How to Unbrick Your Motorola Defy

Before we start…

All of the instructions here are on the xdaforums so many thanks to the users on the forums for creating these processes.

Before you get start I would highly recommend going over to the xdaforums and reading the articles. A great place to start would be the All-in-one Defy’s Beginner’s Guide.

We will start this process by restoring the Defy back to default using the original roms that came with the phone. Then we’ll root it and install a custom recovery program which will allow us to install a custom rom. If your phone is already running original software then you can skip the first part and jump to the rooting bit here.

Download all the files needed to restore our phone back to default.

Let’s get started by getting all the files we will need for this process.

We’ll need to download the following:

  • Motorola Defy drivers – Motorola drivers which will allow the pc to see the phone.
  • Original Defy Rom Sbf files for your Defy – The original SBF file to take the phone back to default
    • The site for the original sbf files is no longer available. I have provided a copy of the sbf file that i used in the video here.
    • Please note that this is for the local Telstra Australia ROM and I can’t guarantee it will work for your Defy.
  • RSD Lite (flasher for defy) –  an application to flash the sbf file onto the phone
  • SuperOneClick – as the name implies this application will allow you to root your defy with one click
    • scroll to the bottom of the first post and download directly from the xdaforum site
  • 2nd Init – this app basically allows us to install custom recovery which in turns allows us to install custom roms
  • CM10 – this is the rom itself
  • Gapps – google apps to allow us to access the google play store – this is propriety software written by google and is not allowed to be included with the open source roms thus we have to install it separately
    • NOTE it’s important to download to correct version of gapps for the rom

Once downloaded go ahead and install the programs as required.

Restoring your Motorola Defy back to default

Click here for video tutorial.

Please note that the video was done a while ago so the pages where the files are downloaded from are old and best to use the links above.

Once you’ve installed all the programs needed above we need to reboot the phone into the default boot loader:

  • Shutdown the phone
  • Press Power and Vol Up at the same time and hold until the screen turns on. Now you should see a black screen with some basic white writing with the word Bootloader on the top.
  • Now plug in the usb cable and after a few moments the PC should detect and say the device is ready to use. If this doesn’t happen you’ll need to check your drivers again and make sure they are installed correctly.
  • Run RSD Lite. If the drivers are installed correctly it will show connected in the status tab and the model of the phone under model.
RSD Lite Connected

RSD Lite Connected

  • At the top next to “filename” click the 3 dots to browse for the sbf file that you downloaded earlier
RSD Lite Select the Original Rom to Restore

RSD Lite Select the Original Rom to Restore

  • Then click start and now we wait for it to restore the phone back to default – this will take a while about 10 mins or so
RSD Lite Start the Restore Process

RSD Lite Start the Restore Process

  • It’s important to not touch the phone until it reboots itself automatically.


Once it’s done it should reboot automatically. If you get stuck in a boot loop like I did don’t worry it seems to be a side effect so what we need to do is to reboot into the stock recovery and clear the cache. Before do that we repeat the process above so that RSD Lite will result in a pass.

  • Turn the phone off by removing the battery.
  • Insert the battery and press Power and Volume Up at the same time and hold it until the screen turns on
  • Plug the USB in and you will see that the result will change to PASS on RSD Lite.
RSD Lite PASS Result

RSD Lite PASS Result


Now we will fix the boot loop issue.

  • Turn your defy off by holding down the power button
  • Turn in on by holding down Power and Volume Down at the same time and hold until the screen lights up
  • This should now boot up into Motorola’s recovery app.
  • If you get an error with a triangle and android, pressing Vol Down and Vol Up at the same time should by pass the issue and allow you into the recovery app
Recovery Triangle Error

Recovery Triangle Error

  • Once in the recovery scroll down by using the volume buttons and select using the power button
  • Scroll down to the 3rd option Wipe Data Factory Reset and press the Power button to select. Scroll down to yes – delete all user data and press the power button
Wipe data factory reset

Wipe data factory reset

  • This process will take about 3 minutes so just wait and let it finish
  • To be sure once this process is done go and wipe the cache partition as well
  • Now we’re ready to reboot the system
  • It should boot all the way and ask for you to set up the phone like it would the first time you started up the phone this will take about 10 mins so just let it run.

Congratulations you’ve restored your phone back to default! Now the next thing is to gain root access.

Click here to continue to the rooting process.