How to unroot Android

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

Android is the most popular operating system in the world. According to the latest figures from Kantar, the Google-owned software accounted for a whopping 61.8% of smartphone devices in UK as of March 2020. 

Despite its massive popularity and the fact that it's widely regarded as easy to use and customisable, Android isn't to everybody's taste. Luckily for those people, Google's mobile OS is based on open-source software, so it can be rooted, essentially giving you root access to the Android operating system code.

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However, what happens when you want to unroot your device and restore it to its original state, perhaps for security reasons to because you want to sell your device?

Like rooting, it's not an easy process, but there are a few different methods you can use, and which one you’ll use will depend on your device and the version of Android you’re running. Before you get started, making sure you back up all of your data, because uprooting will remove everything from your phone. 

Unrooting Android: ES File Explorer

ES File Explorer is software for managing data on Android. It has a host of tools to do the job and very few people seem to realise that it can be used to unroot Android from a device. The best thing is it's free to download. 

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.

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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.

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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

While the two previous apps are free, Universal Unroot will come at a price - albeit just 78p, which is definitely worth spending if you've had no luck unrooting so far.

It won't be worth the expense for Samsung device users though, as Universal Unroot may not work on Galaxy devices from 2013 due to the company's pre-loaded Knox software. Some have also noted that it doesn't fully function on LG devices, as LG's eFuse software may still say your device is rooted after you have indeed unrooted it. 

The app is pretty straight forward and will simply guide you through the uprooting process for your Android smartphone and or tablet. 

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