Tutorial: Root Shield Android TV (Pro; 500GB)

This has been updated to handle Android 9 (Pie), Shield TV v7.2.3-8.0.1 and tested.

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

Note: The hardware of the Shield Android TV Pro has not changed between 2015 and 2017.

We are rooting the Shield Android TV Pro running Android 9.0 (aka Pie Shield TV 7.2.3+).  This should work on all builds of Pie moving forward.  Looking for the Shield Android TV (2017; 16GB SKU) tutorial?  Click here. Looking for the Shield Android TV (2015; 16GB SKU) tutorial?  Click here.

Step 0: Video Overview

While useful, this video is intended to be used to supplement the tutorial. It is provided as an overview of the process.

View on YouTube

Step 1: Pre-Requisites and Warnings

Download the following items:

Ensure you have the following items:

  • USB Mouse – do not use OTG – (keyboard might work) for TWRP UI Navigation
  • Male USB to Male microUSB Cable

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.

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. Extract TWRP Recovery image from the ZIP file (and do yourself a favor and rename it to something easy like twrprecovery.img). Put this in your Minimal ADB and Fastboot folder (usually c:program files(x86)Minimal ADB and Fastboot).
  5. Copy magisk_shieldtv_pie_r2.zip (it may be named differently; you downloaded it above) into your Minimal ADB and Fastboot folder. Do not extract it.
  6. Deleted
  7. Plug your Shield TV into the PC with USB cable; this plugs into the microUSB port on the Shield TV. Note: Not all USB cables are created equally! Those included with cheap portable batteries, etc. may NOT be reliable enough to handle data transfer. Using the one included with your smartphone is usually safe as it is rated for charging AND for data transfer. Not all USB ports are the same. Some on the back of the PC may work better than those on the front. If you use a USB 3.0 port (you can tell if it is blue inside) and you have issues, try a USB 2.0 port.
  8. Plug your mouse into a USB port.
  9. 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.
  10. Enable Developer mode on Shield TV
    1. On the Shield TV, go to Settings->Device Preferences->About->Build (click 7 times on BUILD to unlock developer mode)
  11. Enable USB Debugging on Shield TV
    1. Settings ->Device Preferences->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.

Step 3: Root Procedure
  1. Reboot into Bootloader on Shield TV
    1. Launch Minimal ADB and Fastboot from the Start Menu or icon. This puts you in a black DOS box.
    2. Type “adb devices” and make sure your Shield TV appears. Note: If you didn’t have a popup on your screen in Step 11.2 above, it probably will appear now. You’ll have to authorize the PC before it will show up under adb devices.
    3. Once you see your Shield TV when you run “adb devices” you’re ready to proceed.
    4. 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.
  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.
    2. See if a yellow (!) exists that mentions FASTBOOT. If not, continue to Step 3 to unlock bootloader.
    3. Right click the device and select Update Driver.
    4. When offered, browse your computer for the driver and point it to the Shield Family Drivers folder you extracted in Preparation Step 2 above.
    5. When finished with the driver install, the (!) yellow device should be gone.
    6. 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)
    2. You will see a prompt on the screen.
    3. Confirm to unlock the bootloader. Do not be impatient! Let it finish.
  4. Reboot to Shield TV Interface
    1. Once the bootloader is unlocked, reboot the Shield TV and return to the Shield TV main interface.
  5. Repeat Preparation: Steps 9 and 10 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. Deleted
  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. 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. Deleted
    4. After 15 seconds or so, you should see the TWRP Recovery screen.
    5. 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. Reboot to System
    1. Select Reboot System (Answer NO if asked anything about fixing or restoring ROOT)
  11. Install Magisk Manager
    1. Deleted
    2. Deleted
    3. Run Magisk Manager from your Shield TV and perform any upgrades required (follow this post to upgrade).
  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”. This is a tricky step and requires pretty good timing. Do not worry if it doesn’t seem to work the first couple of times you try it.

Changelog and Credits

This process 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 Pro (500GB) and you have the OTA installed that upgrades you to Nougat.

  • 2020-01-20: Changed some verbiage for clarity. Performed tutorial on 8.0.1 release.
  • 2019-09-07: Upgraded to cover Android 9.0 (Pie)
  • 2019-03-04: Upgraded to Magisk and tested on 7.2.2
  • 2018-07-23: Initial Version with Oreo