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XDA Users Puts Together Script for Rooting the Moto X on Android 4.4, Proceed with Caution

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One of the few downsides to the Moto X’s incredibly fast updates to Android 4.4 Kit Kat by Motorola was the root situation, since each update quickly wiped away exploits that allowed for easier root options that existed. There is a way to root the current build of Android 4.4 on the Moto X, but it is a fairly involved process. XDA member 640k has taken the work already done by Justin Case to root the Moto X and put it into an executable script, but tread lightly going forward. 

We don’t want the title to mislead anyone, we love rooting our Android devices and the power that it brings, but people have to be aware of what they are getting into before they embark on this. If your Moto X is on Android 4.4 and you run this script, it involves re-imaging your device with 4.2.2 two different times before getting you updated again to 4.4 with root intact. The locked bootloader of the Moto X makes recovering a failed flash very difficult, so before you start on this, make sure you know what you are doing.

The script needs a few downloads to get working correctly. The script itself only runs on Windows machines and needs Motorola drivers installed, a fresh download of Android 4.2.2 and the exploits themselves. After being corralled into a folder, the script will guide the user through how to bring root access to their device.

If you have gone through the root process on 4.4 already, feel free to post in the comments any tips you can to help!

Via: XDA
Cheers Jared!
  • Lucky Armpit

    The sheer brainpower of the developer community never ceases to amaze me. Wish I had those kinds of smarts.

  • Ryan Callihan

    I just bought a Moto X today. I’m upgrading from a Galaxy Nexus. I’ll miss being able to root with ease, but for now, I’ll wait til this method is foolproof. I may not need root access though. Greenify supposedly works without it now.

    • Scott

      Greenify is one of the biggest reasons I want to root my Moto X. However, the phone works great, gets speedy updates, removing the point of rooting, at least for me personally. Some people want root to do so much more, but I don’t really need it. I left the GNex too. Don’t miss it one bit. It was by far my most regretted purchase in the last 5 years and almost made me ditch Android all together.

      • Ryan Callihan

        Right. I know what you mean. I was very very uniformed when I bought my GNex. All I saw was “Nexus” and thought ‘oh boy!’ I’m looking forward to a phone that lasts all day.

  • chris_johns

    I just wish someone would find a bootloader unlock exploit like they did with the droid razr hd(my phone before i upgraded to the x)…but honestly i wish there was more we could do i miss a few features from having a rom like carbon on my phone such as the quick read/delete extended notification options for texts along with quick reply and also the delete extended option for screenshots simple little things i really liked….also being able to have the slide unlock before the pattern or pin lock screen i also like a lot…i wish gravity box would add these mods bc its all we really got…also theme support i miss

  • Jeff C

    I’m glad I bought the Dev Edition. Bootloader unlock, flash TWRP 2.6.3.1, root…done! Then install Xposed Framework and Gravity Box. Easy even for a noob like me.

    Now I just need to learn what to do when Moto pushes 4.4.2 or other future updates.

    • peyton fan

      I’m glad you did too. OMAHA OMAHA

    • sean carey

      how are other phones getting 4.4.2 and my moto x isnt yet? i know its small ,but still…..

  • Doug

    stupid question…I have rooted every other phone I have had and loved to tinker with it…but I bought VZW Moto X developer edition during the $150 off promo in December and I am finding it difficult to really find out why anyone even needs to root this thing…it is awesome as it!

    Is there a good reason to unlock, root and throw custom mods on this thing?

    • Dave

      Probably just a bunch of tweaking can be done to it with a ROM. I returned mine after 7 days, didn’t care for the size or feel, and my other device still performs just as well and lasts much longer. Enjoy yours, I’m sure some nice ROMs will pop up soon.

    • TuckandRoll84

      After having mine for a couple months there are only a couple things that I would want root for and so far I haven’t needed anything enough to actually go through the rooting process.

      1) Ad Away
      2) Tethering
      3) Xposed framework for some very minor tweaks

      That’s all I can think of, otherwise this phone is awesome.

    • Fahad Beg

      If you have a dev edition. its extremely easy to root. and yes.
      you have native tethering and a lot of xposed modules to play with

    • JMonkeYJ
  • moelsen8

    just learn to do this manually with slapmymoto and motowpnomo. it looks super intimidating, but it’s easy. the hardest/slowest part is waiting for the phone to reflash and then reboot a bunch of times.

  • MichaelFranz

    I saw jcase tweeted a video of motorola 4.4 root but said he wasnt sure about releasing it to the public.

    I’m pretty sure the method mentioned is only for Moto X and not Droid line, is that correct? I thought once on 4.4 for droid line you can not downgrade to 4.2.2

    • Mike B

      correct the new droids are stuck on 4.4 once updated.

      • MichaelFranz

        thought so. need a solid 4.4 root in order to get it. Here’s to hoping jcase releases his new script

    • SlapMyMAXX

      That’s why you do the prep on jb before going to kk! Droid maxx 4.4 w/ root :-)

  • thedonxr

    I rooted my wife’s non DE Moto X it wasn’t all that bad. I just had to wait for the technique to be released. Simple ADB commands and having a Mac made it easy too

  • legacystar

    I did the original 4.4 root where you downgrade by hand and everything went fine.

  • 640k

    FYI I’m having trouble with the telnet command of the script as jcase has some user interaction on the first telnet that I have to trap for and it’s giving me heartburn.

    Anyone who wants to contribute to the thread is more than welcome to help.

    • Bryan Burch

      I’ve been trying it bro (sitting at 9 post count on XDA so can’t respond yet.) I’ve got bigger problems–got adb working fine now but I’m having driver issues I haven’t been able to solve yet.

      • 640k

        Stay tuned. Hope to make progress by end of day.

      • chris_johns

        yeah i had to install my drivers a few dif ways for it to be read…especially on rsd lite

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      You may have to activate telnet on windows here are the steps I worked with. .http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/910.enabling-telnet-client-in-windows-7.aspx

      • 640k

        Telnet isn’t the issue. Automating/scripting it is. I think I found a solution. Waiting for testers.

    • chris_johns

      once you have telnet activated(control panel windows features activate telnet command) type telnet in a command promt and when it loads just type “o {phones ip address} 2222″
      thats what i did and it worked

    • TheDrunkenClam

      Okay this discussion should be at the top. Not the one about how the developer edition is easy to root.

  • Patrick Craig

    Awesome! Now just waiting on a script for the Droid Maxx.

    • Christopher Young

      Not going to happen. We can’t downgrade the 2013 Droid devices for this root to work.

      Hopefully one gets released soon for our devices.

  • adam

    All I want is Foxfi, miss my droid RAZR maxx. I love the Moto X but no free WiFi hotspot sucks and I’m too dumb to root this phone.

    • legacystar

      Root and use this simple xposed module and it unlocks the native tethering http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2601859

    • Ry Sav

      i use EasyTether and use the USB option. works like a charm for me, but im also jsut sitting at my work with my X and laptop right next to eachother. you can also use it for tablets with bluetooth

      • DJ SPY

        This easy tether you speak of… Does not require me to have root? I’m stock 4.4 Moto X.

        • Ry Sav

          that it does not! you do have to pay for it, but it is well worth the $9.99 price tag (Free $10 credit when i got my X). they do have a free version, but has its restrictions

          • sean carey

            Easy tether it is then! i am with adam, i had razr maxx and foxfi (bought it for $7 or whatever) and it doesnt work. you are POSITIVE that easy tether will allow me to give wifi access from my VZW 4G service?

          • tyrus

            He uses USB mode, which works on foxfi for the moto x

          • mizo

            I have tried USB mode through FoxFi on the Moto X with 4.4. It does not work.

  • Josh Kruse

    I remember working with JCase back in the day as his first guinea pig to root the Droid Eris….yes, thats right…the DROID ERIS! What a power house device!!!! And that was a very similar method to this and was daunting to say the least.

    • moelsen8

      you deserve a +1

  • Keith

    It’s safe to note that the Developer Editions suffer from no such malady.

    • JBartcaps

      Very true my friend, buttttttttttt you lose Moto’s useful features. right?

      • Keith

        Not unless you flash a custom ROM.

        • JBartcaps

          That’s what I was wondering! thanks

          • Keith

            I unlocked the bootloader, flashed a custom recovery (TWRP 2.6.3.1), and rooted… all after accepting the 4.4 update. With the Dev Editions it’s about as close to a nexus device as you can get (even the VZW variant, which is what I have). From there: Xposed Framework with the Gravity Box module and you get many features that come with custom ROMs while retaining all the useful stuff Moto baked in. ;)

          • Jeff C

            Did the same on my Dev Edition…love it!

          • D. Sharer

            Yeah, it’s so nice. I personally flashed Eclipse ROM 2.2, based on stock with all moto features, minus bloat, plus some extra goodies. Xposed + GravityBox is pure joy.

          • Raven

            Hmm, I really need to check our Xposed on my DE. Seen it mentioned once before, but I have not taken the time to look into it. What specifically do you like about it over stock rooted?

          • Guest

            I guess to summarize everything, I get to take a break from my manic flashing days and have a grown up phone while still enjoying the perks of a custom ROM. ;)

          • Keith

            That was my reply, I somehow deleted it.

          • Raven

            That’s nice, but you still haven’t listed any specific features.that you enjoy with it. What “perks” do you actually use?

          • Keith

            Wifi/USB tethering, customization of Quick Settings tiles, media control via volume rockers, advanced reboot menu, App Ops access… small visual tweaks here and there like battery icon, replace holo gradient background w/ solid black… just to name a few off the top of my head.

      • red014

        I think you can still use them since they’re in the Google Play store. Just have to download them again maybe?

    • Eldorath

      Actually, T-Mobile variant doesn’t have the issue either. But doing the bootloader unlock does void the warranty :)

      • Keith

        Good observations.

      • bobbyp

        Moto doesn’t void the warranty when you unlock the bootloader on DE devices.

        • Eldorath

          Was referring to the warranty on the T-Mo variant ;)

      • JoshGroff

        Same with Sprint and AT&T IIRC, Verizon is the only one left out of the unlocked bootloader party.

        • sean carey

          of course they are. Verizon continues to stick it to me…

          • JoshGroff

            That’s what they do best…

    • TheDrunkenClam

      Okay but I don’t have the developer edition.

      • Keith

        Sorry, I should have mentioned in my original topic that I was speaking generally and not to your specific situation.

        • TheDrunkenClam

          Sorry. My reply should have stated that it’s quite obvious the developer edition is easy to root and that this post pertains to non developer edition phones.

          • Keith

            Fair enough, but you always have someone asking something obvious and since the article didn’t mention it I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything to point it out. :P

    • Raven

      I am so glad I bought my DE. To think that I even considered letting MotoMaker keep me away from easy rooting. I hated the white back, but a nice “black aluminum” case from Incipio fixed that problem in short order and I am loving it.

      • Keith

        I thought the same but the black and white is really growing on me!

  • peyton manning’s right big toe

    OMAHA! OMAHA!

    • Lucky Armpit

      As long as he Omahas Tom Brady’s stupid ass this weekend, all will be well.

  • JonathonFlores

    As bad as I want root access.. I want my Moto X to work more than that. I was no where near having the know to to do the last method and this seems even more daunting.

    • Sankyou

      It’s the toughest root I’ve ever done but it wasn’t that hard. The hardest part is getting the adb drivers working correctly – but if you’re on Windows 7 – that’s easy as well.

      • Fozzybare

        it was difficult getting the telnet stuff working for me. i had it all on but i didnt realize you had to close and open it 3 or 4 times…whatever it was to finish the steps.

      • JonathonFlores

        Coming from a Gnex, rooting, unlocking, unrooting, relocking, flashing, wiping, fastbooting, I thought I was good enough to root my moto x… Turns out, I’m still a novice haha. Bring up ADB or Android SDK and that’s enough for me to think twice about it.

      • DrdMaxxRH84

        can anyone confirm if this works for Droid Ultra/Maxx or not?

    • Cesar

      I’m in the same boat. I want to root, but I have absolutely no experience in doing so with any phone, and, from the sound of it, this particular method is harder than the rest.

      • 640k

        Once the script is perfectedperfected this method is super simple.

      • JonathonFlores

        Yeah dude. It’s along stretch from my gnex days. I’ll keep waiting.

    • Dave

      Try a Galaxy Note 2….dude I gave up after countless hours wasted.

  • Mike Aurin

    God speed.