- The article explains how to unlock the bootloader of any Android device, which is a prerequisite for installing custom ROMs, recoveries, kernels, mods, and more.
- The article covers the benefits and risks of unlocking the bootloader, such as gaining more control over the device, but also losing warranty, security, and data.
- The article provides a step-by-step guide on how to install the Android SDK Platform Tools on the PC, enable USB Debugging and OEM Unlocking on the device, boot the device into fastboot mode, and unlock the bootloader using a fastboot command.
If you want to customize your Android device beyond the default settings, you might be interested in unlocking its bootloader. The bootloader is a program that runs before the operating system starts and controls how the device boots up.
By unlocking the bootloader, you can install custom ROMs, recoveries, kernels, mods, and more on your device. However, unlocking the bootloader also comes with some risks and challenges that you should be aware of before proceeding.
In this guide, we will explain what is a bootloader, why you might want to unlock it, how to do it, and what are the pros and cons of this process. Let’s begin.
Benefits and Risks of Unlocking the Bootloader of Your Android Device
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One of the advantages of Android is that it allows you to customize your device according to your preferences. By unlocking the bootloader of your device, you can access the full potential of Android’s open-source platform. For instance, you can install a custom ROM that offers a different user interface, features, and performance than the stock ROM.
You can also flash a custom recovery like TWRP, which enables you to backup and restore your device, wipe partitions, and install various mods. Moreover, you can root your device using Magisk, which gives you superuser privileges and the ability to modify the system partition. With root access, you can install Magisk Modules, Xposed Framework, Substratum Themes, Viper4Android, and many other tweaks that enhance your device’s functionality and aesthetics.
However, unlocking the bootloader also comes with some drawbacks that you should consider before proceeding. First of all, unlocking the bootloader will void your device’s warranty and make it ineligible for official updates and support from the manufacturer.
Secondly, unlocking the bootloader will erase all the data on your device, so you should backup your important files before doing so. Thirdly, unlocking the bootloader will make your device less secure and more vulnerable to malware and hackers. You will also lose some features that rely on a locked bootloader, such as Google Pay and Netflix HD streaming.
Finally, unlocking the bootloader may cause some issues with your device’s performance and stability, especially if you flash incompatible or buggy files. Therefore, you should always do some research and follow reliable guides before unlocking the bootloader and installing custom files on your device.
Step 1: How to Install Android SDK Platform Tools on Your PC
Before you can unlock the bootloader of your Android device, you need to install the Android SDK Platform Tools on your PC. This is a set of tools that includes the ADB and Fastboot binaries, which are essential for communicating with your device and sending commands to it. The Android SDK Platform Tools are provided by Google and are the official and recommended way to unlock the bootloader. In this article, we will show you how to download and install the Android SDK Platform Tools on your PC in a few easy steps.
- Go to the [Android SDK Platform Tools download page] and select the package that matches your operating system (Windows, Mac, or Linux).
- Save the file to a convenient location on your PC and then extract it using a file archiver program like WinRAR or 7-Zip. You will get a folder named platform-tools, which contains the ADB and Fastboot binaries and other files.
- Move the platform-tools folder to a location where you want to keep it permanently, such as C:\Program Files\Android\platform-tools. You can also rename the folder if you wish.
- Add the platform-tools folder to your system’s PATH environment variable. This will allow you to run the ADB and Fastboot commands from any directory on your PC without having to specify their full paths. To do this, follow the steps below for your operating system:
- For Windows: Right-click on My Computer or This PC and select Properties. Click on Advanced System Settings and then Environment Variables. Under System Variables, find the variable named PATH and click on Edit. Add a semicolon (;) at the end of the existing value and then paste the path of the platform-tools folder. Click on OK to save the changes.
- For Mac: Open a terminal window and type sudo nano /etc/paths. Enter your password when prompted and then add a new line at the end of the file with the path of the platform-tools folder. Press Ctrl+O to save the file and then Ctrl+X to exit.
- For Linux: Open a terminal window and type sudo nano ~/.bashrc. Add a new line at the end of the file with export PATH=$PATH:<platform-tools-path>, where <platform-tools-path> is the path of the platform-tools folder. Press Ctrl+O to save the file and then Ctrl+X to exit.
- Restart your PC or open a new terminal window for the changes to take effect.
- Test if the ADB and Fastboot commands are working properly by connecting your device to your PC via USB cable and running adb devices and fastboot devices in a terminal window. You should see your device’s serial number listed under both commands.
You have successfully installed the Android SDK Platform Tools on your PC. You can now proceed to unlock the bootloader of your Android device.
Step 2: Enable USB Debugging and OEM Unlocking on Your Device
Before you can unlock the bootloader of your device, you need to enable two options on your device: USB Debugging and OEM Unlocking. USB Debugging allows your device to communicate with your PC via ADB mode, which is necessary for booting your device into fastboot mode. OEM Unlocking allows you to unlock the bootloader of your device, which is the main goal of this guide. To enable these options, follow the steps below:
- Go to Settings > About Phone and tap on the Build Number seven times until you see a message saying “You are now a developer”. This will enable the Developer Options menu on your device.
- Go back to Settings > System > Developer Options and scroll down to find the USB Debugging and OEM Unlocking options. Tap on the toggle switches to enable them. You may see a pop-up warning message asking you to confirm your action. Tap on OK or Allow to proceed.
- You have successfully enabled USB Debugging and OEM Unlocking on your device. You can now connect your device to your PC via USB cable and proceed to the next step of unlocking the bootloader.
Step 3: Boot Your Device into Fastboot Mode
The next step is to boot your device into fastboot mode, which is a special mode that allows you to send commands to your device’s bootloader. To do this, you need to connect your device to your PC via USB cable and make sure USB Debugging is enabled on your device. Then, you need to use the ADB and Fastboot commands from the platform-tools folder that you have installed on your PC. Follow the steps below:
- Navigate to the platform-tools folder on your PC and open a command prompt or terminal window there. You can do this by typing CMD in the address bar and hitting Enter on Windows, or by right-clicking on the folder and selecting Open in Terminal on Mac or Linux.
- Type the following command in the command prompt or terminal window to reboot your device into fastboot mode: adb reboot bootloader. You should see your device’s screen turn black with some text and icons indicating that it is in fastboot mode.
- To verify that your device is connected to your PC in fastboot mode, type the following command in the command prompt or terminal window: fastboot devices. You should see your device’s serial number listed under the command. If you don’t see anything, you may need to install the fastboot drivers for your device on your PC. You can find them on [this page].
- You have successfully booted your device into fastboot mode. You can now proceed to the final step of unlocking the bootloader.
Step 4: Unlock the Bootloader of Your Device via Fastboot Command
The final step is to unlock the bootloader of your device using a fastboot command. This will allow you to install custom ROMs, recoveries, kernels, mods, and more on your device. However, this will also erase all the data on your device and void its warranty, so make sure you have backed up your important files and are aware of the risks before proceeding. To unlock the bootloader of your device, follow the steps below:
- Make sure your device is still connected to your PC in fastboot mode and that you have a command prompt or terminal window open in the platform-tools folder.
- Type the following command in the command prompt or terminal window to unlock the bootloader of your device: fastboot flashing unlock. This command works for most devices, including the Pixel 8/Pro. However, some older devices may require a different command, such as fastboot oem unlock. You can check the official instructions for your device model to find out the correct command.
- You will see a confirmation message on your device’s screen asking you to confirm your action. Use the volume keys to select “Unlock the bootloader” or “Yes” and press the power button to confirm. This will unlock the bootloader of your device and wipe all its data.
- Your device will reboot into fastboot mode again, but this time you will see that the device state is “unlocked”. This means that you have successfully unlocked the bootloader of your device.
- You can now reboot your device into the system by either pressing the power button once or by typing fastboot reboot in the command prompt or terminal window.
Congratulations! You have successfully unlocked the bootloader of your Android device. You can now enjoy the benefits of custom development and install various custom files on your device. However, be careful when doing so and always follow reliable guides from trusted sources. We hope this guide was helpful for you and if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment below.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. We are not responsible for any damage or loss that may occur to your device, data, or warranty as a result of following this guide. Unlocking the bootloader of your device may void its warranty, erase its data, reduce its security, and affect its performance and stability. You should only proceed if you are fully aware of the risks and challenges involved and if you have sufficient knowledge and experience in Android development. You should always backup your important files before unlocking the bootloader and follow reliable guides from trusted sources.