Discaimer and N00Bproof warning:
We have root, yes, but that doesn't mean get hasty. At the moment, there are partition images (system, boot and recovery) in my and other users' possession (free of access to all), but we don't have a working recovery at the moment and this process involves deleting the stock recovery (it will make sense later). So, if you screw up and get root-happy, there's no way to recover until we get a recovery and a custom rom, and even then you might be screwed because we don't have access to the bootloader to use fastboot. Things may change, but root-use with caution.
Also, once you root, DO NOT TAKE ETAs from T-Mo and ZTE!!!!!!! Now that we have root, we can capture the OTA and make it root-friendly. To make a long story short, the updater-script (thing that tells your recovery where and how to flash stuff) has a list of stuff it has to... well... flash. If you, for example, delete the stock ZTE Music app, and the ETA replaces the app with a new version, it's going to stop (because the script requires a REPLACEMENT and not a PLACEMENT, computers don't have the best common sense), then it will interrupt and you will likely be bricked. This shouldn't be a problem because you don't have a recovery to begin with, but I'm not taking chances here.
NOW! Let's Root. This is a long process, so don't expect to do anything for a good 10-20 minutes.
This is one of those things where your mileage may very, there have been many different ways to get KingRoot (not King"O"Root, two different apps) to work, but this one was the one that worked for me. I'll also place alternate KingRoot methods in the second post if you wanna try those. Just for the sake of knowledge, this was run on a T-Mobile ZTE ZMAX, Android 4.4.2, build 22. I don't know if it makes a difference that I factor reset my phone before doing another round of root attempts (not this one specifically, maybe a couple hours worth of attempts).
Credits to @fire3element for this method.
1) Download KingRoot APK from here (the first one with the image of the phone if you are on the desktop site).
2) Install KingRoot and run it. It will restart the phone, and it will fail (or, if you have some Android God luck, it may succeed), this is supposed to happen.
3) Clear KingRoots cache and data (in that order) and power off the phone (not reboot). Then, power it back on again.
4) Now this is where things get... well complicated for this part. You are going to need to load your RAM with a bunch of processor heavy stuff. The person that made this method used CounterSpy and Final Fantasy Type-0 in the PPSSPP v1.0.1-411 emulator, but for those of you that don't have access to that, get creative and load up. Here is what I had running (all at the same time, mind you).
Note: Force Stop Task Manager in the app settings first or it will purge to free memory automatically and this won't work.
1. Next Launcher Lite
2. Apex Launcher
3. Nova Launcher
4. Cheetah Launcher
5. CM Launcher
6. Mi Launcher
7. 25 tabs on Google Chrome (No joke)
8. Both Temple Runs
9. Fruit Ninja
10. Google Play Store
11. Google Now
12. Google Play
14. Google Play Music
Mine was definitely a bit extreme but I knew all of this stuff would guarantee a good memory hogging.
5) Run all of your apps at the same time. The TL;DR for this is that apparently it's some exploit that the app uses as a buffer overflow. Now, go to settings and Force Stop KingRoot. Then Run it again. If it works, you should go from 0 to 100 real quick (no pun intended). It shouldn't progess slowly or reboot the phone to do this, but your journey does not stop here.
Now you need to permanently root the phone. This method was all @jcase, and simplified by another user. I encourage you to read JCase's original G+ post to learn something, as this guy is the master of exploits, and we are on XDA to learn.
Credits to @xtremeasure for the simplification of JCase's process.
1) Plug phone into computer...
2) Open cmd type "adb shell" (without quotes, moving forward, type all commands without quotes). This will open a terminal for the phone.
3) While in ADB Shell, type "su" to gain root shell privileges
4) Type "getprop ro.build.fingerprint"
Output for that command should be...
zte/P892T57/draconis:4.4.2/KVT49L/20140804.141306.18686:user/release-keys (the part with P892T57 may be different depending on what model ZMAX You have). If you haven't updated that number will be different, this ok, just replace the number in the next command with whatever your output is.
5) type "setprop persist.sys.k P892T57"
6) type "getprop persist.sys.k" and your output should be your build number
7) type "cd /dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/" to change directories so that we can back up your recovery image (remember I said something about that?) and set the boot to our recovery partition.
8) type "dd if=recovery of=/sdcard/recovery.img" to backup the recovery image.
9) type "dd if=boot of=recovery" to set recovery as boot. Another TL;DR is that this disables the write protection set by the stock recovery, allowing you to write to the system. It will mount the /system partition upon boot.
DELETE KINGUSER NOW
10) type "reboot recovery" and restart your phone. YOU MUST RESTART WITH THIS COMMAND!!!!! It will boot straight into Android, this is good, that means you haven't screwed up anything.
11) Reopene the adb shell (using "adb shell") in your command prompt or terminal (for OSX and Linux) and type "Id". If your output is "uid=0(root) gid=0(root) context=u:r:shell:s0" then It worked...
12) Remount system as writable "mount -o rw,remount /system"
13) Manual install for supersu you can get that here: http://download.chainfire.eu/supersu
14) Type "exit" into the terminal/command and it should drop you back to your normal cmd...unzip the su zip anywhere you want in your cmd switch to that directory...
14B) I advise taking the "su" binary and "install-recovery.sh" file from the superSU folder you downloaded and putting them in the same place (on the desktop or wherever your adb.exe is if you didn't set $PATH on your computer). su can be found in the "arm" folder and install-recovery.sh can be found in the "common" folder. It is important to note that where ever your files are, you will have to type that path (if it isn't in the same directory as your adb). So, as an example, I put mine on the desktop, so I have to type "adb push ~/Desktop/su /data/local/tmp/su". If you do not know how to do that, then stop what you are doing and research it, as that's just too much to explain.
15) "adb push su /data/local/tmp/su"
16) "adb push install-recovery.sh /data/local/tmp"
17) Reenter adb shell with "adb shell"
18) Make sure system is mounted writable with "mount -o remount,rw /system"
19) Move the so files into place with these commands
"cat /data/local/tmp/su > /system/xbin/su"
"cat /data/local/tmp/su > /system/xbin/daemonsu"
"cat /data/local/tmp/install-recovery.sh > /system/etc/install-recovery.sh"
20) Give them all permissions
"chmod 755 /system/xbin/su"
"chmod 755 /system/xbin/daemonsu"
"chmod 755 /system/etc/install-recovery.sh"
21) Reboot your phone to complete install with "reboot"
22) After rebooting go into the play store and install the supersu app. It's going to tell you the su binary is out of date to fix that we need to open the adb shell on our pc again with "adb shell"
23) Reboot into recovery (you're really rebooting the system with r/w privileges) using "reboot recovery"
24) Once rebooted open the app and update your binaries one finished reboot add your done 100% perm rooted
@tech_yeet for showing us the KingRoot
@jcase for his amazing work
@xtremeasure for his method
@fire3element for his method
@the zMAX Community for staying dedicated when the going got tough, it's been a long road. Here's to custom roms and a TWRP recovery!
Please share this with others, as there is a big community of people begging for this info, let's share the love . If I forgot to credit you, let me know and I'll fix that!
If you by some chance flash the TWRP Recovery Image (found in post 2), and would like to revert back to root ability (being able to write to system). Please follow the steps below:
1. cd /dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name
3. dd if=/sdcard/recovery.img of=recovery
4. reboot recovery
Please make sure you have the recovery in your sdcard root folder.