In this guide, we will show you the steps to unlock the bootloader on your Android device. If you are among the tech enthusiasts who are planning to step into custom development, then there are a plethora of tweaks waiting for you. From flashing custom binaries to welcome abode a plethora of mods, from flashing custom ROMs to custom recoveries, the possibilities stand endless.
However, before you can carry out any of these tasks, you’ll have to checkmark an important prerequisite off the list- the bootloader on your Android device needs to be unlocked. And in this guide, we will show you how to do just that. But before that, let’s make you aware of the perks and risks of carrying out this tweak so that you can then make your decision accordingly. Follow along.
Benefits and Risks of Unlocked Bootloader
Unlocking the bootloader is the gateway to extracting the maximum benefits of Android’s open-source ecosystem. For example, you will be able to install a custom ROM or flash a custom recovery like TWRP. Likewise, you will also be able to get access to the system partition as well as administrative privileges by rooting your device via Magisk. This will then allow you to flash Magisk Modules, Xposed Framework, Substratum Themes, and Viper4Android among others.
However, carrying out these tweaks brings in a few uninvited risks as well. To begin with, it will wipe off all the data and could nullify the device’s warranty as well. Along the same lines, it will degrade the Widevine L1 certification to L3, thereby preventing you from streaming content in HD [FIXED]. The SafetyNet will be triggered [FIXED], thereby preventing you from using banking apps [FIXED]. So if that’s well and good then let’s get started with the steps to unlock the bootloader on your Android device.
How to Unlock the Bootloader of Android Devices
The below instructions are listed under separate sections for ease of understanding. Make sure to follow in the exact same sequence as mentioned. Droidwin and its members wouldn’t be held responsible in case of a thermonuclear war, your alarm doesn’t wake you up, or if anything happens to your device and data by performing the below steps.
STEP 1: Install Android SDK
First and foremost, you will have to install the Android SDK Platform Tools on your PC. This is the official ADB and Fastboot binary provided by Google and is the only recommended one. So download it and then extract it to any convenient location on your PC. Doing so will give you the platform-tools folder, which will be used throughout this guide.
STEP 2: Enable USB Debugging and OEM Unlocking
Next up, you will also have to enable USB Debugging and OEM Unlocking on your device. The former will make your device recognizable by the PC in ADB mode. This will then allow you to boot your device to Fastboot Mode. On the other hand, OEM Unlocking is required to carry out the bootloader unlocking.
So head over to Settings > About Phone > Tap on Build Number 7 times > Go back to Settings > System > Developer Options > Enable USB Debugging and OEM Unlocking.
STEP 3: Boot Device to Fastboot Mode
- Now connect your device to the PC via USB cable. Make sure USB Debugging is enabled.
- Then head over to the platform-tools folder, type in CMD in the address bar, and hit Enter. This will launch the Command Prompt.
- Type in the following command in the CMD window to boot your device to Fastboot Mode
adb reboot bootloader
- To verify the Fastboot connection, type in the below command and you should get back the device ID, as shown in the image.
- if you are not getting any serial ID, then please install the Fastboot Drivers on your PC.
STEP 4: Unlock Bootloader via Fastboot Command
- Type in the following command to unlock the bootloader on your Pixel 8/Pro:
fastboot flashing unlock
- On devices launched prior to 2015, you might have to use the below command instead:
fastboot oem unlock
- You will now get a confirmation message on your device. Use the Volume keys to select Unlock the Bootloader option, and the Power key to confirm your decision.
- Your device will now reboot to Fastboot Mode, but this time, the Device State will be Unlocked. This verifies that the process stands successfully completed.
- You may now reboot your device to the system (if that doesn’t happen automatically). For that either press the Power key once or use the below fastboot command:
Unlock Critical Partitions on Android
Some Android devices, such as the Nothing and Fairphone series, also requires to unlock the critical partitions on your device. Here’s how it could be done [this will again format your device]
- To begin with, boot your device to Fastboot Mode, as explained above.
- Then execute the below command to unlock the critical partitions on your device
fastboot flashing unlock_critical
- You might now get a confirmation message on your device. Use the Volume keys to select the Unlock the Bootloader option and hit the Power key to confirm it.
- Finally, execute the below command to boot your device to the OS
- That’s it. The bootloader as well as the critical partitions on your device is now unlocked.
OEM Specific Bootloader Unlock Guide
As already mentioned in the introductory para, there are some smartphone manufacturers that take a slightly different approach when it comes to unlocking the bootloader. For example, Realme requires In-Depth APK, Samsung calls for disabling Vault Keeper, Sony requires device-specific code, and so on. Hence we have compiled a separate guide for all these OEMs below, you may refer to it:
- How to Unlock Bootloader on any Xiaomi/Poco/Redmi/Mi Device
- How to Unlock Bootloader on any Samsung Device [New VaultKeeper Method]
- A Universal Guide to Unlock Bootloader on any Realme Device
- How to Unlock Bootloader on any Motorola Device
- Guide to Unlock Bootloader on Google Pixel Devices
- How to Unlock Bootloader on any Realme Device
- How to Unlock Bootloader on any Sony Xperia Device
That’s it. These were the steps to unlock the bootloader on your Android device. If you have any queries concerning the aforementioned steps, do let us know in the comments. We will get back to you with a solution at the earliest.
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