As AT&T and Verizon get ever more proficient at locking down the bootloader of your flagship phones, it seems the window of opportunity is quickly closing for those of you who want full control over such devices. It seems every time the development community comes up with a new exploit to unlock your bootloader the next OTA patch from your carrier blocks it. If you purchase the phone long enough after the OTA has gone out, your device will have it preinstalled so you’re stuck.
High-profile developers Justin Case and beaups (and other unnamed developers), long known for bootloader unlock exploits and root methods, have released another way to get bootloader unlock and S-Off for your HTC One M8. One thing to keep in mind: your device will have to be rooted (if it’s not, you can use root methods such as Towelroot or Weaksauce). One more thing is required, however: $25 payable through PayPal or credit card. The SunShine website explains the charge as follows:
Are you crazy $25?!?
You may be right. We may be crazy. Considering our costs to develop SunShine, we feel we are justified. Most of our customers purchased heavily subsidized devices, instead of opting for a more developer friendly product. SunShine solves that situation, at a much lower cost than purchasing a developer device.
What makes SunShine the start of a new era?
Simply put, it isn’t free. SunShine is the cumulation of years of research, hundreds of hours of development, the sacrifice of many devices (R.I.P. bricked test phones), and the blood, sweat and tears of multiple developers. Just like how a mechanic charges money for his time souping up your car, the only feasible way to devote the time and energy to this is to charge for it. The income from SunShine allows us to recoup the time lost from other projects, to invest more time into research and development of new solutions, purchase new test hardware, and to allow us to enjoy a few bottles of wine at the end of a hard week
What are these costs, you might wonder? In order to develop these bootloader unlocks, many devices often get sacrificed, suffering “hard bricks” from which recovery is impossible. Also included are the hundreds of hours the developers have put into SunShine. What’s different this time is the difficulty of achieving bootloader unlock and S-Off. As the introduction states, carriers are becoming more and more effective at locking their flagship phones down tight. There is still no bootloader unlock for the latest OTA for the AT&T Galaxy S4 (you know, last year’s Galaxy S flagship) for example.
Other devices supported by SunShine include the HTC One Mini Two (how’s that for a name?) and the HTC One Remix. If you need additional help, you can find it in the #sunshine-support channel in Freenode IRC (if you don’t want to resort to installing an IRC chat client, you can go here). You can also view the how-to video below:
After you download the Sunshine apk from the official website and run it on your rooted M8, it will prompt you to pay $25 via PayPal or credit card. If you return your phone to its S-On state, you can run SunShine again later to restore S-Off with no additional charge. If you want to use it on another device, however, you’ll have to pay $25 again.
I’m sure legions of M8 power users are already taking out their torches and pitchforks, but I’d like to point out that $25 is a pittance compared to the cost of getting a Developer Edition phone at its full unsubsidized cost. It’s also safer than many of the manual hacks and all of the “cracked” (pirated) copies of SunShine you might find elsewhere.