S-OFF exploit for M8 released by Firewater team, Google Play edition conversion now possible for GSM handsets

Good news for those wanting greater freedom to hack and tinker with the HTC One M8, as the Firewater dev team has released its method for gaining S-OFF ("security off") on the device. The method is relatively straightforward if you're handy with a command line — first your device will need to be rooted, then disable any lockscreen security, push the files to your device and let them work their magic.

If you're unfamiliar with the intricacies of S-OFF, it's a property which disables hardware write protection on HTC devices, letting you tinker around with stuff on the internal flash that you wouldn't normally be able to modify. Many preproduction devices come with S-OFF, but most retail models are S-ON, meaning "security on." S-OFF is not to be confused with bootloader unlocking, which opens up the device in a more limited manner, allowing custom recovery images and ROMs to be loaded.

One of the things S-OFF enables is an easy path to covert your GSM (i.e. not Sprint or Verizon) HTC One M8 to a Google Play edition, replacing the Sense ROM with vanilla Android. A tweaked RUU (ROM Update Utility) has been released by XDA user graffixnyc allowing GSM HTC One M8 owners with S-OFF to make the switch to GPe — ROM, bootloader, recovery and all, meaning future OTA updates should also work without a hitch. (A similar conversion method was available for the old HTC One, the M7, last year.)

As we said in our hands-on feature on the Google Play edition M8, though, you'll miss out on many of the M8's top features in the process, instead switching to a barebones, Nexus-style Android experience.

As always, there's no guarantee this S-OFF exploit will work for everyone. And all of these hacks are to be performed at your own risk, so don't proceed unless you know what you're doing.

Source: XDA (1), (2), Firewater S-OFF


Reader comments

S-OFF for HTC One M8 paves way for further hackery


So you converted your Verizon M8 over to a gsm variant M8, like the Google Edition M8 or did you just obtain S-Off?

Done! Took about 30 seconds to run the script on the Dev Edition device, already unlocked and rooted. Props to the Firewater Team!

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Oh, they're still paying for it, by way of a more expensive monthly plan... at least until VZW plays like AT&T does and charges less when off-contract. ($10 a month isn't cutting it right now)

I remember the old days when you had to use a paper clip and some skills to s off. You kids have it easy anymore...

You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you

Scariest and stupidest thing i have ever done with a device. S-offed my Rezound while on a time crunch with a piece of speaker wire. Not fun but an exhilarating experience.

These kid really do have it easy. No hardware shenanigans. Just software.

Lol, I remember doing that with my verizon Xperia Play and having some guy in another country remote into my computer so he could run the official (or unofficial who knows. All I know is it had to be done by someone who had that program and unlock credits) unlock tool on it. What a pain...

Some of us with "hardware versions of M8 that arent supported" by firewater are stuck s-on. This isn't good for many reasons. There is no other options according to firewater team. So some of us do not "have it easy" right now. Its very frustrating. Id really appreciate if someone finds a way to fix this. When trying to s-off, I get "whelp, this sucks, firewater can not work on your device no amount of reflashing, retrying, or ruuing will fix... DO NOT COME TO IRC ASKING FOR UPDATES OR ETAS!!!!!! if we are able to fix this issue, it will be announced bye bye.....sorry it d"

And there is nothing anyone can currently do. This is such a shame because the M8 is a FANTASTIC phone!

What are you talking about? You can do this on Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, etc pretty much anywhere they sell the phone. I dont know of anyone out of luck..

Maybe you should start paying more attention, because its a fairly common issue with the M8. A single google search of the error brings up thousands of hits.

Simply put, firewater does not work for every HTC One M8 device as of yet.

I actually like the HTC skin experience...

However I do think that having the ability to do whatever you want to phone is a good thing !

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That GPe conversion is awesome. Especially if you could get the phone subsidized.(if you have no plans on switching carriers and like your plan)

Kids? You guys speak like it was 10 years ago lol. My HTC Aria was s off less than 4 years ago and the rezound less than 2 haha.

Yea... a lot of people like to throw in the "these kids" to make themselves feel better. Buy a phone now and during the fall say "these kids don't know how good their technology is. Back in my day (7 months ago), we actually had to wait 50ms for our touch input to be registered. Now, they are spoiled with 36ms touch response. Pfft, brats."

Their sheit don't stink, etc etc

I'd like to get the Google Play Edition and convert it to Sense, lol. I'm not happy about the unlocked version omitting AWS WCDMA.

Yeah I considered that but settled with the unlocked version because I'm in a refarmed market.

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