How to unroot Android

If you've rooted your Android device, here’s how to get everything back to normal

Most smartphone users are either tied into the Apple ecosystem with the iOS platform, or their devices are installed with an Android-based system. There are, however, a multitude of alternative operating systems that you can install onto your device if Android simply isn’t up to scratch, for whatever reason.

Google’s flagship mobile OS is the most widely-used across the world, with the latest figures from Kantar suggesting it accounts for 53% of smartphones in the UK, compared with 47% using iOS. Despite its dominance, however, it’s possible to dissociate yourself from Android by installing platforms such as Plasma Mobile, Pure OS, Lune OS, or a handful of other less commonly known alternatives.

Given that Android is based on open source software, all users are able to gain root access to the operating system's code. This, in turn, allows you to gain privileges to modify the software on any device, and replace it with systems that device makers wouldn’t normally let you install.

This is a complicated process, and we wouldn’t recommend that novice users transition away from Android any time soon. Nevertheless, there are a handful of tools that you can deploy to help you get started in this process. We've picked out three, but there are so many more to choose from.

Before you use any of the following apps, you should back up your data, because unrooting will wipe your device entirely.

Unrooting Android: ES File Explorer

For users hoping to manage their data on Android devices, there’s ES File Explorer. This app offers a variety of tools, although very few users might be aware that it can also be used to unroot Android from a device entirely. While this is a free app, be wary of ads.

Firstly, download the ES File Explorer tool from the Google Play Store. Once launched, you'll be shown a long list of functions the app can perform. Ignore these, and select the menu drop-down at the top left.

Scroll down this menu until you see options with button sliders, some on and some off. One of these will be the Root Explorer option (off by default) - switch this on and it will ask for root privileges.

Back on the main screen of the app, hit the box with the storage information at the top of the screen and locate the device's root folder - this will typically be in "system" | "bin". Find and delete both the "su" and "busybox" files.

Now head back to the main screen, hit the storage info box again and this time look for the "app" folder. In here you want to delete a file labelled "superuser.apk".

Once that's done, you can restart your device. Once it boots back up, your device should be unrooted and back to its original state.

Unrooting Android: SuperSU

One of the most popular methods to root and unroot an Android device is SuperSU.

If your device is already rooted, chances are that you have this installed on it already. If you don't, it is easy enough to go to the Google Play Store and download it.

When this is installed, launch the app and tap on the Settings tab. Scroll down the page until you see an option called "Full unroot", then tap on this. The app will then ask if you are sure you want to completely unroot the device. Tap continue. 

Once this is done, the app will automatically close and you will need to restart the device. Once it has rebooted, you can uninstall SuperSU and your device will be unrooted once more. 

Unrooting Android: Universal Unroot

Universal Unroot is now free to use, having previously costed roughly 78p to install, and it's worth using if you have issues with other methods of uprooting. The app is pretty straightforward and will simply guide you through the uprooting process for your Android smartphone and or tablet. 

However, this will also depend on your model of smartphone as some manufacturers have software that prevents it. Samsung Galaxy devices, for instance, have the company's Knox software pre-loaded, which blocks Universal Unroot. LG devices have eFuse software which is supposed to do the same.

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