Rooting a Vodacom HTC Magic and upgrading the firmware in South Africa to get Android Market and more.

If you’re in South Africa and you own an HTC Magic Android phone you’ll soon realise that it’s missing Android Market, which to be honest, is pretty much what makes Android so damn amazing in the first place. In its place is the Leaf Open Market. Leaf are the South African HTC importers. Open Market is about as awesome as getting stabbed in the eye with a pencil, repeatedly. The application works okay, but the selection of applications is incredibly dismal.

Update 30/06/09: There are rumblings that Leaf is going to “release” Market in “two weeks”. Supposedly they’re going to be sending out instructions on how to ROM your phone or allowing you to take it into a vodacom store and getting it ROM’d there (most likely they’ll need to send it away). I have no idea how true these claims are. Maybe someone wants to phone Leaf and ask them?

Update 23/07/09: A really good resource for anyone looking to hack their Magic is the XDA-Developers Forum. Some kind souls have also recently added a Wiki specifically put together for hacking the Magic (Sapphire) which every one of you should read from start to finish.

Anyway, the primary reason I love Android is because it’s hackable. Commence hacking. Warning: Yes, this probably will void your warranty. Yes, it’s possible that the real Android Market will eventually be released in SA, but I’m not holding my breath.

Basically what we’re doing here is updating the phone’s firmware to the version HTC originally intended the Magic to ship with… There are stacks of other firmwares (called ROM’s in the ‘community’) floating around, I’m just pointing to one that definitely works. Using the wrong ROM can put your phone in a state where it refuses to boot… Never fear, see below ‘Recovering from a bricked Magic‘.

General Steps

I’m going to explain the general steps you go through first… This will help you understand what it is you’re about to do so that you aren’t just blindly following instructions.

  1. We get the Android SDK and Fastboot applications installed on our computer
  2. We copy the ROM we want to install onto the SD Card and rename it ‘’
  3. We boot the phone into FASTBOOT mode.
  4. Using the FASTBOOT program we temporarily upload and ‘install’ the daldroid-recovery.img ROM over USB. (This is a special boot loader app that lets us do cool stuff like made Nandroid backups and install that ROM from the SD Card.)
  5. The phone boots into the daldroid-recovery mode.
  6. We backup our original ROM to the SD Card using Nandoid, clear some settings and then install the new ROM.
  7. Congratulations, you have a rooted, real android phone 😉

Step by Step Instructions

Okay, now that you know the basic steps, here are the details.

  1. Enable USB debugging on the device in Settings->Applications->Development->”USB Debugging”
  2. Ensure you have the Android SDK downloaded, and the included USB driver installed correctly on your desktop.
  3. Download Fastboot. Since I use linux I just copied the ‘fastboot’ binary to the Android SDK’s tools directory and made it executable.
  4. Open up a terminal/dos prompt and “cd” to the tools directory in your Android SDK folder.
  5. Plug in your USB Cable.
  6. Run the following command:
    adb devices

    Linux users will need to run:

    sudo ./adb devices
  7. You should see your Android phone’s serial in the list. If you get an empty list, you need to sort out your USB driver.
  8. Download Daldroid’s Rooted (adb shell) Original HTC ROM for Magic and Daldroid’s Recovery Image
  9. Unzip the file and put it in the Android SDK’s tools directory.
  10. Connect the phone with the USB cable and from the notifications bar, mount the SD card. Rename to and copy it to the phone’s SD card.
  11. On your device, enter the bootloader FASTBOOT mode by turning off the phone and then, while it is off, pressing the volume down button while pressing the power button.
  12. You should get a screen with some androids on skateboards at the bottom…Give it a second to run whatever tests it runs.
  13. Pressing the back button will get you into FASTBOOT MODE and you should see the screen change to say ‘FASTBOOT USB’
  14. Type the following commands on your computer (not on the device):
    fastboot boot daldroid-recovery.img

    Again, Linux users will need to run:

    sudo ./fastboot boot daldroid-recovery.img
  15. This will upload (over usb) a mini recovery image and reboot your phone… It’ll take a few seconds and you’ll be prompted with the recovery interface.
  16. Select ‘Nandroid Backup 2.1’ from the menu. This will write a backup of your existing system to the SD card… useful in case something goes wrong.
  17. Select ‘Wipe Data/factory reset’. This erases settings etc that might not be compatible with the new firmware
  18. Select ‘Apply’. This essentially installs the system image from the file.
  19. Select ‘reboot system now’.
  20. Wait a long time for the first initialization. Congratulations, you have a real, rooted, Android phone with Android Market and thousands of quality apps to install.

The really nice thing about the Daldroid image is that it comes with all the APN settings etc required for Vodacom so your HSDPA will work straight away.

Recovering from a ‘Bricked’ Magic

I promised earlier I would tell you how to recover from a ‘Bricked’ Android phone… I’ve put ‘bricked’ in quotes because a lot of people seem to be thinking they’ve bricked their phones when in reality it’s quite easy to recover.

  1. Check if you can get to into Fastboot Mode:
    1. Remove the battery.
    2. Wait 10 seconds (or more)
    3. While pressing the volume down button, pop the battery back in.
    4. If it doesn’t turn on by itself, keep pressing the volume down button and press the power button.
    5. You should get the Fastboot menu.
    6. If you don’t get into Fastboot mode, try a few more times and then panic. I don’t know how to help you. Try Google.
  2. You now need to copy the right (see step 8 above) onto your SD Card. There are two ways:
    1. Get a usb card reader or use another cell phone that will allow you to mount the SD Card over USB and just copy it.
    2. or, the slightly fancier way, while your phone is in Fastboot mode run the following command on your computer (first put the new in your Android SDK tools directory):
      adb push /sdcard/

      Again, Linux users will need to run:

      sudo ./adb push /sdcard/

      This uploads the file directly onto the SD Card via USB. It takes a minute or two so do be patient.

  3. Now you just need to follow steps 11 though 20 from the instructions above and you should be golden.

Updated (21 June 2009) – Putting the original Vodacom ROM back

If for some or other reason you want to go back to the old version of the Vodacom ROM, you can do so quite easily.

Nandroid writes a selection of files to the SD Card:

2.5M  boot.img
339K  cache.img
60M   data.img
256K  misc.img
265    nandroid.md5
5.0M  recovery.img
78M   system.img

You should really make a copy of them on your local machine just in case. Once you’ve got those files on your local machine you can restore your phone using fastboot like so:

  1. Copy the nandroid files (*.img) from your backup into your SDK Tools Directory.
  2. Boot your phone into Fastboot mode (Steps 11, 12, 13) from the Step by Step guide above.
  3. Run the following commands from your computer:
    fastboot erase system -w
    fastboot erase boot
    fastboot flash system system.img
    fastboot flash userdata data.img
    fastboot flash boot boot.img
    fastboot reboot
  4. Congratulations, you now have your old Vodacom phone back. :/

Hope this helps, feel free to ask questions.


89 thoughts on “Rooting a Vodacom HTC Magic and upgrading the firmware in South Africa to get Android Market and more.

  1. Thanks!!!! Great tutorial. Just one question though before I give it a go. Can the Vodacom rom be reinstalled in case you need to take it back to Vodacom for repairs (for the Warranty)?

  2. Thanks, I’ve been searching for a local Android user who’s managed to access the App Market. Following on from Ramone’s query, is it possible to somehow retain the apps (downloaded from the App Market) on the phone when putting the original Vodacom ROM back on?

  3. Hi Ronald,

    Yeah, apps are regular .apk files which you can copy off, and back on again… then just ‘click’ on it from a file explorer to install.

    You shouldn’t need to copy them off though… Just store them on your SD card. When you update the ROM it leaves the SD Card as is, so they’ll still be there when you boot up again and you can just re-install them.


  4. Has any one had trouble with this? Does it go smoothly? Please excuse my paranoia, psyching myself up to try it …

    Another question, what about the Vodacom MMS, SMS, data etc settings?

  5. I can confirm that this works for Belgian HTC magic from Proximus phones too, where other recovery images just froze on the initial splash screen. Thx a lot!

  6. Thanks, another question: if the screen goes (like my Imate Kjam did twice) in the warrantee period, will your steps for putting the Vodacom ROM back work?

    ie: without a working screen.

    (I’m almost psyched up)

  7. Hi Rits

    Assuming it’s only your screen that is broken, then yes, you should be able to put the original ROM’s back… you’ll just need to get into Fastboot mode blind, which shouldn’t be hard.


  8. great. if theres anything else wrong with the phone so that it can’t boot, then they wouldn’t know it’d been ROM’d n rooted 😀

    Soo, if I ever need to send it back I can put the original ROM back. Only risk is screwing up the ROMing process and bricking the phone…

  9. Thanks 🙂 it’s working perfectly.

    Now my concern is what to do to protect it. since it is rooted.

  10. Thanks so much for this. I have tried it and everything ran smoothly (I had to run ./fastboot boot daldroid-recovery.img as root, else it just sat there saying – trying to connect or something).

    Otherwise everything is brilliant. Thanks so much for the help

  11. @Marius. I don’t know whether the dream supports fastboot. The best bet is to just find specific instructions for the Dream. There are plenty of them on the internet.

    @Peter. Good to hear you were successful. I’ll modify the post now to mention the root thing.

  12. @borchi, There is an app called “MarketEnabler” that allows you to see and purchase paid apps. I was able to use my South African credit card (Standard Bank).

  13. I had to send my phone back into Vodacom and thankfully this guide was there to save the day. I did have a bit of trouble getting the original firmware and SPL back into the phone, and I was having weird issues where after the first boot, subsequent boots would fail. I used this exact method as posted in the article.

    I tried to use the daldroid recovery image to wipe the data and that did seem to wipe it, but the problem still persisted.

    I figured it out though, after I flashed the correct firmware back and booted the phone for the first time, I went into the storage settings and did a factory restore from the menu. This worked and now the phone would boot properly.

    Now I just have to wait for Vodacom to check it out and give me a green light for OBF.

  14. Hi, I have a Vodacom HTC Magic and did factory reset. I lost the app Market place. But it is still on the SD Card. Is there away of getting it back without loading the Vodacom image.

  15. Does Daldroid’s have the Exchange support enabled?

    I got a HTC Magic that comes with the Exchange support but strangely all Google apps are missing (no youtube, gmaps, gmail or gtalk or market place). So I’m hoping this would add those and still have the Exchange support.

  16. Hello, thx for this info, it worked to kill the Proximus lock in Belgium. But a Proximus “splash screen” still remains, right before the android logo when starting the phone (htc magic). How can i remove that? Should i first ‘erase the cache’, then load Or do some other flashing? i came across the following usefull but i think outdated info:


  17. Hi, Thanks so much for the great tutorial. Any advice on which HTC Hero ROM would work with Vodacom settings? The multitouch support, flash and slick UI is way too tempting 🙂

  18. Arbitraryuser,

    Can you please boot your phone into fastboot and tell me what version your SPL is?

  19. @Bart, I’ve seen something about removing/changing the splash but it doesn’t bother me… I also want it there because changing it will make my hacking pretty obvious if I send it in for warranty repairs.

    @David, I haven’t looked at the Hero ROMing yet, but I will probably play this weekend. I’ve heard good things about the Hero ROM running on the Rogers Magic (which I think is similar to the Vodacom/fone one). It’s apparently slicker and smother, which leads me to believe they must be using some previously unreleased tweaks.

    @Anonymous, My phone says “HBOOT-1.33.2005 (SAPP10000)” BUT, I updated my SPL when I was playing… Not sure what the stock one was. Actually it would be useful if someone who hasn’t rooted their phone could post their SPL version.

    1. FYI: In case you’re wondering this is what my HBOOT Screen says:

      HBOOT-1.33.2005 (SAPP10000)
      Apr 20 2009,15:30:43

      – The G or H at the end identify if it’s a Google or HTC SPL
      – ENG : Engineering version
      – SHIP : Shipment version
      – DEV : Development version (ION)
      – S-off and S-on : Security on and off (writing directly to nand or not) , most probably not SPL linked.
      – PVT 32A (HTC branded) : 288MB RAM / Qualcomm MSM7200a
      – PVT 32B (Google branded) : 192MB RAM / Qualcomm MSM7201a

      So, I’ve got the 288MB Ram Qualcomm MSM7200a board running an Engineering SPL, branded by HTC with nand security turned off.

      You can read more about this here

  20. Arbitraryuser,

    HBOOT screen for the Magic I’m testing on:

    HBOOT-1.33.0009 (SAPP10000)
    May 8 2009, 21:02:32

    Note: This version doesn’t allow Open Market to run. I get the message: “This device has not been given access to Open Market. Please contact your cellular service provider”

    HTC have advised they will reset

  21. Hi,
    First of all, thanks for the post. I am trying to follow it but on step 14 I get following error message:

    downloading ‘boot.img’… FAILED (remote: not allow)

    I am trying this on HTC Magic in India
    HBOOT-1.33.0010 (SAPP10000)
    June 2 2009, 17:28:28

    Any pointers?

  22. Hi,

    So I’m going to sound like a complete NOOB with these questions, but hopefully someone can help me out.

    Going to attempt to root my Magic tonight with the above tutorial and need to know

    A) Will I loose the contacts saved on the phone if I do this root?

    Some other questions not in direct relation.

    B) Why is it when I try to log into Facebook mobile I get a lock symbol in the url line and a blank screen?

    C) Can I connect my Magic to the internet using my PC’s internet connection?

    Any help in these matters would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much!

  23. @amit, I’m not sure… You’re running on the right board (32A). I’m thinking that maybe you should investigate your SPL (the “HBOOT-1.33.0010 (SAPP10000)” part) a bit more (google etc) because that’s the thing that’s refusing to boot the recovery image. Just be careful, messing with your SPL can brick your phone permanently.

    @Sean. A) I think all your contacts are stored on Google too… might be worth confirming that in your Gmail contacts first. If they are there then you’ll get them back when your phone first resyncs with your Google account.
    B) I have no idea… I can get onto facebook without any hassles.
    C) It’s an open stack so in theory yes, but you’ll be hacking for weeks to get it right. Why not just get a cheap Wifi Access Point?

  24. @Pete, sorry for the late reply, your comment was picked up as spam by Akismet. I do recall seeing exchange support in the Daldroid image. Where did you get this Magic from? What does your fastboot screen say? It sounds odd that it shipped without all those apps.

  25. Thanks very much for the feedback aribitray (^_^)

    A) Looks like I made a NOOB mistake. Saved most of my contacts on the phone, and only 6 or so as Google contacts… nothing a bit of admin on my Google account can’t fix!

    B) Yeah I can’t for the life of me figure why it is doing this? Haven’t tried to access facbook whilst on wireless… but can’t see why it would block access using 3G/EDGE?

    C) Rad to know that it can be done in theory at least, but if it’s a mission. I’m happy to stick with finding wireless spots.

    Okay so might I ask two other questions?

    D) I downloaded some .apk files onto my PC… then transfered them onto the phones SD Card in the Apps folder. But I can’t find them in the Menu>Settings>Applications>Manage Applications folder on the phone?

    E) Then other things about the apps that I can’t figure or find info on in the manual. I see there is a Sound Recorder app, but I can’t seem to set it as a short cut or even access the app.

    F) And finally (Jeez I really feel the NOOB and techno fool right now…) can I set my own sounds as notification sounds?

    Many thanks for the help!

  26. a questions for the one’s with belgian htc magic i followed the tutorial but i got no root on my phone.

    i didn’t make errors or faults during the prosses?
    so if anyone can help i think that my didn’t load but he dit it actually take a minute or 2 for downloaden and installing the and i had youtube by starting up what i did not had originally on the phone ??

  27. Just got an email from Leaf. They said Android Market is available in 17 countries and SA is not one of them. I seriously doubt we are ever going to get it.

  28. @sean. D) you’ll need to “click” on them from a file explorer like Astro. You can install APK’s directly from websites so search the intertube for a file manager and install it.

    E) There area various sound recording apps, not sure about a short cut. I’m using the Sound Recorder that comes with Hero and it’s got a very nice VU meter.

    F) Yes.

    @tim I think you need to follow the instructions again.

    @David Can you please copy/paste the email into a comment. thanks.

  29. Hi, tried the MarketEnabler on my rooted phone however I still cannot see the paid apps. I’ve tried restarting, etc.
    My phone was bought in Thailand. The rooting procedure worked just fine however I can’t get paid apps, which I would like very much.
    Any idea?

  30. Got my HTC Magic on Saturday Vodacom SA,

    Just upgraded to daldroid successfully following the guide above.

    I have a:
    HBOOT-1.33.0009 (SAPP10000)
    May 8 2009, 21:02:32

    Thank you Sir, everything worked perfectly during the flash, and got access to android market.

  31. Email from Leaf Support:

    Thank you for contacting HTC Support

    Android Market is only available in 17 Countries globally & SA is not one of them. You can access for the SA version (openmarket).

    Kind Regards

    Shavaan Datadin

    Technical Support

  32. Hey… i seem to have run into the same problem as Amit. same phone – HTC Airtel Magic.

    some particular build that blocks FastBoot loading remotely?

    any ideas?

  33. Hey guys.. Im trying to install this.. I’ve downloaded everything but this nr. 3 n nr 4.. i dont understand at all?? how do i open terminal/dos prompt and “cd” and then to the tools in Android SDK folder??

    I’ve downloaded the fastboot already and what does binary to the Android SDK’s tools directory and made it executable mean??

    3.Download Fastboot. Since I use linux I just copied the ‘fastboot’ binary to the Android SDK’s tools directory and made it executable.
    4.Open up a terminal/dos prompt and “cd” to the tools directory in your Android SDK folder.

    Can someone please help me out.. Im really stuck here n i really dont know how to do, till now its took me 4 hours trying to figure it out. Thanks

  34. @arbitraryuser , great job on this! it worked like a charm!

    Just a few things you mentioned that you were able to purchase apps from the market on your local CCard. I only see free apps, is this based on the daldroid image or perhaps some other identifier?

    Lastly, what other images would you suggest? is the Hero really that tricky? please post other ROMS

    thanx again


  35. Thanks man

    I am a complete noob to anything like this and I managed to do this just fine and now it is running very nicely.
    Great guide

    Thanks again

  36. @David, I spoke to the Leaf Marketing dude responsible for Android and he confirmed that there will be an update for both the G1 and Magic. It will be made available “in the next two weeks” (which they said two weeks ago). They’re not doing over the air updates because the 80mb download will be costly.

    @nags, I’m usually a very supportive teacher but in a situation where you could permanently break your phone I’d suggest that if you’re confused by the instructions you don’t try them.

    @Brian O, You need to install the “Marketplace Enabler” app which I think does a man-in-the-middle attack and makes the Android market servers think you’re in America. I used my Standard Bank (Mastercard) Credit Card. See my latest post for more info on running the Hero ROM on a Magic.

    @Elliot, good to hear.

  37. @arbitraryuser, Thanks for replying me.. Is there anyway if someone could just exactly guide me. I know it doesnt take a genuise to do it.. Im just lost. I bought the phone couple of days but i cant do much with the applications which it suppose to come with.
    I really appreciate for ur help.

  38. Here is my phone details:
    Sapphire PVT 32A Ship S-ON H
    HBOOT-1.33.0009 (SAPP10000)
    May 8 2009,21:02:32

    My pc is Vista home primium 32bit

  39. Thanks for the process, saved me a lot of time. Before I had found another Market by SlideMe, sam.apk, with about 200 apps.

  40. Hi Jonathan

    I’ve also posted instructions on how to root an HTC phone (dream specifically in SA) without upgrading the firmware. We supposedly have some local cellular tweaks and that being the case I didn’t want to overwrite them, but I did want root (after which Market can be installed). Link here –

    BTW, I’ve tried using the SPL and fastboot to flash back the original images onto the device and it doesn’t work. It fails with signature verification errors. Have you actually tried flashing back? I believe this only works with the Hard SPL, if at all. Even flashing from an adb shell seemed to corrupt the system partition. The only way I could get original firmware back was to craft my own and copy files into system, not flash a filesystem.

  41. Hi J. copied your instructions to the tea but when I enter the command “fastboot boot daldroid-recovery.img” in the cmd prompt I do not go to the next part of the process ? Please help wasted 2 nights trying to work it out .Thanks

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