- Jun 9, 2015
YotaPhone 2 ROOT with modified stock recovery
Check out the more functional TWRP recovery for YotaPhone 2.
Since not much dev work is happening on the YotaPhone 2, I though I'd kick off by publishing a recovery image that will hopefully allow you to root your YotaPhone 2 device with lollipop, and e.g. make partition backups.
First off: Disclaimer!
I am not responsible for damaged or bricked devices. If you follow instructions in this post, then YOU are making the choice to tinker with your device, and you are likely to void your warranty by doing so. You might even damage or brick your device, so ask yourself if the benefits outweigh the risks, because after proceeding you are pretty much on your own.
What is it?
It's a slightly modified stock recovery that allows to install packages signed with testkeys, plus adb root access and busybox for e.g. shell. That's it.
What can you do with it?
- adb root & shell access (e.g. to manually backup partitions or modify system files)
- install update zips signed with testkeys (e.g. SuperSU) in addition to original Yota Devices software
- root your device
What can it NOT do?
- probably can NOT install unsigned zips (must be signed by YD (like fota update zips), OR signed with standard testkeys)
- no fancy features, just boring AOSP stock recovery as included in stock firmware
- installing of apks/zips only through adb sideload, not from (emulated) SD card
What do you need?
- YotaPhone 2 (YD201) with Lollipop 5.0, I used firmware 1.39 YMMV with other versions
- Some technical confidence
- USB cable with a PC or laptop on one end
1) First read the whole post to understand what's going to happen
2) backup (sync stuff, copy photos off, use a backup app etc, use search if unsure how to)
3) Unlock the bootloader
4) Install adb and fastboot if not yet installed. (For Windows look e.g. here, for linux the fastest is probably to install Android SDK with platform tools, see here If this is not enough info to get you started, please use xda search!)
5) Download recovery image: yd201_reco_139_testkeys_v01.img
6) boot the recovery image
7) root the device by sideloading SuperSU,
Warning 1: It is currently not known how to re-lock the bootloader. (fastboot oem lock just hangs). This means you cannot completely undo the next step as of yet. This might have consequences for sending the device in for repairs, if they check for this, and deem it a (warranty) problem.
Warning 2: on some devices unlocking the bootloader wipes the device clean to factory defaults. I didn't see this happening on my YD201, but be warned, backup first!
sdk/platform-tools$ sudo ./fastboot oem unlock ... OKAY [ 0.002s] finished. total time: 0.002s
C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools>fastboot oem unlock ... OKAY [ 0.002s] finished. total time: 0.002s
Maybe Windows will install some extra drivers in the process.
BOOT the recovery image:
a) First: put the device in fastboot/download mode:
method 1: Power off with USB cable disconnected, then hold volume down key while inserting USB cable (which should already be in your PC on the other end).
method 2: do a
adb reboot bootloader
b) boot the recovery image:
sdk/platform-tools$ sudo ./fastboot devices
sdk/platform-tools$ sudo ./fastboot boot <path>/<to>/yd201_reco_139_testkeys_v01.img
copy the yd201_reco_139_testkeys_v01.img file to the folder with fastboot.exe (here assuming C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools, and D:\downloads as download location for the img)
* snippet below is fabricated, but you get the idea
D:\>C: C:\>cd C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools>fastboot.exe devices
C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools>copy D:\downloads\yd201_reco_139_testkeys_v01.img . [i]note the dot at the end[/i C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools>fastboot.exe boot yd201_reco_139_testkeys_v01.img
Hopefully you see the screen go completely black after a few seconds, and recovery menu will appear. Like stock recovery, it will show an error (E:Cannot load volume /misc) but you can ignore that, along with the 'error' triangle icon that goes with it.
If booting fails with a signature error, the bootloader is probably not properly unlocked, try again.
Note that this recovery image could be flashed too (I haven't actually tried to flash yet), but if you're cautious (as we are in this post) you can just boot it every time you need it.
1) download Chainfire's SuperSU flashable zip from this page, filename is:UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.46.zip
2) Assuming you're still in custom recovery, otherwise boot into custom recovery again as outlined above
3) choose "apply update from ADB" from the menu (choose with volume up/down keys, confirm with power key). Recovery now waits for a file.
4) on the connected PC:
sdk/platform-tools$ adb sideload <path>/<to>/UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.46.zip
D:\>C: C:\>cd C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools>copy D:\downloads\UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.46.zip . C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools>adb.exe sideload UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.46.zip
6) reboot when done
7) if SuperSU app is not visible in launcher, download & install SuperSU from playstore.
To verify if rooting worked, start SuperSU. If that looks OK, start an app that requires root (like e.g. betterbatterystats) or use a simple checkroot app from the store. Reboot and check again if it persisted.
NOTE: you could also FLASH this image, replacing the stock recovery on the recovery partition permanently (until you flash again). Above we're just BOOTing it once, next time entering recovery in the standard way will just load the stock recovery from the recovery partition). You would use fastboot flash instead of fastboot boot above. Flashing is UNTESTED.
Problems & FAQ
Q: It doesn't work!!1!
A: Please provide plenty of detail about error messages, which step, what versions etc. Without providing any detail you'll look silly.
Q: I don't know how to <backup/adb/download/reboot/flash>
A: Please use the search button, xda forums have lots of info
Q: How can I tell if I'm in stock recovery or modded stock recovery? They look the same!
A: The Droid error icon with the triangle in the centre of the modded recovery screen has some white text (yd201_cr0.1), the stock one doesn't.
I hope that there are some devs out there willing to work on the YotaPhone 2 in the near future. I'll try to tinker a bit every now and then, but I cannot promise anything as I'm no expert. To enable proper development of custom ROMs and better recoveries (e.g. TWRP) it would be great if Yota Devices released their Kernel sourcecode for the kernel they use in their YotaPhone 2 ROMs. I know they have been asked to release sources before (and they should in order to comply with the GPL license), but so far without response.
Good news is that You Can Help! Please stimulate Yota to publish Kernel sourcecode for YotaPhone 2 through their support page (hint: choose 'sales' as category, otherwise you'll have to enter lots of details. Be polite!).
Mod by: SteadyQuad
Version: 0.1 based on YD stock recovery 5.0 1.39 EU
Thanks to: Yota Devices for a great device, Jeopardy for testing and suggestions, Chainfire for SuperSU
Last Updated: 2015-06-20 (added warning about current inability to re-lock bootloader)