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Guide: How you can Elevate App Permissions using Shizuku library
There are a variety of reasons why the permissions granted to your app may not be sufficient. Perhaps you, like me, enjoy making nefarious apps that take advantage of the Android API. Some of the APIs I use require particular permissions to utilise. They can sometimes only be accessed by the shell user (ADB) or the system. However, there is a solution: Shizuku.
Shizuku allows you to use Java or Kotlin to call system APIs virtually directly. This article will show you how to set up Shizuku and use it.
What is Shizuku?
Before we go about using Shizuku, it might be helpful to know what exactly it is. If you’re familiar with Magisk, then Shizuku is similar. But instead of managing root access, it manages shell access.
Shizuku runs its own process with shell-level permissions. How the user activates that process depends on their device, Android version, and choice. Shizuku can be activated through ADB, through on-device wireless ADB (on Android 11 and later), or through root access. Apps implementing Shizuku can then request permission to use that process to perform elevated operations.
While shell-level access to the system doesn’t let you do as much as root, it still gives you more access than a normal app would. On top of that, the way Shizuku works lets you use the Android APIs almost like normal. You don’t have to rely on shell commands (although you can if you want to).
If your app needs special permissions that can only be granted through ADB (or with root), Shizuku and Android 11 make a great pairing. You can just use Shizuku to grant special permissions fully on-device.
Even with devices that aren’t on Android 11, Shizuku can be useful. The app provides instructions and scripts for users so you don’t have to.
Adding Shizuku to your app isn’t the simplest, but it’s not hard, either. Unfortunately, the developer documentation isn’t exactly complete, but this article has you covered. Here’s how to integrate Shizuku into your app.
The first step is to add the Shizuku dependencies. In your module-level build.gradle, add the following to the dependencies block.
def shizuku_version = ‘11.0.3’
Make sure to update the version if needed. 11.0.3 is the latest at the time of writing.
In order for Shizuku to work, you need to add a provider block to your app’s manifest. Open AndroidManifest.xml and add the following inside the application block.
For authorization, Shizuku uses a runtime permission. We’ll get into granting that permission in a bit. For now, add it to AndroidManifest.xml inside the manifest block.
Now that all of that is added, the basic integration is done. Let Gradle do a project sync, and continue on to Usage.
Before going into how to use Shizuku, let’s talk about making sure it’s actually available to use.
Before checking to see if the permission is granted, and before making API calls through Shizuku, you can make sure those checks and calls will succeed with the following method:
If Shizuku is installed and running, this will return true. Otherwise, it will return false.
Since Shizuku uses a runtime permission, it has to be granted to your app before you can do anything with shell access. There are also two API versions in circulation, with different ways of granting it. This section will show you how to handle both.
Before you request the permission, the best thing to do is to check if you already have it. If you do, you can continue with whatever you need to do. Otherwise, you’ll need to request it before continuing.
Now that Shizuku is set up and permissions are granted, you can start actually calling APIs using Shizuku. The process here is a little different than you might be used to. Instead of calling getSystemService() and casting to something like WindowManager, you’ll have to use the internal APIs for these instead (e.g., IWindowManager).
Shizuku includes a bypass for Android’s hidden API blacklist, so you won’t need to worry about that when using it. If you’re curious how to bypass that yourself though.
While the Binder method covers most use-cases, there may be times where you need an API that doesn’t have a direct Binder interface. In that case, you can use the User Service feature in Shizuku.
This method works similarly to a normal Service in Android. You “start” it, communicate by binding to it with a ServiceConnection, and run your logic in the service class. The difference is you aren’t using Android’s Service, and anything inside the service runs with ADB permissions.
Now there are some limitations. The User Service runs in a completely separate process and user, so you can’t interact with the rest of your app except through your own AIDL callbacks and Binders. Since it’s also not running in a proper app process, some things like binding Android Services may not work properly.
This also requires Shizuku version 10 or later. While most sources for the app have version 11 currently, you should still include a version check, which will be included in the example.
Defining an AIDL
To get started, you’ll need to create a new AIDL file. You can do this in Android Studio by right-clicking anything in the Android file-view, hovering over the “New” option, and choosing the “AIDL” option. Enter the name of the file (e.g., “IUserService”), and Android Studio will create a template file for you.
If you aren’t familiar with how AIDLs work, be sure to check out Google’s documentation.
Remove the template methods from the AIDL and then add a destroy() method with the proper ID for Shizuku. This will be called when Shizuku is killing the User Service, and should be used to clean up any references or ongoing logic you have.
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