Brad’s root guide for the HTC One

, posted: 12-Jun-2013 17:30

Since this is a blog on a tech site and a lot of the people reading it will be interested in rooting their device for a number of reasons I have put together a guide to unlocking and rooting the HTC One.

What is root you ask? Well I’ll let Wikipedia answer that

Android rooting is the process of allowing users of smartphones, tablets, and other devices running the Android mobile operating system to attain privileged control (known as "root access") within Android's subsystem.

Rooting is often performed with the goal of overcoming limitations that carriers and hardware manufacturers put on some devices, resulting in the ability to alter or replace system applications and settings, run specialized apps that require administrator-level permissions, or perform other operations that are otherwise inaccessible to a normal Android user. On Android, rooting can also facilitate the complete removal and replacement of the device's operating system, usually with a more recent release of its current operating system.

Now why would you want to root your expensive new device? Well as above, there are many reasons like:
  • keeping your stock ROM but gain root for certain apps or mods i.e Titanium Backup.
  • flashing a custom kernel
  • flashing a custom ROM
Important:Before you begin this process, ensure that you have backed up any important data as the phone will formatted during this process.

If you need ADB/Fastboot drivers see this thread on XDA.

Step 1: Unlock Bootloader

Warning: Unlocking the bootloader will format your phone and may in some cases lead to voiding your warranty. This process cannot be undone with flashing a firmware RUU.
  • Go on and create yourself an account on HTCDEV.
  • Download these adb/fastboot files
  • Make a new folder on your C: drive called Fastboot for example and extract the ZIP to it.
  • Go to and select "All Other Supported Models" and then “Begin Unlock Bootloader"
  • Yes, Tick both Boxes, Proceed
  • Skip up to step 8 as we have all we need for the first 7 steps
  • Reboot your phone into the bootloader by holding the power and volume down buttons for 10 seconds
  • Highlight Fastboot With Volume + or - then press power
  • Plug your phone into your PC and open a Command Prompt at the folder you extracted the fastboot tools to (shift + right click the folder > open command windw here).
  • Type this into your command prompt window “fastboot oem get_identifier_token”
  • Select & copy the text as per step 9 on the HTCDev website
  • Paste your identifier token into the box at the bottom and submit
  • You Will Very Shortly Receive an email from HTCDev with a link to the second part of the instructions and your "Unlock_code.bin" attached
  • Download the "Unlock_code.bin" from the email and save it to the folder you extracted the files to earlier
  • Type this into your command prompt window “fastboot flash unlocktoken Unlock_code.bin”
  • The Display Will change on your phone, press Vol + to accept and power to confirm.

Step 2: Custom Recovery
  • Download the recovery of your choice, here a couple of choices:
    • ClockworkMod Recovery (make sure to select the touch or non-touch version for HTC One, and not the Sprint version) - recommended.
    • TWRP
  • Place the recovery .img file you downloaded into the fastboot directory and open the command window again
  • Now type:
    fastboot flash recovery name_of_the_recovery.img
    For example:
    fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch-
Now your recovery is installed.

If you are planning on flashing a custom ROM which is pre-rooted like CyanogenMod or a modified Sense ROM you can skip Step 3.
Step 3: Root

Now we will proceed to root your phone with SuperUser by Koush. You will need to reboot your device and go through the device setup process at this point so you able able to copy the SuperUser zip to your phone.
  • Download SuperUser and copy it to your phone
  • Flash it with the Recovery:
  • Power off your device and then hold the VOL DOWN + Power to boot into the Bootloader
  • Navigate with VOL and Power to Recovery
  • Now flash the .zip by selecting the following options
    • install zip from sdcard
    • choose zip from sdcard
    • select the downloaded SuperUser zip file and flash it
  • Reboot
Now you are able to flash any Custom ROM.
Step 4: Custom ROM

· Download the ROM you want to flash (if you are downloading an AOSP based ROM you will also need to download the Google Apps package).
  • Copy the ROM to your sdcard
  • Now boot into bootloader again (explained above) and choose recovery with your volume keys and power button
  • In recovery wipe data and cache aka fullwipe before flashing your ROM if you are moving to a new base (for example to CyanogenMod/AOSP from a Sense ROM).
  • Now flash the ROM zip by selecting the following options
    • install zip from sdcard
    • choose zip from sdcard
    • select the downloaded ROM zip file and flash it
    • Flash Google Apps package if necessary.
  • Reboot
Choosing a Custom ROM

There are many different ROMs to choose from for the HTC One.

The first is the ever popular CyanogenMod. This is based on the Android Open Source Project (stock Android). There are many who prefer the stock look of that CM provides but you will lose many of the HTC/Sense features like BlinkFeed, Zoe and Beats Audio.

More information about CM on the HTC One can be found here and build downloads are here. If you use CyanogenMod you will also need to download the GApps package for 4.2.2.

If you prefer the look of Sense there are a number of Sense based ROMs to pick from. These have the advantage of always being based on the latest version from HTC (no more waiting for the Telco to push out an update) and have many various improvements and tweaks.

I am currently using TrickDroid which retains the stock look but adds in functionality like quick toggles in the notification drawer, some bug fixes and general speed and stability improvements. It also has optional flashable theme and tweak packages.

More Custom ROMs can be found in the Android Development forum for the HTC One over at XDA-Developers.

I am also using a custom kernel which allows the HTC logo on the bottom front of the phone to be mapped as a menu button as well as sleep/wake the phone (long press). This also removes the black menu softbar. Useful root apps

One of the benefits of having root access is being able to install apps that unlock functionality that would not otherwise be available to you or simply enable further features within apps you may already use.

Titanium Backup

This great little app allows you to back up not just your entire device but also specific apps and their app data. Titanium Backup is especially useful when you install a new ROM and don't feel like reinstalling each app you had previously. You can also automatically schedule backups, move apps to the SD Card to make more room on the internal storage, and sync app data with DropBox or Google Drive. So if you lose your device, you can still get your apps back once you replace it.

Other root enhanced backup apps include Helium and G Cloud Backup


Greenify can help you increase your performance and battery life by identifying apps and tasks that are running in the background, and using up system resources for no reason. You can also use it to make sure these apps remain in hibernation when not in active use. Greenify also helps you recognize possible malware and remove it.

Cerberus anti theft

Cerberus is a complete anti-theft application, which can help you to recover your misplaced, lost or stolen Android device. It has three ways to protect your device:
  • Remote control through the website
  • Remote control via text messages
  • SIM Checker (for devices that have a SIM card): you will automatically receive alerts if someone uses your phone with an unauthorized SIM card
While Root is not required, it does allow for the following features:
  • Complete uninstall protection (a thief will be able to delete Cerberus only by flashing another ROM)
  • GPS auto-enabling
ES File Explorer

ES File Explorer is a free, full-featured file and application manager. It functions as all of these apps in one: file manager, application manager, task killer, cloud storage client (compatible with Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive,, Sugarsync, Yandex, Amazon S3, and Ubuntu One), FTP client, and LAN Samba client.

The app provides access to pictures, music, video, documents, and other files on both your Android devices and your computers.

ES File Explorer Root Explorer-- the ultimate set of file management tools for root users. Provides access to the entire file system and all data directories, and allows the user to change permissions.

What you are able to do with your device after unlocking and rooting it is not limited to what I have written here.

There are many other mods and apps out there that will allow you to further customise your One. You could even go as far as to replace Android with Firefox OS or Ubuntu Touch. Someone is even working on a WP8 port.

Disclaimer: I nor Geekzone or Telecom New Zealand take any responsibility for what may happen to your phone by rooting it. Generally it is a safe process and so long as you take care not to flash a recovery, kernel or ROM that was not intended for your phone you cannot go wrong.

The act of bootloader unlocking or rooting will not void the hardware warranty of your phone. Obviously you will not be able to return to your network provider about software issues you may run into. But if you have a hardware fault, unless it can be proved it was caused by rooting then you will still be covered.

About the author

My name is Brad and I’ve been a member of the Geekzone community for nearly nine years including three as a moderator. I was a long time Windows Mobile (yes Windows Mobile, not Windows Phone) user before deciding to try out Android a couple of years ago. I quickly fell in love with the openness and freedom that Android provides and have built and customised my own ROMs from source. I am a web developer, gamer and all round gadget junkie. I hope that my TelecomTech posts will be informative for potential HTC One owners.

Other related posts:
Technofreak’s HTC One: final thoughts
Brad’s HTC One reviews: camera
Technofreak’s HTC One: music, weather, browsers

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