boot or init_boot: Which file should you choose for rooting?



There are a plethora of tweaks and customization that you could try out in an open-source ecosystem. From flashing custom ROMs to recoveries or even custom kernels, the possibilities stand endless. However, for the tech enthusiast, the ability to gain administrative privileges by rooting their device via Magisk has forever been their go-to choice. And why shouldn’t it be?

When it gives you the platform to welcome abode tons of modules and tweaks on your device, then what else could one ask for? However, the entire rooting scenario has undergone a massive change in recent times. Earlier, you just needed to patch and flash the boot.img and your task stands complete. However, that is no longer the case.

For some devices, you might infact need to patch the init_boot file via Magisk instead of the usual boot. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that you get hold of this information before proceeding to root your device, or else a bootloop or soft brick device is on the cards. And in this guide, we will help you with just that. Follow along.

Benefits and Risks of Rooting

Before you proceed ahead and root your device via the boot/init_boot file, it is of paramount importance that you get yourself acquainted with the benefits and more importantly the risks involved in this process. If we talk about the plus side, then you’ll be able to flash a plentitude of Magisk modules, overclock or underclock the CPU by flashing custom kernels, and counterintuitively fix most of the issues that a custom ROM brings in with itself.

play integrity test failing

However, rooting also results in the failure of the Play Integrity tests, mainly Device and Basic Integrity [you’ll never be able to pass Strong Integrity in an unlocked bootloader and neither does this test have any adverse consequences in the rooted ecosystem]. This in turn will lead to your inability to use any banking and payment apps. Not to mention the obvious that rooting requires an unlocked bootloader, which might nullify the device’s warranty and will surely wipe off all the data from your device. So only proceed ahead keeping these points in mind.

Boot or init_boot: Which file should you choose for rooting?

Well, the rule is quite simple- if your device comes with Android 12 or older versions, then you should use the boot.img file for rooting whereas if it came with Android 13 or higher versions, then you’ll have to use the init_boot.img. For instance, the likes of Pixel 6 and OnePlus 10 will use the boot.img whereas Pixel 8 and OnePlus 12 would use the init_boot file.

With that said, there is one exception to this rule- a few rare devices that are launched with Android 13 or higher versions might still use the boot.img! So how to determine which these are devices? Well, if your device was launched with Android 13+ out of the box but its stock firmware doesn’t have the init_boot.img file, then your device falls in this exception list.

boot init_boot root

One example of the same is the Poco F5, which even though was launched with Android 13, still uses the boot.img for root. So this would have given you a decent idea of whether you should use the boot or init_boot file for rooting purposes. Before proceeding with the rooting steps, make sure to extract the boot/init_boot from the same firmware that is currently installed on your device.

boot init_boot root

You could verify the same from the Build Number, which is usually present in the Settings > About Phone section. So on that note, we round off this guide. Still, have any doubts? The comments section is all yours, make your voices heard there and we’ll chalk out the best fix for you.

One Major Difference in Rooting via Boot and Init_Boot

It’s obvious that the command rooting via boot will be different when compared with init_boot, so we aren’t taking that into consideration. Instead, we will be shedding some light on another interesting difference between the two. When you root an Android device via boot.img file, then you have the option to first temporarily boot your device via the Magisk patched file.

boot init_boot direct install root magisk

If everything is working well and good, then you could proceed ahead and permanently obtain root via Magisk’s Direct Install option. This gives you a fail-safe environment if something is wrong with the patched boot, then you just need to do a restart and the patched boot will be replaced with the stock one and the device will then boot to the OS. With that said, if you are still willing to take the risk, then you always have the option to permanently flash the patched boot via the fastboot flash boot patched_boot.img.

flash boot root magisk

On the other hand, if we talk about init_boot, then it doesn’t support temporary booting, instead, you have no choice but to directly flash the patched file via fastboot flash init_boot patched_init_boot.img. That is why it is always recommended to exercise additional caution when it comes to rooting via init_boot.

Because if the patched init_boot file is corrupt, then your device will end up in a bootloop or soft brick state and you’ll then have to either flash the stock init_boot or the entire firmware in some cases to bring your device back to life. So on that note, we round off this guide. If you still have any queries or with to know more about this discussion, do let us know in the comments section below.

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