You can now root Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon variant on all US carriers in the US, using the new Extreme Syndicate root method. The instructions in this guide are compatible with any Snapdragon Note 8 with SM-N950U/SM-N950U1 model number and V7 bootloader revision.
Samsung has been readily processing its flagship devices in two different variants – Exynos and Snapdragon. It has been the same since the company launched the S7 and for the Galaxy Note 8 as well in this case. There are several situations where Exynos under-powers the Snapdragon variant in the case of Samsung. But the one we will be talking about today is – rooting the Snapdragon variant of the Galaxy Note 8.
If your phone is on BL V1, V2, or V3, then you can visit an old archived copy of this page for the required files and instructions.
- 1 Rooting the Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon Variant
- 2 Prerequisites
- 3 Downloads
- 4 How to Root Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon?
- 4.1 Step 1: Perform Factory Reset and Enter Download Mode on Galaxy Note 8
- 4.2 Step 2: Flash Combination Firmware using Odin Flash Tool
- 4.3 Step 3: Run ‘APPS_INSTALLER.bat’ and Reboot the Phone
- 4.4 Step 4: Grant Read, Write, and Execute Permissions for ‘Persist’ Partition
- 4.5 Step 5: Run ‘ROOT_INSTALLER.bat’ to root Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon
- 4.6 Step 6: Install the ROM
Rooting the Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon Variant
We already have a tutorial published on our blog to root Exynos Note 8, and it is much similar to our day-to-day rooting method that involves installing TWRP recovery first and then flashing the Magisk zip via it.
But things are actually very different, and difficult at the same time when it comes to the Snapdragon variant of the phone. That’s because, unlike the Exynos variants, the bootloader on the Snapdragon variants is not unlock-able. And hence, the generic method of flashing TWRP via ODIN and then rooting through Magisk is bound to fail.
This latest method to root the Snapdragon Galaxy Note 8 has been developed and brought to us by the Extreme Syndicate team. This is the same group that recently developed the rooting solution for the Snapdragon Galaxy S9, S9+, and Note 9. Team member and XDA RD elliwigy is the one who actually found the exploit that is being used for rooting the phone.
And XDA RC and developer jrkruse is the one who is handling the development front for the Snapdragon Galaxy Note 8. He’s the same person who initially brought a rooting method for the Snapdragon Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note 8, that we have been using in this guide previously. However, that method was limited to V5 and V6 bootloaders only. With the latest bootloader revision, that is V7, the old method didn’t work.
So, jrkruse modified the Extreme Syndicate root method to work on the Note 8. This means you can now easily root your Snapdragon Galaxy Note 8 running the V7 bootloader using it.
Now before you go ahead and follow the instructions, take a look at some important information below to debrief yourself with the method that will follow.
- This guide and the included instructions are only for the Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon variant with SM-N950U and N950U1 model numbers, which are the US models.
- This method will only work if your phone is using version V7 bootloader.
- To find out your phone’s bootloader version, go to Settings → About phone → Software information and check the information under the ‘Baseband version‘ section. For example, if it says “N950USQS7DTA5”. The “S7” here denotes the bootloader version, which is V7.
- This will not unlock your phone’s bootloader. It will still be locked.
- The KNOX counter will not be tripped at all.
- Root on Android Pie/Oree is not possible. In simpler words, you will not have root permissions on Android Pie or Oreo. So, you have the following two choices:
- Either stick with the pre-rooted Android Nougat OS, if you really want root.
- Or, install the Android Pie ROM with Safestrap recovery. Once that is installed, you can use Safestrap to apply modifications to your phone by flashing zips or making modifications to the system partition.
This has some additional benefits as well like the ROM is debloated of any useless apps, has features like native hotspot and multi-user support enabled, and also has Samsung Pay, Secure Folder, Samsung Pass working.
With that information at hand, now head over to the instructions below to root Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon.
A word of caution
Make sure that you go through the instructions beforehand and understand what they exactly tell you to do. Do not deviate from them at any point or disconnect/power off your phone during the process until you’re asked to do so.
- Your device’s internal storage and all data will be wiped (Possibly more than a few times) during this process. So make sure that you take a complete backup of all your data stored on the phone. We suggest you follow our guide on how to backup Android phones.
- Charge your Note 8 to a sufficient battery level. This will prevent any breakage during the process.
- Install the latest Samsung Mobile USB drivers and Qualcomm HS-USB QDLoader USB Drivers on your PC.
- Also, download the latest Android Platform-tools package, extract it, and add it to your Windows PC PATH (Environment Variable). Alternatively, you can also use Minimal ADB and Fastboot that automates the whole process for you.
- Download Modded Odin v3.13.1 by Raymonf from here and extracted the downloaded ZIP file to an easily accessible location on your PC.
Once you have everything set up, you can easily root Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon. If you’re new to the whole rooting scene, make sure to take your time and understand each and every step before you execute.
When asked to download a specific file during the instructions, come back here to download it.
How to Root Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon?
For your convenience and better understanding, we have split the complete instructions into 5 different steps. Make sure that you follow them in the mentioned order and do not skip any of the steps.
Step 1: Perform Factory Reset and Enter Download Mode on Galaxy Note 8
The first step in order to root is to perform a factory reset via the stock recovery and then boot your Snapdragon Note 8 into Download Mode. To do so:
- Power off your phone completely.
- Then hold the Volume Up, Bixby, and Power buttons simultaneously to boot your phone into the stock recovery mode.
- In recovery mode, use the Volume buttons to select the ‘Wipe data/factory reset’ and press the power button to confirm the selection.
- When prompted, select ‘Factory data reset’ to confirm.
- Now, select the ‘Reboot to Bootloader’ option in the stock recovery to enter Download Mode on your Galaxy Note 8.
With your phone in Download Mode, it is now ready to be flashed with the combination firmware. So, head over to step #2.
Step 2: Flash Combination Firmware using Odin Flash Tool
The first thing you have to do is download the combination firmware package (COMBINATION_FA70_N950USQU7ASK1.tar.7z) for your Snapdragon Note 8 from the ‘Downloads’ section above. Once downloaded, extract the file (using 7Zip, or any other archive utility) to a suitable location on your PC. You should now have the combination firmware file for your phone in .tar.md5 format. This is the file that needs to be flashed.
So now, connect your phone to the PC while it’s in Download Mode using a USB cable. Then launch the modded Odin tool by double-clicking the ‘Modded Odin v3.13.1 Raymonf.exe‘ file. The Odin tool GUI should now be shown on your PC’s screen and it should display the COM port to which your Note 8 is connected. Click on the ‘AP‘ button and select the combination firmware file (i.e. COMBINATION_FA70_N950USQU7ASK1.tar.md5) that you extracted earlier.
Now, you’re ready to flash your phone. Just make sure that the ‘F.Reset Time‘ and ‘Auto Reboot‘ options are checked in the Odin tool. Finally, hit the ‘Start‘ button in Odin to flash the combination firmware on your Snapdragon Note 8.
Once the flashing process finishes, you should see a ‘PASS!‘ message in the Odin tool and your phone will reboot automatically into the combination OS. Since this is a low-level testing firmware used by Samsung internally, the UI will differ. It should look similar to the one shown in the image below.
Step 3: Run ‘APPS_INSTALLER.bat’ and Reboot the Phone
Now, in this step, you have to run a batch file on your PC which will sideload some apps that are required to go ahead with the rooting procedure.
So, with your Galaxy Note 8 now in the combination OS, connect it to the PC via a USB cable. Then download the ‘N8_ROOT.7z’ file from the ‘Downloads’ section and extract the file on your PC. The extract files should contain the ADB binaries, a bunch of APK files, and two Windows batch files namely ‘APPS_INSTALLER.bat’ and ‘ROOT_INSTALLER.bat’.
Simply double-click the ‘APPS_INSTALLER.bat’ file to run it. It will sideload/install the required APK files on your Note 8. Once finished, reboot your phone.
Step 4: Grant Read, Write, and Execute Permissions for ‘Persist’ Partition
When your phone boots, it should prompt you to select the default launcher application. Choose ‘Pixel Launcher’ as it would make easier for you to find the installed apps.
Now go to the app drawer, launch the ‘Factory IME‘ application, and enter *#9900# in the dialer. This should open the ‘SysDump‘ screen that will show a lot of different debugging tests. Scroll down, select ‘AUDIOCORE DEBUG‘, then ‘TEST HELPER‘, and finally ‘Utils‘.
You should now see the ‘AUDIOCOREDEBUG‘ screen with a couple of options. Tap on the box that says ‘ADB Commands‘, type in ‘chmod -R 0777 /persist‘ and press the ‘SEND‘ button. The command will basically grant read/write/execute permissions to the ‘Persist’ partition of your Note 8.
Step 5: Run ‘ROOT_INSTALLER.bat’ to root Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon
Now, in order to root your Snapdragon Galaxy Note 8, you have to run the ‘ROOT_INSTALLER.bat’ file on your PC. To do this, simply connect your phone to the PC via a USB cable and double-click on the ‘ROOT_INSTALLER.bat’ file that you previously extracted during step #3.
The batch file will copy all the required root binaries and reboot your phone. When your Note 8 reboots, it should be rooted via SuperSU and you can confirm this by launching the ‘FlashFire’ application. At this point, you will also have the SafeStrap Recovery installed on your phone.
As soon as the flashing process finishes, your Snapdragon Note 8 will reboot into the Safestrap recovery. The recovery is based on TWRP v3.3.1-0 and follows the same UI. You can use it to flash mods, backup/restore a Nandroid backup, flash firmware image files, etc.
Step 6: Install the ROM
The process isn’t over yet. As you may notice, the phone is still running the combination OS. From here on, you have two choices – (1) Install Pre-Rooted Nougat ROM or (2) Install Android Pie ROM with Safestrap Recovery.
Step 6.1: Install Pre-rooted Nougat ROM
Now, all you have to do is download the pre-rooted Nougat ROM, extract the system.img file from it and flash it using Safestrap Recovery. Further, you will also need to flash Nougat-compatible Safestrap recovery (via Safestrap itself) and then the fix for fingerprint and face unlock issues (via Odin). Just follow the instructions below:
- Download the following files on your PC:
- Extract the “system.img” file from the downloaded “Rooted_N950USQS3BRB4.rar” file using an archive utility (like 7Zip, WinRAR, etc).
- Transfer the extracted “system.img” and “Safestrap-4.10-B03-GREATQLTE-NOUGAT.zip” files to your Snapdragon Note 8’s storage.
- Now reboot your phone and press the ‘Recovery’ button when you see the Safestrap splash screen.
- In Safestrap, tap on the “Install” button and then on “Install Image”.
- Navigate to your phone’s internal storage and select the “system.img” file. When prompted to select the partition, select “System Image”.
- Swipe the button on the bottom to flash the pre-rooted Nougat System Image on your Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon.
- Now go back to the recovery’s main menu and press the “Install” button again.
- Select the “Safestrap-4.10-B03-GREATQLTE-NOUGAT.zip” file and flash it.
- Once done, go to the “Reboot” menu in Safestrap and tap on “DOWNLOAD”. Your phone should now reboot and enter the Download Mode.
- Connect your phone to the PC while it is in Download Mode.
- Launch the modded Odin by Raymonf and select the “BL_N950_NOUGAT_V7.tar.md5” file in the “BL” slot.
- Finally, click on the “Start” button to flash the file.
As soon as the process finishes, your Note 8 will automatically reboot into the pre-rooted Android Nougat OS.
Step 6.2: Install Android Pie Safestrap ROM
Download the Android Pie Safestrap ROM package from this link. Once downloaded, extract the ‘N950USQS7DTA5_SAFESTRAP.rar’ package on your PC. The extracted files should contain everything you will need for flashing the ROM.
- Transfer the ‘DTA5_SYSTEM.img’ file to your Note 8’s internal storage.
- Reboot your phone into SafeStrap recovery. To do this, power off the phone and turn it on. When you see the Safestrap splash screen, simply press ‘Recovery’ to enter recovery mode.
- In Safestrap, go to ‘Install’ and press the ‘Install Image’ button on the bottom. Navigate to your phone’s internal storage and select the ‘DTA5_SYSTEM.img’ file you transferred earlier.
- When prompted to select the partition, select ‘System Image’ and swipe the button to flash the file and install the Android Pie ROM on your Snapdragon Note 8.
- Now, go to the ‘Reboot’ menu in Safestrap and select ‘Download’. This will reboot your phone into Download Mode.
- Connect the phone to the PC while it’s in Download Mode.
- Launch the modded Odin tool by double-clicking the ‘Modded Odin v3.13.1 Raymonf.exe’ file.
- Load the following files in their respective slots in the Odin tool:
- ‘BL_N950USQS7DTA5.tar.md5’ file in the ‘BL’ slot.
- ‘HOME_CSC_OYN_N950U_CACHE.tar.md5’ file in the ‘CSC’ slot.
- Finally, click on the ‘Start’ button to begin the flashing.
After the flashing process finishes, you should see the ‘PASS!’ message in Odin, and the phone should reboot automatically. You now have Android Pie ROM installed on your phone, along with pre-loaded SafeStrap recovery. This means you can use the recovery to flash mods on your Snapdragon Note 8.
We couldn’t end this post without thanks XDA RC jrkruse and all other developers who are associated with the project. Also, a huge thanks to one of our readers, Perry Freeman for sharing the Safestrap screenshots.