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How to: Unlock the Motorola Photon Q Bootloader

On Friday, as I was tearing up Vegas, Motorola released a tool to be used to unlock the bootloader of the Photon Q, their most recently released smartphone. While I know that many of you were hoping this new tool would support the DROID RAZR, Bionic, and other previously released Motorola devices, that doesn’t appear to be the case, for now. So until that happens, we thought the least we could do is walk through the process on the Photon Q, to give you some sort of an idea as to how this works. It’s pretty simple, but even I ran into a couple of minor issues. 


*Reminder:  This will void your warranty.

*Hey buddy, this will void your warranty, so understand that before doing anything.

* This will also wipe your phone completely clean. So if you don’t want to lose everything on your device, don’t do this.

1.  Head to Motorola’s bootloader site, click “Proceed” past step 1 and register an account.
2.  You need to download the Android SDK and set it up.
3.  Then download the newest Motorola drivers for your computer and install them.
4.  Plug in your Photon Q and let it install drivers for the device.
5.  Once it has done that, head into your SDK/Platform-tools folder.
6.  You need to download fastboot.exe if it isn’t already in your Platform-tools folder. [Download] 7.  Open a command prompt from within your SDK/Platform-tools folder.

*Hold down SHIFT and Right Click – “Open command prompt…”

8.   Type in:

adb reboot bootloader

9.  Once your phone reboots into the bootloader, type in:

fastboot oem get_unlock_data

10.  Your command prompt should display a device ID to be entered at Motorola’s site.

11.  The tricky part here, is that you have to piece together all 4 lines to enter in the “Verify device…” box.

*My command prompt was hating life and would not allow me to simply copy and paste. Plus, you cannot include the word “INFO” that starts each line off. So you have to piece together the 4 lines without the word “INFO” and then paste them into the “Verify device is unlockable box.”

12.  Once you have pasted and clicked the “Verify device…” box, you should see a “Request Unlock Key” button.

13.  Press the “Request Unlock Key” button and they will email you an unlock key.
14.  Once the email arrives, leave it open as you are about to need it.
15.  With your phone still plugged in and sitting at fastboot, it’s time to unlock.
16.  In the command prompt, type in:

fastboot oem unlock UNIQUE_KEY

*Type in your emailed unlock key where it says “UNIQUE_KEY”

17.  Your phone’s bootloader will now be unlocked. You should see these two screens:

18.  Your phone will reboot and your bootloader will no longer be locked.
19.  Congrats. Now go flash an AOSP ROM.

Cheers Motorola!

  • minghao579


  • I’m hoping this gets ported to the D4 next, seeing its pretty much the same phone (except the softkeys)

  • picaso86

    Maybe someone can swap/mount an unlock bootloader to our Razr.

  • Steve

    For the 6 people that own 1

    • JoshGroff

      Well, considering it’s backordered on Amazon, I highly doubt it’s just 6 people. 😉

      Motorola + unlocked boot-loader is a pretty major selling point, wish it was on Vzw though. >.>

      • Rick

        it will remain backordered, they bought 6 originally to keep up with demand and they are all gone.

        • JoshGroff

          Oh, good point, lol.

  • JoshGroff

    For command prompt, you have to right click and select mark, highlight the text, and simply right click again.

    ASSOC Displays or modifies file extension associations.
    ATTRIB Displays or changes file attributes.
    BREAK Sets or clears extended CTRL+C checking.
    BCDEDIT Sets properties in boot database to control boot loading.
    CACLS Displays or modifies access control lists (ACLs) of files.
    CALL Calls one batch program from another.
    CD Displays the name of or changes the current directory.

  • JoshGroff

    Motorola + unlimited data + unlocked boot-loader… Looks like I might be getting one for play and use my Verizon line for work.

  • TheDrunkenClam

    K…..? Thanks, I guess?

    Just kidding, congrats to you Photon Q owners.

  • Tim242

    Why does everyone always say this voids your warranty? That is not true. Your warranty still covers device defects and issues.

    • According to the screenshots above, Motorola (in step #12) this process will mark your warranty void in their system.

      • Raven

        Does anyone know if this will void a 3rd part warranty such as from SquareTrade?

    • TooBigToFit

      The question is, how does the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act of 1975 apply, if it does at all.

  • Buy This

    okay d-life now you are just trolling a VZW customer.

    • Buy This

      /really happy about this and for anyone who is able to use this tool with their phone

  • Butters619

    It is just like HTC’s process, which is a piece of cake. Thanks Moto!

    • This may be a full unlock though, unlike HTC’s.

      • AhsanS

        Huh? Can you enlighten me on what HTC’s unlock does?

        • Mack

          It’s kinda weird but from what I understand HTC’s website unlocks the bootloader but does not give the drvice s-off functionality (security-off). I’m not too familiar with the differences between s-off and s-on but s-off is required for aosp roms and some root functions. To my knowledge s-off/s-on is something you will only see on HTC devices.

  • Your device will now kill you when you least expect it. Be warned, Kellex, be warned!

  • Mario Mendez

    unlock the previous Motorola phones too Motorola starting from the Droid X.

    • evltwn

      actually they should go all the way back to the Motorola Milestone, aka The OG Droid’s twin brother sold outside of the U.S.

    • kixofmyg0t

      I agree. EoL devices arent making anyone money…..but they can build brand loyalty. My first smartphone(after i smashed my POS BB Storm2) was a USED Droid X.

      Many people buy used devices, and if they like them guess what? They’re more likely to buy that brand again.

  • Love it. Now google… Go make VZW mad and unlock my RAZR.

  • kixofmyg0t

    This whole post is full of what many said would NEVER EVER happen.

    That makes me happy.

    • Definitely a start, even if it took 3 years to do. Thing is still, that it will only matter if something like the Razr HD gets the same freedom.

      • kixofmyg0t

        Very very true.

        Moto is on a rocky road here. They can screw this up easy. Fortunately, I have a hunch that Moto’s new CEO doesnt care if the carriers like him or not…..

        • Being from Google, that wouldn’t surprise me heh.

      • I think the time has come for a Google Store. {{-_-}}

    • Kyle

      Let’s just hope it happens more often.