Sometimes smartphone companies don’t brand their devices smartly. It’s fine for them who can correct their mistakes in the future, but when it comes to the end-user looking up help guides, things get tricky. You must understand that there are two generations of the Motorola Moto X. The second was originally labelled the Moto X+1, but later changed to Moto X 2014. That follows from the first-generation with the original Moto X name. The guide we are presenting to you today is for the original first-gen handset and not this years model. You can verify the model number by turning the phone on and stopping over at the “Settings” application followed by “About Device.” Now view the model number and verify that is says XT1052. That’s the number we are using today. If yours is a different number this is not the guide for you.

You must update the phone to Android 5.0 Lolliop before starting the steps. The mobile comes pre-loaded with Android KitKat. Therefore, the out of the box software is not the software for this guide. Do not attempt to unlock the devices system internals if you are using KitKat since it can soft-brick the handset. That requires a fresh guide likely from the XDA Developers forum.

Android 5.0 Lollipop

Android 5.0 Lollipop comes with lock screen notifications, Material Design UI, ‘Recents’ multi-tasking feature, Quick Settings menu toggles, multi-user support, battery saving move, Android Runtime, OpenGL ES 3.1, Google Now menu enhancements, screen pinning and a great deal more. It advances well past it’s predecessor in KitKat, so you will have no issues differentiating the two.

The XT1052 comes from AT&T, US Cellular, Sprint, Verizon, Alltel in the US and many others around the world. Motorola originally were not releasing this smartphone outside of the United States, but they later changed their minds. We know it did extend to other parts including Australia.

We know you love your phone and are enthusiastic to get down to installing the file for unchaining the internal hardware away from the default factory restrictions, but first you must read through the list of essentials. Let’s start with backing up since it’s the most important part.

What Is Rooting the Android Operating System?

When you buy a new smartphone, you might not know it, but the Android operating system is in a “locked” state. For the most part, it will not make much difference to you: most apps are still available to use, and there are benefits to this locked state such as better security. When you root the Android operating system, you are gaining full administrative rights over the OS.

Why Would You Want to Root Android?

Gaining full administrative rights over the operating system has some perks to some people. For example, out of the millions of applications available on Google Play, some of them will not be able to run on your device unless it has root access. Until you have a specific need for wanting Android rooted, you probably want to leave Android as it comes out of the box. But if you need to unlock an app, then that is when you want to look into rooting methods. Using more apps is only one example of why you may want root access, here is the full list of benefits:

  • Unlock more applications. Some of the apps available for Android cannot run unless you have root access. This is because the app’s features cannot run without the root permissions because the features require the full system access before they can be useful.
  • Better battery life. Smartphones are great, but they have one caveat, which is each time you recharge the battery, it loses some of its overall lifespan. That means smartphones, in general, do not make great investments, and if your weekly paycheck is low, you will want to limit the number of smartphones you go through. One of the ways you can do that is by removing bloatware and creating a better battery life.
  • Bolster performance. If you are the budget-conscious shopper, you may want to increase the device’s performance. This can be done by removing the bloatware as well. The more processes you have running, the more memory that is used. By removing some of the apps, it can help lighten the load on your hardware.
  • Customize Android with themes. With root access, you can download and install any theme that’s at your disposal. That includes any customized theme you can find.

What Are the Risks of Rooting?

If you are buying a smartphone that is not running iOS, then it is probably the Android operating system that you want running as the ideal software to pair with your shiny new hardware. It is, in fact, the Android OS that offers you the chance to customize the OS considerably more than iOS: custom themes, run any app you know about, the works. For many users, the “openness” of an operating system is important, because it offers them more freedom which means running into fewer problems with their investments. But there is a reason iOS likes a far more locked approach: the ability to customize is not for everyone, and if you do not know what you are doing it can lead to a lot of problems which can define your time with the OS rather than freedom.

With power (full admin permissions) comes greater responsibility. Here are some of the main risk factors when it comes to rooting:

  • Malware becomes a larger threat. You might read the occasional news article about how new malware is wreaking havoc in parts of the world on Android. But the Android operating system with root access becomes considerably more vulnerable to exploits because applications are no longer prisoned off in their own sandbox environments. This means if you accidentally download malware, it can do more damage because it can spread throughout the operating system and even jump into other applications and potentially view sensitive data.
  • You can accidentally brick the smartphone. There is always a chance that you end up bricking the smartphone before you had the opportunity to use it with root access. That is because if you are going to brick it, it is going to happen during the rooting process.
  • You may void the warranty. Most manufacturers do not allow you to root the Android operating system and still get to bring it in for repairs under warranty. Whether they are legally meant to do that or not is another question, but it is now common knowledge that most do not want to help you if they find out you have unlocked the OS with root access.

Details of Note

  • Nobody wants to lose any data after following a guide such as this. That’s why it’s imperative you use a service such as Google Drive for backing up the phone. You want to store all the data that you added after opening the phone out of the box. That data includes phone contacts, SMS texts, MMS messages, call logs, videos, pictures and music files. backup the music your usual way using the computer. You don’t want to download all of those songs again. There are many applications available from the Google Play Store to help you make copies of the rest of the data. The apps include Helium, Titanium for those of you who already have root access, Holo, G Cloud and more. use SMS backup+ to store the text messages you don’t want to misplace.
  • Now that we have backing up out-of-the-way, you must find yourself a computer. You want to use a Windows computer since we are installing a Windows-based file. Use the obvious choices from Windows XP and up. Moreover, you want to find the USB cable that comes with the phone out of the box. We are using the same cable for connecting the smartphone to the computer.
  • Correspondingly, before starting the steps, you want to stop all security programs from running. Stop the antivirus, malware protection and spyware protection on the computer and the Android operating system. It comes in application form from the Android handset.
  • You must have the up-to-date USB Drivers. Most of you have these already so you don’t need to do anything. Some of you should visit the official website and find the files. If you connect the smartphone to the computer and you can get access to the data files you know the drivers are working perfectly.
  • The Moto X comes with the USB charging feature by default. Nevertheless, you want to reserve battery power if the USB charging feature doesn’t operate. Most of you will find it working and such as don’t need to worry about anything since we are connecting to the computer for most of the guide. For those that don’t have it working, however, you want to have at least 50% battery power before starting. You can check the battery level by looking at the battery icon present from the Status bar.
  • We rate the steps as right for intermediate levels. You don’t need to be an Android expert to follow it, but we recommend having some experience since tinkering with the OS always comes at a price. You will void the rest of the manufacturer’s warranty by installing the files. Android and Motorola do not permit the operations we are performing. That’s why when you have an issue with the phone at a later date they won’t bother to look at it for you. You can remove the root access and return the phone back to stock firmware without any custom ROM operating and the flash counter will return to zero. That way they won’t know you previously tinkered with the operating system and they will help you with repairs.
  • You must visit the Settings menu from the mobile and enable the USB Debugging mode from the Developer Options menu. The menu is only hiding if you are using a version of Android Jelly Bean. Nobody should follow the steps presented here today unless you are using Lollipop. Therefore, we don’t have to worry about letting people know how to unlock the menu. Anyhow, I’ll quickly tell you that you must tap the build number seven times from the About Device menu. Now you can return to the settings menu and the Developer options is sitting there ready for your fingers.

How to root the Motorola Moto X (first-generation) On Android 5.0 Lollipop

  1. Download the CF-Auto-Root-ghost-ghostretgb-xt1052.zip here.
  2. Extract the contents to the desktop of the computer.
  3. Boot the Moto up in bootloader mode.
  4. Hold the Volume Down key and press the Power button at the same time to enter bootloader mode.
  5. You want to make sure you have the up-to-date USB drivers for the next step.
  6. Connect the Moto to the computer using the USB cable.
  7. Run the executable root-windows.bat file you have on the desktop.
  8. A set of on-screen instructions are popping up. Follow them.
  9. Do not touch any buttons or keys until the flashing finishes.
  10. Click the “safely remove hardware” icon from the Windows system tray and stop the USB Mass Storage device.
  11. Unplug the Moto and you are done.

That’s all.