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RAZR HD and RAZR M Updates Fix the Kernel Exploit for Unlocking Bootloaders

razr hd bootloader unlocked

Normally, we like to see software updates to our favorite phones because they tend to fix bugs and bring other enhancements that make them more stable or usable. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case this time around with the new updates for the RAZR HD and RAZR M that were approved yesterday by Verizon. While they do improve GPS and eliminate random power cycles, they also aim to patch the kernel exploit that Dan Rosenberg used to unlock the bootloaders of each. In fact, in the changelog, there is a line that reads “ARM Trust Zone Security fix (Kernel exploit allows bootloader unlock).” 

So, if you have yet to unlock your device (instructions), now would be the time to do it. For those who have already unlocked, I was under the impression that a phone couldn’t be relocked afterwards, but you’ll have to refer to the security specialists in the building on that one. As always with OTA updates, proceed with caution.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 6.52.38 AM

The update should start rolling out to devices today.

  • Frunkrizzo88

    Just got the update today and here’s how it went:
    I temp. Unrooted with voodoo ota and began the download. After it rebooted to install, I got the dead android guy showing the update failed (assuming because I’m rooted), good news was voodoo restored root with no issues… I guess if you’re rooted you’re just Sol. ..?

    No biggie, just wish the phone didn’t power down to the weird “I’m still on, but I need a soft reset to bring me back” thing…

  • Joe

    will this effect the international model the xt925??

  • DroidModderX

    @kellex:disqus you are right in saying that the unlocked bootloader on the Moto devices can’t be relocked.

    Essentially when you unlock the bootloader on these moto devices you are blowing a fuse. The only way to relock the device would be to send the phone back to Motorola and they would have to replace the phone. The fuse isn’t even replaceable.

    If you are already locked and you accept the update you can still flash recovry and flash a supersu.zup to regain root

    • Greyhame

      Hi DMX. I just received a RAZR HD as a replacement on one of my lines (was a GNex). I don’t think I’m concerned as much about the bootloader as much as I am about gaining root access. You’re saying this is still possible, even with the latest update? What’s a good RAZR HD forum? Thanks a ton in advance!

  • dhinged

    It’s one thing to fix an exploit because it’s an exploit, it’s another to fix it just because it allows bootloader unlock.

  • Straylight

    Ah, I switched to CM on my Droid M just in time. I received notice through Motorola that they had a beta patch for me to play with, I’m terrible happy I didn’t bite.

  • Matt

    On July 4th I walked into a VZW store to get a new SIM for my Galaxy Nexus. I left the phone unlocked and running CyanogenMod. The VZW guy shut it down, changed SIMs, rebooted it. He looked puzzled by the “unlocked” icon on the Google screen and tried to press it. He didn’t react to the CyanogenMod boot screen. I had fun watching.

    • jon

      be very careful doing this I had an experience doing this last year lady looked at my phone and asked me is this phone rooted and I said yes it is she actually flag my account and voided my insurance

      • Mike

        Why the hell would you say yes??? LOL

  • JonathonFlores

    Well that took longer than I expected..

    • mechapathy

      Gotta make sure the updates “are fully compatible with the network to ensure performance for everyone blah blah blah blah.”

      • JonathonFlores

        Ha! I think they’re on to us. I wasn’t aware my unlocked bootloader could crash their whole network.

        • mechapathy

          Unlocked bootloaders literally eat babies.

  • Capt. Crunch

    So quick question if our bootloader is unlocked will this update have any negative impact on our phones?

    • EC8CH

      detrimental… it will lock your bootloader.

      • Kanaga Deepan N

        afaik, in that exploit, once unlocked your BL can’t be locked again

  • fauxshizzl

    Sad that the company who is now Google owned hasn’t changed their stance on being hell bent on locking their phones down more than any other company working on the Android platform.

    • Jeremy Martin

      It is probably a previous contractual obligation they have to honor with Verizon.

      • Straylight

        MY bet this is something directly related to the phones being the Verizon Droid brand rather than just Motorola itself.

      • michael arazan

        Can’t wait to see what happens with the Moto X on Verizon

    • When did Motorola become Voldemort?

  • David Wanless

    once again this seems an appropriate response to Verizon

    • Logan Berry

      Verizon’s response to you

      • fillyo75

        They have vacuums these days

      • michael arazan

        This makes me think of Verizon taking a Dump and Rubbing Our Noses in it

      • fauxshizzl

        That guy has a much more feminine foot than the top picture would have lead me to believe..

  • xzombiex66

    Ever since JB, my razr M has been a laggy pos…i can hardly use it at times and have to clear chache everyday on it.

  • Ian

    Although this happened, wouldn’t you be able to use RSD to go back to 4.1.1 (ensuring that you have the file of course) then use the exploits for root and bootloader?

    • Jeremy Martin

      I am guessing not or else people like Dan wouldn’t be upset when updates come out that break root. When 4.1.1 was out he rooted it…when 4.1.2 came out he urged people not to update until he could provide a root exploit for it as well. I assume that if you could just go back to 4.1.1 he wouldn’t have cared if you updated and he certainly wouldn’t have wasted time trying to root 4.1.2 if going back would allow it.

      Just a guess though.

  • KleenDroid

    Tip: Always root and unlock your phones if possible and do not accept any updates directly from Verizon.

    The update will be available from the devs very quickly. This way you are safe and don’t ever have to worry about being locked out.

    Even if at the moment you are not interested in root and Roms. Many change their minds and you don’t want to be stuck.

    And shame on the many who get excited over every little update and rush to install only to find they are now locked out.

    There is never a reason to get in a hurry over updates. Trust me the great developers will have it available for you post haste.

    • KG


    • I agree with you and I myself do this, but I’m going to play devils advocate anyway. The reason this may NOT be a good idea for some is because some root methods are not that straightforward. Additionally, if a phone has had multiple updates and leaks, there are likely to be guides to rooting that differ from version to version: sometimes it’s quite confusing and easy to mistake which method you should be using.

      Further, with some of the newer phones, I believe there’s some sort of protection that notes if the phone has been rooted or the bootloader has been unlocked (it’s one of the two). Essentially, it just makes note of the fact that you have hacked your device so that a Verizon employee will be able to tell if you bring it in. I do not know if these “has been rooted” and “has been unlocked” indicators can be reversed to make it appear that you haven’t rooted or unlocked the bootloader. That is to say, I’m not sure if a sbf or factory reset will trick Verizon or Asurion if you happen to need to exercise your warranty or insurance.

      • fauxshizzl

        There is a way to get it back to factory status where they cannot tell it has been unlocked, but again that brings us back to the fact these type things are not always straight forward and can pretty easily be messed up by a novice user.

        • Disposed

          Not true, they can still tell. Once you unlock the bootloader theres no hiding it and all it takes is 5 seconds to check. Boot into fastboot and it will tell you the status of the bootloader…

  • MichaelFranz

    I think the real question is….will Dan try and exploit this fix a well. For the most part HD owners have unlocked (if they are into that stuff) already. the problme would be if you get a new device, insurance replacement because it was “stolen”. The phone would probably have the newest code on it meaning it would be locked down.

    • EC8CH

      Pretty sure he said he was done with this, and people should just buy phones that aren’t locked down.

      • MichaelFranz

        yea but he has still been around, plus it might be a thorn in his side knowing they patched it up and he might be curious…i know i would be

      • Lucky Armpit

        You’re right; when he unlocked the bootloader of the Razr HD series (I think it was the Razr HD), he said he was done with Motor bootloaders. He said that it’s just too time-intensive to do so. Can’t say I blame them. I don’t care about unlocked bootloaders; as long as my next phone can be rooted, that’s all that matters to me. I’ve discovered the magic of rooting and I’m hooked.

    • Jack Hoffman

      Interesting anecdote: I had to return my unlocked Transformer Infinity as it wasn’t charging from the cable anymore (but would through the dock). They fixed it (for free) and didn’t touch the software (still unlocked when I got it back).

    • Sherman J. Buster

      When I was still using my TBolt, I had to get an insurance replacement. The phone they sent me was still running old code. So, I think it really depends on luck of the draw as to whether or not you get one that has already been updated to the newest version or still running software from a year ago.

  • FreeLivin

    Why am I not after seeing the S4 patched recently as well. typical VZW and the hogwash power trip they have on lock downs.

  • chris125

    What update that Verizon pushes isn’t aimed to lock down the phones even more? That’s the only updates they push in a timely manner.

  • Tyler Durden

    Funny how Verizon is quick to release updates for security but not software.

    • And they are on a roll, that’s two days straight of updates that patch bootloader exploits.

      • Fiorta

        DNA next probably

    • Jack Hoffman

      We deem it necessary for a “secure network” and to provide our customers with “unparalleled variety” (on how to get bent over for services)

      • “But yet we’ll let Samsung sell Developer Editions with unlockable bootloaders, which goes against everything we preach. That only gives us a reason to say ‘you have a choice,’ knowing full well that no one buys them.”

        • EC8CH

          It appears their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

        • Bionic_Pags

          I was trying to buy the Developer Edition for 2 weeks but the Samsung Website continuously said “Backordered” eventually i just bought a regular one for $100 less, but still would have rathered the developer edition

          • michael arazan

            I’ve been looking at both Dev editions for the SG4 and HTC One that are supposed to be on verizon, to see which might be easier to use after unlocked. HTC still doesn’t say if it works for verizon’s network but has a 700 mhz band