Posted by: reformedmusings | September 26, 2015

Unlocking the Moto X Pure 2015 bootloader on Linux

I talked about my selection and purchase of the Motorola Moto X Pure 2015 Edition (MXPE) in this post. One of the major selling points for me was the unlockable bootloader. Most phones can be rooted, but they mostly require backdoor approaches. Not the Moto X Pure. Motorola publishes the instructions to unlock the bootloader and provides the code to do so. That’s worth rewarding.

Let me make a distinction for the non-technical types. The MXPE comes unlocked in the sense that it isn’t tied to a particular carrier like AT&T or Verizon. It includes radios for all the U.S. carriers. Simply plug in your SIM and you are good to go. That’s the carrier unlock and is built into this phone, and it’s awesome.

The bootloader is what starts the phone. A locked bootloader doesn’t allow the user to take full control of the phone to root it, install an alternate recovery program, block ads, monitor detailed battery usage, make full application backups and nandroid images of the system, etc. That’s the unlocking that provides the subject of this post.

These instructions are for Linux, though the fastboot commands are the same for Windows. For a full step-by-step Windows tutorial, see heisenberg’s post. Note also that some of the instructions on the Motorola website are also for Windows and Mac. Actually, the process is simpler on Ubuntu Linux. I’m using Ubuntu 15.04 for this process.

NOTE BENE: Unlocking your bootloader will wipe your phone completely, including your internal SD memory. If there’s anything on your new phone that you want to keep, back it up to somewhere else. Unlocking will also void your warranty. In the words of one very nice Moto representative: “After you unlock the bootloader, you are on your own.” So, if you follow these instructions and somehow brick your phone, your dog gets gout, your canary starts singing bass, or your car develops herpes, you are on your own. I take no responsibility for what you do or the outcome. You have been warned.


Before starting, ensure that your Pure is charged to greater than 70%. Full never hurts. Since the procedure will completely wipe your phone, it is best to unlock before installing all your stuff. Also, read through this entire process to ensure that you understand everything before starting anything. Some of the instructions parallel the Motorola pages for continuity.

  1. Go to Motorola’s bootloader unlocking site. Read through the general process and all the warnings. You WILL wipe your phone in the process. Work through the next pages, including registration with a valid email (they will use it later in the process), until you get to the page where you insert your phone’s internal code. You don’t need to do any of the Windows stuff. FWIW, I tried to unlock in a Win 8.1 virtual machine under Ubuntu, but it did not work.
  2. Install fastboot and adb from your Linux distribution’s repository. I normally do this from the terminal, which you will need in a minute anyway. In Ubuntu:
    • sudo apt-get install fastboot adb
  3. On your phone, enable “Developer options” by going to Settings -> About phone, scroll to the Build number and tap that block 7 times.
  4. Go into Developer options and enable “OEM unlocking” and “USB debugging”, assenting to their respective warnings
  5. Turn your phone off.
  6. Put your phone in fastboot mode by hold down the power and volume down buttons together until the fastboot screen comes up. It features an Android on its back with an access door open on its belly.
  7. Attach your phone to the PC with a USB data cable. Note that some charging cables don’t do data, so if you don’t get a connection try another cable.
  8. In the terminal on your PC, type “sudo fastboot devices”:
    • $ sudo fastboot devices
      $ [sudo] password for bob:
      $ 1234567890    fastboot
  9. Once your get that favorable response, type “sudo fastboot oem get_unlock_data”. The response will be a series of lines of characters:
    • $ sudo fastboot oem get_unlock_data

      (bootloader) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
      (bootloader) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
      (bootloader) xxxxxxx
      OKAY [  0.241s]
      finished. total time: 0.241s
  10. Open a text editor, then copy and paste the character strings from the terminal together in the text editor. Do not include the “(bootloader) ” parts and there should be no spaces or anything between the strings of characters – just one continuous string.
  11. Highlight the string that you just created in the text editor and copy it.
  12. Paste the string into the proper box on Motorola’s website to check if you device can be unlocked.
  13. Once your code is pasted, accept the terms and click the blue button to request your unlock code. Your warranty is now void.
  14. Wait for the email from Motorola with your unlock code. It only takes a few minutes.
  15. Copy the unlock string into your terminal to create the command: “sudo fastboot oem unlock NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN”:
    • sudo fastboot oem unlock NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

      (bootloader) Unlock code = NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN(bootloader) Phone is unlocked successfully!
      OKAY [  2.614s]
      finished. total time: 2.614s
  16. Type the following into your terminal: “sudo fastboot reboot”. This will reboot your phone. You can disconnect the USB for now.
  17. Upon reboot, you will notice that the boot splashscreen is now an obnoxious warning page. Don’t worry, we’ll get rid of it later.

Congratulations! Your bootloader is now unlocked. You can now set it up for your use with apps, etc. Enjoy!

The next post will discuss installing TWRP and rooting.




  1. […] starting with this effort, one must first unlock the Moto X Pure 2015 Editions (MXPE) locked bootloader. If you haven’t already, do that now at your own risk. The instructions below assume that […]

  2. […] But, I wanted a rooted phone, so on to unlocking the bootloader in the next post. […]

  3. […] unlocking your bootloader, explained here, Motorola replaces your nice custom greeting with an obnoxious boot splash warning screen. Very […]

  4. […] I posted earlier, I lost my custom boot flash screen when I unlocked the Moto X Pure’s (MXPE) bootloader. […]

  5. […] use. It’s seriously one of the best phones I’ve ever owned. I wrote previously how I unlocked the bootloader, installed TWRP recovery on it and rooted it. The Pure has been a joy to use, and rock-solid […]

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