Less than a week after the Motorola Moto G 2015 model went on sale, folks have already figured out how to root the phone and install a custom recovery. This opens the door for running apps that require superuser permissions, making complete backups of your device, and installing custom updates, firmware, or even replacement operating systems (custom ROMs).
The latest Moto G has already made headlines because of its relatively low price tag, solid feature set, and customizable design. Now it looks like the software may be customizable as well.
Sure, the Moto G is hardly unique in this respect. It’s possible to root, unlock, and install custom firmware on hundreds of Android phones. But this is still a nice bonus for power users considering purchasing Motorola’s new phone which sells for $180 to $220.
1. Unlock the bootloader
It’s relatively easy to unlock the bootloader, which allows you to flash custom firmware. Just note that this will void your warranty.
Motorola doesn’t make it quite as easy to unlock the bootloader of its phone as it is on a Google Nexus device — you’ll need to get a code from Motorola. But once you obtain that code, you can use the “fastboot oem unlock” command with that code.
You can find step-by-step instructions at Tech Droider.
2. Custom recovery
Next up, you’ll need to replace the stock recovery with a custom recovery… either temporarily or permanently.
Xda-developers forum member squid2 is working on a build of TWRP for the 3rd-gen Moto G, and a number of people say they’ve successfully used it to either boot into the Team Win Recovery Project recovery tool once and/or to install it to their devices.
This custom recovery can replace the recovery partition on your phone with a more full-featured, user-friendly tool that allows you to backup, restore, or erase you device. It also lets you install system updates or replace the operating system with a custom ROM.
Once TWRP is installed, you can use also use it to root your device, install the Xposed framework, or make other changes.
If you’ve made it this far, all you need to do is download the latest version of Superuser to your device, boot into recovery mode, and use TWRP to flash Superuser.
When you reboot your device, you should have root access.
Need a download link and instructions? Tech Droider has some for this step too.
4. Custom ROMs (or custom ROM-like features)
Alright, so what can you do with a rooted, bootloader unlocked device? In addition to running apps that require root permissions such as Titanium Backup or Greenify, you can try installing a custom ROM.
As of August 3rd, CyanogenMod 12.1 is still a work in progress. But since people found out how to root the Moto G 2015 and install TWRP just days after the phone was released, I suspect it won’t take long for folks to start porting existing ROMs or designing new ones for this budget smartphone.
Want some of the customization options that come with custom ROMs, but don’t want to actually replace the stock operating system? You can try installing the Xposed framework, which lets you load various modules that can affect a phone’s user interface, behavior, and performance. At least one person says Xposed already works with the Moto G 2015.
Anyone else having problems Unlocking Bootloader? I contacted Level 2 & Level 3 support. They ran my IMEI and my Moto G 2015 is eligible for Bootloader Unlocking but when I try and run my fastboot code it says “Your device does not qualify for Bootloader Unlocking…”
There was a tool on the same page that you enter the bulk code and it translates it into a proper code, thus giving you the unlock code. I had the exact same problem.
That unlock isn’t too bad, anyone who actually owns the phone should be able to get it unlocked. But I’m still fuzzy as to why they lock phones in the first place. Who is being protected from what? Seriously.
SIM locking a phone under contract makes a little sense but what are they protecting by locking the application processor? Rooted phones still get access to ‘the precious’ because services like Youtube and Netflix talk a good game but in the end aren’t going to ban millions of users. Besides, what can they really do? Xposed already cloaks root and they could probably clock unlocked boot as well unless the vendors really wield the full power of the crypto hammer and again, they would ban millions. Meanwhile they know Windows/Mac is still totally unprotected.
This phone is getting very strong reviews. Very strong value proposition.
I’m replying on one right now, got it yesterday. I’m extremely impressed (2gb ram). Performance is solid, camera is GREAT, screen is late 2013 flagship quality. It’s missing some neato bells and whistles (no Moto voice :C ) but so far it does everything I want it to do and it looks good doing it.
Champagne trim with a Cabernet back looks classy as can be, incidentally.
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