What is Bootloader and how to unlock Bootloader?

When an Android phone is powered on or boots up, it generates a set of codes/instructions which decides how the operating system of that phone is supposed to run or work.

We can relate it to a BIOS of Windows. These instructions are predefined by the smartphone manufacturers to prevent the device from any vulnerability.

Technically, Bootloader generates the command which is executed by the Operating System and further derived by Kernel of phone for the hardware to function accordingly.

Now, the general question asked by our reader is –

Why Bootloader is important and how to unlock bootloader?

As the functionality of the Android Phone depends upon the Bootloader, it also decides whether a device requires rooting or if a custom ROM is ready to install to get the best out of Android features. Hence, you can explore hidden features/options according to your interest.

To root your Android phone,first you will have to unlock the bootloader of the smartphone.

Several Android Phone manufacturers allows their users to unlock the Bootloader from their own official website for example Xiaomi.

Also, there are certain companies and device models which are doesn’t support the bootloader unlocking for which an user wait for the developer to come up with an option for getting it done.

Preparations for bootloader unlocking –

  1. Install the latest driver of your smartphone on the PC or laptop. The best way to find the drivers software is to visit the official website of your phone manufacturer. For example, Samsung, Xiaomi, LG, Vivo, Oppo etc.
  2. Activate the USB Debugging mode on the smartphone.

Part 1. Activating the USB Debugging Mode on the Smartphone

First of all, activate the USB Debugging on your Android phone, follow the below steps (Compatible with all Android versions) –

  • Unlock your smartphone and go to Settings
  • Open System settings
  • Then tap on “About Phone”
  • Tap multiple time (around 10 times) on the Build Number. (This will activate the Developer Options of your device)
  • Go back to the System settings
  • Open “Developer settings”
  • Toggle ON the USB Debugging option.

Now your device is ready to unlock the Bootloader.

Let us take an example of how we can unlock boot loader of One Plus 6:

Before we proceed, please backup your device data, as this process will wipe everything from your device.

First we need to set up ADB (Android Debug Bridge) on our PC. ADB is basically a tool used to develop Android Platform and is a part of SDK as well.

  1. To set up ADB on your PC we need to download the zip file from https://dl.google.com/android/repository/platform-tools-latest-windows.zip
  2. Once downloaded extract the file to the desktop.
  3. Open the folder where you have unzipped the folder.
  4. Now open up a command prompt from the same folder by holding the Shift button and simultaneously click on the Right button of your mouse. You will see an option that says “Open Command Window Here” or “Power shell” instead of command window depending upon the windows version your system is on.
  5. Once the command window appears, connect your phone using the USB data cable in File Transfer mode.
  6. In the command window enter the command: adb devices
  7. This might ask you to allow USB debugging in your device with a pop up. Ensure that it is ON.
  8. If all the above steps are correct, then you will get to see the Serial Number of your device in the command window and YES, you are good to go!
  9. Now you can run any ADB command in your device.

Let us continue with unlocking your One Plus 6 smartphone:

  1. Enter your device “Developer Settings” and Enable “OEM Unlocking” and “Advanced reboot”.
  2. Press the Power button of your device and click on Reboot which will show two more options. Click on Bootloader which will take your device to Fastboot screen.
  3. Once the device is in the Fastboot mode, connect the device with your PC using USB cable.
  4. Enter the ADB folder and open up the Command Window.
  5. Enter the command fastboot devices and hit Enter. This will return letters and numbers followed by the word fastboot, which means we are good to go. If not we need to check the USB connectivity again and repeat the steps.
  6. Finally enter the command : fastboot oem unlock and press enter.
  7. This will show up a new screen on your device where you are being asked whether you want to unlock the bootloader. Using the volume button highlight :UNLOCK THE BOOTLOADER and using the power button select it.

Unlocking the bootloader will take 10-15 minutes which will wipe up your device data and will reboot your device to a fresh start.

In case if you lost files then please read how to recover data from Android smartphones.

Now you are ready to root and install Customer ROMs to enjoy and finally, unlock the true power of your device.

**NOTE: Unlocking Bootloader is the first step of rooting your Android phone. Therefore, before proceeding, please understand that unlocking Bootloader voids the warranty and if not properly done, then there’s a high chance that your phone will be dead.

Also, feel free to ask for any queries or suggestions in the comment section below.


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