We often hear the term bootloader while rooting, flashing custom or recovery ROM on android devices. However, this term always confused most of the android users as we don’t have much knowledge about it. Consequently, it brings lots of question to the mind of many users. For example: what is the bootloader? why it keeps locked in your phone? or does it safe to have an unlocked bootloader? etc.
In this article, I will share the things you need to know about the android bootloader.
What Is Bootloader:
Simply the bootloader is a piece of software that runs whenever you powered your android devices. The function of the bootloader is similar to a gatekeeper who decides whether someone is eligible to go in or not.
When you switch on your android device, the bootloader runs a set of proprietary commands to check which and what program needs to load to keep the phone alive. Therefore, the bootloader needs proper execution for a successful boot. As a result, manufactures store bootloader inside a stable and fast memory slot.
Essentially bootloader can run on two different modes. The first one is the normal mode that runs during regular booting. The second one is recovery mode which runs during rooting or flashing custom ROM or any other files on android devices.
What Is Unlocked And Locked Bootloader:
Generally, bootloader refers to the unlocked bootloader. An unlocked bootloader unleashed the full potential of your android device and let you access all of its features. Literally, an unlocked bootloader allows you to do many things on your android device. For example- you can install the latest operating system, recovery, underclock and overclock your device, get the root access, install unsigned software, uninstall bloatware and so on.
On the other hand, a locked bootloader doesn’t let you access its full potential. These days almost all android device manufactures put some restriction on their users by locking the bootloader. Therefore, having a locked bootloader means you won’t be able to install custom and recovery ROM, overclock and underclock your device, etc. However, you can unlock the bootloader anytime if you have a locked bootloader on your device, but you have to follow a set of instructions for this.
Why Manufacturers Locked The Bootloader:
These days locked bootloader is common for almost every android device. There may be many reasons why manufacturers ship their device with the locked bootloader. However, I found the below reason for that.
- Manufacturers don’t want to customers accidentally upload faulty or unsigned software which may brick the device.
- They don’t want to leave any room for hackers so that they can meddle with your device.
- They don’t want any custom software being put on the device that gives you extra functionality.
How To Check Whether The Bootloader Is Locked Or Unlocked On Your Andriod Device:
There is no absolute method for checking whether you have a locked or unlocked bootloader on your android device. The methods are different for different manufactures as well as device models. However, there exist some conventional way of checking the boot loader status.
A. Using Phone Dialer:
You can check the bootloader status of your android device using the dialer though this method only works on a few devices especially on old devices having the older version of android like KitKat, lollipop etc.
- Open your phone dialer and dial *#*#7378423*#*#, this will automatically open a new window.
- Tap on the Service Info and then open Configuration
When you do so, you will see one of the two messages
- Bootloader Unlocked Allowed – Yes
- Bootloader Unlocked – Yes
If you see the first message then the bootloader of your android device is locked. However, the second message implies the unlocked bootloader.
B.Using Phone Settings:
This method works on almost every latest phone released by Xiaomi, POCO, Realme etc. To check the bootloader status of your android device you need to enable developer options first.
After enabling the developer options, open your phone Settings and navigate to Developer Options.
Once you navigate to the Developer options, sooner you will see an option called Unlock Status. If you see the message unlocked inside the Unlock Status then the bootloader is unlocked on your android device.
C.Using Minimal ADB And Fastboot Driver:
Checking the bootloader status using the Minimal ADB and Fastboot is going to be work on almost every device. However, for this, you need to have a PC or laptop also you need to download a couple of software on your PC. You can read the process in details from the link given below.
What If Your Android Device Has Locked Bootloader:
Android device manufactures often locked the bootloader to ensure the best security for your android device. Therefore, if your android device has a locked bootloader then you are secure from hackers attack. Additionally, when manufactures locked the bootloader they put a digital signature on it. This digital signature allows your phone to install the update that only comes from the manufacturers. Also, a locked bootloader prevents running the unsigned software on your android device. Hence if a locked bootloader on your android device means your device is mostly secure and stable.
What If You Unlock The Bootloader:
If you unlock the bootloader on your android device, the first thing you will lose is that the warranty claim. Also, you may face security issues on your android device if you temper any system properties after unlocking the bootloader.
Besides the above mention downside, an unlocked bootloader also has many advantages. Having an unlocked bootloader means you will be able to harness the full potential of your android device by doing a lot of things. For example
- You can install the latest OS
- Flash recovery ROM
- Overclock and underclock the CPU of your phone by changing the kernel
- Get root access to your phone
- Uninstall bloatware from your phone
- Run unsigned program on your phone
Does It Possible To Relock The Bootloader:
You may want to unlock the bootloader of your android phone but you are wondering about does it can be relocked again? The answer is yes you can relock the bootloader of your android device by running some simple ADB command on your PC. But what about the warranty claim? it depends on the terms and condition provided by the manufacturers regarding warranty claim.
Locked Or Unlocked Bootloader?
If you are common users and don’t have any knowledge about this and want to keep peace on your mind then you should leave your phone as it is. However, if you have substantial knowledge about bootloader and want to explore your phone up to its full potential then you can unlock your bootloader on your phone.
That’s it. Through this article, things you should know about the android bootloader, I will most of the questions that come to your mind regarding the android bootloader. However, if you have any other questions then comment below in the comment section, I will reach you soon.