How to Unlock Bootloader on Motorola Android Smartphone!

For those of you who want to root and install custom ROMs on your Motorola Android smartphone, you will first need to unlock the bootloader.  Unlocking bootloader allows you to install custom recovery like ClockworkMod (CWM) or TWRP recovery, both which can root your Motorola device and also let you install custom ROMs.

This method will work on most Motorola Android smartphones like Moto X (1st & 2nd gen), Moto G (1st & 2nd gen, not for AT&T or Verizon though), Moto E, Moto X/Droid Maxx (Developer Edition), Photo Q 4G LTE, Droid Razr M/HD, Razr i, Atrix HD (Developer Edition), Electrify M, and future devices that support Motorola’s bootloader unlocking website.

For Moto X users, if you have AT&T or Verizon, you won’t be able to use this method as AT&T and Verizon have locked bootloader (because they don’t like you playing with your own phone that you already paid full price for).

So, if you have a device that supports bootloader unlocking (and even if you don’t you can try it and find out if it’s unlockable or not), let’s go ahead and unlock the bootloader.

I will be using a Moto X 2nd generation but the instructions are identical for all Motorola phones.

You can use Windows, Mac, or Linux to do this.  I made the video tutorial for Windows but you can use the provided slight-change in code for Mac or Linux.

UNLOCKING BOOTLOADER WILL ERASE EVERYTHING ON YOUR PHONE!!! – PLEASE BACKUP ALL YOUR PERSONAL PHOTOS/VIDEOS/FILES BEFORE PRECEDING!!!

Step 1. Power off your Motorola smartphone then hold down Volume Down and Power buttons together for about 10 seconds.

howto-unlock-bootloader-motorola-android-smartphones-1

Step 2. Let go of the buttons and you should see a character-based fastboot menu.  This is called fastboot menu/mode.

howto-unlock-bootloader-motorola-android-smartphones-2

Step 3. Connect a micro-USB cable from your Motorola phone to your computer.

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.

43 Responses

  1. Amudhan says:

    I use a Moto G 2nd Generation, If I unlock the bootloader will I be able to receive the official updates

  2. Coolster says:

    I am using at&t moto x 2nd gen. Can i unlock my unit’s bootloader?

  3. haji says:

    moto x xt1052 on motorola site saying bootloader cannot be unlocked

  4. alvaro says:

    my unlock code hasn’t arrived after 10 minutes! what should I do?

  5. Tyler G says:

    Will this remove all my contacts and data service on my phone?

  6. Tyler G says:

    I have a Moto G 2nd generation with lollipop 5

  7. Matt says:

    i guess im screwed if i get a dialogue saying “your device does not qualify for bootloader unlocking”…huh?

  8. rakesh24.sh says:

    I have MOTO DROID MAXX HD and have problem with its hotspot. When I turn on hotspot it does but when I connect my other mobile throught hotspot, which created by MOTO DROID MAXX HD, connects with it but when I use my browser or other apps or internet it doesn’t work even its connected with MOTO DROID MAXX HD’s hotspot. Why it does happen? How can I use it?

  9. Daniel says:

    Works on Linux for Moto G 2014? Has anyone tried without problems?

  10. amarjot says:

    good site

    boot loader gets unlocked easily

    without downloading 800 mb android sdk

  11. D0PAMiiNE says:

    Wow…I spent way too long googling ways to unlock my device and this was really how easy it was? Sheesh…thank you, Max!
    I may have wasted several hours of my life and endured unimaginable amounts of frustration in the process but hey, I can’t say I didn’t learn anything…and with your extremely simple step by step I was able to successfully reach my goal!
    I appreciate you making this tutorial available to the public, you’re a gem!

  12. Zulqarnain Khan says:

    I unloked my Motorola Droid Maxx bootloader without SDK, and now I’m feeling Independent. 😉

    • Shane Altimus says:

      I know its your phone, but are you sure its the Droid Maxx (xt1080m), because that is what I have and the only Droid Maxx allowed to be unlocked is the Developers Edition. If you do actually have the Droid Maxx xt1080m, (non-developers edition), Bootloader unlocked, would you please share with me how you done it, because myself along with many others would really love to know how, Thanks. Shane. (post it here or anywhere if you can)

      • Zulqarnain Khan says:

        You can’t unlock your Bootloader if you’ve Non-Developers Edition device. 🙁

        • Shane Altimus says:

          I know you cannot unless it is the Developers Edition, if you would read my entire post, you would see that’s what I was saying.

  13. timothy says:

    moto e 1st generation isnt unlockable please help

  14. Alfred Amoah says:

    My Motorola droid razr HD bootloader couldn’t be unlocked by this method, it’s there any other way coz I want to upgrade my device to lollipop

  15. SHREYAS RAO says:

    it says fastboot is not recognized as an internal or external command??
    please help

  16. nethaji reddy says:

    very good info

  17. Sarath says:

    hi i have not done with this command it shows FIELD

  18. Akash Nath says:

    These method working for Motorola droid ultra xt1080

  19. Markos Trujillo says:

    when i put cd fastboot in the command prompt it says the system cannot find the path specified

  20. Markos Trujillo says:

    now it says waiting for device

  21. Rishi Memane says:

    it says the system cannot find specific path . what to do

  22. Rahul Sharma says:

    check` enable option in oem unlock` in develpoer option helps help me out
    form this kind of situation

  23. Malli Reddy says:

    after click on “Recovery” button on moto g, it’s screen blinking. i am unable to recover the moto g mobile.

  24. Malli Reddy says:

    Please help me on same

  25. MudassarFx says:

    i have motorola droid ultra xt1080 and it says bootloader not available at your device

  26. Ale Z says:

    What to do if phone does not qualify for unlocking?

  27. Prashant says:

    i m having xt 1052 moto x. It says “(bootloader) Restricted oem command
    FAILED (remote failure)” in mac… what should i do.

  28. Federico Hernández Velásquez says:

    Thanks man! Really good tutorial 🙂

  29. Paridel's Print Adonis says:

    Motorola XT907 is not supported … Why ?

  30. Jason Beckett says:

    Was able to get the unlock key from Motorola but then get failure running unlock command on Moto X Gen 2 Verizon.
    Error text:
    (bootloader) Check ‘Enable OEM Unlock’ in Developer Options.
    FAILED (remote failure)

  31. peterlee says:

    Just in case someone gets stuck on Ubuntu or linux when entering “fastboot oem unlock”, they should try entering “sudo -s” first, then their password. It worked for me. “sudo fastboot oem unlock” didn’t work for some reason.