How to Get S-OFF HTC Smartphones using Firewater!

For those of you who are interested in getting S-OFF your HTC smartphones, you can now use Firewater to do so.

This will work on most HTC smartphones with Qualcomm chip.  I was able to use this method to get S-OFF on bunch of my HTC phones including AT&T One X (One XL), HTC Evo 4G LTE, and HTC One M7/M8.

Why S-OFF?

S-OFF on older devices like AT&T One X allows user to flash custom ROMs normally without having to use a computer to flash kernel (boot image) via fastboot.

On newer HTC devices like HTC One M7 or M8, you do NOT NEED S-OFF as custom ROMs will install normally but by having S-OFF, you will be able to install bootloaders/radios.  This can be useful in cases where you need to upgrade the bootloader on newer Android OS versions so you don’t have to unroot your phone back to stock firmware.

I usually do NOT promote S-OFF especially on newer HTC phones as they are dangerous but I found that Firewater method is very safe to do and does not cause hard bricks like I have seen with other S-OFF methods.

To use Firewater, first you will need a rooted HTC smartphone.  (You can refer to our How to Root Android! page)

Once you have a rooted HTC smartphone, you are ready to go.  In this example, I am using CM11 ROM but you can use any custom ROM or stock ROM.

Step 1. Enable developer options on your phone by going to Settings->About phone and hitting the “Build Number” about 5 times until it says, “You have enabled development settings”.



Step 2. Hit the back button once and you shall see a new Settings menu called “Developer options”.  Go into it and enable “Android debugging” or “Android ADB Debugging”.

This will enable your Android ADB interface.



Step 3. Next connect a micro-USB cable from your HTC phone to your computer.


Step 4. Download and firewater.

Unzip and you should get a folder called “fastboot” in your Downloads directory.  Copy the firewater file also into this folder like shown below:


Download firewater – Web Archive Download Here Also



Step 5. If you are using Mac or Linux, you don’t need drivers, skip to Step 6.   If using Windows, open up Device Manager and make sure you see either “My HTC” or “Android ADB Interface”.

If you don’t see it, you don’t have HTC drivers installed, download and install HTC drivers.



Step 6. Open a command prompt for Windows and terminal for Mac or Linux.

Then type:

For Windows:

cd Downloads
cd fastboot
adb reboot

For Mac:

cd Downloads
cd fastboot
chmod 755 *
./adb-mac reboot

For Linux/Ubuntu:

cd Downloads
cd fastboot
chmod 755 *
sudo ./adb-linux reboot


If you get an error like I did that the device is offline, then go to your HTC phone and make sure you hit “OK” when “Allow USB debugging” window pops up.



You can type “adb devices” to check that your device is being recognized.  For Mac, use “./adb-mac devices” and for Linux/Ubuntu, use “sudo ./adb-linux devices”.

Step 7. Next type:

Then type:

For Windows:

adb wait-for-device push firewater /data/local/tmp

For Mac:

./adb-mac wait-for-device push firewater /data/local/tmp

For Linux/Ubuntu:

sudo ./adb-linux wait-for-device push firewater /data/local/tmp


Step 8. Next type:

Then type:

For Windows:
adb shell

For Mac:
./adb-mac shell

For Linux/Ubuntu:
sudo ./adb-linux shell

Then type: (For all Windows, Mac, and Linux)
chmod 755 /data/local/tmp/firewater



If you get permission denied error, you may have to set Root access under “Developer options” to “Apps and ADB”.   (This is what you have to do on CM11 ROM but not regular Sense ROMs.)  Then repeat Step 8.





Step 9. One everything done correctly, Firewater program will run, type “Yes”.



After a minute or two, your HTC phone should now have S-OFF.  If for some reason the program terminates early and your phone hangs, just hold down Power button to reboot your phone and try the process again from Step 8.  *Note – On my HTC Evo 4G LTE, I had to run Firewater twice but it worked the second time.



Step 10. To verify you have S-OFF, you can reboot into the bootloader.  Power off your HTC phone.  Then hold down Volume Down and Power buttons together for about 5 seconds until you see the bootloader menu.



YEY!  You have S-OFF, congratulations!




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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of 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.