How to Unlock the Bootloader, Install TWRP, & Root the Google Play Edition HTC One

In a previous softModder guide, we converted our HTC One smartphone into a legitimate Google Play Edition HTC One, but that conversion cause our bootloader to be locked once again. So, if we ever want to convert it back to a regular Sense-style HTC One, we'll need to unlock the bootloader.

I've already shown how to get S-OFF on the HTC One using Moonshine, and how to do it using HTCdev, but neither Moonshine nor HTCdev support the Google Play Edition's bootloader. Thankfully, there are more benefits to the Google Play Edition than stock Android.

Prerequisites

You'll need to install the Android SDK platform tools and the HTC drivers. You can get the HTC drivers by installing HTC Sync Manager, then uninstalling the program. The drivers will remain on your computer.

Step 1: Unlock Your Bootloader

Just because HTCdev doesn't work doesn't mean you're stuck with a locked bootloader. It's actually even easier to unlock on the GPE.

With your HTC One GPE connected to your Windows computer, boot into the bootloader using the traditional way, pressing and holding Volume Down and Power. Next, select fastboot using the volume keys and press Power.

Alternatively, use the adb command shown below.

  • adb reboot bootloader

Skip the hassle of HTCdev and unlock your bootloader by using the unlock fastboot command!

  • fastboot oem unlock

You may get the error above, which is okay. It will still reboot fully unlocked.

Step 2: Set Up Your Device

Your phone will now reboot. Set up your Google accounts (unless you plan to flash a custom ROM or revert back to a Sense-style HTC One) and connect to Wi-Fi if available.

Step 3: Enable USB Debugging

Now, we'll need to enable USB Debugging. But before that, you'll need to unhide the Developer Options by going to Settings, About phone, and tapping Build number seven times. You'll get a message saying that you are now a developer.

Finally, back in the Settings menu, select Developer Options and check the box next to USB Debugging to enable it. Tap Allow on the prompt to enable ADB access from a computer.

Step 4: Download & Install TWRP

Reboot into your bootloader once more, either manually or with ADB. Download the latest Team Win Recovery Project from here.

In your command prompt, navigate to your download directory. To make things easier, I copied the recovery to the my SDK-tools directory and renamed it twrp.img. To install the recovery, run the command:

  • fastboot flash recovery (filename)

Step 5: Root Your Device

On your phone, go back to the bootloader menu by pressing Power (Bootloader should be selected). Then highlight Recovery and press Power again. In TWRP, tap Reboot, and then System. It'll ask you if you want to install root, so Swipe to install.

Once your reboot into the Android OS, follow the instructions in the SuperSU notification to complete the root process.

Step 6: Enjoy Being Rooted

Whether you want to install a custom ROM or a complete RUU (like you would if you were reverting back to the original HTC One with Sense), you're ready to explore the modding world of the HTC One.

15 Comments

Hello Victor,

Is it possible to get the stock recovery for the Google Play Edition HTC One?

Hey victor, I was wondering if there is a way to go back to the original sense ui, after doing the update to google edition?

Hi Carlo,
Don't try it until you get a full walkthrough. I attempted it and messed up my bootloader with it.

Basically you need to lock your bootloader again to flash it. However for the recovery you need to unlock it again. Unlocking does not work for me anymore. Neither on the Google Edition with "fastboot oem unlock" nor via HTC dev on the HTC bootloader....

Thanks for this!

Hi recently installed GPE RUU every thing OK but now can't unlock bootlo
ader & root the divice. Please need help.
LOCKED
M7UL PVT SHIP S-OFF RH
CID-GOOGL001
HBOOT-1.54.0000
RADIO-4T.21.3218.21
OpenDSP-v32.120.274.0909
OS-3.62.1700.1
eMMC-boot 2048MB
Dec 9 2013, 00:38:19.0

And received this message
C:\Program Files\Minimal ADB and Fastboot>fastboot oem unlock
...
(bootloader) PG_ERROR htcpgparttraverse(839):
(bootloader) invalid traverse range
(bootloader) PG_ERROR htcpgpartread(1029):
(bootloader) htc
pgparttraverse failed
(bootloader) DISPLAY_ERR spcustom partition: unlockdispbuf.imgbuf r
(bootloader) ead error!
(bootloader) DISPLAY_ERR Can not load custom splash!
(bootloader) Loading custom splash failed!
OKAY 0.563s
finished. total time: 0.568s
Thanks for your help and Merry Christmas for all of you

I've successfully turned my AT&T HTC One into a Google Play Edition, but now I can no longer Unlock my bootloader. It says relocked and S-OFF, but I want to root and don't know how. Neither HTC Dev nor the shorter way "fastboot oem unlock" do anything for me. They both complete in the command line, but the message that's supposed to appear on my phone does not. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Adrian

What if I cannot access my bootloader? What if my device does not indicate a charge and no hard reset works?

I hope with the 4.4.3 update we are able 2 unlock the bootloader again..

Pretty much all 4.4.2 M7's can have their bootloader unlocked. Which model do you have?

To unlock the GPE M7 all you have to do is reboot to bootloader
adb reboot bootloader
and then send over the unlock command
fastboot oem unlock
It will still wipe your device so backup anything you need beforehand.

Yes i know, but there's a known error/bug, so these commands aren't working..

You probably don't have the HTC drivers installed, or you're using a USB 3 port. Install HTC Sync to get the drivers. You can uninstall the app afterward, it will leave the drivers behind. If it still doesn't work try a different serial port.

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