OK, DROID BIONIC owners - I think it's finally safe-ish (well, as safe as it can be for the moment) to start tinkering with your phone a little. There's enough information out there now to reliably root, backup, and de-bloat your phone - with the ability to unbrick if you screw something up. So, let's get this party started. Also, these instructions are for Windows only. If you're looking for Linux or OS X instructions, check out this XDA thread.
This is actually very, very easy. To root your DROID BIONIC, just do the following:
DROID BIONIC ROOT INSTRUCTIONS
- Download the Motorola Drivers (version 5.2.0) (DOWNLOAD HERE) (64-bit version here), and install them.
- Download Pete's Motorola Root Tools (DOWNLOAD HERE) and unzip the contents to any new, empty folder.
- Now, go into your phone's Settings menu, then to "Applications," then "Development," and check the box to enable "USB debugging."
- Next, connect your DROID BIONIC to your computer. When the little USB icon in the notification bar appears, pull down and hit it, then select "Charge Only" mode from the list of 4 options.
- Next, disconnect your BIONIC from your PC, then re-connect it. This will un-mount the storage locations, just for safety's sake.
- Finally, in the folder you created, run "Pete's Motorola Root Tools.exe" and then hit "Root My Phone", if all goes as planned, you should get the following screen:
Once your BIONIC reboots for the third time, you should have root access. Woohoo. Now, before you start going hog-wild with fantasies of removing Moto-bloat, you really should get a Nandroid (full system image) backup on your SD card in case you, well, screw something up. First, we'll need to install the bootstrap recovery.
Bootstrap Recovery And Nandroid Backup
Installing the bootstrap recovery tool is a cinch. Thanks to CVPCS, we have a viable, Clockwork Recovery-based (note: this is not authored by Koush, the creator of CWR) bootstrap recovery tool.
BOOTSTRAP RECOVERY INSTALL INSTRUCTIONS
- Download the CVPCS BIONIC bootstrap recovery apk. (DOWNLOAD HERE) [md5: 082a6362c386e2660848120b681f42c3]
- E-mail yourself a copy of the apk (through Gmail - this is the easiest method), or place the apk on the root of your phone's SD card.
- Go to your phone's Settings menu, then to "Applications," and make sure "Unknown sources" is checked.
- Go to Gmail, and on the attachment hit "Install." If you placed it on your SD card, you'll need a file management app like Astro to explore the card. The directory for the external SD card is "sd-ext."
- Go to your app drawer, and open the Bionic Bootstrapper app.
- Hit "Bootstrap Recovery," and when prompted, hit "Allow" on the superuser permission prompt. When it says "Bootstrap Successful," hit "Reboot Recovery."
Shortly thereafter, you should be greeted by the following screen:
Next, we'll need to create a backup.
CREATING A NANDROID BACKUP
- In the recovery menu, navigate to "Backup and Restore" - hit the power button to select it.
- "Backup" should be the first item on the menu. Hit the power button to start your system backup. Once finished, you'll be returned to the recovery main menu.
- Hit "Reboot System" and your phone will start up normally. You now have a Nandroid backup of your system as it exists now, on your SD card.
To restore it, simply open the Bootstrapper app, reboot into recovery, and go to the Backup and Restore menu, select Restore, then find the backup you made (it's labeled by date and time).
De-Bloat (Remove Crappy Verizon/Motorola Apps And Services)
De-bloating your BIONIC is probably 95% of the reason you're here. Now that you've made it this far, I've got some quasi-disappointing news: you're probably going to have to spend some money. You have two options:
- Download Titanium Backup PRO (cost: approximately $7 US, available in the Market)
- Use Team BlackHat app (cost: $2.99, but more complicated download process), which contains a Motorola de-bloat tool.
We prefer Titanium. Why? Because Titanium Backup is an awesome app that does a lot more than de-bloat your phone. It's full-on app management and backup. Trust us, it's worth 7 bucks. Also, we won't be including instructions for the TBH app.
DE BLOAT VIA TITANIUM BACKUP INSTRUCTIONS
- Install Titanium Backup, then buy Titanium Backup Pro (Market page).
- Run Titanium Backup. If it doesn't work, uninstall it and download again and open straight from the Market page (I had this issue). You should get a Superuser prompt, hit "allow."
- Go to the "Backup/Restore" tab. You should have a ginormous list of apps and related things.
If you long-press on any of the apps, you should get a little menu like the one below, notice the "Freeze" option, this basically tells your phone that app doesn't exist. Once you "freeze" an app, your phone will act like it's not installed - it won't run, it won't show up in your app drawer, and it will no longer bug you. But, you need to be careful what you freeze.
- Here is a list of Motorola and Verizon installed bloatware, as labelled in Titanium, which you can safely "Freeze." Note that Blockbuster and NFL Mobile aren't included, because they may cause errors if frozen.
WARNING: Once frozen, you cannot use these apps or their related services. You'll have to unfreeze them.
Backup Assistant 2.3.4
Backup Assistant Client 1.0
Citrix Receiver 2.1.1059
City ID 1.1.7
Guided Tours 2.3.4
Help Center 2.3.4
IM Presence 2.3.4
Social Location 2.0* [do not disable if you use any of the Social widgets or other Motorola social tools]
Social Messaging 2.3.4*
Social Networking 2.3.4*
Social Status 2.3.4*
Sticky note 2.3.4
V CAST Media Manager 22.214.171.124
V CAST Music 03.72.110
V CAST Tones 4.5.11
V CAST Videos 5.72.008
VZ Navigator 126.96.36.1993
This list has been reduced from the original you'll find at the Android Central forums, mostly because it contained a lot of non-Verizon/Moto stuff, as well as things which you should have no reason to remove unless you're already pretty experienced with this sort of thing. You can find the full, unedited list here.
Once you've done that, you're, well, done. Enjoy root access, and the reduced bloat.
Note On Restoring From Brick
Remember, if you "brick" your BIONIC (as in, it won't boot to the OS), you'll have to follow the explicit de-bricking instructions in the link here. Once you do this, you will have to re-root, and re-bootstrap your BIONIC to access the backup you made, then restore it. Just a friendly FYI.
Thanks to the following sources for the files and instructions and all the hard work: