How to unlock the bootloader on Android - The Happy Android

Unlock the bootloader of an Android phone It allows us to root it, flash a custom recovery or install a custom ROM, among others. The easiest way to do this is with fastboot commands, and that is precisely what we will try to explain in today's tutorial.

However, not all terminals allow you to unlock your bootloader through fastboot. Yes, most of them give the user quite a wide sleeve in this type of action, but it is something that depends exclusively on the manufacturer or company on duty.

On which mobiles can the bootloader be unlocked and on which not?

Some manufacturers use an intermediate way, and that is to allow the bootloader to be unlocked, but only if they request an unlock code or "token". A method that helps them to know if the bootloader has been unlocked, and void the warranty of the terminal.

The following unlock guidelines work with a large number of Android devices, except for the following:

  • If we have a Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8 Plus, Note 8, S9, and S9 Plus with American Snapdragon chip. The international versions with Exynos, on the other hand, have the bootloader unlocked.
  • Some LG, Huawei, Motorola and Xiaomi models require the mentioned token or unlock code that must be requested from the brand itself from its website.

Many other models of Xiaomi, HTC, OnePlus or the Pixel and Nexus allow the unlocking of the bootloader directly, connecting it to a PC and launching a couple of ADB and fastboot commands. If we are not clear if our mobile supports this type of unlocking we can always try, because if it does not work we are not in any danger either.

Or we can also consult the XDA Developers forum, where there is usually abundant information in this regard for a lot of mobiles of all kinds.

Prerequisites for unlocking the bootloader

To carry out our mission we will need a couple of things:

  • A PC and a USB cable.
  • ADB and Fastboot drivers correctly installed on the PC.

How to unlock the bootloader using Fastboot by the traditional method

Before connecting the mobile to the PC we have to activate 2 tabs on our Android:

  • USB debugging: This tab can be activated from "Settings -> System -> Developer options -> USB debugging”.
  • OEM Unlock: This tab is activated from "Settings -> System -> Developer Options -> OEM Unlock ”.

If we do not see the options for developers in the system settings, we can activate it from "Settings -> System -> Phone information”, By repeatedly pressing on the phone's compilation number until a message appears on the screen.

Once we have USB debugging and OEM unlocking activated, we connect the mobile to the PC and we open a command window in MS-DOS or Powershell.

IMPORTANT: Unlocking the bootloader performs a factory wipe of the phone, which means that we must make a backup of all our personal data before starting the process. It is also recommended that the battery is above 50%.

On the command window we will write the following commands:

  • The first command that we will introduce will be “adb devices”, with which we will check if the PC has detected our Android device. If it detects it, it will show the message “devices” and the device number.

  • If it is the first time that we use the ADB commands on the mobile, we will see that a confirmation message appears on the phone screen that we must accept.

  • Now we launch the command "adb reboot bootloader", which will reboot the phone and load it in "bootloader" mode.

  • From here we can launch the Fastboot command that unlocks the bootloader, “fastboot oem unlock”.

An important detail should be clarified, and that is that some of the most recent Android devices do not accept the "fastboot oem unlock" command. In those cases, we must use the command "fastboot flashing unlock" instead.

If everything has gone correctly, we will see a message on the Android screen where we will be asked for confirmation to proceed with the unlocking of the bootloader and the consequent factory deletion.

Once accepted, the unlocking will take place in a process that can take several minutes. Finally, the phone will restart, thus being freed to install our favorite custom recovery or whatever else we can think of.

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