Magisk is one of the most powerful Android mod tools around, and a godsend to users who buy a phone without a strong custom ROM community. But ever since its creator John Wu was hired by Google itself in May, its future has been somewhat fuzzy. Earlier today Wu updated his Medium site for the Magisk project, stating that the open source tool will continue development ... but with some notable changes.
Magisk developer Hung-Lin "John" Wu (aka topjohnwu at many venues) has just started working for Google — on the Android Platform Security team, no less. For those without the context to pick up on the irony, that means John Wu is now working for the group inside Google that Magisk and SafetyNet-circumventing Magisk Hide have been playing cat and mouse with for the last several years.
Magisk is one of the most powerful tools available for Android that can not only root your smartphone but even help it bypass Google's SafetyNet, which stops certain apps like Google Pay from running on modified devices. While the focus of the latest update is fixing bugs, it brings about a couple of notable developments.
If you've ever rooted your Android phone to modify system components, chances are, you've come across Magisk, which allows for systemless root access. Developer John Wu has constantly updated it to ensure it works just as well and goes undetected by Google's SafetyNet. The tool is now being updated to version 22.0, which introduces support for the Samsung Galaxy S21 series and kills the Magisk Manager as we know it.
For advanced Android enthusiasts, Magisk is one of the most popular tools for achieving systemless root access to a device. Since each yearly Android release introduces new underlying code changes, there's usually a lot of work to be done before Magisk can be made compatible. Developer John Wu started with the first canary builds back in April, and now it looks like Magisk version 21 is officially ready for Android 11 — as well as a completely rewritten version of Magisk Manager.
If you're part of the root and ROM Android enthusiast crowd, then you probably freaked out a bit back in March when it was revealed Google's SafetyNet check was getting a hardware-backed component with no easy workaround. Now, these changes have been spotted live in the wild, and some phones are already using hardware-backed SafetyNet attestation. Cue "the end is nigh" wailing.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Android may be a wide-open world compared to iOS, but there are still some things you just can't do on Google's mobile platform. One of them is capturing screenshots within apps that prohibit the act — either because the screen contains sensitive information or content protected by digital rights management. Lucky, then, that we have a trick up our sleeve called rooting! Yes, even in 2020, it still has utility for the people who need it the most. So, if you'd like to grab a freezeframe to meme up or spoil a drama series or keep some backup passcodes where you can easily pull them out, we've got a way (or three) to do that.
It's the same procedure as every year: Google releases new development builds for the latest version of Android, and the developer community begins digging through the code to see how it can achieve root. That's true for this year, as well, as Magisk developer John Wu has published the first canary builds of his systemless root solution for Android 11's developer preview.
Magisk and Google have been playing a game of cat and mouse for years: Google's SafetyNet technology is supposed to be triggered when it notices a rooted device, but MagiskHide does its best to keep banking apps, Pokémon Go, and other root-despising applications going, no matter what you do with your phone. However, the latest update to SafetyNet, apparently rolling out via the Play Services, seems to put an end to the game permanently. Magisk developer John Wu isn't convinced he'll find a solution that would keep his tool intact once Google fully implements the change.