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US Cellular XT1768 Moto E4 - Bootloader is Unlockable, and other info

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By mn1968, Senior Member on 29th September 2017, 05:09 PM
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Edit: My original post is contained below. I have edited since I now own the US Cellular variant, and want to share some information about it, and to help clarify some of the rooting process. I ran into some snags that may be obvious to the pros, but for the noobs and novices, a little more detail can be helpful. Also, this information should be useful for either USC or Retail variants.

First, the USC Moto E4 appears to be very much the same as the Retail Unlocked E4 being sold for $130. It has the same SKU of XT1768, can be bootloader unlocked, rooted, and appears to work with most carriers out of the box. I picked up my USC variant for $50 on eBay, and, as of this post, USC has them for $20 plus $35 for 1 month of service. Quite a deal if you can get one.

My thoughts/experiences are:

1. The USC Moto E4 (XT1768) appears to be fully unlocked*.
A. Out of the box it worked with my Tracfone AT&T sim for calls, text, and data WITHOUT having to configure anything.
B. It passed IMEI checks for Page Plus , Verizon, and Tracfone Verizon.
C. It passed IMEI checks for Ting GSM.
D. It, however failed for Tello, which is Sprint only.
EDIT - Thanks to @shogunreaper. He says the phone is compatible with Sprint & Tello once you ask Sprint to add the imei to their list. See here.
* Conclusion: The US Cellular E4 is almost fully unlocked. The retail version says it’s compatible with Sprint, but the US Cellular does not appear to be. It seems that it would/should work for all the other carriers. There is speculation that Moto may have not yet released IMEI numbers to Sprint yet, thus the reason the IMEI is failing for Tello/Sprint. Apparently this was the case for previous unlocked Moto phones. Not a problem for me as I will likely never use Sprint.YMMV.

2. BOOTLOADER UNLOCKING
I followed these instructions.
Unlocking the bootloader will cause the bootscreen to display "Bad Key" when you turn on the phone. THIS IS NORMAL. It will boot normally and your phone will work fine. Currently looking for a method to replace the bootscreen so "Bad Key" isn't displayed.

3. Flash the US Retail Stock Firmware
I did this to see what would happen, if anything, and to de-brand the phone as much as possible. To be fair the USC E4 only comes with 4 bloat apps and a modified Boot Animation with the US Cellular logo. The Retail Stock firmware removes all that. THIS IS OPTIONAL. To flash the retail firmware:
A. Download RSD Lite. This is similar to Odin, for those that have/had Samsung phones.
B. Downloaded firmware. I used the “Retail” version.
C. Unzip firmware to separate folder, install RSD Lite, & put phone into fastboot mode, & connect to PC. In RSD Lite, search for folder with firmware and select the “Flash” file. Process should take about 10-20 minutes.

4. Installed TWRP
A. Used the TWRP image from @squid2. I permanently flashed it with twrp-perry-3.1.1-r2.img
B. It wasn’t obvious to me, but the TWRP image should be placed on your PC, in the same folder you run ADB from, meaning put the TWRP img to be flashed in "platform-tools" for ADB. I originally placed the TWRP image on the phone’s SD card and it didn’t work. Don’t be dumb like me!
C. When you enter the command fastboot flash recovery twrp.img, make sure the twrp.img part matches the file name you downloaded, such as fastboot flash recovery twrp-perry-3.1.1-r2.img or fastboot flash recovery twrp-perry-3.1.1-r3.img.
D. Flashing TWRP to your phone will cause the bootscreen to display "N/A". THIS IS NORMAL. Currently looking for a method to replace the bootscreen so "N/A" is no longer displayed.

5. Root
Followed @KyleBryant guide (bottom of Post #1).
A. Download pph’s su zip.
B. Download no-verity-opt-encrypt.zip.
C. Flash both Superuser & No-Verity in TWRP.
D. Reboot the phone and INSTALL phh’s SUPERUSSER FROM PLAY STORE.

@KyleBryant says to format data in TWRP, reboot to TWRP, then flash the zips. I wound up doing this because after flashing the zips, Root Checker said I didn’t have root…but I think that’s because I didn’t install the SuperUser apk. DUH! Also, formatting data wipes your phone clean. Wasn’t a problem for me as I was doing this on a new phone. So…decide if you want to format data or not. For a new phone it’s not a big deal. If you’ve been using the phone for a while and have all your data, etc…, backup what you need first before formatting data.

6. Remove N/A on boot image
Thanks to @mikaleee, we now have a template to replace the logo.bin. Guide is here.

7. Disable/Remove Increasing ringtone. I posted the procedure here.

Hopefully this helps.

ORIGINAL POST
On another forum, it is mentioned that US Cellular also has the E4 for $20, and reported to be SKU XT1768. Comparing the specs on US Cellular (features tab) to GSM Arena, it appears to have the same bands, specs, etc... However, it has US Cellular bloat. The one user with the US Cellular E4 confirms that his phone works with AT&T WITHOUT sim unlocking. Unfortunately, nobody can confirm if the US Cellular E4 can be bootloader unlocked. I contacted an eBay seller that has several for a really good price, but he can not confirm about the boootloader either. So...does anyone have the US Cellular Moto E4? And does it qualify for bootloader unlocking?
I went so far as to order one from US Cellular, but was rejected because my mailing address is not in their service area.
Thanks,
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30th September 2017, 05:18 PM |#2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mn1968

On another forum, it is mentioned that US Cellular also has the E4 for $20, and reported to be SKU XT1768. Comparing the specs on US Cellular (features tab) to GSM Arena, it appears to have the same bands, specs, etc... However, it has US Cellular bloat. The one user with the US Cellular E4 confirms that his phone works with AT&T WITHOUT sim unlocking. Unfortunately, nobody can confirm if the US Cellular E4 can be bootloader unlocked. I contacted an eBay seller that has several for a really good price, but he can not confirm about the boootloader either. So...does anyone have the US Cellular Moto E4? And does it qualify for bootloader unlocking?
I went so far as to order one from US Cellular, but was rejected because my mailing address is not in their service area.
Thanks,

I don't have a US Cellular E4, but a couple years ago I was messing around with E2s, (Moto e 2015). Started with a Sprint version, which was bootloader unlockable but not SIM unlockable. Switched to USC version, which was also bootloader unlockable, and also is running on AT&T. There was a little trickery required to get it to see the AT&T SIM iirc, but it's been a while since I've messed what it / used it as a phone. Still sees regular use as a media player.

My guess is the USC one will be unlockable. I looked on USC site, can get it here, but it appears I have to sign up for a month of prepaid service too for another $35. If I can find one for $20 with no commitment I'll grab it and test.
1st October 2017, 02:28 PM |#3  
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If it is an XT1768 and the bootloader is unlockable, you can flash the retail version firmware which supports AT&T out of the box.
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3rd October 2017, 10:32 PM |#4  
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I have a US Cellular version that worked with no tweaks using a GSM BYOP TracFone SIM. Activated immediately.

I'll try and unlock the bootloader tonight and let you know.
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4th October 2017, 12:08 AM |#5  
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yes it is I had one a few weeks ago and got the code from Motorola if you go to settings>about phone>tap build number 7 times then go to developers settings then you sill see allow oem unlock
4th October 2017, 01:40 AM |#6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allc0re

I have a US Cellular version that worked with no tweaks using a GSM BYOP TracFone SIM. Activated immediately.

I'll try and unlock the bootloader tonight and let you know.

That would be awesome. I ordered one from eBay for $50. Figured it was cheap enough to take a gamble on. I should get it tomorrow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattvail692

yes it is I had one a few weeks ago and got the code from Motorola if you go to settings>about phone>tap build number 7 times then go to developers settings then you sill see allow oem unlock

Sweet! Did you follow through and root as well?
4th October 2017, 04:54 AM |#7  
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I haven't rooted yet it seems like things are still in the early stages but will once things start looking more built together this is still a new device so things are going to be a little rough but I will root eventually
4th October 2017, 05:02 AM |#8  
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I just unlocked the bootloader. It's a go!

(bootloader) Bootloader is unlocked! Rebooting phone
OKAY [ 0.697s]
finished. total time: 0.699s
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4th October 2017, 07:10 AM |#9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allc0re

I have a US Cellular version that worked with no tweaks using a GSM BYOP TracFone SIM. Activated immediately.

I'll try and unlock the bootloader tonight and let you know.

Do you want to say that it's factory unlocked?
Could you try with another GSM SIM card and confirm?
Thanks!
4th October 2017, 08:22 PM |#10  
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Deleted. Was just a rehash of 1st post.
5th October 2017, 06:11 PM |#11  
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The only reason I said to format data is to wipe encryption so you can mount the system. Nice guide too, thanks for the mentions.

Sent from my Moto E (4) using XDA Labs
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