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Side load or manually install an OTA

This guide will show you how to manually update your phone using an OTA ZIP file.

NOTE: if you have a locked bootloader and want to be rooted, do NOT upgrade until a new Root Exploit is available for the updated ROM version.

NOTE: The OTA update will attempt to verify your ROM is at the correct level. It does this by checking your Build.prop contents, and the existence of certain files and parts on your phone, it also compares check sums for these items. If files are missing or their check sums do not match, the OTA will fail. For more, please see Taking an OTA.

NOTE: OTA updates may include updated GPT.BIN and MOTOBOOT.IMG which will likely prevent you from downgrading the ROM on your phone, or cause bricking if you attempt to downgrade your phone! For more, please see Downgrading the ROM or bootloader


  1. Know what version ROM is on your phone before you touch anything. On Phone... App Drawer -> Settings -> About... Make note of the Build Number and Android Version.
  2. You must have already installed the Motorola Drivers, ADB, Android Platform Tools, and mFastboot
  3. mFastboot (get from the previous link)
  4. Stock RECOVERY.IMG for the Android Build Number and Android Version on your phone. If you do not have it, then Download ROM/SBF files for the ROM currently on your phone!!!! from -> http://sbf.droid-developers.org/phone.php?device=0 and unzip it. NOTE: Failure to use the EXACT SAME ROM/SBF that is on your phone now can cause problems.
  5. Your battery has an 80% or greater charge!!
  6. MicroUSB Cable.
  7. The OTA ZIP file you want to install.

NOTE mFastboot command in these steps assumes you are using the updated moto fastboot.exe and have renamed it to mfastboot.exe, or downloaded the one already named MFASTBOOT.EXE

NOTE2: The T-Mobile XT1053 Retail and Moto Maker versions use the same Rom/Recovery Image as the GSM Developer Edition X. The Verizon XT1060 Retail and Moto Maker versions use the same Rom/Recovery Images as the Verizon Developer Edition phones. The the recovery images are available by request directly from Motorola (HERE). Unlockability of the bootloader is NOT part of the ROM or Recovery Images that we can flash, so flashing the Developer Edition ROM/Recovery images will NOT have an impact on unlocking your bootloader. This tip is just in case you would feel more comfortable downloading the ROM files directly from Motorola, or if sbf.droid-developers.org has problems again.


Copy the OTA ZIP file to your phone's /SDCard:

  1. Connect your phone to your PC using the MicroUSB cable.
  2. Launch Windows Explorer.
  3. Your X will be listed under Portable Storage as XT1060, XT1052, XT1053, etc.
  4. Navigate to XT1060 -> Internal Storage -> Download
  5. Drag/Drop the OTA ZIP file to it.

NOTE: I recommend placing the OTA ZIP in the Download folder on your phone due to the number of folders that may be present on /SDCARD and how poorly stock recovery handles that many files/folders. If you place the ZIP in the root of /SDcard you might not be able to scroll to it.


Flashing Stock Recovery onto your device:

The OTA install can only be done if you have STOCK android recovery on your Moto X. The steps in this section will explain how to flash stock recovery onto your phone. If you already have Stock Recovery on your phone, please skip to the next section.

After you have the requirements as listed above, the steps would be as follows...

  1. Unplug phone
  2. Power down phone.
  3. Hold Volume Down and Power
  4. After a few seconds release Power, you should be in fastboot menu on phone.
  5. Connect to PC.
  6. open command prompt file and change to the folder you unzipped the ROM file to.
  7. type the following, pressing enter after each command, and wait for it to finish before going onto the next...
  8. mfastboot flash recovery recovery.img
    mfastboot reboot-bootloader

  9. The device will reboot then display different BOOT OPTIONS
  10. Use the VOL DOWN Key to SCROLL to Recovery and VOL UP Key to select
  11. The device will display the Motorola logo and then the Android in distress (logo with Exclamation mark)
  12. Press and hold the VOL UP key for 10-15 seconds. While still holding the VOL UP key tap and release the POWER key

    TIP: You can try this step, holding the phone in landscape. If you are stuck on step 6, try a force reboot by pressing the Power key and Vol Down key, and start the process again.
  13. The device will display Android System Recovery <3e> with menu options (Text will appear in BLUE) 
  14. You are now in Stock Recovery.
  15. You may use the Vol Up/Down to highlight Reboot System Now, then press Power key to reboot, or remain in Stock Recovery.


Install the OTA file:

NOTE: The OTA will check for the presence of certain files and parameters of your phone to ensure it is on the correct level. If you have modified your phone in any way, the OTA ZIP may fail to install. For more see Taking an OTA. If this OTA Install process fails, it will tell you why on the screen.

NOTE2: The Update install may replace any custom boot logo (logo.bin or clogo), as well as custom boot animation. Be sure to back those up prior to installing the OTA.

  1. If you are not already in Stock Recovery, please Boot Into Stock Recovery.
  2. Use the Vol Down key to scroll to Apply Update From SDCard, and press the Power key to select.
  3. Use Vol Down key to scroll to your OTA zip file, and press Power to select.
  4. The install will begin by verifying the update package, then verifying files on your phone match.
  5. If the install fails, it will be reported on the screen, along with why. (usually because you have modified system files, or are not on the correct ROM version). You need to fix these errors and try again.
  6. If verifications are successful, the patching process steps will begin. This may take several minutes.
  7. Your phone should report Script Succeeded and Install from sdcard Complete.
  8. Ensure Reboot System Now is highlighted, and press the Power key to reboot the phone.
  9. The initial reboot may take longer than a regular reboot.
    Note: You will see Android Is Upgrading screen during the boot process, that is normal.

You may now use the phone as normal. It make take a few hours/days for the phone to "settle in"