ASUS Zenfones are great phones for the price, but if you purchased one of these phones from a Chinese
Fasttech, you may be shocked to discover that the phone is really not
usable if you don't speak Mandarin. Most notably, Google Play is
NOT available when the Zenfone is running CN, TW, or CUCC firmwares. From my experience purchasing
Zenfones from Asia, they are typically using the CUCC firmware. Fear not, as flashing the Zenfone 5 or 6 so
that it is running the WW (or
Wide firmware) solves all these problems, and the process is not at all difficult and all necessary
tools and components are freely available.
On this page, bolded represent important notes,
represent menu items or the target of an action you must perform on
monospace represents code you type on your computer in a command prompt or terminal window and
dark monospace represents the output from the Zenfone or your computer.
- A fully-charged Zenfone 5 or 6
- A computer running Windows (preferred), Linux or Mac OS X
- A USB cable that can connects from your computer to your Zenfone
- USB drivers for your OS (if applicable, provided below)
fastboot tool suite for your OS (provided below)
- The recovery image and firmware archive combo for your desired firmware (provided below)
If you have a computer readily available, and are able to connect your Zenfone via USB to the computer,
please continue. If not, stop and find a computer!
Before you begin, boot your new phone, and ignore all requests to configure it, as we will soon be wiping the
Wait a few minutes, and if a notification for updates is shown,
the updates before continuing.
The first thing we will need to do, is allow your Zenfone to install APKs from unknown sources. This is
because several application we will use are not available from the Play store. We will also enable
First, let's enable the ability to download APKs:
- From your phone's main screen, swipe down from the top and choose the
. This will take you to the
- Swipe down the page and under the
- From your phone's main screen, again swipe down from the top and choose the
- Swipe down to the bottom and choose
, and then
. Rapidly tap the
field. A message should appear that instructs you to
continue tapping, and after enough taps, the phone displays a message at the bottom of the
screen indicating that you are now a developer.
- Now go back to the main settings window, and choose
- Scroll down to
. If you're Zenfone is currently plugged into your
computer, a window may pop asking you to authorize the debugging connection. Choose to always
allow the connection.
Lastly, we will download a recovery image and the new firmware we would like to run (downloads
below). Additionally, you can download the unzipped fastboot.img from this site so that you do need
to unzip the firmware image. This site only provides the most recent downloads for the Zenfone 5 and
6. You are free to use any version, and you can find more firmware versions on ASUS' website, and
other recovery images can be found from
fastbone's XDA Developers thread.
fastbone warns that your recovery image must be a lower version than the firmware you'd like
to install, however.
Download to your computer!
We need to now unlock the bootloader. Luckily, ASUS provides the tools to do so.
Download the boot unlocker from ASUS, or from this site directly from your Zenfone. Since we will need the
APK to run on the Zenfone, it is easiest to download from this site.
Using the browser on your Zenfone, go to this website, and download the APK, install it and run!
Install the unlocker, and run the unlocker application on your phone. If the application cannot unlock your
phone because your device is incompatible, please check the notification window for any updates available to
your phone. Install them before continuing beyond this step.
My last Zenfone 5 that I flashed last week would not let me root it. I thought about it and it doesn't
make sense that flash a new OS to the phone would require the previous OS to be rooted. I ended up
skipping this step and everything worked out.
Now, we will download the application that will root your phone. As with the unlocker, we recommend you
download it from this site below, as the APK has already been unzipped. You will need to do this from
the browser on your phone. This app will work for both Zenfone 5 and 6. For more information on what
"root" is, and why we need it, read the Wikipedia page on
Using the browser on your Zenfone, go to this website, and download the APK.
IMPORTANT! After the download has completed, disable wifi,
and mobile data, and go into
. Now, click on the downloaded file in your notifications,
and install the app.
Reiterating what is above, ensure you followed the important notice above the download links. Once you
have installed the app, run it. Continue through the dialogs, and when given the option, choose
. Continue following the dialogs and reboot your phone when instructed.
After the reboot, run again, and
permission for the app. If the app confirms that the rooting has
been successful, continue on.
Drivers are needed to instruct your OS on how to communicate with the Zenfone. Only Windows users need to
install drivers, however. Linux and Mac OS X users are already capable of communicating with the Zenfone
You need to install ASUS' USB drivers on your computer before you can flash your Zenfone.
Download this on your computer.
After you have downloaded the USB drivers, extract them by right clicking on the download file, and
Windows_XP_VISTA_7_8_8.1/Android folder. Right click on the
file and chose . Open
on your computer, and connect your
Zenfone. You should see an
"ASUS" device entry at the top.
, or something similar. Go to the
Now, download the "Minimal ADB and fastboot" tool suite.
Download this on your computer!
For Ubuntu, or any derivitive of, issue the following commands in your terminal:
sudo apt-get install android-tools-*
From the command prompt, preferably as root, run:
sudo adb usb && sudo adb devices
Your device should be listed before you proceed.
I cannot provide guidance for this OS, but I believe the process will be similar to that of Linux. Please
submit comments if you can help.
If you didn't download the fastboot.img above, you will need to extract it from the firmware zip archive that
you downloaded before you continue.
This section requires you to go to your computers command prompt. For Windows users, click on the
cmd, and press enter. A black screen should appear before you continue.
and click on . Type in
From your computer command window, run:
If the command is not found, make sure you are in the directory where you install the adb tool. In Linux and
Mac OS X, this executable is probably in your path, but in Windows, you will most likely need to change your
cd \Program Files (x86)\minimal adb and fastboot
When you are at the Android boot menu (black screen with small text), you will notice the
fastboot messages at the bottom of your screen indicating that it is waiting for
Go back to your computer, and with your Zenfone still plugged in, flash a fastboot image to your Zenfone.
fastboot flash fastboot <path_to_fastboot.img>
If you are in Linux, and the output is
waiting for device, please see below.
After the fastboot image has successfully been written, now write the recovery image:
fastboot flash recovery 18.104.22.168_ww_recovery.img
Using the volume keys for up and down, on your phone, choose the
option from the menu, and press the power button once this option
has been selected.
Once we have returned to the fastboot menu after the reboot, choose
and press the power button.
Linux only notes:
I initially tried to perform the firmware flash using Linux, but I encountered some difficulties with getting
fastboot step to recognize my device.
I had tried adding the udev rules using the vendor id shown by
lsusb -v (Android
fastboot waiting for devices and
Fastboot devices not returning device) and using fastboot and adb as root (via su) and specifying
the device id for
fastboot via the -i parameter, but ultimately, I had to boot my Windows laptop to be able to get fastboot to
recognize the phone.
After Android has booted into recovery mode, you will see an Android logo and harmless
Command not found error. Press volume up (or down, or power) once and another menu should come
Now, choose the
option, and press the power button once to continue.
From the command window on your computer, run:
adb sideload UL-ASUS_T00F-WW-22.214.171.124-user.zip
adb sideload UL-ASUS_T00G-WW-126.96.36.199-user.zip
Be sure to use the zip archive here, and don't use an extracted directory, if you made one.
If all goes well, the Zenfone should be reporting its progress. It takes about 20 minutes to flash the new
firmware. Once the phone indicates completion, choose the
option to completely wipe your phone including the cache
9. Finishing up
That's it! Power off your phone and when you turn it back on, you should have brand new, clean, English
Zenfone with all the Google apps! To the best of my knowledge gathered from other sources, your Zenfone
should also provide you with a notification when Android system updates are available, and you should not
have to do this again to upgrade your version of Android. As of February 2015, Lollipop has not been
released yet by ASUS, but they are planning to release soon, and your phone should update.
I found most Youtube videos did not have good instructions on how to ensure the latest WW firmware was
flashed to the Zenfone. These are the places I went for help:
5/6 CN, CUCC, TW to WW by
[TOOL]Minimal ADB and Fastboot [11-6-14]
zenfone 5 kitkat (4.4.2) by
April 22, 2015 - Noted that rooting is not necessary in the 'root' section.
February 22, 2015 - Added fastboot.img downloads
February 19, 2015 - Initial site