Unlocking the Bootloader of Photon Q

Introduction

Bootloaders basically boot the operating system kernel. They are hardware specific and every manufacturer has its own version of the bootloader, specific for the hardware present in its environment. The bootloader is usually locked on Android devices. It is impossible to flash a custom ROM on a locked device. Unlocking the bootloader allows you to install custom firmware on your phone. Installing Ubuntu Touch requires unlocking the bootloader first.

Getting fastboot

Fastboot comes with the Android SDK and is used to re-flash partitions of a device. Fastboot mode starts prior Android is loaded. It is useful for updating the firmware quickly and can be used to unlock the bootloader of an Android phone.
The Ubuntu’s package phablet-tools provides the additional tools needed to install Ubuntu Touch.
Prior Ubuntu 14.04 you will need to set up the tools PPA first.
Install the phablet-tools package:

sudo apt-get install phablet-tools

Unlocking the bootloader

Warning: Please note that unlocking your phone’s bootloader voids its warranty and also completely wipes the internal memory of the phone, erasing applications, contacts, SMS and MMS messages, etc!
Now that you have fastboot you can continue with the unlocking. Motorola provides detailed instructions on how to unlock the bootloader. In summary the steps are:

  1. Start your device in fastboot mode by pushing and holding the power and volume down at the same time, release the power button then release volume down.
  2. Connect your phone to the computer with a USB cable.
  3. Get your device ID:
    sudo fastboot oem get_unlock_data
  4. Concatenate the multiple lines produced from the command above into one continuous string by removing the “(bootloader)” and white spaces.
  5. Paste it int the field and accept the legal agreement.
  6. You should receive an email with your Unlock Key. Inside the email is a unique 20-character alphanumeric code that is used to unlock your device.
  7. To unlock the bootloader, execute:
    sudo fastboot oem unlock UNLOCK_KEY
  8. If the bootloader is successfully unlocked, you will see an annoying warning message every time you reboot your phone:
    unlockedbootloader
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