How to unlock the Moto E bootloader, root it, and install custom recovery

How to unlock the Moto E bootloader, root it, and install custom recovery
After our Moto E review, we are left with the lasting impression that this is one of the best value-for-money offers currently splashing against the waves of Android handsets that are flooding the marketplace, that's why we graced it with a 9/10 score. The phone might feature a "merely" 4.3" display, Snapdragon 200 processor, and a 5 MP camera on the back, but its performance is well-balanced, its battery life is stellar, and above all - it costs just $130 without any subsidies, so what's not to like here.

To top it all off, Moto E comes with the latest stock Android 4.4 KitKat, and its interface speed trumps even the mighty Galaxy S5 in the daily interaction with the handset. Now, what can make such a fine handset even better? Well, the all-time geek favorites - unlock, root, and install recovery, which will open the floodgates for tweaks, custom ROMs, and general Moto E improvements on all fronts. Here's what you need to do in order to gain full access to your Moto E handset's abilities.

1. Unlock the bootloader by going to Motorola's own support page. Thankfully, the company has provided an easy way to do just that - the Moto E is the first amongst such budget handsets to be graced with an official bootloader unlock method by the manufacturer itself, just follow the instructions there, and you are golden;

2. Root the handset by following our thorough guide to Motorola phones unlocking and rooting via ADB, and flash TWRP recovery and SuperSU. In case you only want to boot into recovery once for rooting purposes, then type this up in step 4 of our guide: 

adb reboot bootloaderfastboot boot recovery.img

For users who are doing this for the first time:

  • Download and extract mfastboot-v2 to your computer;
  • Download TWRP recovery for Moto E, rename the file recovery-twrp.img, and place it in the folder where you extracted the mfastboot-v2 pack;
  • Download SuperSU, and move it from your computer to the base folder of your Moto E;
  • With Moto E connected to your computer, press VolumeDown+Power button for a few seconds;
  • On your computer, go to the folder where you extracted mfastboot-v2 pack, and press Shift+RightClick in an empty space, then choose the "Open a command window here" option;
  • Run the first command below if you want to just boot into recovery for rooting purposes, and the second if you want to permanently install TWRP:

fastboot boot recovery-twrp.img

fastboot flash recovery recovery-twrp.img

  • Wait for a minute until the screen is blank, then press the power key and swipe on the display to restore the touch function;
  • Choose "Install" from the options list, and scroll to the SuperSU file that you placed in your Moto E root folder;
  • Swipe to start the flashing process, wait till complete, then choose reboot;
  • Go into the main menu, and if you see the SuperSU icon on the right, then you are rooted!

source: Motorola & XDA-Devs (1,2,3)

Related phones

Moto E
  • Display 4.3" 540 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 200, Dual-core, 1200 MHz
  • Storage 4 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1980 mAh



1. softtechgeek

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 15, 2013

Here is another post showing how to root Moto E:

2. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I hope the up-comming Moto G LTE is this easy to unlock/root/recovery.

3. freebee269

Posts: 542; Member since: Aug 10, 2012

I wish Samsung gave this option. You could unlock your device at their site but when you do your warrantee is voided. This would not make them liable for any bricks and keep the people that want unlocked bootloaders on at&t and Verizon happy.

5. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Just install the app from the Play Store and use an apk extractor. If you're unable to install from the Play Store (incompatable phone/version/provider), just do a google search, and there's a good chance you'll be able to find one. If not, head over to xda and make a request here: Just keep in mind that they won't help you with free/hacked versions of paid apps.

6. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Awesome, Moto actually allows its bootloader to be unlocked? I remember having a DROID RAZR and being dissapointed with its bootloader always being locked...then again, the Moto E is not tied to one specific company. I like this phone - it would make a great backup for anyone who has a high end phone and loses or damages their high end phone...

7. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Why would anyone want to root this cheap lowend budget phone Joke

8. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Why wouldn't you?

9. ManWithCamera

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

Cheaper phones are even more important to root, because that's the only way you can manage the limited space on this device and actually make use of the space on your microSD card for apps (instead of just media).

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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