the above mentioned android-rsap app. It needs root for the following functions (in order of importance):

1. Install a RIL interception lib in /system/lib that enables accessing the RIL interface from an app other than Phone.apk and additionally does some RIL state management.

2. Create a domain socket in /dev/sockets. I know I could create it somewhere else, but where...? Some phones already have the directory rw for everyone, but some don't.

3. Hack the Bluetooth SDP. There is a major flaw in Android's Bluetooth API: There is no way to specify a full SDP record for a server socket, which is needed by some client devices to discover the SAP profile properly. I use sdptool when the BT stack is BlueZ, or an undocumented D-Bus interface available on some HTC phones. Both workarounds don't work with a standard app user account.

4. To create a Bluetooth communication log (HCI). This is not really necessary, but nice to have for debugging.
 
Only time su is needed is if I'm feeling too lazy to go plug-in to my cpu. Selinux has a security policy. That security policy can be rewritten to give yourself su if need be. I'd like to see a TPM managing key(s) and either key in or password in to su ::shrug:: you blindly set an app to always have su permissions... that could be not so good on a communication device. People forget this though in the name of convenience. I like Steve's suggestion of APIs or some method to only assign permission(s) needed [when needed even]. Google has given us selinux. It is up to builders on how to use or rewrite the security policy. I trust Cyanogenmod will do it wisely.
 
Another use case could be changing selinux policies. Imagine you download an app like Samung Knox, designed to separate work related stuff from personal stuff. At first, the head of the IT department of your company allows to view your corporate email from your personal profile. Then, down the road, you get access to sensitive information and then of course the head of IT forces you to view your corporate email from your work profile. To do that he may have to change selinux policies. And selinux policies is something you want to keep root only.
 
Proper proxy support requires root access, it's bizarre that full proxy support is not available without root
 
Basically firewall configuration is the only reason i need root. I also use tasker with secure settings to toggle gps and do some other awesome stuff, but firewall is a must have while others are not.
 
I just flashed CM10.2 and lost root on my device...how do I go about getting back? Simply flashing any old SU.zip or something specific for CM?
 
LUKS manager, Stickmount and basically anything that must mount a file system.
 
I use root to run SlapOS on phones, tablets and mini PCs.
http://community.slapos.org/forum/SlapOS-on-Android

SlapOS turns those device into a decentralized cloud server. Here is an example of device I use:

https://twitter.com/ramonnerat/status/357433116299759616/photo/1

I am considering how to drop root requirement. In reality, this can be considered, however, the following becomes difficult:
- start OpenVPN tunnels (I use re6st to do the job)
- launch babeld daemon (this provides a kind of resilient overlay IPv6 network between device)
-  allocate multiple IPv6 addresses to the device

It would also be nice to be able to
- create multiple user accounts
- launche supervisord in a mode that can start processes with a different user
Cl En
 
For the record :-)

Automagic and Tasker Secure Settings, ClockSync, trinity kernel, TB, AFWall+, RootDim, LBE, exDialer ConnectVibrate, Cryptonite, rsync backup
 
I only use root for two things, both of which should be possible without root:
1)  Removing bloated carrier apps.
2)  Scheduled reboot. (My phone reboots every day at 2AM if the screen is off)

The only other root like thing I have done is flash it to a stock image (It is a Nexus) with my region since it was originally a European phone.
 
I am an absolute newbie to ANDROID. I have an Indian RELIANCE 3G Phablet, which is a ZTE-V9C device. This is a co. locked phablet which came with GINGERBREAD OS. ( A later V9CA model came with ICS OS). A local technician could not root it but unlocked it so that I can use any service Provider of my choice. Could you please guide me to how to install CYANOGENMOD on this device? Are there any detailed Articles/Books available on the subject? If not, somebody should do the Android community a great favor by writing the same. And finally where can I read an answer to my request.
REPLY PLEASE & OBLIGE
 
I am going to keep this page open for the next 24 hours. Thanks.
REPLY PLEASE & OBLIGE.
 
Greenify, BBS, and many other tweaking apps require root. Although root could be disabled once phone is running how u like??? Surely root is needed to stat with 
 
Removing bloatware, using Titanium, Crossbreeder Mod (lots of root needed there), Adblock Plus, TOR, Root Explorer, Greenify, and last but not least, ViPRE4Android... which apparently doesn't work with the latest nightly Superuser and requires SuperSU to function.
 
mounting, and chroot()ing in a debian fs image.
 
Tasker.
Greenify.
TiBu.
Flashing custom roms.
Firewall.
Bloatware management.
Adfree.
Root explorer.
Governor and scheduler tweaks.
I'm sure there's more.

You don't seriously expect me to connect my phone to the PC and type away via ADB every time I want to do any of the above. Besides, I don't even know how to use ADB and you can't expect from everyone to know.

Besides, as long I approve only apps I know, what is wrong with root ?
 
ad blocking and lets not forget ORBOT. if I want my phone to proxy everything without having to tweak every app its needed. kinda high and mighty to suggest that everyone needs to plug into ADB every time they need an app to have elevated privileges. Lets be honest your just backing off of root so your new industry overlords(and financial backers) will let you play.
 
i need root to have my very expensive smartfone and tablet customised like i want, and many of the things were said before, to have a complete backup so if i need to put it back im minutes,
i think what is stupid is don't get all the features and tweaks available on stock roms to ppl dont need root,
as for example to expend the internal sd (storage as app) you have to use an external app so you can put my things and apps on the external sd card , way not to have the auto mount available in first place and the possibility of say i want to install this on external sd. ,
why if i don't use an pre installed app in system i can't uninstall it do have more space for update the ones o use and i have to do root because of a lack of space,
 i can't understand why i have to crack my one expensive smartfone to have it like o want or more friendly user to mi.?
i think its obvious why ppl root the equipments, if wasn't needed, no one du it.

i have a root on my stock rom , i rooted it install and change the things i want then deactivated the su if i need to get an app to have permissions reactive it and its dane , so easy, why this is not possible in first place?

dont say its because you can damage your device, thats fake, protect the system itself don't put rubbish in the system put it out and let the buyer decide what he want to use or don't. 

wy many excellent apps on play store, who help to put the equipments working better, need to have root  if its not needed? 

i hope one day android will be perfect and we don't need root to do all we need it for now. 

i don't meant to be rude only express my self to your words.
 
Titanium Backup.
Ads block.
Change fonts.
etc...
It's up to the user to decide if he/she wants to root the device, not to anybody else.
Max Taf
 
Would you buy a laptop where you didn't have admin access, but the manufacturer still did? Where said manufacturer could access your system anytime you were on the internet? 
If you don't have root access for your Android device, you have done this.
I don't trust Google enough to be willing to let them have a back door into my system. 
 
Screen dimming: I use root to allow a dimming app to dim my screen display below the lowest brightness. This is essential, as I can't otherwise comfortably use my phone at night. 

Screen calibration: Some phones benefit from becoming much nicer when the display is calibrated differently. 
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