[HOWTO] Install /e/ on Motorola Moto G7 (River)

Most devices have unique installation steps, The Moto G7 (codenamed River) is no exception. I have installed multiple ROMs on this model for multiple people and have seen most every possible scenario come up. In fact, these instructions will work for all G7 models (G7 Plus, G7 Play, G7 Power) with only a slight adjustment. The steps below are written from a windows perspective but also work for the Mac and Linux. I don’t have those computers so let me know if you have any notes to add.

This model is available in several variants for different regions. As far as I can tell, the /e/ OS will work on all the Moto G7 variants, just get the phone variant for your region.
XT1962-1 US, Canada
XT1962-4 Latin America
XT1962-5 Europe, Global/International
They are almost identical but only the European variant includes NFC, only the US version has a compass, and only the North America version has a single Sim while the other regions have Dual Sim slots. Go figure.

Currently, this phone is in development for being officially supported. There are ROMS under development at https://images.ecloud.global/dev/river/ and there are unofficial ROMs as well posted below. I expect this phone will be officially supported very soon.

Hopefully, this will ease your concerns, this phone is almost impossible to brick (meaning that you almost can’t break the phone by modifying the OS). I would call it a softbrick. When something does go wrong, you can always go back to stock (the way the phone looked when you bought the phone) and start the modifications over. I can not be held responsible for your actions. Modifying your cell phone is your choice.

  • This process involves unlocking the Bootloader. This will void the phone’s hardware warranty.
  • This process will delete all user data (pictures, music, downloads, etc.). Make sure you have backed up what you need to an SD card, computer or in the cloud.
  • Read the entire post and make sure you understand the process before you begin.

Safe download links for the Moto G7 (River) are available below.

If you are an advanced user, here are the steps summarized. (Detailed steps and links are below.)

  1. Enable Developer Mode
  2. Check OEM Unlock
  3. Unlock the bootloader
  4. From ADB temporarily boot TWRP image
  5. Flash copy-partions.zip and reboot to Recovery
  6. Wipe partitions: System, Dalvik and Data
  7. Flash the ROM you want
  8. Flash TWRP-installer.zip
  9. Reboot to Recovery
  10. Flash optional addons you want like Magisk, AddonSU, etc.
  11. Reboot to bootloader
  12. From ADB execute fastboot -w
  13. Boot to System. Done

Steps for beginners:

  1. Install Motorola drivers on your computer (Download Win x32) (Download Win x64) (Download Mac). Most Linux users can skip this step as the drivers are often preinstalled.
  2. Install ADB on your computer
    2.1 Click here for instructions on the xda-developers website tell you how to configure phone and computer, and where to download the software you need.
    2.2 The simplest place to install this to is the root folder c:\ so after it is installed you can access it from c:\ADB. If you save it somewhere else, make note of the directory where the adb.exe file is located. This will be further known as the “ADB folder”
  3. Download copy-partitions.zip and move it to your ADB folder. (Download - This is the same file LineageOS uses).
  4. Find the ROM you want to install (it should be a zip file), download, and copy it to your ADB folder (Download /e/ Unofficial for G7 or download the latest ROM under development at https://images.ecloud.global/dev/river/)
  5. Download the most recent TWRP-Installer-(version)-River.zip from TWRP and move it to the ADB folder. Currently it is twrp-installer-3.4.0-1-river.zip
  6. Download the most recent TWRP-(version)-river.img from TWRP and move it to the ADB folder. Currently it is twrp-3.4.0-1-river.img
  7. Enable Developer Mode
    7.1 Press the System app > About Phone
    7.2 Scroll to the bottom and tap Build number seven (7) times to enable Developer Mode
  8. In the System app > System > Developer Mode and Allow OEM should be enabled.
  9. Unlock Bootloader. You will need to sign-up for a Motorola account which is free and easy to do. Follow the instructions at Motorola Support to unlock your bootloader.
  10. Connect the phone to the PC with the original USB-C cable and let drivers install if it needs to.
  11. Turn off phone.
  12. Hold the Power + Volume Down buttons for several seconds and let go of the buttons when the screen comes up. You should see the Android laying down. The phone is now in “Bootloader Mode” (or Fastboot mode as some websites call it)
  13. Open a Command prompt window on your computer and change the directory to the ADB folder (To confirm you are properly connected and the systems are in the right modes, type fastboot devices. If you get no response, just another prompt, then something is wrong and you should review the scenario. But if you get a response with your phone’s Serial number, then continue.)
  14. Type fastboot boot twrp-3.4.0-1-river.img (or whatever the name of the TWRP file you downloaded is). Your phone should boot to TWRP home screen.
  15. In TWRP press Advanced > Sideload > Swipe to Start Sideload
  16. In the command window on your computer type adb sideload copy-partitions.zip
  17. Reboot into bootloader mode
  18. Type fastboot boot twrp-3.4.0-1-river.img (or whatever the name of the TWRP file you downloaded is). Your phone should boot to TWRP home screen.
  19. In TWRP press Reboot. At the bottom of that screen, confirm the partition is set to A, if not select “Slot A”
  20. Go back to the Home screen by pressing the Home icon at the bottom center.
  21. Press Wipe > Format Data > type yes and enter
  22. Go back to the Home screen
  23. Press Reboot > Bootloader > confirm. The phone should reboot back to Bootloader Mode (the Adroid laying down). (To confirm you are properly connected and the systems are in the right modes, type fastboot devices. If you get no response, just another prompt, then something is wrong and you should review the scenario. But if you get a response with your phone’s Serial number, then continue.)
  24. In the command prompt on your computer, type fastboot boot twrp-3.4.0-1-river.img (or whatever the name of the TWRP file you downloaded is). Your phone should boot to TWRP home screen.
  25. Press Wipe > Advanced Wipe > select Dalvik, Data, and System (only those three) and Swipe to Wipe at the bottom.
  26. Go back to the TWRP Home screen
  27. Press Advanced > ADB Sideload and Swipe to Start Sideload
  28. In the command prompt window type adb sideload (the name of the ROM.zip that you downloaded). (example: adb sideload e-0.9-p-20200702-UNOFFICIAL-river)
  29. Go back to the Home screen.
  30. Press Advanced > ADB Sideload and Swipe to Start Sideload
  31. Now type adb sideload twrp-installer-3.4.0-1-river.zip (or whatever name is the TWRP-installer.zip file is). (This is not the same file as you have been using to boot to TWRP, this is the zip file.)
  32. Go back to the Home screen.
  33. Press Reboot > Bootloader and the phone will reboot
  34. In the command window type fastboot -w

Officially, you are now modded with a new ROM. However, some people want to install other functions like, SUaddon or Magisk to name a couple. These are optional. If you downloaded the /e/ ROM, then don’t install Google Apps because MicroG is included, but if you installed another ROM, you may want to install GApps, BitGapps, or Open GApps. Most people will want to install Magisk to get root so I will continue with those steps, but you can adapt by installing multiple functions in sequence without rebooting in between.

  1. Download Magisk-v21.0.zip and move it to the ADB folder
  2. Download MagiskManager-v8.0.2.apk
  3. Type fastboot boot twrp-3.4.0-1-river.img (or whatever the name of the TWRP file you downloaded is). Your phone should boot to TWRP home screen.
  4. Press Advanced > ADB Sideload and Swipe to Start Sideload
  5. Type adb sideload Magisk-v21.0.zip
  6. If you have any more optional zip files to install, put the files in the ADB folder and type adb sideload (filename).
  7. Reboot to bootloader from TWRP.
  8. Type fastboot -w into the command prompt (this fixes a problem of a bootloop)
  9. Reboot phone to boot to your new system
  10. Complete the initial setup
  11. Settings > About Phone > press “Build Number” 7 times to enable Developer mode.
  12. Settings > System > Advanced > Developer options
  13. Enable Advanced Restart debugging in developer options
  14. Enable Android Debugging
  15. Install MagiskManager-v8.0.2.apk
    With Magisk, you now have rooted your new ROM.

Links:
Telegram Support Group
Lineage River Installation

6 Likes

Thanks for this. I was wondering if I could buy a G7 Play and install /e/ on it. Seems like you think it will work. My plan is no Google, but I wonder why you say " If you downloaded the /e/ ROM, then don’t install Google Apps.?" I’m new to this and want to make sure my phone has nothing Google. Is there something Google installed by default with /e/ ROM?
Thanks!

Happy to help. Currently, LineageOS doesn’t support Moto G7 Play, only the G7 or the G7 Plus. /e/ uses Linage as a foundation to build most of their official devices. Therefore, it will be a while until /e/ will be available (if ever) for the Moto G7 Play.

Linage OS comes without any Google core services or apps installed. So if you wanted no Google, that is about as close as you can get. When /e/ creates their OS for any phone, they usually take Lineage and replace/ add/ or modify apps and files. One thing that is always done is they add something called MicroG. It is a modified Google core system. MicroG has stripped Google from most all telemetry actions (calling home and reporting on your actions, whereabouts, apps, etc). This way you can install the Google apps you want without having to worry about what Google is collecting.

So you see, /e/ has a form of Google installed, it is up to you to decide if you want to use it or not. You can disable it within the Settings so there are no Google actions. If you do this, keep in mind that most apps have dependencies on Google services, framework, play store, tracking, etc). I am going to take a guess more than 90% of the apps in Google Play Store are dependent on Google running in the background. Without MicroG (or Open GApps, or BitGApps, or the others) most commonly used apps will fail to work or work with random crashes. You will have to take apps from F-droid or other places that confirm they are independent of Google. For people new to Android, this is rather frustrating. If you are prepared for this, you will do just fine with /e/.

I hope that answers your questions. Feel free to ask.

I thought I responded yesterday, but I guess I didn’t. Thank you for the response.

I’ve got a Moto G7 (XT1962-5) with broken front glass from a friend. He has been very kind by teaching me Linux in the past ten years or so.

Before entering the nightmare of glass substitution, I would greatly appreciate to know if that model is suitable to be flashed with eOS.

Yes, there is an unofficial version of /e/. So there are no Over The Air updates and my be infrequently updated - or not at all. I am using it on the Moto G7 (River XT1962-1). It is a good phone and the /e/ ROM is pretty stable. Please try it and tell me what you think of this ROM.

J.O.Y.

Thanks @pmoody for the prompt answer.

I noticed here

that G7 is in the same list of my Samsung S 8.

Please correct me if I’m wrong: in a near future will G7 be OTA updated ?

That is the same conclusion I came to. Let’s hope. Manoj was the author. Do you want to contact him directly?

No thanks. It’s only that I’m still looking around in the forum. Thanks again. I’ve ordered the glass + LCD.
I’ll keep you informed on the progress. Also, I will report the procedure on Linux, since I do not have any Win computer

Well, I’ve repaired the G7 with a new screen right now, so, being eager to flash it with eOS, I started following the precise HowTo from @pmoody.
I’m using linux only, so I get stuck at step 1

Install Motorola drivers on your computer (Download Win x32) (Download Win x64) (Download Mac)

I went to https://support.motorola.com/us/en/solution/MS88481 where apparently only Win and Mac drivers are listed.

I’m afraid I will have to find a win computer …
@pmoody ? Are those drivers indeed necessary to unlock the bootloader ?

That is a good question. I went to the Motorola site and I see Mac drivers are easy to find (Mac drivers are a derivative of UNIX) so I expected to find drivers for Linux, SUSE, Red Hat, or other, but I don’t see any on the website. I am not saying it isn’t there but I don’t see any direct links. Often download files are found in different parts of the website so it could be there somewhere.

I am completely unaware of the Linux driver installation and have no idea if the system has USB drivers embedded in it’s code. Try connecting the computer to the phone and see if there is any recognition. It could be possible that you only need to install ADB.

I know someone has connected Linux to another Motorola phone so I suspect the answer is out there somewhere. I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks for the reply, @pmoody. I had a look at the net and it seems that drivers are not necessary.

Edit: success !!

I will write here the how to for Linux, but in the meanwhile I would be reassured that the splash screen I see before the eOS booting stage, is expected

Yes, this is completely expected with the bootloader unlocked. A minor inconvenience.

i changed this screen with MotoBootLogoMaker … works well for me … only tricky thing was to find a proper logo.bin … i found it in official firmware file …
and … a white text appears during boot on screen (not in boot logo, “N/A”)… with a white background you do not see it

1 Like

Thanks for the hack. It may bother some people enough to do what you suggested.

The differences in installing the G7 in Linux are really tiny

In Linux terminal (Mint 19.3 Cinnamon, but I think it’s irrelevant)

no step 1 needed
from step 2 to 9 as above
step 10 no need to install drivers
from 11 to 34 as above
I stopped here, since I did not install Magisk

Could be a good idea to check, from time to time to enter in the terminal
fastboot devices
to check that the phone is connected and the USB cable is the proper one

1 Like

I can’t thank you enough for this guide. While I seem to be tech-savvy, I am certainly not experienced when it comes to flashing Android ROMs. This guide really made it a simple process.

dear pmoody, thank you very much for this instruction! Encouraged by your post, I dared to buy the latest version of Moto G Play: number 9.
Now I found out, that there isn’t yet a fitting twrp compiled. It’s too much effort for me at the time to learn doing this! And It’s even difficult, to find the right places in the xda-forum to lie in wait for the right version. Also a special release of /e/ seams to be needed. If you know anything what to do about this issue, now or later, I would be very thankful for any hint or link!
best wishes! dudu
also lots of thanks to nottolino for linux-modifycations!!!

Yes, buying a phone can be an exciting process. Unfortunately, if you are interested in customizing your ROM, you need TWRP (or other recovery) and you need to check to see if that model has been rooted and what custom ROMs are available. As you found out, TWRP isn’t available yet. But in the meantime, you may be in luck with Magisk if you want to get root capability. It is a little convoluted but I think it is probable. If you need help, just message me and I will see if we can at least get you root. Best of luck.

J.O.Y.

fine! thank you! at least I learn a lot, scrutinizing the single steps
like this… :slight_smile: