Much to the chagrin of cell carriers and hardware manufacturers, there are still many in the Android community that choose to delve into the world of hacking and modding their phones. Owners of the Verizon Moto G are certainly in this crowd, and they've been eagerly awaiting a reliable method for unlocking their bootloaders. It turns out that their wait ends today. Sunshine, a tool built by Justin Case, Beaups, and others to unlock HTC and Motorola phones, just gained support for the Moto G on Verizon.
Be advised, some of the instructions below are now outdated due to significant changes to the Android Wear firmware and app since the Lollipop update. Most of these activities, like taking screenshots manually, enabling debugging, and even unlocking the bootloader will work with only minor modifications to the steps. However, the rooting steps below can not be expected to work any longer.
You saw Android Wear a couple of months ago when Google unveiled the SDK and both LG and Motorola presented the first promotional pictures.
There are a few ways to get root access on HTC's new lineup of smartphones, but root only gets you so far. If you really want to hack around, you'll want an unlocked bootloader and s-off. That's what you get with the new SunShine tool from Justin Case, Beaups, and associates. This time, however, the free lunch is over.
The new Xperia Z1s on T-Mobile is almost identical to the international Z1, except for the radio bands and some software tweaks. One thing that definitely isn't the same is the bootloader – it appears that T-Mobile has requested Sony not allow bootloader unlocks on this device. For a company trying to upend the traditional carrier model, this is awfully old-fashioned carrier behavior.
If you like to mod your Nexus devices but you're also a fan of tight security, you probably already know BootUnlocker. It's a simple app that allows rooted devices to lock and unlock the bootloader without wiping user data. The developer, segv11, is back with v1.5.1 of this handy little utility. The latest update adds support for the WiFi (flo) and LTE (deb) variants of the 2013 Nexus 7 and the ability to set the tamper flag on the Nexus 4 (mako) and Nexus 5 (hammerhead).
As a follow up to our recent PSA on bootloader quirks with GPE devices, we thought it would be a good idea to shed some light on a bootloader anomaly which affects both Nexus and GPE devices. Recently, there have been changes to the way unlocking happens behind the scenes. These changes can result in a device that infinitely boots into recovery.
Traditionally, when you decide to unlock and flash a custom recovery, the procedure goes something like this:
You type "fastboot oem unlock" from the command line.
In addition to things like stock Android and being carrier-unlocked, one of the big features of Nexus and Google Play Edition devices that Android power users love is an easily unlockable bootloader. While OEMs and carriers often make a policy of locking their devices' bootloaders to prevent installation of unauthorized software, Google makes it very easy for us to tinker with devices bearing its brand. All you really need to unlock a Google device is a tool called "fastboot," which is made available through the Android SDK.
Did you know it's possible to unlock your Nexus 5 bootloader without wiping user data? If your device has already been rooted and relocked for optimal security, then unlocking is just a button tap away thanks to the latest update to BootUnlocker. Support for Google's latest flagship phone was just added with an update to version 1.4 of the app from XDA member segv11. Sadly, both generations of the Nexus 7 from ASUS remain unsupported.
Both AT&T and Verizon have repeatedly and vociferously stated that their policy of locking bootloaders isn't going away any time soon. And in both cases, public-spirited security researcher Dan Rosenberg has managed to fox them on at least some hardware. Like a mischievous trickster deity, the Loki tool has been pressed into service to work around the locked bootloaders of various Samsung and LG devices, and the latest update adds support for the flagship LG G2 on both carriers.
As promised, Motorola is making at least some of the bootloaders on its new flagship Moto X unlockable, opening the door for relatively easy root privileges, custom recoveries, and aftermarket ROMs. The Sprint, US Cellular, and forthcoming Latin American models of the Moto X can now be unlocked using Motorola's My Moto Care portal. Customers will need to create an account and have their device ID ready.
Naturally, unlocking your device's bootloader will void your warranty, even if you never do anything else with it.