How to: Unlock the Nexus 6 Bootloader (Nexus 9 Too)

I get that the timing of this post seems super silly, especially after the conversations we had yesterday, including one where I said I don’t buy Nexus phones to flash all the things, but you know what? Many of you did buy a Nexus 6 or Nexus 9 to do just that, flash and tinker, so we want to make sure you know how to get started. Also, the process for unlocking the Nexus 6 or Nexus 9’s bootloader that we are about to walk through is something I do with all Nexus devices I own, because there is always a chance I may want to tinker later on down the road. Why not be prepared?  (more…)

AT&T Stores Being Told to Ship Nexus 6 Inventory Back Due to Software Bug

AT&T stores are being told to send back initial shipments of the Nexus 6 due to a software bug that Motorola has identified, according to multiple sources.

The bug renders a black screen and fails to connect to service when the device is powered on, essentially leaving the device useless. Only the initial batch of AT&T Nexus 6s were impacted and Motorola is currently working on shipments with corrected software. Unfortunately for customers, that means AT&T stores may not have Nexus 6 stock for a least a few days. As far as we know, this is only an issue with the AT&T units. (more…)

FYI: AT&T Nexus 6 has a Logo and Other Customizations, is SIM Locked Too (But We Have Fixes)

Just last week, we were still wondering what was going to happen when AT&T got their mitts on Google’s Nexus 6. Would they brand the device with their logo? Would it have other customizations, like bloatware and an AT&T themed boot animation? Would they SIM lock it to their network? Unfortunately, the answer to all of that is – YES. According to a handful of our readers with the device, along with a number of folks over at XDA, we have confirmation on all of this. The phone even comes in a different box than the version sold through Google Play or Motorola’s site.

So here is what we know and some things that you can do to fix the situation.  (more…)

Motorola Camera and Gallery Apps Receive Updates With “Material” Tweaks

Last night, Motorola updated both their Camera and Gallery applications on Google Play. The updates aren’t major, but they do introduce subtle “Material Design” tweaks to modernize each.

With the Gallery specifically, you are getting a bright new cyan color, performance improvements, and a responsive design. Motorola forgot to move the hamburger menu out from the side, but other than that, it looks and performs great.

As for the Camera, Motorola added in a “convenient Timer mode,” bright cyan color, and an added double-wrist twist with the camera open to switch it over to the front camera (only for the Moto X, Ultra, and Turbo). Yes, for selfies.  (more…)

Thursday Poll: Rooted or Non-Rooted?

Throughout the day, thanks to topics like the Nexus 6 having encryption that can’t be turned off without taking matters into your own hands, we have seen the emergence of a healthy discussion around the topic of tinkering. When we say “tinkering,” we are talking about understanding adb commands, flashing recoveries or images or ROMs, and generally deciding that you can make your phone better than it is out of the box. As the conversation has grown, a number of readers have taken it back to what we used to consider to be the initial step in becoming a tinkerer, and that’s through rooting a phone. And that thought has revived this poll question, which we try to run at least once a year, but haven’t seen December of 2013. In other words, it’s time.

So, let’s do this. In the poll below, all you have to do is answer by choosing if you are “rooted” or “non-rooted.” From there, to continue this conversation, feel free to jump into the comments section and talk about the phone you own, if you are rooted or non-rooted, why you fall into either of those categories, etc.

Rooted or Non-Rooted?

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I Didn’t Buy a Nexus to Flash All the Things

If you were to ask me why I buy Nexus phones and tablets (outside of the fact that it is my job to own them), I would answer with the following in no particular order. I like stock Android better than manufacturer skins. I like swift updates to the newest versions of Android. I typically like the designs used in Nexus devices. I like to see what new technologies that Google has incorporated in the latest Nexus devices and Android platform, since Nexus devices almost always try to highlight something new in mobile. Before the Nexus 6, I was also a big fan of the low price tags that accompanied Nexus devices. And, well, that’s it. Those are the reasons.

You will notice I didn’t mention the words flash, ROM, root, recovery, bootloader, adb, SDK, boot.img, kernel, or forum. I didn’t mention those, because I buy Nexus devices for reasons that don’t involve tinkering, hacking, flashing, unlocking, and tweaking. I buy Nexus devices because I want to use them like someone would use a Galaxy S5 or Moto X or G3. I like the untouched, out of box experience.  (more…)

If Your Nexus 6 has Performance Issues, Blame the Encryption That You Can’t Turn Off

During our Nexus 6 review, we noted that at times the device seemed to suffer from weird performance issues or hiccups that were unexpected, especially knowing that the device runs one of the newest and most powerful mobile chipsets on the planet, has 3GB RAM, and was optimized specifically by Google for Android 5.0 “Lollipop.” Some of our readers, along with others at reddit and XDA, tossed around the idea that maybe the performance hit was due to the fact that devices shipping with Android 5.0 do so with encryption enabled. That encryption could potentially put a damper on read/write disks speeds, which would cause performance hiccups.

The folks over at AnandTech had similar thoughts, so they reached out to Motorola in hopes of testing a Nexus 6 that didn’t have encryption enabled. With an unencrypted Nexus 6 in hand they found results that seem to confirm our fears – the default encryption in the Nexus 6 does indeed slow down read/write disks speeds, which is unfortunate, because you can’t turn it off.  (more…)