Android is one of the most preferred operating systems out there, simply because of the customizability it offers. The user can change almost every aspect of one’s device, and even tweak it in certain ways to make sure their devices perform better. All of this is primarily dependent on your device’s config file, that is, the build.prop file. This file contains all the configuration data for your device as well as the Android system installed on it. Many power users modify this file in order to tweak their device furthermore. We recently did an article on some of the coolest build.prop tweaks for your Android device. Sadly though, since this is a system file, the general conception is that you need a rooted device. Well, don’t worry, as there is a way around that as well. So, if you’re an Android user looking to the build.prop file on their Android device but don’t have root access, read on, as we share with you our guide on how to edit build.prop without root access:
Edit Build.prop Without Root Access
Note: The following method requires you to have a custom recovery like TWRP or CWM. You can either install the custom recovery or even choose to simply boot through it for this process. This is because you have full access to system files in recovery mode. Also, this is only possible if the system partition is mounted, something which stock recoveries don’t allow. I tried the following method on Samsung Galaxy S8 and Moto X Play, and it worked just fine.
- To begin with, download and install ADB and Fastboot drivers onto your system, as shown here.
- Install an advanced text editor like Notepad++ or Sublime Text on your system. This is will be used later on to edit the build.prop file.
- Next up, switch off your device and head over to the recovery mode. Once there, tap on “Mount”. A list of all the partitions on your device will open up. Make sure the checkbox next to ‘System’ is checked, and the checkbox next to “Mount system partition read-only” is unchecked.
- Once you’ve mounted the /system partition, connect your device to your PC and open the ADB window. Once there, type in the following command to transfer the build.prop file onto your system:
adb pull /system/build.prop <path to save file>
For example, I wish to transfer the file to C:\Beebom on my system, hence the command that I’ll be inputting will be:
adb pull /system/build.prop C:\Beebom
As you can see below, the build.prop file will now be transferred to the specified path, in my case, C:\Beebom.
- Now that your build.prop file has been transferred to your system, you can edit it easily using the text editor you downloaded previously. To do so, simply right-click on the build.prop file and select “Edit with Notepad++” or any other text editor that you may have downloaded.
- A new Notepad++ window should now open and you should easily be able to modify the build.prop file. Once you’re done with your edits, simply save the changes.
- Now that you’ve edited the build.prop file, we need to transfer it back to your device. To do so, run the following command in the ADB window:
adb push <path to your file> /system/build.prop
So, since my file is located at C:\Beebom\, the command that I’ll be inputting will be:
adb push C:\Beebom\build.prop /system/build.prop
- Now that you’ve transferred the modified build.prop file, you need to set its permissions as well. To do so, open up the ADB shell by typing in the following command:
- Once you’re inside the ADB shell mode, type in the following command to set the right permissions:
chmod 644 /system/build.prop
And that’s it. You can now close the ADB window. Your build.prop file has now been modified as per your preferences.
SEE ALSO: How to Install and Use ADB on Windows and Mac
Edit Build.prop Without Root on Your Android Device
Modifying your build.prop file can help you make more out of your Android device. The strongest advantage of Android over other operating systems is its level of customizability, something which is primarily dependent on the build.prop file. And while not everyone has root access, one can still modify their build files using the above method. Do note that whatever you do with your build.prop file, always and always have a backup ready just in case. Well, that’s all from my side but I would love to hear the multiple tweaks you tried to implement on your device in the comments section below.
how are you supposed to do this with a locked bootloader please?
doesnt work, waste of time.
This does not work under Oreo. You can push the edited file into system successfully but when you reboot to Android OS, it seems like the file is being replace with original build.prop by bootloader or something. I can confirm none of this methods are working in Moto G5 Plus bootloader unlocked (unrooted).
It works for me after the Oreo 8.1 OTA update on my unrooted bootloader unlocked Moto G5S Plus (XT1806 retus) phone. I realize they’re different phones, but it should work the same. Are you doing the step of setting the permissions (chmod 644 /system/build.prop) after pushing the edited build.prop back to the phone? Because not doing that could cause the OS to realized the build.prop has been modified and replace it with the default.
my phone is mi5.
i got new miui10 update.
i liked the new full screen gestures in miui 10.
inorder to do that we need nav buttons on screen.
i tried your above process without root and edited build prop file made changes to qemu hkeys values to 0.
i followed the exact process as u said but after reboot i didnt find any hanges in navigation buttons.
It displays an error saying read only file system . Could anyone Please tell me, how to fix it?
Next up, switch off your device and head over to the recovery mode. Once there, tap on “Mount”.
i’m moto g4 plus user. i have installed all prerequisites, but when i start my phone in recovery mode, no option comes like TWRP, where i can tap “mount”.
pls tell me how to activate cast screen feature in my moto g4 plus
This method allows you to edit build.prop without being root, but in first place you need to install a custom recovery (TWRP) which requires you to have an unlocked bootloader,
what happens if I change the build.prop without installing the custom recovery by using ES FILE EXPLORER. Will there be any problem to my device?
For editing the build.prop file using ES File Explorer you will need root access.
Anyone can help me, please?
I try follow the steps, previously I unlock oem via developer options but I believe that not working like expected, when I use fastboot flash recovery twrp.img to install a TWRP I see:
(bootloader) slot-count: not found
(bootloader) slot-suffixes: not found
(bootloader) slot-suffixes: not found
(bootloader) has-slot:recovery: not found
target reported max download size of 536870912 bytes
sending ‘recovery’ (12358 KB)…
OKAY [ 0.427s]
(bootloader) Image recovery failed validation
(bootloader) Preflash validation failed
FAILED (remote failure)
finished. total time: 0.460s
So, I can’t advanced because I can’t install and initiate twrp. What I need to do?
same error, i am getting frustrated, i am not able to install TWRP
if you could have the ducking recovery installed are you a fool to not get root after that
So far I know , there will be no OTA available after I edit build.prop file … What to do to get OTA back ???
Install new stock roms (when they are available) with TWRP or flash stock rom with odin (you will lose data and TWRP!!).
Just for my understanding. This method allows you to edit build.prop without being root, but in first place you need to install a custom recovery which requires root access on your device. Or am I missing something here?
Installing a custom recovery requires you to have an unlocked bootloader, that’s it. There’s no need for root access in order to install a custom recovery.
on older devices such as with android KK or LP it was easy to get root by apps like kingroot ,and then installing recovery after unlocking bootloader but is no point ,stock recovery is best if youre a root already
You can also temporarily fastboot into TWRP. Most devices don’t require an unlocked bootloader for this. simply execute this command: .\fastboot boot
I’m using “Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus” mobile and tried to use the steps as given here, but was unable to boot my device in Recovery mode through “official TWRP app” or CWM’s “ROM Manager” apps installed on my device, it gives an error message “an error occurred while attempting to run the privileged commands!”.
So kindly look on the matter and help me.
Thanks & Regards,
Did you try installing a custom recovery via fastboot before proceeding?
Good write up some observations: Using TWRP 3.1.1-adb shell command says “device/emulator” not found-need to reboot to system to use shell command and change permissions. Should go back to TWRP and mount system read only as last step.
Any way to do this without a custom recovery (or any recovery for that matter)? Running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop on a ZTE Grand X 3 from Cricket Wireless.
If you can find a way to mount partitions other than a recovery tool, then yes.