Google is expected to unveil the new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones on Oct. 4 at an event in San Francisco. Fans of Google's Nexus devices will surely be looking forward to the successors of the now defunct line, with the new smartphones said to come preinstalled with a special version of Android 7.1 Nougat.
The freedom and openness that Android provides are among the biggest selling points of the operating system compared to rival iOS of Apple. A process called rooting allows users to gain access to a wider range of features on their Android device, allowing users to maximize the usage of their smartphone. Among the capabilities of users with rooted devices include blocking advertisements and installing custom themes and software.
Google's Nexus smartphones, with the last ones released being the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P, have long received heavy support for rooting, with these devices receiving custom ROMs and other root-related features the fastest. Some users who are looking forward to the Pixel and Pixel XL may be hoping for a similar approach to rooting for the upcoming smartphones, continuing the freedom that owning an Android smartphone provides.
However, according to a post on XDA Developers, the upcoming Pixel and Pixel XL are not rootable with the currently available methods. This was discovered upon studying the partitions of the upcoming devices, with attaining root access being described as a losing battle for users.
Google has recently started to crack down on rooted devices, with the company releasing an API that allowed developers to prevent rooted devices from running their apps. An update for Android 6.0 Marshmallow also required users to perform what is known as a systemless root if they want to root their smartphone, which means rooting the device without changing its system partition. If the partition is modified upon rooting, the smartphone will display a message of being corrupt upon booting, preventing it from turning on.
To circumvent the safeguard, rooters have started to modify the ramdisk of devices in replacement of tinkering with the system partition. However, according to code discovered within Android 7.0 Nougat, ramdisk is now being housed within the system partition.
While this does not mean that Google's Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones will never be rooted, users who are looking to root the devices will have to wait for another workaround, as the systemless root being performed on Android 6.0 Marshmallow devices will no longer work.
The move shows that Google is serious on preventing Android-powered devices from being rooted, which is disappointing for users who have been loyal to the platform due to that possibility.