Tutorial: Root Shield Android TV (2017; 16GB)

This has been updated to handle Android 9 (Pie), Shield TV v7.2.3 and tested. Please report any issues to me right away.

We are rooting the Shield Android TV (2017; 16GB SKU) running Android 9.0 (aka Pie) on v7.2.3.  Looking for the Shield TV (2015; 16GB SKU) tutorial?  Click here.  Looking for the 500GB SKU tutorial?  Click here.

Flashing TWRP was not tested; we only use it to BOOT to TWRP for rooting purposes

Step 1: Pre-Requisites and Warnings

Download the following items:

Ensure you have the following items:

  • USB Mouse – May be needed
  • Shield Controller with USB Cable
  • Male to Male USB 3.0 Cable (Amazon; verified working) or possibly this gender changer from Monoprice (if anyone tries it, please let us know success or failure) Note: Many users have reported a USB 2.0 cable may work. It probably depends on the cable quality, etc.

Data Destruction Notice

UNLOCKING THE BOOTLOADER WILL ERASE EVERYTHING INTERNALLY (NOT ON YOUR EXTERNAL SD CARD IF PRESENT; ADOPTED STORAGE USERS MAY WANT TO MAKE A BACKUP OF THEIR SD CARD CONTENTS). MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING SAVED OFF AND BACKED UP. YOU’LL HAVE TO RESIGN INTO GOOGLE – SO IF YOU USE TWO-STEP AUTHENTICATION, BE SURE TO HAVE YOUR GOOGLE AUTHENTICATOR APP READY. THE PROCESS OF ROOTING WILL NOT DESTROY ANY DATA. YOU WILL NEED TO BE ABLE TO SEE YOUR PC AND THE SHIELD TV’S HDMI OUT IN ORDER TO PERFORM THIS. I USED ONE MONITOR WITH TWO INPUTS AND FLIPPED BACK AND FORTH AS NEEDED. TWRP DOESN’T CURRENTLY WORK ON 4K DISPLAYS! USE A 1080P DISPLAY TO COMPLETE THIS TUTORIAL. You will need to be able to see your PC AND the Shield TV’s HDMI out in order to perform this.  I used one monitor with two inputs and flipped back and forth as needed. TWRP doesn’t currently work on 4k displays!  Use a 1080p display to complete this tutorial.

Step 2: Preparation
  1. Install Minimal ADB and Fastboot (if you do not already have it installed).
  2. Ensure the Shield Family drivers are extracted somewhere on your system and you know where they are.
  3. Make sure you know how to get to Device Manager on your PC.
  4. Plug your Shield TV into the PC with a Male to Male USB 3.0 Cable (Amazon; verified working). Note: Not all USB cables are created equally!  The linked cable above we have verified works.  Not all USB ports are the same.  Some on the back of the PC may work better than those on the front.  Use a USB 3.0 port (you can tell if it is blue inside) – that is what we used.  USB 2.0 may work but that is untested.
  5. Plug your Shield Controller into the USB port right next to the HDMI cable.  The other port will NOT work.  Note: If your bootloader is unlocked already, you don’t need to do this.
  6. Confirm drivers for ADB are installed:
    1. On your PC, go to Device Manager.  Find the yellow (!) ADB device (depending on your version of Windows, it may read differently).  If none exist, you probably already have drivers.  Skip to step 9.
    2. Right click the device and select Update Driver.
    3. When offered, browse your computer for the driver and point it to the Shield Family Drivers folder you extracted in Preparation Step 2 above.
    4. When finished with the driver install, the (!) yellow device should be gone.
  7. Enable Developer mode on Shield TV
    1. On the Shield TV, go to Settings->About->Build (click 7 times on BUILD to unlock developer mode)
  8. Enable USB Debugging on Shield TV
    1. Settings -> Developer -> Debugging; set to On
    2. A popup should appear asking for this PC’s authorization.  Check the Don’t ask again for this PC box and select Allow.  If it doesn’t show up now, it will later.
  9. Enable PC connection to Shield TV
    1. Go to Settings -> Storage & reset
    2. Under SHIELD storage access, turn on Using USB
Step 3: Root Procedure
  1. Reboot into Bootloader on Shield TV
    1. Type “adb reboot bootloader” and hit enter.  The Shield TV should reboot into the bootloader screen.   Note: This can take several seconds on a black screen.  Bootloader won’t show on a 4K display.  Use a 1080p display.If you are sure Fastboot drivers work and you do not need to unlock the bootloader, jump to Step 9.
  2. Verify Fastboot Drivers are installed Note: If Windows complains about the USB port (Driver Descriptor, etc.) under Universal Serial Bus Controllers and your device doesn’t show up with “fastboot devices” – change ports.  I’ve NEVER seen this happen before now.  Switching USB ports solved the issue.
    1. On your PC, go to Device Manager.See if a yellow (!) exists that mentions FASTBOOT.  If not, continue to Step 4 to unlock bootloader.Right click the device and select Update Driver.When offered, browse your computer for the driver and point it to the Shield Family Drivers folder you extracted in Preparation Step 2 above.When finished with the driver install, the (!) yellow device should be gone.Type “fastboot devices” and make sure your Shield TV is visible.
  3. Unlock Bootloader (skip if you already unlocked your bootloader)
    1. Type in “fastboot oem unlock” and hit enter. EVERYTHING ON THE SHIELD TV WILL BE LOST (other than portable storage)You will see a prompt on the screen.Confirm to unlock the bootloader by pressing A on the Shield Controller. Do not be impatient! Let it finish. From this point forward you will receive a warning screen on boot, saying that the software cannot be checked for corruption. You can ignore this; it will boot the system in 5-10 seconds.

  4. Reboot to Shield TV Interface
    1. Once the bootloader is unlocked, reboot the Shield TV (unplug/plug in) and return to the Shield TV main interface (you will have to go through setup again).
  5. Repeat Preparation: Steps 7 and 8 above to re-enable Developer/USB Debugging. Note: at some point you will have to re-authorize your PC again; if an ADB command fails, be sure to look at your screen for the authorization prompt.
  6. Unplug the Shield Controller and plug your mouse into the same port.
  7. Reboot to Bootloader
    1. Type “adb reboot bootloader” and hit enter. The Shield TV should reboot into the bootloader screen.
  8. Fastboot with TWRP
    1. Type “fastboot devices” and make sure your Shield TV is visible.
    2. If your Shield TV is listed, type “fastboot boot twrprecovery.img” (or whatever you named it) and hit enter. Note: If your TWRP image filename has a space in it, you may have issues. Note: You should have extracted the .ZIP file you downloaded into a .IMG file. If you aren’t sure, you probably have HIDE FILENAME EXTENSIONS turned on within Windows. You want to turn this OFF while doing this sort of work.
    3. After 15 seconds or so, you should see the TWRP Recovery screen.
    4. You may be prompted with something to do with the system being READ ONLY. Accept the default and swipe.
  9. Install Magisk
    1. Select Advanced.
    2. Select ADB Sideload.
    3. Follow the instructions to Swipe to Start Sideload
    4. In the Minimal ADB and Fastboot window on your PC, type in “adb sideload magisk_shieldtv_pie_r2.zip” (or whatever you named magisk.zip when downloading).
    5. Magisk will install (watch the screen) Note: Technically, sideload is a different “driver” than standard ADB or FASTBOOT. If you get an error message about devices not being found; check your Device Manager for a yellow (!) – it might read MTP or ANDROID DEVICE or something similar. Update that driver by right clicking and updating – then select BROWSE MY COMPUTER and choose LET ME SELECT … Scroll on that list until you see NVIDIA, select it then choose Android ADB Interface Version xxxx (highest one you have). This will enable sideload to work.
  10. Select Reboot System (Answer NO if asked anything about fixing or restoring ROOT)
  11. Run Magisk Manager from your Shield TV and perform any upgrades required.
  12. You are now rooted! Test your root apps now.
  13. When Magisk/Manager requires an update, follow this post to upgrade.

If Something Goes Wrong

First, don’t panic.  It is pretty hard to permanently “brick” the Shield Android TV just by trying to root it.

No matter what may go wrong, flashing a stock image should put you back in working order.

Follow our tutorial: Tutorial: Restore to Stock Image (Shield TV)

Obviously if your Shield Android TV is stuck in an infinite boot – you cannot reboot to Fastboot from your PC.  You have to do it the “hardware way”.

  1. Unplug your power cable
  2. Plug in your New Shield game controller with the included USB cable into the USB port closest to the HDMI cable
  3. Hold down buttons A & B.
  4. While holding down the two buttons, plug in your power cable (Keep holding down the buttons)
  5. If all went well, the Fastboot menu will show up.
Changelog and Credits

This process originally comes from this XDA thread and this thread.  I take no credit for the act; all I’m doing is documenting an easy way to do it.  This tutorial assumes you are running a Shield TV (2017; 16GB) and you have the OTA installed that upgrades you to Pie.

  • 2019-09-10: Upgraded to cover Android 9.0 (Pie)
  • 2019-03-13: Added a patched 7.2.3 bootloader. Make some changes to reflect turning on FULL OTA updates.
  • 2019-03-09: The root process now uses Magisk instead of SuperSU. Tutorial updated to reflect changes.
  • 2018-05-25: Cloned from Android 7 tutorial.  Updated SUPERSU to 2.82 for compatibility with Oreo.