How to Root the HTC One M9 and Uncover Its Full Potential
If you’ve ever heard of rooting before, or have given it a shot yourself, you should know about the problems that come along with the process. Thankfully, with most HTC devices, some of these problems are already settled before they have a chance to begin. Thanks to HTC’s efforts, rooting the HTC One M9 is quick, easy, and has minimal troubleshooting.
One of the hardest, or more confusing, parts about the rooting process deals with the bootloader. Whether your bootloader is locked or unlocked makes this either like a calm and gentle stroll through the park, or like navigating a minefield on a pogo stick. Thankfully, the HTCDev website makes this easier on everyone.
Warning, read this before you attempt to root any Android phone: Everything You Should Know about Android Rooting
Do not root any Android device without understanding what rooting is, does, and its inherent dangers. Proceed at your own risk.
Related: How To Root Android – Everything You Need To Know
Method 1: Traditional Rooting (Requires PC)
There are two safe ways to root the HTC One M9, and I’ll be talking about the traditional way to root first. This is the way you want to root if you want full control over the process, and don’t want to leave any room for someone else’s error. If you’d rather use different programs or apps to root your device in just a few taps, skip to the second method.
Before we start, here’s everything you need for traditional rooting:
- A Computer
- A USB cable compatible with the HTC One M9
- Internet access for all involved devices
Next are three things I’m going to walk you through step by step if you don’t have them already:
- An HTCDev account (Free to register)
- A custom recovery (TWRP for example)
- An unlocked bootloader
- Updated Android SDK / Fastboot
- Updated Java runtime environment
- HTC Sync Manager
If you already have all of the six requirements above complete, please skip to Step 20 and follow along from there.
For a quick rundown, what we’re going to do is:
- Unlock your bootloader
- Install TWRP custom recovery
- Flash SuperSU to root your phone
That’s breaking it down into three general steps, but for the full rundown on how to root the HTC One M9, you need to keep reading.
Steps 1-4: Creating an HTC Account
Steps 5-16: Unlocking the Bootloader / Installing Fastboot
Steps 17-19: Installing TWRP
Steps 20-24: Flashing the Root
1. Visit HTCDev
If you don’t already have one, you need an HTCDev account. Making one is easy, and only takes a few seconds. All you need is an email address and a few seconds of your time. First, go to the HTCDev website.
2. Start the Registration Process
Go to the top of the website banner and click Register.
3. Enter Your Information
You’re taken to a new page where you need to fill in your name, email address, the username you want to use, a password, and then the country where you live.
Double check your information to make sure it’s correct and then confirm your registration to see this.
4. Register Your Email
Before you can log in, you need to confirm the email you used for registering. Mine showed up in my Spam folder, so make sure to check there too if you don’t see yours in your inbox. Follow the link in the email, and go back to HTCDev’s main page.
5. Use Your New Login
If you aren’t already, log in using your new account information. Once you’ve done that, click the Unlock Bootloader button on the main page.
Confirm your pick and move on to the next page.
6. Supported Devices Selection
Off to the right, there’s a drop down window below Supported Devices. Click it, and scroll all the way down to All Other Supported Models.
Select this, then click Begin Unlock Bootloader. This doesn’t immediately unlock your bootloader, but it takes you to another page of instructions and resources.
7. Other Required Resources
Before you start following the instructions on this page, please look to the right and go over the Required Resources section.
If you don’t have any of these programs, follow the links and instructions on their pages to get them installed and up to date before you go any further with rooting the HTC One M9.
8. Learn about and Install Fastboot
As an additional step, familiarize yourself with how ADB Fastboot works, and why it’s used. It’s absolutely necessary for the first steps where you unlock the bootloader. After you’ve learned about how to use fastboot, it’s important to install it exactly as described to root the HTC One M9.
9. Manually Enable OEM Unlock
Warning: From this point on, your data is at risk. Please save and backup all of your important information in case of data wipes, or software corruption.
For this rooting method to work, you need to enable OEM unlock inside of your Developer Options. You’ll find this option in your Settings if you’ve previously unlocked Developer Options by repeatedly tapping your build number, under Settings > About > Software information > More.
Just to make sure everything is setup correctly, let’s do a quick check. Open your Platform Tools folder on your PC, and open a new command prompt window. If you don’t know how to do that, just hold down shift + press right click to open a new options window.
Now click Open command window here to open the command prompt.
Now connect your HTC One M9 to your computer, and make sure that USB Debugging is enabled. Once you’re connected, enter this in the command prompt box:
- adb devices
If nothing is below the text “List of devices attached” you cannot continue until your phone is ADB ready. Please backtrack through the steps above until you get a different result.
11. Enter Download Mode
Now that everything is settled, we’re ready to unlock your bootloader. If your phone is still connected to your PC, disconnect it, and then power it down completely. Wait for at least ten seconds, and then power it back on while holding down the Volume Down + Power Key.
This puts your One M9 into Download mode.
12. Put Your Phone into Fastboot Mode
While in Download mode, use the volume keys to scroll up and down until you highlight the Fastboot option.
Press the power key to put the One M9 into Fastboot mode.
13. Back to Your PC
While in Fastboot mode, connect your phone to your PC. To ensure you’re connected again, open a command prompt and type:
- adb devices
You’ll see your device listed if everything is going according to plan. Since you’ve already installed fastboot / ADB tools, skip Step 4 on the HTCDev website if you’re following along there.
14. Go to the Next Page
Below Step 4, click the green button at the bottom of the page to advance to Step 5.
You need to be logged in for this part if you aren’t already.
15. OEM Token
You’re almost done. With your phone connected, and still in download mode, type this command into the command prompt:
- fastboot oem get_identifier_token
This returns a long string of letters and numbers that looks like this:
16. Copy and Paste
Select all of the text just like in the sample image above.
- <<<< Identifier Token Start >>>>
Then end with:
- <<<<< Identifier Token End >>>>>
Only select the text just like in the example above. Now copy the text with Ctrl + C and then paste it in the box at the bottom of the HTCDev page here.
Now hit Submit and you’ll quickly receive an email with a .bin file you need to unlock your bootloader.
17. Check Your Mail
Just like before, if you don’t find the email in your regular inbox, check your Spam folder. Once you find the email with your .bin file, download it, and place it in the folder where you have your command prompt open.
18. Finally Unlock the Bootloader
Close your command prompt if it’s still open, and then open it again in the same folder where your .bin file is. Now enter the command:
- fastboot flash unlocktokenbin
If this is done correctly, your phone will ask you if you want to unlock your bootloader. Use the volume keys to scroll up to Yes and then select the option with the power key. The HTC One M9 will then reboot on the spot, and your bootloader is now unlocked.
19. Download a TWRP IMG
Moving right along, now you need to install TWRP. Since you aren’t rooted yet, we have to flash a downloaded img file instead of just installing it normally. We’re going to use version number 18.104.22.168, which you can download here:
After the download finishes, put the file in your Platform Tools folder.
20. Rename the IMG
The name of the image file we’re working with isn’t too complex, but let’s make it even easier to type into the command prompt. Right-click the file, and then select to rename it. Change the name to:
21. Open the Command Prompt Again
If your command prompt is still open, close it one more time, and then open it again in your platform tools folder. Make sure your One M9 is powered on and connected to your PC. Just like in a previous step, put your phone into Download mode while it’s connected.
Once everything is set, enter this command:
- fastboot flash recovery twrp.img
As soon as you press enter, TWRP will flash onto your device very shortly. Now that you have a custom recovery installed, and your bootloader is unlocked, your HTC One M9 is ready to root.
22. Download What You Need
Now that we’ve gotten all of the long and complicated stuff out of the way, the easiest part is actually rooting your device. The only extra file you need is a SuperSU zip, courtesy of Chainfire.
Visit Chainfire’s website here to download the latest version of SuperSU.
After the download finishes, place the SuperSU zip in your One M9’s internal or external storage in an easy to find location. You’ll need to find it again later with your phone, so make sure it isn’t buried and is still packed in its zip file.
23. Enter Recovery Mode
First, make sure your phone isn’t connected to your PC. Next:
- Wait for at least ten seconds.
- Press and hold the Volume Down
- Press and release the Power key, while still holding the Volume Down
Now you’re in the bootloader. Using the volume keys, scroll to, and then select (with the power key) Boot to Recovery Mode.
24. Enter TWRP Recovery
From here, boot into TWRP recovery mode, and select the Install option. I hope you put that SuperSU zip somewhere easy to find because now you need to select it. Once you find where you put it, select it.
25. Install the SuperSU ZIP
At the bottom of the select screen, confirm the install process with either hardware keys, or any requested taps or swipes. This starts the rooting process. This will take some time, but once the process is finished, back out to the main recovery menu, and select Reboot.
26. Confirm the Root
Once your HTC One M9 reboots, check your app drawer for the SuperSU app. If it’s there, you’ve successfully rooted your device. If that isn’t enough to convince you, you can download the Root Checker app and test the root for yourself.
Root Checker Download (Free)
Method 2: One Click Root Apps and Services
There’s always more than one way to root an Android phone, and this second method has plenty of benefits. With rooting apps you don’t need a PC, or data cable to help you with the process, it’s all done right on your phone. The only problem with rooting apps is they’re always hit or miss with compatibility.
Even though traditional methods take much more time, they’re reliable and proven to work by multiple sources. This is why I still recommend the traditional method if you want to root the HTC One M9, but if you want to take a chance with rooting apps, there are plenty available.
Read about the best rooting apps: How To Root Android Without Computer Like A Seasoned Techie
Let us help you troubleshoot: 10 Common Android Rooting Problems and Troubleshooting Tips
The One M9 isn’t a hard phone to root, but it can take some time to finish the job. HTC has provided some easy to follow tools for free use, and all you need to do is follow them to root your phone successfully. If you’re left wondering “What now?” after you’re done, check out some of the amazing custom ROMs available for the One M9
If you had any problems along the way or any problems with the One M9 in general, please ask for help in the comments below, and we’ll get to you right away.
While you wait for us to answer, we’ve picked up on, and solved the most common HTC One M9 Problems: 9 Problems with the HTC One M9 and Troubleshooting Techniques
Thanks for these instructions!
I am having a problem; I don’t see how to get Fastboot on my phone. I followed all of your directions, as well as those for installing the Android SDK (and related Java), but the Fastboot option does not appear on my Download Mode screen on the phone.
Any idea what I might have missed?
Hi! Are you seeing the other options listed on the Download Mode screen?
Thanks for replying, megan!
It looks like the M9 actually uses Download Mode like it used to use Fastboot, so I was able to follow directions through that point–but now I am stuck at the Recovery mode point, since my phone doesn’t do anything in recovery mode.
It has a red triangle and exclamation point, and stays that way for several minutes before rebooting itself into Android.
I think I saw somewhere that Recovery mode doesn’t work for Lollipop–anyone have any ideas?
Hi, dorlexa! I’m glad you got that sorted out. It’s not that Recovery Mode doesn’t work for Lollipop, it’s that devices using Lollipop have slightly different requirements. Fortunately the difference for the HTC One M9 is relatively minor. First boot the phone into Android, then go to settings -> Battery and uncheck Fastboot. Next turn off your device by holding the power key, then press and hold both the power key and volume down key like you did before to go to the bootloader. From there you should be able to go directly to Recovery mode.
I cant register. htc developers is not working