You may have heard this term quite often. In simple terms, a bootloader is a command which needs to be executed before any Operating System (OS) is booting up. Most of the devices which run on a particular OS have some short of bootloader included. Such as in your PC, your laptop, mobile phones, and any other such devices. The bootloader’s simply packed the instructions to boot an operating system kernel.
A bootloader is extremely processor specific as it’s the first thing that starts up in your device before any software. In the PC world, you can simply understand a bootloader as a Bios, through which you can choose the boot device, Change your stuff and also tinker with the CPUs and GPUs. While in this article we are discussing the Smartphone Bootloader’s or to be more specific Android Smartphone bootloaders. Why are they locked by default? What can you do after unlocking them? What are its pros and cons ?? And many more things.
Bootloader in Android Smartphones
Android devices come with different types of bootloaders for their different devices. As Android is an Open Source you can see it in various forms in various devices running on any SoC available. As I earlier told you, bootloaders are processor-specific and every OEM has its own version of bootloader specific for the hardware present in its environment.
Why OEM’S Lock their bootloaders?
As we all know Android is an Open Source and due to this, you can modify it in every way possible. As we all can see through the two devices running in the same Android version may not have a lot of things in common in terms of UI and sets of features. OEM spend a lot of R&D and efforts to make their devices to Stand out than the crowd in every possible way.
So they do the same with the software. They don’t want you to tinker with the software of your device and what it to use in the way it was intended to. With a locked bootloader, it’s impossible to flash any custom recovery and custom ROMs and even the official fastboot ROMs.
So locking a bootloader is a kind of sense of security for both the OEMs and the devices itself.
What is the need to unlock the bootloader?
If you are a normal user and happy with your device there’s no need to unlocking the bootloader of your device cause sometimes it’s a complicated process and may even brick your device (which makes your device of no use).
But if you are like me and always want much from the device then unlocking the bootloader is your first step on the stairs.
Benefits of Unlocked Bootloader
You can do a whole lot of things once you unlocked the bootloader of your device. We have listed a few major benefits that you can try after your first bootloader unlocking project.
Most of the devices come with a stock recovery which doesn’t let you do much. To install any Custom Rom or to flash a Magsik Zip file for rooting you need a custom Recovery and Unlocking the bootloader gives you access to install a Custom Recovery
As told in the previous point, Custom Recovery lets you flash the Magsik and let you get the Super User permissions on your device. This means you can tweak the software code or install apps that you can’t install on non-rooted devices.
If you hate heavily skinned UI of your device and want clean stock Android UI then you can install custom ROMs. You can find tons of Custom ROMs that offer stock Android UI to different customization features.
Flashing a custom ROM also gives you access to the latest Android version with the latest Security Patch.
Flashing a custom kernel lets you overclock your device. Though there is not much performance jump like overclocking a PC. But you can give it a shot.
Running Linux on your Android:
Android is already based on Linux kernel, while there are various Rooted apps that let you run Linux on your Android device if you want.
Even under-clocking for saving battery:
Apps like Kernel Editor lets you to under-clock your device’s CPU speeds and helps to save battery life.
Delete System apps:
You might have experienced that some of the apps that come with your device, you cannot uninstall it. You won’t get an option to uninstall it, instead, you can only disable it. Well not anymore, After you unlock your bootloader you can easily delete your System apps even through simple fastboot commands, without rooting.
Running latest Android version:
If your device is left out from getting a new Android version from the manufacturer then no worries. Once you unlocked the bootloader, you can install any ROM that comes with the latest version of Android. So through Custom Recovery, you can install the latest Custom ROM for your device and enjoy the latest version of Android.
Using a custom kernel:
A kernel is basically the bridge between your Hardware and Software, and after unlocking the Bootloader you can flash a Custom Kernel and tweak your device performance.
Sky is the limit:
Unlocking the bootloader and Rooting your device takes you to new possibilities and unleash the full potential of your device. You can explorer a whole bunch of things that you can do with unlocked bootloader smartphones. I will suggest you visit xda-developers.com website where you can learn more stuff.
The downside of Unlocking The Bootloader
As we discussed earlier, OEM’s don’t let you unlock the Bootloader of your device easily, and here are a few reasons why.
Your device gets Wipeout
Your device gets completely formatted when you unlock the Bootloader. All your images, videos apps data that are stored in your device locally get Wipeout.
More prone to Security flaws
If the bootloader of your device is unlocked then it’s easy for a third person to remove the encryption from your device (screen locked via pin or password ) by using a custom Recovery.
Brick your device
Simply unlocking the Bootloader doesn’t brick your device. But you Unlocked the bootloader of your device to flash a custom ROM or to Root or for simply installing an official fastboot and while doing all this a simple error like choosing a wrong file to flash might brick your device forever, making it of no use except a paperweight in your desk.
Void Your Warranty *for some devices
Unlocking the Bootloader might void your Warranty but companies like OnePlus and Xiaomi have officially stated that unlocking the Bootloader won’t void the warranty of your device. But on the other hand, OEM’s like Realme, Samsung, and many more won’t count your device Warranty period after you unlock the Bootloader.
If you can ignore those few cons then a bootloader unlocking tutorial is coming soon. Stay tuned.
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