April 21, 2022

What is HTC S-OFF?



Do you have an HTC phone and wish to alter partitions on your phone? Is the security feature disturbing you from doing this? This article will deal with HTC S-OFF, which lets you turn off this security protocol. As a part of this process, you will be required to learn about the HTC bootloader, which is covered in the article. Read the article completely to have a better insight on this topic.

What is HTC S-OFF

What is HTC S-OFF?

Generally, all the devices have the S-ON security protocol, for which it places a flag on the Radio partition while being shipped to the public. In other words, the security flag of the HTC phone is turned on by default. You can turn off this flag on your HTC phone. Here’s how to do it:

  • It is stored on the device’s radio and turning it off can allow you to write to the system memory.
  • It hinders you from using any custom ROMs, splash images, recovery, etc., on your HTC android phone.
  • It also prevents you from accessing the NAND flash memory and restricts you from making permanent changes to the NAND partitions on the device.
  • The NAND partition includes the Boot partition, the recovery partition, the Radio, the System partition, etc.
  • The changes you make on the HTC phone with the S-ON can be reversed to normal by simply rebooting the phone.
  • S-OFF doesn’t give you the flexibility to revert to the functions of your phone upon a reboot. You can know if the phone is S-ON or S-OFF or if the flag is on or off, from the text on the top of the notification.

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Note: Turning off the security or S-OFF is the complete responsibility of the user and must not be done until there is a need for it.

Can You Have a Root Using S-OFF on HTC Phone?

A root is similar to having another user in your Linux OS. Turning the S-OFF on your HTC phone on the bootloader allows you to flash a package file such as Superuser.apk and the su binary. The main point to note here is to flash a recovery before flashing a Superuser. When the phone is rebooted, you can have a root on your phone. Hence, the HRC S-OFF doesn’t create any root on your phone but allows you to flash programs by which you can have one.

Also Read: How to Root Android Phone

Benefits of Turning S-OFF

The benefits of turning S-OFF on HTC are listed below.

  • Access and overwrite the partition drives on the HTC phone– By turning the S-OFF on your HTC phone, you can access the NAND portion of the device. This means that you will get access to unlock the partitions on the device and you can alter them. The partition dives on the phone cannot be altered by default. By turning the S-OFF flag, you can overwrite the code on the partition drives while the OS of the device is booted.
  • No need for the signature checks for firmware images– All the firmware zips must be digitally signed by the HTC to be flashed through the bootloader. Turning S-OFF on your HTC android phone allows you to bypass the security check required for uploading custom firmware images, unsigned boot, splash and HBOOT images, and recovery. The S-OFF flag would allow you to flash unsigned firmware zips that contain separate images of the partitions. In other words, it enables you to have the maximum customization of your Android phone.

Use HTCdev to Unlock Bootloader

Unlock bootloader HTCdev website. What is HTC S-OFF

HTCdev doesn’t set the bootloader to S-OFF but it unlocks the partitions on your phone. This would allow you to flash a custom recovery and then flash a custom ROM on your phone, for which you are not needed to keep HTC S-OFF. Below is the listed information:

  • You need to register on the website and by logging in, you can unlock the bootloader on your HTC phone.
  • This method is officially released by the HTC and it gives you limited unlocking to the partitions like the boot, system, and recovery, on your phone.
  • The restricted unlocking method is necessary for security reasons and it prevents you from flashing any random firmware zip to your partitions. This, however, doesn’t let you unlock your SIM card.
  • The unlocking changes the software of your phone and may give rise to some unexpected problems. This might change the values of Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) or Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) or may result in overheating of the phone.
  • In addition to these, some of the content you might have purchased through third-party vendors or HTC may be invalidated or be inaccessible due to DRM security keys.
  • You may not be able to use the update of the phone through Firmware over the Air or FOTA. If there are some irreversible changes made on your phone, it might not come under the warranty provided to you by the HTC.

Also Read: 90+ Hidden Android Secret Codes

Preliminary Steps to Follow Before Turning S-OFF

The preliminary steps to be followed before turning S-OFF on your HTC phone are listed below. Make sure to follow these steps and then attempt turning S-OFF your phone.

1. After unlocking the bootloader on your HTC phone, uninstall the HTCdev tool on your HTC phone.

2. Go to Settings, then to Security, and then deactivate all security settings on your phone.

3. Go to Settings, then to Power/ Battery Manager, and deactivate the Fast Boot mode on your phone.

4. Use USB2.0 instead of USB3.0 for plugging to achieve compatibility between your HTC phone and PC.

5. Download an S-OFF tool like Firewater and install it on your PC.

6. Install minimal ADB on your PC.

donwload minimal adb from android data host website

7. Charge your phone at least up to 60% of battery to avoid loss of power.

8. Back up all important media content or messages on your phone as the phone may get completely reset.

9. Install HTC Drivers to let you connect your phone with the PC.

download htc drivers from androidmtk website

10. Go to Settings, then to Developer Options, and then to Enable USB Debugging to enable the USB Debugging mode.

11. Disable anti-virus and firewall programs on your PC.

Hence, these are the preliminary steps before turning HTC S-OFF.

Also Read: How to Unlock Bootloader Via Fastboot on Android

How to Use HTCdev tool to Unlock Bootloader

The procedure to use the HTCdev tool to unlock the bootloader on your phone is explained below. Connect your phone to your PC using a reliable cable connection at the start of the process.

1. Long press the Power button on your phone and turn off your phone.

2. Press the Power and Volume down buttons for 30 seconds to log in to your phone in HBOOT mode.

3. Go to the Fastboot option by using the Volume buttons and select it using the Power button.

4. Launch Windows Explorer and navigate to Minimal ADB and Fastboot folder in Local Disk (C:).

5. In the folder location address bar, type cmd and press the Enter key.

type cmd in address bar in Minimal adb folder

6. Type in the command fastboot devices and press the Enter key to detect your phone on the PC.

fastboot devices command in cmd or command prompt. What is HTC S-OFF

7. Launch Command Prompt on your PC, type in the command fastboot oem get_identifier_token, and press the Enter key.

fastboot oem get identifier token command in cmd or command prompt

8. Wait for a long token code block and click on the Submit button on the HTCdev website.

9. You should get a mail from HTCdev with a file named bin attached to it. Download the file and move it to the Fastboot folder on Windows Explorer.

10. Launch Command Prompt, type in the command fastboot flash unlocktoken Unlock_code.bin, and hit the Enter key.

fastboot flash unlocktoken Unlock code.bin command in cmd or command prompt

11. Confirm the installation request on your HTC phone using the power button, and wait for the phone to restart.

Also Read: How To Hard Reset Any Android Device

How to Turn Off Security Protocol or S-OFF on HTC

Steps for S-OFF on HTC are explained below in this section.

1. Copy the Firewater file to the Minimal ADB folder on your PC.

2. In the folder location address bar, type cmd and press the Enter key.

type cmd in address bar in Minimal adb folder. What is HTC S-OFF

3. Type in the adb devices command and press the Enter key.

adb devices command in command prompt

4. Then, type in the following commands and hit the Enter key after each command.

adb reboot [Important]
adb wait-for-device push firewater /data/local/tmp
adb shell
chmod 755/data/local/tmp/firewater

adb wait for device push firewate command in cmd or command prompt. What is HTC S-OFF

5. Allow permission on your phone if prompted, and you should see the status on Bootloader as S-OFF.


The article is based on the terms HTC S-OFF and HTC bootloader. If you were searching for answers to these terms and were perplexed in the process, this article might have cleared your doubts. Please feel free to provide your valuable suggestions and raise your queries in the comments section below.

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