Samsung phones sold in the U.S. are notoriously difficult to root. Samsung Knox makes rooting especially annoying, and it tends to break a lot of things if you do manage to get root. Users in the U.S. can’t even unlock the bootloader to root their devices in the first place. Every once in awhile, though, developers figure out an exploit that allows us to root. The Snapdragon Galaxy S7, Snapdragon Galaxy S8, and Snapdragon Galaxy Note 8 were possible to root using exploits, for example. The same developers behind the SamPWND exploit for the S8/Note 8 are back again with exploits that allow for root access on the Snapdragon Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note 9 — although there is a catch.
The catch is that rooting the Snapdragon Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note 9 requires a certain Android version being installed on the devices. Root isn’t available for the devices on the up-to-date firmware at this point in time. Currently, you are only able to root the Snapdragon Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note 9 if you’re running Android 8.0 or 8.1 Oreo. This is two major versions of Android behind the current release based on Android 10. You also need to be running what’s called a combination firmware — firmware that Samsung uses in the factory for testing. The combination firmware is the only reason root is possible, but it also has its own limitation: Flashing it will cap the battery charging to a max 80%, unfortunately. On the other hand, Samsung Knox is still working (because you aren’t unlocking the bootloader), so apps like Secure Folder or Samsung Pay continue to work. Plus, you get to keep your warranty in countries where software modifications may void it.