IP Goes Moto...Again? Moto G5S Plus

Discussion in 'General Smartphone/Handheld/Wearable Discussion' started by internetpilot, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. internetpilot

    internetpilot Flying Dog (...duh...)

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    Unfortunately, this phone is just too new for there to be any Nougat ROMs for it. Everyone has Oreo on the Brain syndrome (yes, it's a real thing).

    The good news is that the stock ROM (Nougat 7.1.1) for this phone is pretty darn near AOSP, which I really like after having a Nexus 6 for the last two years. Nova Launcher goes a long way for pretty things up and adding some extra features, including round Pixel style icons. And then I edited my build.prop to get the stock wifi hotspot working, and I also tweaked some system stuff to enable and configure a rather hidden plain white LED notification/charge light.

    I've experienced the DU folks hatred (actually more like disregard) of Sprint firsthand when both the DU and PureNexus Marshmallow ROMs had several builds in a row where the kernel was causing my Nexus 6 to report that the SIM card was missing. I went from thinking it was a bad SIM to thinking it must be a bad SIM slot (or worse), to finally finding a couple other Sprint users who weren't encountering the problem at all. I was pretty much assuming it was a hardware issue with just my phone, when I realized that these other Sprint users were using a 3rd-party kernel rather than the stock DU/PN kernels. I flashed the 3rd-party kernel and POOF! SIM card came back. When I reported this easily reproducible issue to the DU/PN "staff", they didn't really seem to care and produced like 2 or 3 more builds with the exact same issue in their kernel. Eventually, they released a Nougat version of the ROMs and the problem went away.

    I'm still using LineageOS 14.1 on both of my sons' Samsung Galaxy S3 phones (one of them is still in use the other moved on to an iPhone 7, so I keep it going as a "hot backup"). I'm also using it on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition tablet. I've received February security updates on both of those builds.
     
  2. internetpilot

    internetpilot Flying Dog (...duh...)

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    So, Moto finally started releasing security updates on more of a regular basis. Unfortunately, I can't take those because my phone is rooted and running a custom Recovery. I've also found it almost impossible to return back to stock unrooted. The only way to do it is to use a rather shady stock firmware source that has an older modem version and several people report losing the IMEI, etc. There are plenty of people who have successfully used it to return to stock, but it's a risk that my phone could be down for a while, so I have to time this as best as possible "just in case".

    I actually don't care much about security updates. I'm aware of what they fix (and don't), but because of how I use my phone, I really don't have much to worry about. I mostly want to have a way to return my phone to stock unrooted so I can take the eventual Oreo update. I still haven't found an Oreo ROM for this phone that will fully work with Sprint. I'm assuming the stock one will. There's still no word on when the stock Oreo update will be released, but the Moto G6 is about to be officially announced "any time now", so I don't think it will be too much longer since the Moto G6 will no doubt be released with Oreo on it. Moto kinda screwed themselves over on this phone. It's 64-bit hardware, but (for whatever reason) they put a 32-bit Nougat ROM on it. So now with Google only officially releasing a 64-bit version of Oreo, Moto has a tough choice to make and neither one is a winner for them. They either have to convert Oreo to 32-bit (which plenty of 3rd-party devs have done for 32-bit hardware phones) or they have to release a 64-bit Oreo update. If they go the 32-bit Oreo route, any future Oreo update from Google will also have to be converted (possibly even including security updates), which will lead to significant delays for these incremental updates. If they go the 64-bit Oreo route, there's no way to update the existing 32-bit Nougat ROM in-place, so they'll have to wipe the entire phone (EVERY phone) first, which will cause everyone to lose their data. Now, this shouldn't really be a problem since Moto Support frequently recommends doing a data factory reset for troubleshooting problems, but just thinking about every single Moto G5S Plus owner taking a 64-bit Oreo update and having it wipe their phone (regardless of any warnings given that accepting this update will wipe the contents of your phone, etc.) is going to be a support nightmare for Moto. Personally, I'd rather they move on to a 64-bit ROM so they can make full use of their hardware, but that's just me.

    There have been a few more 3rd-party ROMs released, but they're all from India, usually from first-time devs, typically "unofficial" builds of existing ROMs, and because the same proprietary blobs (probably Indian versions of the Moto X4) are apparently used for all these ROMs, none of them seem to know that Sprint exists. It's also rather difficult to try new ROMs when they come out. I'm currently running the stock ROM rooted with TWRP Recovery. Normally this would make it very easy to quickly try a ROM and when that didn't work out, just simply restore. Unfortunately, the stock ROM uses forced encryption on the data partition, which 99% of the time is unreadable after restoring with TWRP (even though it's supposed to be able to read it). What this usually means is that I lose the contents of the internal storage (photos, some app settings/configurations, etc.). It's not too much of a problem because I can just restore most of the app related stuff with Titanium Backup, and restore any data (photos, etc.) with a simple copy (TWRP does not back up internal storage because it's usually huge). So, anyway, when I quickly want to try one of these new ROMs to see if they work better with Sprint than the others have, it usually ends up turning into a 2-3 hour debacle trying to restore everything back to how I previously had it. With my Nexus 6, I could easily try a new ROM and restore back to the previous one within 20-30 mins tops.

    Oh, well. I still really like the phone, and it's still (by far) the best deal going (at least in the US) for a carrier unlocked phone, especially on Sprint. Anything else is going to pretty much be $1,000.
     
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  3. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    I've stopped flashing custom recoveries and just boot them as necessary (fastboot boot instead of fastboot flash). I am however behind on updates again because oftentimes the process of regaining root can change, and it isn't always well documented. I have no desire to go a day without root and most of the time, I don't even want to figure out how to keep it. cf.lumen is way better than twilight/f.lux et al.
     
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  4. internetpilot

    internetpilot Flying Dog (...duh...)

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    I tried that route (fastboot booting a custom recovery instead of fastboot flashing) with the G5S Plus, but it's was a big no-go after the first time you restore from that recovery. I unlocked the bootloader, fastboot booted TWRP, and then got a full backup of the entire stock ROM (all partitions) before rooting. I then rooted the stock ROM, installed Titanium Backup, and got a full backup of all my user apps. I then fastboot flashed TWRP, installed a custom ROM, and flashed root. The custom ROM didn't work out well on Sprint (can't change any of the carrier settings), so I just restored back to stock. NOPE! The phone wouldn't boot claiming something about "bad key". So, thinking it likely had something to do with the forced encryption of the stock ROM, I data factory reset the device. It still wouldn't boot. The only way I could get that first backup to boot is if I rooted the stock ROM. As soon as I remove root and reboot the phone (like to get OTA updates), it won't boot until I root the phone again.

    So, now I'm basically stuck with a phone that can't receive OTA updates (including the upcoming stock Oreo update), and also a 3rd-party developer community that can't seem to create a ROM that will work properly with Sprint. Rather frustrating. Basically, I'm patiently waiting for a 3rd-party ROM that will work properly with Sprint. In the meantime, if the OTA Oreo update is released, I may...MAY...attempt to restore the phone to stock with the shady firmware method.
     
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