Motorola Allows Bootloader Unlock for Verizon Moto X 2014

The second generation Motorola Moto X, also known as the Moto X (2014), is approaching eighteen months old. When the device was new, it did not have a bleeding edge specification but then Motorola devices from 2013 hadn't been about bleeding edge specs. Instead, Motorola opted for a tried-and-tested specification, which in the case of the Moto X (2014) consisted of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 5.2-inch, 1080p AMOLED display. Under the skin there's Motorola's own antenna arrangement, which replaced Qualcomm's already sophisticated antenna arrangement and is designed to obtain the best possible signal no matter how the device is held. However, whilst the specification at the time was comparable with other flagship devices, where the Moto X attempts to differentiate itself is through software, where Motorola added their own special sauce to the mix. The Moto X (2014) comes with a number of Motorola's improvements to stock Android over and above stock Android, including Moto Display, which is a way of seeing what notifications are waiting for you on the device without unlocking the handset. Instead, wave your hand over the device or pick it up and Moto Display uses the AMOLED screen to show the user what's waiting for them.

Motorola use a near-stock interface for their devices and were one of the manufacturers keen to upgrade their portfolio of devices to Android 5.0 Lollipop. However, under their new parent of Lenovo, Motorola is not updating the Moto X offered on the AT&T and Verizon in North American to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. We know that the hardware is certainly capable of running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but because Motorola, Lenovo and the carriers are keeping quiet, we do not know the official reason why the businesses have taken this decision. For those customers in the know, those who bought the Motorola Moto X based on the promise of smooth and quick software updates and that near-stock interface, this is a bitterly disappointing decision.

Here could be where our story ends, but of course; this is Android. Android has an entire cottage industry devoted to changing, improving or simply modifying. We've seen six year old hardware running new versions of Android, such as the HTC HD2, but in the case of the Motorola Moto X, there's a stumbling block in the way: the device has a locked bootloader, which means it must be cracked open in order to install a custom ROM onto the device.

Luckily, at least for Verizon customers, there is no need to break this down any more as the official Motorola website is allowing customers to unlock their bootloader and is generating codes. As a word of warning if you are contemplating this: unlocking the bootloader also wipes all data on the handset. Once the bootloader has been unlocked, this means that custom ROMs may be installed and it's here that we reopen up into the possibilities of upgrading the 2014 Moto X to Android Marshmallow. Over in the XDA forums, a team of developers are working on ways around this: either to convert the device into the Moto X Pure Edition and simply persuade Motorola's servers to push updates to the device, or through installing custom ROMs. As of yet, there isn't a working way to convert a Verizon Wireless Moto X into a Moto X Pure Edition, but we wouldn't be surprised if this is only a matter of time. Time and time again, Android's ROM developers have proven how remarkably capable they are. If you are interested in unlocking your Moto X's bootloader, check out the source and via below for information on the threads you might want to look up.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.