[Bglug] Motorola G4 rooting update ... FAIL

Andrew Howlett andrew at howlett.net
Wed Mar 31 09:39:06 EDT 2021

Hi guys, here's the promised update.

First a little bit of history. Back in 2014 Amazon released its own mobile phone the Amazon Fire. It was a failure. In 2016 Amazon changed strategy. Amazon partnered with Motorola to release a special version of the Moto G4 ... the Amazon Prime G4. This version of the G4 costed $50 less than the stock model and runs a special version of Android which plays Amazon advertisements on the lock screen and home screen and ships with a suite of Amazon apps.

So now fast forward to 2021. Andrew buys a Moto G4 on ebay. Guess which version I got? Wow, you must be psychic ... yes it's the Amazon Prime G4. The big advantage of the G4 is that motorola will unlock the boot loader on most G4 models. But not if it's running the amazon software. Even if the model number is on Motorola's "yes we will unlock it" list, if it sold as an amazon phone then Motorola will not unlock it. Not rootable.

But turns out its not a complete loss. On this phone the stock android 7 software will do what I need it to do: start mobile hotspot on boot and check every ten minutes that the hotspot is still up. I do this with the Tasker app. For some reason Tasker was not reliable on the previous phone (Blackberry Priv) but works reliably on the G4.

Another comment: I installed some hacking tools (Magisk, sunshine) and modified the bootloader to boot when power was connected to the phone (fastboot oem off-mode-charge 0). Then I tried some hacks that supposedly worked on a previous software version of the Amazon Prime G4 Play. After making these changes, and failing to achieve root, the phone randomly powered off. Restored the phone to factory defaults and the phone works normally again.

Chris found a Moto E5 for me, so when I get a chance to fool around with that phone I will post my results.

Andrew H.

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