13
Sep
verizon_g2

Buying a Verizon G2? You might want to think twice about rooting it, because Big Red has specifically configured its version of the device to show whether or not the phone is rooted in the "status" sub-menu of the About Phone area. Why? Almost certainly for the express purpose of voiding warranties or returns for people who screw up their phones (or, allegedly screw up) after rooting them.

g2 root check

I have confirmed the rooting status flag is also present on my Verizon G2 review unit, but not the AT&T or international unlocked variants.

What's not known here, importantly, is whether or not the rooting status is a permanent indicator that will show as "rooted" forever after a phone is rooted, even if it is later unrooted, or if there's simply a check for root privileges on boot. If it's the latter, unrooting your phone could flip the status back to the warranty safe-zone. If that's the case, this is really nothing to worry about. If not, though, this could mean a much easier way for Verizon reps to determine you've been tinkering with your handset even after you've gotten it back to stock.

Even if it does simply check on boot, I'd have to guess that most of the individuals bringing in their phones for warranty service or replacement after rooting them probably aren't savvy enough to understand a phone can be unrooted. And that such individuals are much more likely to be the ones that do screw something up because they went digging in things they don't understand. Safe to say, if you're an AP reader, you're probably not in that camp.

So, for the rest of you looking into a Verizon G2, maybe hold off on rooting until someone figures out just how permanent this rooting status indicator is. No one wants to get denied service for a legitimately defective phone based on an unrelated factor.

Thanks, Andy!

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • ElTimo

    "Fuck you, Verizon" is rapidly becoming a mantra for me.

    • Anthony Restaino

      Be careful. Soon they'll be scouring the web for disloyal customers so they can charge them another fee.

      • moelsen8

        "Customer Loyalty Status: Pwned!" in About Phone

    • Chris Martinelli

      Meh... The only question is how many days left until someone makes a utility that overwrites that field back to default.

      • Quinton

        All you have to do is unroot, delete the superuser files, open notepad on computer, write "forel.lee" without the quotes in it, save it as all files (not as a .txt or anything else, no extension), then place it in the root directory and reboot.

    • cheese

      I'm already preparing my switch from VZW to T-Mobile. Verizon can suck it. I'm going with the underdogs. Hopefully Google buys up T-Mobile or some shit.

      Want to just pay $30 a month with unlimited text/data (5GB LTE data, throttled after. pretty generous imo compared to the competition) and 100 min talk time?

      Go here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1646755

      • Nate L

        I switched almost three weeks ago to T-Mobile's $30/mth plan. Not regretting it one bit.

    • Jose Torres

      When the G2 gets rooted, it should say that as it's "Rooting Status"

    • DarrenR

      I was coming here to say this.

  • Dale

    Yeah..the Nexus 5 is definitely not coming to Verizon.

  • Peter Garlinski

    I'll be dropping Verizon as soon as I can afford to get a new phone and new service. This is pathetic...

    • Dale

      Seconded.

    • ProductFRED

      I'm going to join Verizon and then leave them. Then I'm going to say, "His name is Peter Garlinski. His name is Peter Garliniski" over and over again until they drop the ETF.

      • QwietStorm

        lol please record it.

    • Nickan Fayyazi

      And you'll easily recoup the costs of a new phone by switching to a carrier like T-Mobile :)

      • Tim242

        Eewww the coverage on TMobile is not worth the price cut.

  • James Miller

    Couldn't this just be removed with a custom ROM?

    • moelsen8

      umm yeah but then you'd have a custom rom on there when you'd hypothetically return it.. dead give away. unless it's a stock custom rom minus this, i guess.

      • James Miller

        There ya go then. This makes it even easier to return rooted. Verizon rep checks this, it says not rooted(even though it is), and all is well.

        • tyguy829

          but then you'd still have a custom recovery...

          • Mike Goff

            Most of the carriers reps are clueless when it comes to determining if a phone has been rooted. This is an easy way to make sure they all can determine the status.

          • Zach B.

            "Most of the carriers reps are clueless..."

            It baffles me sometimes how unbelievably true this is.

            I brought my phone in a week after getting it... The digitizer/screen was separating from the body. This caused the touchscreen to quit working properly. I showed the tech guy and he asked if I had tried a soft reset to see if that would fix the issue. "Uhhh, no.. .that's not the issue." He proceeded to do the soft reset. Still broken, which I showed him the SCREEN NOT ATTACHED TO THE BODY. Then he asked if I had performed a factory reset. "DO YOU NOT SEE THE SCREEN BEING NOT ON THE PHONE?" 30 mins later: "well, I suppose we'll just have to replace your phone... I'm not sure what the issue is. Maybe a bad screen."

            /rant

          • ProductFRED

            Dude, that's hilarious. I used to be a technician in a Sprint store, and I quit because my boss would actually tell me the same thing! Well that, and wouldn't respect my college schedule.

            She'd smoke pot in the basement, then come upstairs while I was replacing someone's obviously-destroyed screen and ask me loudly "Y U DI'IN PAFORM A FACTARY REESET?" in her Spanish accent.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            I had a guy try to tell me that my known issue with the touchscreen on my Epic 4G Touch randomly entering the Menu key was because I charge my phone overnight, and that I should leave it unplugged all night and only charge it when I wake up. Because, of course, I have time in the morning as I rush to work to charge it for two hours. And because, of course, any of that made any sense at all.

  • Matthew Brown

    I don't get why American carriers have to be treated with such "Special treatment" Logos, special features. JUST SELL THE DAMN PHONE AS IT IS MEANT TO BE SOLD.

    • Wyatt Neal

      Because otherwise, the customer has no incentive to stay with a the carrier ... and when you're making Billions-with-a-B per year on that ... why would you change it? You don't cash in because it's good for consumers, you drain them for everything you can.

      • Matthew Brown

        I think it is outrageous!

        • BlackMamba

          Smart Americans do too. Unfortunately, there aren't many smart Americans left in this country.

    • ProductFRED

      THANK YOU! I've been saying this for years! Every time I visit a different country in Europe, I notice how almost all of the devices are the original version (i9505 or i9500 Galaxy S4, for example), instead of i337, M919, etc. And they have minimal or usually no hardware branding at all.

      • Matthew Brown

        Exactly. I am from GBR and if they did that here (demanded special treatment and altered the phones) i think OfCom (The telecommunications regulator) would have a fit! The Government would get involved.

        • ProductFRED

          Capitalism rules here. Rather, corporations rule. But to center in on mobiles, specifically, most people here do not use prepaid plans and do not buy their own phones outright. The general "view" here is that the phone is tied to the carrier. I'm not only talking about CDMA devices, but also GSM devices.

          Hence why, for example, on AT&T phones, the "Network Mode" setting is removed from the Settings menu to disallow anyone from turning off LTE (so they don't have to invest in more HSPA+). Or how on most carriers, the stock tethering/hotspot menu is removed in place of an app that will only work if you're using the device on the carrier it came from. Or how AT&T intentionally disables T-Mobile compatible HSPA+ frequencies on its phones (such as the Galaxy S4 or HTC One) despite the fact that they're the exact same device, save for the model number.

          It's pretty ridiculous. Before LTE was important to me, I would, for example, import a Galaxy S3 i9300 from Germany of GB. But nowadays, unfortunately, I have to settle for US or, at best, Canadian models if I want compatible LTE frequencies.

          • Matthew Brown

            Does your government have a petition website? In the UK if it gets over a certain amount of signitures (it's not that many) it has to be reviewed by parliament and maybe laws put in place. GB is getting LTE now so you may be able to find some devices that may work on the same band here as in the US.

          • ProductFRED

            Well, in the US, GSM carriers use either 700 MHz or AWS (1700/2100 MHz) for LTE, which I don't believe is used anywhere in Europe.

            To answer your question, yes, we do have a website like that. However, it's mostly just for show. If we get above 100,000 signatures (I believe), we receive a response from someone in the White House. But it generally isn't taken any further. Here's an example:

            https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/make-unlocking-cell-phones-legal/1g9KhZG7

          • Matthew Brown

            Wow that is again, outrageous! Your not selling America to me at the moment haha :) I was going to say unlock your phone but that is illegal in the US right? What a shame! Just a few months ago i unlocked my phone from my carrier and changed carrier, it's so easy as well all i had to do was go into a store .

          • ProductFRED

            Actually, it's illegal unless the carriers give you the code (or the device was manufactured before Jan. 26th, which is when the law went into effect). Normally the carriers will do one or two unlocks per year per line on the account. You can also just go on eBay and buy a code for a few bucks; the sellers normally put a disclaimer that supposedly absolves them from any wrongdoing (just for show).

            While it's illegal, no one will come after you. You're not going to prison. But generally, yes, it sucks.

  • Duckie1217

    It would be really awful if your device automatically reported your root status to your carrier and they just kept the information on file.

    • Guest

      Root Status: Nunya

  • moelsen8

    wow

  • Paul_Werner

    My "never going to be tied to Verizon" status has been on for a long time. I think I'll keep it that way

  • jjrudey

    Last time I brought my phone to Verizon, the guy was insisting that Nova Launcher is a root app, probably so they wouldn't have to send me my third replacement.

    • Clayton Ginther

      seriously? thats bullshit.

    • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

      Why didn't you set him straight and tell/show him that it was just a homescreen app? (clear defaults for the app)

  • Josh

    Do people not understand what root means? If I have root permissions to the system, I could change this to say anything I want. I'm sure changing this to "unrooted" will be a standard flashable zip file within a couple of days.

    • http://www.standupforkids.org blackroseMD1

      No doubt. I think the main takeaway here is Verizon looking for new and exciting ways to be an asshole to it's customer base.

      • Mike Goff

        Their reps are clueless about checking root status. This makes it a no-brainer

        • http://www.standupforkids.org blackroseMD1

          Yeah, back when I was on Sprint, I had a couple of Sprint reps, in the store, walk me through rooting their phones.

          Most reps are absolutely clueless.

          • Ivan Myring

            Yeah, you get that experience in car phone warehouse in the UK. Because they arent a carrier, they just act as a middle man. Plus the UK carriers aren't so bothered about rooting and boot loaders etc. and updates are quicker than in the US. So basically the US carriers are evil.

    • Dale

      True. But it's the fact that Verizon is getting so obsessive with it's control issues that makes everyone mad. If they keep going in this direction you can kiss any unlock friendly phones goodbye (we are probably already passed this point). I will be switching to AT&T when my contract is up.

      • Weston

        AT&T is just as bad. If you were to switch to anyone Sprint and T-Mobile would be much better. I took my rooted phone into Sprint and Sprint took care of it. Didn't care it was rooted and they could easily tell it was rooted because of CM10

        • Marshall Taylor

          I took a rooted nexus 4 running CM into the ATT store and signed up for service they didn't care.

      • Nick

        everybody (citation needed)

    • Kieron Quinn

      I bet it's only a string too, simply change 'Rooted' to 'Unroofed' in the strings XML, recompile and install. Simple stuff, silly thinking

      • Matthew Fry

        If it says 'Unroofed' they might catch on :)

        • Kieron Quinn

          I think a root dictionary in a ROM would catch on too. You know what I meant ;)

      • mgamerz

        If the app is signed as the system, which settings is, good luck!

        • Kieron Quinn

          If you're rooted, you can get around that. Even if it meant resigning the whole system, you could do, as you could just push the new stuff and set permissions

    • Duckie1217

      Right, but what if at the exact moment your phone attains root access, Verizon's system is notified and the root access notification becomes a permanent note per that device?

    • Qliphah

      There is the possibility of a hardware "fuse" being used to determine if root was ever done on a device. Previous phones (early HTC I believe) had a small transistor built onto the board that when flipped to root status was impossible to reverse as the fuse is literally blown.

      • Adrian Zugaj

        Doesn't mean you can't change a string!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    This song is for Verizon. It's called "We Hate You, Please Die."

  • Matthew Fry

    The fun upside is that they may be unwittingly informing people about something called 'root.' "What is 'root,'" they ask themselves, and of course Google. "Oh, that's pretty cool," they say as they behold the awesome power that independent developers have given phone users. "I want that! Thanks Verizon!"

    • Adrian Zugaj

      This may be true, but I doubt the lay person would be checking their About Phone anyway (in most cases, anyway).

  • wideopn11

    Think Asus tablet unlocked. Permanently showed on the boot screen and reported your serial number to Asus. This is one of the reasons I will ONLY buy Nexus devices for the foreseeable future. My contract with Verizon end in Dec. Hello T-Mobile and new Nexus.

    • mrjayviper

      unlocked is different though than just rooted? from what I understand you can only run custom kernel with unlocked bootloader and you can do some hardware killing stuff with custom kernel like overclocking the CPU/GPU?

      I know for my TF700, I can run cleanrom ROM and it gives it a choices of different kernels with varying degrees of overclocked CPU/GPU.

  • Oziel Hernandez

    an app for that

    • frhow

      My point exactly, there will be something designed to change that to show root I am sure. And I doubt it would be that hard to do.

  • Dale

    Can you confirm this is not also on the AT&T version?

  • ari_free

    Rooting is great but it's usually a good idea to unroot after you had your fun so that the phone is secure.

  • duse

    Verizon continues to become a worse company everyday. They will stop at nothing to disrespect, insult, and otherwise mistreat every customer they have while demanding ransom-level amounts of funds for the privilege. Vote with your wallet - go elsewhere.

  • giant22000

    I would rather not have cell phone service at all than be stuck with VZW! This kind of crap is exactly why I left their greedy, money sucking corporate behinds!

    I'm sure this will be circumvented just like the triangle reset counter for the Samsung devices.

  • Andy Stetson

    That's why I go through other warranty providers, like squaretrade or that other one that starts with 'e' (i always forget).
    thanks for the thanks!

  • Steve Freeman

    So, is returning these to stock (via the LG equivalent of SBF'ing, or fastboot installing the images, etc) not an option?

  • Guest

    if your rooted, you should be able to make it say unrooted

    • King Lo

      Oh the irony!

  • Andy Stetson

    BTW, Best Buys trade up values are much better than Verizons... My local store also price matched the VERIZON30 deal, knocking it down to $140. They also have a promo going on, if you trade in a cheap phone that is worth less than $50 (like a Thunderbolt, which is worth $13), they will make that phone's trade-in value $50. If you trade more than one phone, that promo only works once (make sure they apply it towards the cheapest phone).

    Case in point:
    Original Price: $199
    VERIZON30 price match: -$60
    HTC Thunderbolt Trade: $50 Gift Card received
    Galaxy Nexus (toro): $40 Gift Card received
    Samsung Epic 4G: $20 Gift Card received

    Total price paid (less activation, with 7% sales tax) ~$36!

    No chargers were traded in, add $5 if you trade your charger with it (but why would you, would cost more to replace it)

    tl:dr
    Best Buy price matches VERIZON30 promo code. If you trade an Eris to Best Buy for the G2 (or MotoX), it is worth $50 on trade, even though it's trade-in value is $0 according to their website.

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    I can think of less sinister reasons. Sprint had a policy against denying service to rooted phones. But they WOULD require you to unroot if if they felt the problem was being caused by root or a non-stock ROM. So I could see this being in place so an employee can more easily quickly glance at it and say, "we're going to need to restore this to stock before we can feel confident about troubleshooting the problem."

    That said, I'm not ruling out your interpretation, either.

  • Andy Stetson
  • QwietStorm

    Christ when are these megalomaniacal corps going to meet us in this century?

  • intyleritrusted

    Omg I rootd my divice n cant figere how to get it back plzhelp!?!?!

    Just kidding. As an Android Police subscriber I already know how to unroot, naturally.

    • Allan

      Thing is, if this turns out like Motorola's little clever root indicator in the stock recovery, then we really have a problem.

      Remember that tiny line of text in stock 3e recovery on the Droid Razr, Bionic etc? 0/1 means previously rooted, 1/1 means rooted, 0/0 means never rooted.

      As the Android Police member you are I expect you to know that you can't really completely unroot a phone.

      • intyleritrusted

        I don't know about Motorola phones, since my phone progression has gone like the following:

        G1 > Nexus One > Galaxy Nexus > Nexus 4

        Although I did root and flash my girlfriend's Droid X2, that was an absolute NIGHTMARE. I do vaguely remember some sort of "permenant" root indicator. Although, since I had to flash a bootstrap recovery in order to flash the ROM I believe this may have overwritten(or prevented) the indicator from being aware of my shenannigans. I have always stuck with the Nexus line, and don't think I will ever leave for reasons such as this

        • Allan

          Yeah honestly I don't know firsthand because my phone doesn't have that (Motorola Defy piece of crap phone that I'm looking to replace with the phone in this article's title) but my friend was going berserk when he found that his Droid Razr had the thing.

  • Andrew

    If this is the case why not then allow a adb root / unlock bootloader type command

  • matt

    I hate Verizon! They are the biggest ripoff company on the planet! I can't wait to see what the do when unsubsidized phones become the norm!

  • Cole Boggess

    I don't understand why everyone is losing their shit over this, it's just a little notifier buried in the settings.

  • RaptorOO7

    Another DICK MOVE by Verizon, they always got your back.

  • Wesley Modderkolk

    My Samsung Galaxy S2 got a HUGE Yellow arrow at boot to show there has been screwed around with the ROM(rooted or w/e).

    I cannot think of a single location where m rooted device would still keep it's warranty, it has been pretty much common since day one that that voids your warranty. This just is a simple indicator and I don't really see the fuzz about it.

    Point is, if it is rooted, the user returning the device could have done anything with it to screw it up. He could have overclocked it, went stupid with voltages and what not. That seems like self inflicted damage to me and is just as much under warranty as throwing your device against the wall. By "forcing" users to stick to the stock ROM they can exclude all of these possibilities, they dont have to take any possible user mod into consideration which speeds up and eases the checks needed for this.

    Like said, Rooted(or in w/e way altered) devices have never been accepted under warranty and it surprises me to still see people get angry about it. If you love your warranty that much, then simply don't screw around with it.

    • Tim242

      At Sprint, they don't care if it's rooted or not. They will repair or replace it, no questions asked. At Verizon, they will replace them if it's something that is a known defect, or if their update caused issue with a rooted phone. It is imperative to get on a custom ROM to disable their updates. I do not know how T-Mobile and at&t handle them, as I have not worked for them. Rooting does not automatically void warranty.

    • reverend_house

      But how is this different to PCs and Macs that arrive pre-rooted? (and overclocking won't damage your phone, it's only overvolting that will do it)

  • Michael Fontenot

    I think I speak for the entire AP community when I say thank you for acknowledging our proficiency.

  • http://www.evolutionrts.info/ Ben Woods

    Android Police need a dose of good old consumer protection law: https://plus.google.com/104711040110222472212/posts/dHkBiKhM9F4

  • Terry

    I've got no loyalties to Verizon or any phone company. However, I've been on way too many Root forums where people screw up their phones and then lie about what happened to it to get a new one.

    Because of this, I have a hard time thinking Verizon or any other phone company is evil for making such a move. When you have a good number of evil customers stuff like this will happen.

    • reverend_house

      How have you seen someone do this? It's almost impossible to physically damage a phone through rooting, with the only exceptions being overvolting and screwing up the bootloader. Most people who root, never do that. Using the fact that someone has rooted to deny them warranty on a defective screen or blown speaker is a douche(Verizon) move.

  • Mike

    Screw Verizon insurance, get protect cell.

    • Tim242

      Insurance covers anything. This concerns warranty, not insurance

  • Nick Kromer

    simple. decompile the settings app to make it say unrooted instead of rooted

  • CNexus

    I wonder if this will be deeper than just the settings.apk...reminds me of the locked/unlocked/relocked flag on HTC phones

  • Mst74

    I was one of "those" that upgraded over the weekend with unlimited data glitch. Used sim from my gnex which had to replace-no 4g, today my phone shows that it's unrooted-and no I didn't root, yet. Gnex was, could that be why?

  • Mst74

    Ooops meant to say status says rooted.

  • Josh Kyte

    just throw the bitch on the ground and they cant look at the screen to see if its rooted