How to Unlock and Root the ZTE Axon 7

The ZTE Axon 7 is a powerful phone that comes in a variety of firmwares. It is extremely important to pay attention to the steps below and make sure the steps are compatible with your firmware and model version. Thus I have separated this guide into sections for different models where necessary.

You should always have a stock firmware and a backup of your data on standby.

Tools Used in this Guide:

ADB (see also “How to Install ADB on Windows”)
MiFlash (Bootloader unlocking tool for A2017 + A2017U only)
TWRP for ZTE Axon 7 (for A2017 + A2017 only)
SuperSU for obtaining root OR No-Verity-Opt-Crypt for disabling encryption and rooting with something else of your choice. ONLY CHOOSE ONE!
Qualcomm QUSB_BULK Drivers

EDL Packages for MiFlash Tool:

Warning: Unlocking your bootloader will reset your device to factory settings and erase all userdata.

Fastboot Unlock – Unlocks bootloader without installing TWRP or restoring boot stack.
B29_TWRP (Marshmallow 6.0) – TWRP 3.0.4-1 + B29 boot stack.
B15-NEW_TWRP (Nougat 7.0) – TWRP 3.0.4-1 + B15-NEW boot stack.
B15-NEW_FULL (Nougat 7.0) – Complete B15-NEW firmware + boot stack (OTA update capable)
B19-NOUGAT_TWRP (Nougat 7.1.1) – TWRP 3.0.4-1 + B19-NOUGAT boot stack.
B19-NOUGAT_FULL (Nougat 7.1.1) – Complete B19-NOUGAT firmware + boot stack (OTA update capable)

How to Unlock Your Bootloader and SuperSU Root (A2017 + A2017U)

  1. Enable OEM Unlocking. Go to Settings > About Phone > Tap “Build number” 7 times. Then go to Advanced Settings > Developer Options > Enable OEM Unlocking.
  2. Download the SuperSU .zip from above and transfer it to your SD card.
  3. Install the Qualcomm QUSB_Bulk drivers from the download links above. Just extract them, right-click on qcser.inf and Install.
  4. If you do not have an Install option from right-clicking, enter EDL Mode first (Volume Up + Volume Down + Power until you see a black screen)
  5. Select Manual Install, and point to the qcser.inf file. When the driver installation is successful, your PC will recognize the device as COM Port “Qualcomm HS-USB QDLoader 9008”.
  6. Install the MiFlash tool and open it. Select an EDL package for your device.
  7. Boot your device into EDL Mode (if step 3 wasn’t necessary)
  8. Hit the Flash button in MiFlash and wait until the operation is completed. If flashing fails, use Power + Volume Up + Volume Down to restart EDL, and then wait 10 seconds before trying a new flash.
  9. If you chose a package with TWRP included, press Power + Volume Up to exit EDL Mode and boot into recovery. Release Power + Volume Up at the ZTE logo.
  10. Navigate to “Install” in TWRP and flash the SuperSU .zip from your SD card.
  11. When it’s finished, go to Reboot > System and wait for your device to finish all of its operations. SuperSU will reboot your device a few times, just leave it alone until your device boots completely into Android system.

Root Without Unlocking Bootloader

A2017U B20:
A2017U B27:
A2017 B06:
A2017 B07:
A2017 B08:
A2017 B09:
A2017 B10:

  1. Download the .zip file for your device from above and extract it on your computer.
  2. Turn off your phone and reboot into EDL Mode (Volume Down + Volume Up + Power).
  3. Connect your phone to your computer via USB.
  4. Install the Qualcomm drivers using the WWAN option during the install process.
  5. Open your computer Device Manager and check which COM port your device is using.
  6. Right-click inside the folder you extracted earlier and choose “Open command window here”.
  7. Type the following commands into the terminal (replace COM# with your device’s port, e.g. COM4):
    exe -p COM# -br –r
  8. Exit the terminal and boot into TWRP recovery.
  9. Format your Data partition in TWRP.
  10. Reboot into the Android system and download pHH SuperUser from Google Play Store.

ZTE Axon 7 Brick Recovery

Warning: This is for A2017U and A2017 models only. A2017G users can convert to A2017U firmware but should not follow these instructions on A2017G firmware.

Follow the same steps for unlocking your bootloader until Step 10. When you enter TWRP recovery, you can flash a stock firmware or backup restore.

Flashing an OTA update .zip may fail in stock recovery, even after you’ve flashed an EDL package. Run this command in TWRP terminal or ADB shell before re-flashing the EDL package:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/block/bootdevice/by-name/system bs=272144

Putting Your Axon 7 Back to Stock

If you want to completely reset your phone back to stock factory (locked bootloader, no root)

  1. Copy all of your personal data from your internal storage and SD card. If you’re rooted but using stock firmware (bootloader not unlocked), skip down to Step 6.
  2. Download the StockSystem .zip for your device version here and place it on your SD card.
  3. Boot into TWRP recovery and perform a System, Data, Dalvik, and Cache wipe.
  4. Flash the StockSystem .zip in TWRP and turn off your phone. This will restore your stock boot, but not your stock recovery.
  5. Download your stock recovery here and flash it in EDL Mode.
  6. Turn off your phone, unplug it from your PC, and boot into stock recovery.
  7. Choose “Wipe Data / Factory Reset”, and then reboot to bootloader when it’s done.
  8. Connect your phone to your PC, open an ADB terminal and enter:
    fastboot oem lock

If everything is done correctly, your phone should be completely factory reset, and you could even accept OTA updates if you wanted. However, be warned that accepting an OTA could in fact lock you into the stock bootloader and prevent you from rooting your phone again.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.