Unfortunately, some developers block access to their apps if they detect that the device they’re installed on is rooted. This is due to a variety of reasons, but usually its due to security (banking apps) or Digital Rights Management (video apps).
The worry is that rooted devices, if compromised, have access to more sensitive information thanks to their unrestricted access, as well as the fact that users could find and extract normally hidden DRM content on their devices using a file manager with root access.
But you’re the kind of person who roots your Android device and refuses to let others tell you what you can and cannot do with it, so let’s work around this annoyance.
The Xposed Framework is a super handy app that allows you to customize your rooted Android phone without flashing a custom ROM. Before installing it, though, make sure that in your security settings you have checked the option to allow the installation of apps from “Unknown sources”.
Now go ahead and install the Xposed Framework. The quickest and easiest way is to go to the official Xposed website on your Android device and download the apk file. Once downloaded, tap on the file to install it.
However, Xposed by itself doesn’t do you much good; you’ll need RootCloak to really get anything done.
Open up Xposed and go into the Download section as shown below. All of the available modules will be listed in alphabetical order, so you can either scroll through or search for RootCloak.
Tap on RootCloak, and it will bring up the page shown below. Download the most current version, which as of now is 1.4.
Accept the installation, and the module is installed. But it won’t do anything without a reboot. If you’re running Android 4.1 or higher, you can select “Activate and reboot” from your notification pane, which will automatically turn on the RootCloak module and restart your device. You’ll need to grant the Xposed Installer root access to do this, as shown below.
If you’re running Android 4.0 or lower, or you just didn’t get a notification, you can activate the module manually from within Xposed as shown below. Just check the box next to RootCloak under the Modules section. Remember to reboot your device afterwards.
Tweak RootCloak If Necessary
RootCloak automatically enables certain apps, but it’s possible that it doesn’t cover the specific app that you’re trying to use. There is a list of all the apps that RootCloak is confirmed to work with over on the XDA Developers Forum, but if you want to give something a try that’s not activated by default, you’ll need to play with RootCloak’s settings.
Access RootCloak’s menu either through the RootCloak icon that is now in your app drawer, or through the Modules section of Xposed. Once there, click on Add/Remove Apps, then tap the + icon in the upper right. This will show you a list of all the apps on your device, and you can select the one that you want enabled. You’ll have to reboot for the changes to take effect.
It works exactly as it should.
Below you can see the error notifications I got when trying to run Best Buy CinemaNow and Fox Digital Copy before installing RootCloak.
But after installing RootCloak, I was free to access these apps without a problem.
Your Mileage May Vary
Even though this trick is awesome, it won’t work for all devices. Since there are so many apps that could search for so many signs of rooting, it’s impossible for RootCloak to detect them all. If you’re running a custom ROM, it’s even more likely that you could run into problems. Still, it’s worth a shot, and you could always try out RookCloak+, which the developer says is able to unblock a wider range of apps.
If you haven’t rooted your Android device, take a look at our Android Rooting Guide. Rooting certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you’re willing to take the dive, the benefits can be huge. After all, rooting is (mostly) legal, and blocking apps for use on rooted devices seems to go against the whole point of rooting — getting more control over your device.
What do you think of RootCloak? Are any of your favorite apps blocked on rooted devices? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: Flickr/Johan Larsson