FAQ

What is Superuser?
Superuser is the app on rooted android phones that manages what other apps have access to the root user (see below). It also allows you, the user, to see what apps have used the root user and when.

What is the root user?
On a linux system (which android runs on top of) all users are assigned a user id (UID). The UID is what the kernel uses to keep track of, on the most basic level, what files the user has access to. There is a user called root, UID 0, that has read write access to every file and therefore can do anything.

So what does the root user have to to with Android?
On Android every app runs as a particular user. When an app is installed it is assigned a UID that above 10000. The UID that each app is assigned only has access to the files that are located in it’s own data directory located in /data/data. To access any other file, the app must temporarily take on a different UID, usually 0 (or root). That’s what Superuser is for, to allow those apps to temporarily run as root and give them access to parts of the system that they usually would not have access to.

What can root do?
Anything, which is why you must be careful with what you allow to have root access. Everything from removing preinstalled carrier bloat, to tricking the Android market into thinking that you’re in a different country, or backing up all of your game high scores so you can take them with you to a new phone. It can also do harmful things, like read your personal data from any app, delete important files, or even brick your phone. I’m not telling you this to scare you off of rooting, just making sure you know what’s posible.

Why do I see two different version numbers at the bottom of my Preferences screen (Superuser v3.0.6, Su binary v3.0.1)?
There’s two parts Superuser, Superuser.apk, which lives either on the system partition, or in the data partition depending on how it was installed, and the su binary which lives in the executable path. When an app wants root access, it calls the su binary and asks. The su binary will then call Superuser.apk if it can’t find the app in it’s list of allowed apps. Because the su binary is more difficult to update, and because there are risks involved in updating it, the bonary is only updated when it’s absolutely necessary. The apk however is really easy to update, so when I find bugs that can be fixed in the apk, or want to add a new feature, I can easily update it. This causes there to be a difference in version numbers.

What are the most current versions?
At the time of writing this (2011-20-22), the most current version of Superuser is 3.0.6, and the most current version of the su binary is 3.0.1. You can always find the latest version of Superuser here.

I didn’t install Superuser and now I can’t install it!
Not a question, I know, and it’s also (in most cases) not true. If Superuser is installed on your device, it’s either because you installed it, you rooted your phone (which installed Superuser), or your phone was pre rooted when you got it. In most cases typical uninstall procedures will not work because Superuser is installed to the system partition when you root your device, and the system partition is read only at runtime. It is possible to uninstall it, but your phone will not be rooted anymore. You’ll have to use either a terminal emulator or ADB. Here are the commands to uninstall it:

mount -o remount,rw /system
rm /system/app/Superuser.apk

That’s it.

I tried to update the binary, something went wrong, and now I can’t get root access.
Due to the wide variety of devices and ROMs out there, it’s impossible for me to get it exactly right every time. There are a couple ways to fix it. The easiest way to fix it is to download the flashable zip from here, place it on your sd card, reboot into recovery mode and flash it. The next option is to extract the su binary from the zip you downloaded above, and manually put it into /system/bin or /system/xbin, be sure to use chmod to set the file mode to 06755. Finally, you can re-root your phone by whatever method you used before.

Why can’t I update my su binary if it’s in /sbin?
The directory /sbin is a part of what’s called the boot.img. When your phone boots up, the first thing it does is unpack the boot.img, so anything that’s done to at runtime will be overwritten when you reboot your phone. Therefore I don’t even try to update the binary if I find that it’s located in /sbin. What you can do is contact your ROM or kernel developer and tell them to stop putting su in /sbin, or at a minimum, keep it up to date.

Why does the updater fail when it tries to remount /system?
Many devices have some form of write protection on /system that prevents it from being mounted as read/write at runtime. There’s nothing I can do about that. What you can do is try using ROM Manager, or just download the proper zip for your device and flash it in recovery mode.

Comments (52)

  1. 19:08, October 23, 2011Jeremy Shapiro  / Reply

    I have been happily using SuperUser, in combination with Autostarts and Autorun Manager on my Motorola Droid 2 Global to turn off the applications that start automatically and that I don’t want to be running. My carrier is Verizon Wireless. I think the phone was running Android 2.2. About two days ago, there was a gigantic (over 100 MB) update from Verizon for my phone, which is now running Android 2.3.3, and since then it won’t allow me to access root. I switched to SU Elite and tried downloading the latest binary update, but in the process of installing, at the point where it says “Gaining root access”, the error message “fail!” comes up. So it looks as though the new system is trying to prevent me (and SuperUser) from gaining root access. Is there any way around this?

    • 06:22, July 1, 2012Travis  / Reply

      I’m pretty sure when you update your device you lose root, you need to re-root.

  2. 13:45, November 11, 2011arman  / Reply

    Dear ChainsDD
    my phone is samsung galaxy s2 .I rooted my device but some time it hang and also when I run amplayer do not work and write*** the application amplayer(process com.skvalex.am player) has stopped unexpectedly.please try again)*** and it is shown when I mack a call.please help me to solve this problem

  3. 18:40, December 7, 2011Phil Riker  / Reply

    I have installed SU on my Motorola BRAVE (aka Defy). SU has ‘no apps’ on it’s screen. How do I get an app to su status?

  4. 18:50, December 9, 2011Sea Salt  / Reply

    Hello,

    I have a question about how the “superuser”-app works behind the scenes.

    As far as i know: The “superuser”-app can be used to grant root-permissions only to the programs, that I want. All other programs are still not running in root. Is this right?

    If I’m right on that… Why does only the app super-user does have root after rooting the phone via e.g. the zergrush-exploit and other apps still not have root permissions although the phone has been rooted? Isn’t there a security gap ?

    In my point of view it could be possible, that any other app could take the root-rights just like the app “superuser” does it. If I’m not right, I don’t get it, why only “superuser” gets root and all other apps can’t get root unless “superuser” gives them root…

    Isn’t it a security gap? I just don’t get it… how is this achieved?

    Is it absolutely (or nearly absolutely) safe, that no other programs can get root-permissions when I use “superuser”? As I already said before, I’m really curious about, why or how this can be achieved and “guaranteed”…

    Thanks in very much advance.

    Kind regards

    mr. salt

  5. 19:15, December 23, 2011Javier  / Reply

    I’ve rooter my Motorola Milestone with Android 2.1 with your great app. Now I update to 2.2 but I can’t root my phone. The error is that “su” app is not installed. You said that “The next option is to extract the su binary from the zip you downloaded above, and manually put it into /system/bin or /system/xbin” but either /system/bin and /system/xbin are directories that only could be written by root users :( I download “su” file but I only could put It in the sdcard, not in /system/xxxx directories. What can I do?

    Thanks a lot, Merry Christmas from Argentina

  6. 21:31, December 27, 2011Joe Streiff  / Reply

    Gaining root access… fail!

    Phone:
    Droid Bionic
    system version: 5.5.893.XT875.Verizon.en.US
    Android Version: 2.3.4
    Kernel version: 2.6.35.7-g6806e6 vwm736@il93lnxdroid43 #1
    build number: 5.5.1_84_DBN-63

    Superuser:
    v3.0.7 (41)
    Su binary v3.0.3

    Any ideas?

    • 11:01, May 20, 2012Fekkik  / Reply

      @Joe Streiff
      I’m having the same problem. I have a working su binary (I can gain root through adb shell), as far as I can tell, but when I attempt to update the su binary through Superuser it fails to “gain root access” :S This is on an ASUS TF101.

  7. 19:44, January 13, 2012Anthony  / Reply

    I installed Supersuer through the market place. Marketplace shows it as being installed. When I run the Superuser app it shows nothing is in the database.
    I tried to install busybox, it tells me that there is no su. I was under the impression that when busybox tries to install it would look for su and that would alert Superuser and prompt me to give it permission.
    If I log in through ADB where should look for su to see if it’s really there?

    I’m running a Samsung Galaxy S with the lates os.

    Any help you can give is appreciated.
    thanks,
    -anthony

  8. 04:08, January 30, 2012karl  / Reply

    I USED to have root access – now all of a sudden I seem to have lost it? More interestingly the App “OpenGarden” can’t get su privs of late: they are always denied (I’m on an original Droid). Where do I allow the app? (I can see in the log that SuperUser denies it – it used to not; I just cant figure out how to “un-deny” it)
    Any help would be appreciated,

    K

  9. 18:33, March 5, 2012Dylan  / Reply

    I just downloaded and installed superuser 3 beta 4 and now none of my app can get superuser access nor can superuser update. Please help i have a zt c91 with android 4.0

    • 03:36, March 8, 2012Umair  / Reply

      @Dylan
      buddy why did you download the beta when stable 3.07 update is available on market since Nov 2011. I guess just unroot and re-root the device again with a stable version of superuser.apk , i am no developer but that should do it.

  10. 08:36, March 7, 2012Umair  / Reply

    Hi i recently upgraded to elite version to support the development. I enabled the ghost mode and setup my own code to recall the app from dialer. I also setup a pin to enable root access for apps and allowed them 120secs (if not remembered). My task was to secure root access, just in case if someone figures out the lock pattern. In this particular case, i was trying to protect an anti theft app “Wave Secure” installed as a system application.

    It worked pretty well until i went to android application setting and cleared cache & data also was able to remove superuser elite. No more protection :) I rebooted the device and installed the elite version again, it went to ghost mode automatically but i was not able to recall it. (tried the default code as well). The pin protection however was not there anymore and i cant seem to find the app to fix the mess i made.

    Any ideas how to fix it without flashing the Rom?

    Should have tried installing the elite version as a system app :)

  11. 08:38, March 7, 2012Umair  / Reply

    BTW i am on MotoDefy running on CM7

  12. 04:29, April 24, 2012Pat  / Reply

    I’m on a Moto Flipside with 2.2
    I can’t gain root access with superuser. Can someone help?

  13. 05:59, April 25, 2012Robzy  / Reply

    I just updated to ICS 4.0.4, and seem to have lost root access with Superuser. Is Superuser compatible with 4.0.4, or will it be?

  14. 16:47, June 10, 2012Mike  / Reply

    I rooted my phone following the instructions from QBKING77′s video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9eaCtiS0Bo. All went well. There were no errors or problems of any kind. However, the superuser app does not do anything. When I launch the app, there are no apps in the list and no logs. My only menu choices are Go Elite, Clear log, and Preferences. When I try to remove applications that require root, I do not get a prompt or have an option to remove them. I cannot find a way to get applications into the list. It may be that I don’t understand how to use the app.

    Date rooted: 10 June 2012
    Phone: Samsung Epic 4G, SPH-D700, GINGERBREAD.FC09, Sprint

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

    • 18:02, June 10, 2012Mike  / Reply

      @Mike
      I should have looked harder for a solution before asking for help. My apologies. I now understand that all it does is grant permission (and it does it well). I am using Titanium Backup and it is also working well. If I knew how to remove the post I would.

  15. 22:05, June 29, 2012Marcos  / Reply

    Uninstalling the Superuser
    Doubt about the question “I did not install Superuser and now I can not install it!”

    In response mentioned in the question there is a passage that says:
    “It is possible to uninstall it, but your phone will not be rooted anymore”
    Excuse my lack of knowledge but when translated to my language the word “anymore” can take the meaning of “never again”. And then a question arises, you can go back to root the phone reinstalling the superuser? This only removes the uninstall app superuser or remove any component of the system?
    And I still could you please give more detailed explanations (a how to / step by step) to uninstall.
    Thank you

  16. 15:48, July 3, 2012GaoHan  / Reply

    The Mainland China can’t through Google markets buy elite version, this app support the PayPal pay for it?

  17. 17:57, July 21, 2012Doug  / Reply

    I have Superuser installed on my Droid Razr Maxx. I clicked the checkboxes next to temp unroot and OTA survival. Then I installed the OTA update of ICS. Now when I try to turn off the “temp unroot” it won’t do it. The check mark will not uncheck. Am I missing something about how to turn off the temp unroot?

  18. 12:28, August 9, 2012JB  / Reply

    Binary Updater Failed! Updating From 3.0.3.2 to 3.1.1

    [Making sure new su works... fail!]

  19. 20:10, September 10, 2012Hamzeh  / Reply

    how to install SU binary?
    I have sony ericsson live with walkman wt19i

  20. 09:12, November 6, 2012wowa  / Reply

    This app is designed to fix update problems that come from mismatched signatures between Superuser.apk on your phone, and Superuser.apk on the Market. If successful, this app will let you update from the market even if you’ve had trouble before.

  21. 06:10, November 8, 2012Kartik  / Reply

    I just rooted my android and installed busy box and I want to unroot my phone is it to simply uninstall it directly from inside of app our unroot directly with out removing it

  22. 10:05, December 21, 2012kirito  / Reply

    I want to use gameCIH application , but I can’t use that.. HELP ME !!

  23. 11:59, December 27, 2012Irish  / Reply

    This would help you to decide the kind of an accessory you should get.
    It is always important to recognize the need for investigating the real reason(s) for
    truly investing in a watch of such cost and financial significance to anyone’s investment portfolio. They give a great deal on all the watches, for both men and women.

  24. 20:46, December 29, 2012Brandon  / Reply

    I was wondering if the source code for the application was made available?

  25. 02:09, January 10, 2013http://tinyurl.com/windkella39781  / Reply

    I personally blog too and I am crafting something comparable to this particular posting,
    “FAQ”. Do you mind if Iapply a bit of
    of your tips? Thanks for the post -Latesha

  26. 13:35, February 7, 2013SK  / Reply

    What does toggled do? I’m talking about the little broken android icon on the bottom left.

  27. 14:33, March 15, 2013Ken  / Reply

    I have checked that the Samsung Admire SCH-R720 is rooted. I have installed Superuser and it updated the binary. I go into system/apps folder and try to delete MetroPCS bloatware but the file will not delete. :(

    • 15:21, March 15, 2013Ken  / Reply

      @Ken
      I think it was an issue with the Super A Toolbox as Titanium works!

  28. 00:36, July 28, 2013Moles Warts Removal Review  / Reply

    There are variousmoles and wart removalmethods that can be employed to safely and virtually painlessly take away these undesired skin indentations.

  29. 04:55, August 2, 2013Anti Aging Cream  / Reply

    I write a leave a response each time I like a article on a site or I have
    something to add to the discussion. It is triggered by the fire displayed in the post I looked at.

    And after this post FAQ. I was moved enough
    to drop a thought :-P I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s okay. Could it be simply me or does it look like some of the responses appear as if they are left by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing on additional online social sites, I would like to follow everything fresh you have to post. Would you make a list all of your community sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  30. 01:55, August 3, 2013Low Carb Cereal  / Reply

    You can make use of flax meal, almond meal, soy powder, and so on.

  31. 02:20, September 20, 2013cell phone Tracker apps for android  / Reply

    I enjoy reading a post that can make men and women think.

    Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

  32. 13:04, January 12, 2014Peret  / Reply

    I deleted su data (through android applications management menu) to remove some apps from the ‘not allowed’ list, that I was not able to remove. I do not see why I couldn’t, so I deleted its data.
    Now, I cannot access to the application su, as it was hidden (and frankly, I do not remember how I hid it) and password protected (accessed typing *#*#…).
    I had bought the elite version, just to password protect (and I guess, to hide the application).
    Now, in the market, I see that I can buy the elite version, as if it was not installed. So, I do not know how to proceed, neither to access the su config options, nor to have elite installed. I have only deleted data!
    Thanks a lot

  33. 01:43, April 13, 2014feifelm1983  / Reply

    Good morning to all others. First, I use the translator of Google. So no loud booing please. : D

    If superuser, Su binary, Elite, SU Update Fixer further developed?

    I once read in another forum the superuser does not mix so well with SuperSU and may cause incompatibility?

    When I used to have 2 rooted my Samsung Galaxy Note with Android 4.2, I had allowed to install SuperUS logical white with it. I think after I then superuser and the others listed above app `s installed, there were complications. DAs made ​​evident from the fact that the boot is aufhinng my phone or if it was booted short time later, just like that! With friendly greetings.

  34. 08:03, May 20, 2014Valentina  / Reply

    Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a
    difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  35. 07:51, June 6, 2014Alex Watson  / Reply

    Dear Entrepreneur,
    I am Alex, want to let know you the major facts that you are missing in your website for which you are fail to take advantage of huge traffic towards your website which ultimately falling off the sales and online business that’s why your online competitors are doing well in the online race.
    If you like to know some of the most important reasons why you are lagging behind the expected traffic and online business from your website that you are looking for, then we will positively help you out to boost your website ranking on the major search engines as well as increase the online visibility of your website. I can assure you that we can give you the promising result in the online field that you are eagerly looking for.
    If you want to get more gain in the online business from your website, then do reply to us. We will send you the future details and a “detail website audit report” of your website that will help you to know how your website functioning in the online race.
    .

    NOTE: Requesting this report is not mandatory to buy SEO services.

    If you are doing SEO currently, you might want to compare prices? I could send you a quote in no time. This e-mail only outlines the basic things we do, but I can send you further detailed info from my company e-mail. We could also discuss this over a call.

    Looking forward for your kind response…
    Best Regards,
    Alex Watson
    SEO Consultant
    E-mail: websolutions2k14@gmail.com
    ——————————————————————————————
    PS1: This is a onetime email and you may ask us to “REMOVE” to confirm removal.
    PS2: I will send more details about our “company profile”, “why you should choose us?”, “price list”, “our guarantee” etc. upon your reply.

  36. 10:40, June 9, 2014Skin Whitening Forever Review  / Reply

    Usually I do not read post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me
    to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me.
    Thank you, very nice article.

  37. 19:40, June 17, 2014fashion-conscious women  / Reply

    Vielen Dank! Wollt ich nur sagen.

    My weblog :: fashion-conscious women

  38. 01:43, August 15, 2014Wilhelmina  / Reply

    In more rare cases, playable prototypes actually
    surface from underground channels for gamers to explore.
    Depending on what type of font you’ve opened and what you’re saving to, the author of Font
    - Forge offers up a few suggestions for “tweaking” before converting at
    the following link:. ” Select “Play – Station 3 Controller” and go to Properties.

  39. 13:44, August 15, 2014Royal Revolt 2 hack no survey  / Reply

    Original Royal Revolt gwme ended up being one of the primary unquestionably good quality computer games regarding Windows os 8.
    The online game have fuun with consolidated steady touch screen fight with delicate system essentials, building for ann excellent addictive reverse
    wind generator tower protection gameplay.

    Royal Revolt 2 for windows substantially increases gears
    to a totally Gamer Versus Gamer assaulting focus.
    The good thing is, the entire bejavior forming core game-play
    survivds pretty much wholly undamaged.

    Shield and then preserve

    Compared tto the primary video game, Royal Revoplt
    2 for wijdows 8 and windows 8 phone carries with it an exact wind generator tower a good defense ingredient.
    So you develop the enttire battle ground whhich
    will penetrating gamers will follow enroutee on your adventure.
    Assailants be given a section of your own gold – a soft currency intended for every wind generator tower as well as preventative construct
    they can ruin. If your fantastic manages tto knock down your
    own castle checkpoint, they will move on with a sizable
    a natural part of yor current loot nonetheless ndver the whole thing They’ll only hae a reasonably limited time to fiknish
    off the challenge.

    Retiring the defending journey can be a lot easier.
    Gemstones as well as remains stop associated with buildable terrain. The idea prices gestone to make sure you crystal clear the
    highway, so possibly not everyone is ablle help to make area.
    The length of the way, range of towers andd additionally barricades / barriers, as
    well as wellbeing of the Castle Gates by itself
    are usually baswed on the actual checkpoint level.
    Individual podiums annd protection requires end up being equalized onn their own.

  40. 11:31, August 16, 2014examination techniques  / Reply

    I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content.
    This article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your blog and
    keep checking for new information about once a week.
    I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

  41. 02:55, August 23, 2014SB Game Hacker  / Reply

    Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google,
    and found that it’s truly informative. I’m gonna watch out for
    brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future.
    Numerous people will be benefited from your writing.
    Cheers!

  42. 17:10, August 24, 2014home skin whitening ebook  / Reply

    Thanks for every other wonderful article. The place else
    may anybody get that type of information in such an ideal means of
    writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I am on the
    search for such information.

  43. 22:06, September 2, 2014codes psn gratuit  / Reply

    In fact no matter if someone doesn’t understand then its up to
    other users that they will assist, so here it occurs.

  44. 04:09, September 8, 2014http://www.topix.com/  / Reply

    Thaqnkfulness to my father who shared with me regarding this blog, this
    webpage is in fact remarkable.

    Stop by my web-site auto binary signals login – http://www.topix.com/,

  45. 09:52, September 12, 2014fashion photography professionals  / Reply

    I needd tto thank you for this excellent read!! I absolutely loved evedy little bit
    of it. I’ve got you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

    Look into mmy blo post; fashion photography professionals

  46. 15:50, September 13, 2014generateur de code how to sign in psn ps3  / Reply

    Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog based on the same subjects
    you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would appreciate your work.
    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

  47. 12:40, October 1, 2014SEO Bros. - SEO How To  / Reply

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other flks I have read stuff from.

    Thank you foor posting when you have the opportunity,
    Guess I wipl just bookmark this web site.

Leave a Reply

Allowed Tags - You may use these HTML tags and attributes in your comment.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Pingbacks (0)

› No pingbacks yet.