How to Root Samsung Galaxy S8 Snapdragon Variant using Extreme Syndicate Root Method

How to Root Snapdragon Galaxy S8

This step-by-step guide will instruct you on how to root Galaxy S8 Snapdragon with V7 bootloader, using the new Extreme Syndicate root method. The method is compatible with SM-G950U and SM-G950U1 models sold in the US.

Samsung has been consistently releasing its flagship devices in two different variants – Exynos and Snapdragon since the S7 era. The trend continued with the Galaxy S8/Note 8 series and is still persistent with the latest Galaxy devices. I already have a tutorial covered on this website to root Galaxy S8/S8+ with Exynos SoC and it is based on the standard rooting method that involves installing TWRP and then flashing SuperSU/Magisk via it.

But things tend to get a bit complicated when it comes to Snapdragon-equipped Samsung devices and rooting. That’s because, unlike the Exynos variants, the bootloaders on the Snapdragon variants sold in the US are not unlock-able. And hence, the generic method of flashing TWRP via ODIN and then rooting through Magisk would fail rigorously.

Table of Contents

Rooting Galaxy S8 Snapdragon using Extreme Syndicate Method

This guide has been updated multiple times in the past with new root methods that were discovered for the Galaxy S8 snapdragon. The last one that worked, and on which this guide was based on till now, was the ‘EDL method’. But that was limited to phones with V5 and V6 bootloader version. With the most recent software updates from Samsung, the bootloader version was bumped up to V7 and that process didn’t work anymore.

But thanks to the Extreme Syndicate team, you can now root your Galaxy S8 Snapdragon variant. This new method and the involved exploit was found by team member and XDA Recognized Developer elliwigy for the Galaxy S9, S9+, and Note 9 equipped with the Snapdragon SoC initially. Another team member and XDA RC jrkruse, who is also responsible for the previous root solutions for this device, ported the new method for the Galaxy S8.

I have already covered a guide to root Galaxy Note 8 Snapdragon using this same method. The only difference between both the guides is the files used during the process.

The Extreme Syndicate root method basically uses an exploit found in the Android Nougat combination firmware (A low-level test OS) to root the phone. From there on, you can either install the pre-rooted Nougat ROM or the Android Pie ROM with Safestrap recovery. Now before you go ahead and follow the instructions, take a look at some of the important information about this new root process.

  • This method supports any Snapdragon Galaxy S8 sold in the US with V7 bootloader version.
  • You can use this method despite the Android version installed on your phone. However, in order to gain root permissions, you will need to install a pre-rooted Nougat ROM. The supplied Nougat ROM is pre-rooted with SuperSU and has Flashfire and Safestrap recovery pre-installed.
  • If you’d strictly want to stick with Android Pie, you can opt for the Android Pie ROM and use the Safestrap recovery to apply modifications to the software.

With that information at hand, head over to the instructions to root Galaxy S8 Snapdragon.

How to Root Snapdragon Galaxy S8

Supported Devices

The following Galaxy S8 model numbers are supported. If your device has a model number other than the ones mentioned below, then this method will not work on it.

  • SM-G950U
  • SM-G950U1

This process will work regardless if your Galaxy S8 is running Android 9 Pie, Android 8.0 Oreo or Android 7.1.1 Nougat. What’s important is that your Bootloader version/revision must be V7

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 “G950USQS7DTB3”. The “S7” here denotes the bootloader version, which is V7.

A word of caution & disclaimer

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.

Rooting is a risky process and TheCustomDroid.com, or any of its members shall not be held responsible for any damage caused to your device during or after following the process.

Prerequisites

  • 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 Galaxy S8’s battery to a sufficient battery level. The whole process is a bit long and you wouldn’t want your device to suddenly switch off during it.
  • Install the latest Samsung Mobile USB drivers on your PC.
  • Lastly, download Modded Odin3 3.13.1 by Raymonf from here and extract it on the PC. Do not use the normal version of the Odin tool for this method!

Downloads

When asked to download a file during the instructions, come back here.

Extreme Syndicate Root Package

Pre-rooted Android Nougat ROM

Android Pie Safestrp ROM

How to Root Galaxy S8 Snapdragon?

For your convenience and better understanding, I have split the instructions into six (6) major steps. Make sure that you follow each and every step in the mentioned order and do not deviate from them at any point.

Step 1: Perform Factory Reset and Enter Download Mode on Galaxy S8

The first step in order to root is to perform a factory reset via the stock recovery and then boot your Snapdragon Galaxy S8 into Download Mode. To do so, power off your phone first. Then hold the Volume Up, Bixby, and Power buttons simultaneously to boot your phone into the stock recovery mode.

Perform Factory Reset on Snapdragon Galaxy S8 using Stock Recovery

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 and perform a factory reset. Once done, select the ‘Reboot to Bootloader’ option in the stock recovery to enter Download Mode on your Galaxy S8.

Boot Snapdragon Galaxy S8 into Download Mode

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

Download the combination firmware package (COMBINATION_FA70_G950USQU7ASK1.tar.7z) for your Galaxy S8 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 phone is connected. Click on the ‘AP‘ button and select the combination firmware file (i.e. COMBINATION_FA70_G950USQU7ASK1.tar.md5) that you extracted earlier.

Flash Combination Firmware on Snapdragon Galaxy S8 using Odin

 

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 Galaxy S8.

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.

Combination Firmware (Test OS) on Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus Snapdragon

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 S8 now in the combination OS, connect it to the PC via a USB cable. Then download the ‘S8_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’.

Run 'APPS_INSTALLER.bat' file on your Windows PC

Simply double-click the ‘APPS_INSTALLER.bat’ file to run it. It will sideload/install the required APK files on your Galaxy S8. 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‘.

Launch Factory IME App on Snapdragon Galaxy S8

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 Galaxy S8.

Enter ADB Command in AudioCoreDebug

Step 5: Run ‘ROOT_INSTALLER.bat’ to root Galaxy S8 Snapdragon

Now, in order to root your Snapdragon Galaxy S8, 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 Galaxy S8 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.

Note: If the script fails to work and shows an error, please try this trick posted by one of our readers (Thanks ApexMcCaprino!)

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 Safestrap ROM.

Step 6.1: Install Pre-rooted Nougat ROM

  1. Download the pre-rooted Nougat ROM system image and Nougat-compatible Safestrap recovery files from the ‘Downloads’ section of this post.
  2. Extract the “system.img” file from the downloaded “Rooted_G950USQS2BRB1.rar” file using an archive utility (like 7Zip, WinRAR, etc).
  3. Transfer the extracted “system.img” and “Safestrap-4.10-B03-DREAMQLTE-NOUGAT.zip” files to your phone’s storage.
  4. Now reboot your phone and press the ‘Recovery’ button when you see the Safestrap splash screen.
  5. In Safestrap, tap on the “Install” button and then on “Install Image”.Install Pre-rooted Nougat System Image on Snapdragon Galaxy S8
  6. Navigate to your phone’s internal storage and select the “system.img” file. When prompted to select the partition, select “System Image”.
  7. Swipe the button on the bottom to flash the pre-rooted Nougat System Image on your Snapdragon Galaxy S8.
  8. Now go back to the recovery’s main menu and press the “Install” button again.
  9. Select the “Safestrap-4.10-B03-GREATQLTE-NOUGAT.zip” file and flash it.
  10. Once done, go to the “Reboot” menu in Safestrap and tap on “DOWNLOAD”. Your phone should now reboot and enter the Download Mode.Enter Download Mode on Snapdragon Galaxy S8 using Safestrap Recovery
  11. Connect your phone to the PC while it is in Download Mode.
  12. Download the V7 bootloader file (BL_G950_NOUGAT_V7.tar.7z) on the PC and extract it.
  13. Launch the modded Odin tool by Raymonf and select the “BL_G950_NOUGAT_V7.tar.md5” file in the “BL” slot.
    Install Nougat BL with Fingerprint and Face Unlock Fix on Snapdragon Galaxy S8
  14. Finally, click on the “Start” button to flash the file.

Once the flashing process finishes, your Galaxy S8 will reboot into the pre-root Nougat OS with Safestrap recovery installed. You can now download and install root applications of your choice or mods like ViPER4Android to enhance the audio on your phone.

Further, according to the developer, it is important to flash the Nougat-compatible Safestrap Recovery (Safestrap-4.10-B03-DREAMQLTE-NOUGAT.zip) via the Safestrap itself to fix constant booting into Safestrap.

Step 6.2: Install Android Pie Safestrap ROM

Download the Android Pie Safestrap ROM package from the ‘Downloads’ section. Extract the downloaded ‘G950USQS7DTA6_SAFESTRAP.rar’ to a new folder. The extract files should contain the Android Pie system image, BL, and CSC files.
Snapdragon Galaxy S8 Android Pie Safestrap ROM Files

Transfer the ‘DTA5_SYSTEM.img’ file to your Galaxy S8’s internal storage. Once done, reboot your phone into Safestrap recovery mode. To do this, power off the phone and turn it on. When you see the Safestrap splash screen, simply press ‘Recovery’.

In Safestrap recovery, 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 that 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 Galaxy S8.
Install Android Pie System Image on Snapdragon Galaxy S8 using Safestrap Recovery

Now, the other files that you need to flash are the Android Pie BL and CSC files through Odin. To do this, boot your Galaxy S8 into Download Mode by going to the ‘Reboot’ menu in Safestrap and tap on ‘Download’. Next, 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. The COM port for your connected phone should appear on the top-left of the Odin screen.

Now, click on the ‘BL’ button and select the ‘BL_G950USQU7DTA6.tar.md5’ file to load it. Next, click on the ‘CSC’ button and select the ‘HOME_CSC_OYN_G950U_CACHE.tar.md5’ file. Once both the files have been loaded, click on ‘Start’ to begin the flashing process.

Install Android Pie BL and CSC Files on Snapdragon Galaxy S8 using Odin

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.

From here on, you can use Safestrap to flash compatible mods on your rooted Snapdragon S8. You can look up for such mods on the XDA forums or consult the developer by visiting the original XDA thread. The link for the same could be found at the bottom of this post.

So, this was our guide on how to root Galaxy S8 Snapdragon running V7 bootloader, using the new Extreme Syndicate root method. If you come across any roadblocks during the process, drop a comment below, and I will be more than happy to help you out.

I couldn’t end this post without thanking XDA RC jrkruse, the complete Extreme Syndicate team, and everyone who contributed towards this successful root solution.

Source: XDA (1 & 2)