If you're the owner of an AT&T-branded Nexus 6, and don't want to be, you're in luck. With root, a plastic fork, and a little bit of time, you can remove all of the assorted goodies that the carrier has added and make your Nexus 6 exactly like everyone else's.
Rear Logo Removal
YouTube user Craig Phillips has put up a video showing that the logo on the back of the phone can be easily removed using some kind of sharp object. In Phillips' case, he used a plastic fork. The logo appears to just be painted onto the back and is easily scratched off.
The only thing I'd add to this is to be careful that you're not too rough with the plastic fork. There is likely a fine line between scraping off paint and scratching the finish on the back. Proceed with caution.
Removal Of AT&T's Software Customizations (Root Required)
There are several customizations that Big Blue made to its device variant:
- A custom boot animation and sound that plays before the stock animation.
- AT&T's standard set of ringtones that appear on all Android devices that the carrier currently sells.
- A SIM lock which prevents another carrier's SIM card from being used in the phone without first entering an unlock code.
Two of these three can be easily removed, but you'll need root. All you need to do is go in via a root file explorer, remount the /oem partition as read-write (rw), and remove all the files from that partition. I'd recommend moving them to your computer just in case something messes up, but regardless, the end goal is an empty /oem partiton. That will remove the AT&T boot animation and the ringtones.
What about the SIM lock?
The SIM lock data is stored within the baseband and is not easily circumvented. The best advice I'd have for getting rid of the SIM lock is either requesting the unlock code from AT&T after your device is paid for or out of contract, or buying it from one of the many 3rd party sites that sell unlock codes.
How can I disable the account check when tethering?
Every US Nexus 6 XT1103 with an AT&T or Verizon SIM in it, regardless of where it was purchased, will check your account's subscription status before enabling tethering. This isn't unique to the AT&T model and therefore, I don't really consider it a part of making an AT&T Nexus 6 function like every other variant.
The check is hardcoded into AOSP, but you can disable it (assuming you're rooted) by adding a line to your /system/build.prop file that reads "net.tethering.noprovisioning=true" and rebooting.
Is there a way to stop my device from downloading AT&T bloatware during initial setup?
As with the tethering check, every US Nexus 6 will do this if there's an AT&T SIM in it, so it's not really relevant to the article subject. With that said, if uninstalling the bloatware post-setup is too much work for you, you can simply go through the initial device setup without a SIM card inserted. If you do that, no AT&T bloat will be installed.
Thankfully all the changes that AT&T made to the Nexus 6 were independent of the actual ROM with the (arguable) exception of the SIM lock. So, if you're bored and are looking for a project to kill some time, this should fit the bill.