Unlock your Android One’s Bootloader and Flash TWRP Recovery

Android One devices were released on September 2014 and they’ve been around for a while now. These devices were meant to provide a stock software experience on a pocket-friendly budget. The idea was that the local manufacturers make the phone and let Google handle the software side. Today, we’ve seen a number of Android One devices in the market with respectable performance for their price range.

Installing a custom recovery opens up a whole range of possibilities. We can easily flash a new ROM of our choice, flash modifications, perform full blown backups and have a fallback file manager in case something goes south.

This tutorial is applicable for all Android One devices. Do not attempt this method for any other devices as it may not work. You are responsible for your device’s consequences.

Prerequisites

  • Minimal ADB & Fastboot
  • A Windows PC
  • USB Cable (double check for cable faults)
  • At least 60% battery remaining on your device

STEP 1: Connecting your device to the PC

On your Android One device, go to Settings->Developer Options and make sure you’ve enabled USB Debugging

Note: If you do not see the Developer Options menu, it can unlocked by going to About Phone->tapping build number a few times.

Now connect the phone to your PC and open Minimal ADB & Fastboot. To check if your device has been successfully connected, type:

adb devices

This should show the Android devices currently connected to your PC. Make sure you accept the confirmation on the phone too. It is advised to disconnect any other Android devices.

STEP 2: Rebooting to Bootloader

Once you’ve successfully connected the device, we need to boot to the bootloader to proceed. To do this, shut down the phone completely. Once the phone is turned off, press and hold the Power + Volume down button together for about 5 seconds. Release the buttons together and you should now be looking at the bootloader.

Alternative method: On the Minimal ADB, simply type:

adb reboot bootloader

This should immediately switch the phone off and reboot to bootloader.

STEP 3: Unlocking the bootloader

Note: Skip this step if you’ve already unlocked your bootloader

Once you’ve successfully connected your device, we can move on to unlocking the bootloader. Unlocking the bootloader allows us to write into different storage partitions of our phones which would otherwise be blocked.

First, let’s make sure the phone is successfully connected to the PC. To check this, enter:

fastboot devices

Once confirmed, we can unlock the bootloader. To unlock the bootloader, simply enter the following:

fastboot oem unlock

Warning: This will FACTORY RESET the device. All data will be lost. Make sure you take a backup before entering this.

Once this is done, the device is successfully unlocked and we can proceed to flash TWRP.

STEP 4: Flashing TWRP

We now need to download the TWRP file for proceeding. Follow the links to download twrp for your respective device

First Generation (Sparkle V, Canvas A1, Dream UNO, Roar A50)

Second Generation with MediaTek chipset (Lava Pixel X1,  Bq Aquaris A4.5, Infinix Hot 2)

Second Generation with Qualcomm chipset (Cherry Mobile One, General Mobile 4G)

Once downloaded, rename the file to “twrp.img” (no quotes) and place on the folder where the Minimal ADB is installed. For most people, it is usually C:\Program Files (x86)\Minimal ADB and Fastboot.

Once the file is in the folder, we can now go back to Minimal ADB and type in the command:

fastboot flash recovery twrp.img

This will replace the stock recovery to TWRP.

STEP 5: Booting to Recovery

After flashing to recovery, you can use the Volume Down button to navigate the bootloader and Volume Up to select. Select the “Recovery” option and you should start booting to TWRP.

Alternative method:

After you’ve successfully flashed TWRP, you can enter the following command on your PC while in the bootloader menu:

fastboot reboot recovery

Note: Many devices will replace the custom recovery automatically after the first boot. To prevent this, boot into TWRP once you’re done flashing it. This will patch up the Stock ROM to prevent any further problems. If you do not follow this step, you will have to repeat the above procedure.

Success! We have now installed TWRP on our Android One devices.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below.

  • Diego Jose Diaz Garcia

    hello thanks for your guide. I follow everything but step 5 I got a problem. after flashing the recovery i can go back to the bootloader to select recovery and the alternative method dosen’t work because if I write “fastboot reboot recovery” a help message appear in the console. so when I restart the phone I original recovery is still there. I´m using bq aquaris A4.5 android One.
    could you please tell me what to do?
    regards

    • adityask98

      Hey Diego! Some stock ROM’s may replace the custom recovery with the stock recovery.To solve that, you need to boot to recovery immedietly after flashing the custom recover (i.e. do not boot to system). When you boot to TWRP for the first time, it should prompt you to “Allow Modifications”. This should prevent any further issues.

      • Diego Jose Diaz Garcia

        Thanks Adit for your fast reply
        Yes I know, I understand your point. but the problem is that after installing the TWRP I can´t boot on recovery state. if I press and hold the Power + Volume down button together for about 5 seconds the phone restart every 5 seconds… and I can´t go inside the TWRP. Do you have to solve this problem? regards
        diego

        • adityask98

          I see. How about trying this method?
          Let your phone boot to system, connect your phone to the PC and make sure USB debugging is turned on. From here, go to Minimal ADB on your PC and verify that the phone is connected to the PC with “adb devices” (no quotes). Once verified, enter “adb reboot recovery”. This should boot to the recovery. Let me know if this method works