I've been trying to root a phone. For my purposes, at least for the moment, I think the HTC-Dev way is enough - that it will give me a way to root and that I don't need S-OFF.

I have looked at the HTC-Dev site and XDA Developers. They have some information, but some details were not apparent - at least to me. To my surprise I haven't really found anything that explains what's 'behind the door', or any discussion about the process itself. Maybe HTC's TOS includes an NDA, maybe I am blind, maybe I'm asking about details nobody else cares about.

Anyway, I'd like to know in detail exactly what the process is (and, ideally, how and why things are done, if possible). For example:

Do I need to register with the HTC-Dev site? (What's required? Can it fail? Does it still fail regularly? Is there an offline or registration-free version, or any alternative?)

What then? (What are the 10 steps?)

I understand (I think) that it will make the bootloader accept non-signed software (recovery, new ROMs) - how?

Does registering lead me to a new bootloader that I can flash with fastboot (that no one has posted)? No. Well, maybe, kinda - still don't really know what the code is/does.

I thought I saw a reference to a code - is it an online tool that takes a serial number and gives a code I enter somewhere (would explain why no one 'just posts it')? It is a binary generated by an online tool; it is basically unique to each phone.


Clarified, because haters got to hate. Started a self-Answer. Thanks, SE.

  • 1
    Thanks for the downvotes. Care to tell me what the problem is? – hunter2 Jan 24 '14 at 10:00
  • 4
    I assume the downvote is for "does not show any research efforts" (as you can see when hovering your mouse over the corresponding button). A simple Google-Search for "htcdev unlock process" would have answered the majority of your questions with its first hit: HTCdev - Unlock Bootloader, and give you tons of additional details via the other search results. You see, it's not hard to find; but feel free to answer your own question with a summary of those finds :) – Izzy Jan 24 '14 at 10:32
  • No, it doesn't. I've read that site and XDA-developers, and the detailed information I'm looking for has not been as easy to find as I hoped. There was something (newish) on HTCdev, and I'm digging up more on XDA, but I have yet to see a concise or complete summary of the details. Specific examples - "what are the 10 steps?", "what were the registration problems, and are they still happening, or is there a workaround?", "what is the relationship between token and IMEI?" ... if you're so sure it's easy to find, voters, you make the answer. – hunter2 Jan 28 '14 at 8:37
  • (more generally/ready for Chat or Meta) @Izzy, don't get me wrong - thank you for voicing yourself. And the comm votes - got it. That said: A) People often ignore that hover-text entirely, or interpret it personally ("not useful to me") // B) I've seen far 'dumber'/'more-Google-able' Q upvoted frequently // C) Most importantly - I've seen Qs I thought were dumb/simple, only to then see an A that had something new, or a really well written summary. That's why I don't dowvote so quickly. – hunter2 Jan 28 '14 at 8:45
  • Same for me (none of the downvotes is mine). Still, it helps to point out when you already did such research, so nobody can blame you for "lazyness". Maybe you edit your question to do so? And then, let's get back to topic – hopefully someone knows something useful? – Izzy Jan 28 '14 at 8:52

Lacking a better Answer ...

From what I've seen so far on HTC-Dev and XDA:

  • HTC-Dev provides an online tool. You 'normally' can register an account there (with an e-mail address). The registration process had problems. Maybe they were resolved, or identified. Maybe you need to get help by moaning at them on their Twitter account.
    Failing that, you might be able to get someone on the XDA forums to do it for you. They (3rd parties / XDA folk) are still using the HTC site, just with an account that works.

  • There is a 10 step process. Presumably, they guide you through using things like ADB and Fastboot to extract a "token", submit that token to HTC's online widget, and receive a "code".

  • The code is not something you enter, it's a binary that you .. put somewhere on the phone. It then gets run by ... some kinda process, I guess. Then some magic happens.

  • The "code" is derived from the "token". The "token" has a relation to the phone's ... model number and IMEI. Maybe it is simply a concatenation of the two, maybe not. Each "code" is unique to a "token", which is theoretically unique to a phone. Submitting a token will register it (and hence the constituent IMEI and .. [phone-hardware-ID]) to your account.
    The HTC-Dev widget will generate invalid codes if you give it bad info. That might not break your phone.
    (All of this jeopardizes/voids your warranty, of course)

  • There might be phones that need an (OTA/stock/signed'sealed'delivered) update before they can do any of this. They are pre-magic phones, locked with anti-magic bootloaders, lo.

  • Feel free to edit/improve this. Doubly so if you've got links to good/thorough explanations. – hunter2 Jan 28 '14 at 9:13
  • I've gone through the process - you're basically using a script and ADB to output a device specific code - this generates a new bin thats unlocked that you flash over the old one – Journeyman Geek Jan 28 '14 at 15:46

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