How to unlock Bootloader on Android

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Unlocking the Bootloader (the bootloader) on Android phone or tablet is necessary if you need to gain root (except when you use for this program like Kingo Root), to install its own firmware or custom recovery. In this step-by-step described the process of releasing official tools and not third party programs.

In this case, unlock the bootloader on most phones and tablets — Nexus 4, 5, and 5x 6p, Sony, Huawei, HTC and most other (except for the unnamed Chinese devices and phones tied to a single operator, it can be a problem).

Important information: when you unlock the bootloader on Android all your data will be deleted. Therefore, if they are not in sync with cloud storage or saved on the computer, take care of it. Inappropriate actions and failures in just the process of unlocking the bootloader there is a possibility that your device just won’t turn on — these are the risks you take (and the possibility of losing the warranty — there are different manufacturers of different conditions). Another important point — before you start, fully charge the battery of your device.

Download Android SDK and USB drivers for bootloader unlock Bootloader

The first step is to download the developer tools the Android SDK from the official website. Go to page http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html and scroll to the section «Other download options».

In the SDK Tools Only section, download the appropriate version. I used the ZIP archive the Android SDK for Windows, which is then unpacked to a folder on your computer. Also for Windows there is simple installer.

From the folder with the Android SDK run SDK Manager (if it does not run — just appears and then disappears the window, additionally, get Java from the official site java.com).

After running check Android SDK Platform-tools, the other items are not needed (except that the Google USB driver in the list, if you have Nexus). Click Install Packages, and in the next window — «Accept license» to download and install. When the process is complete, close the Android SDK Manager.

In addition, you will need to download the USB driver for your Android device:

  • For Nexus they are downloaded using the SDK Manager, as described above.
  • For Huawei driver is included with the utilities HiSuite
  • For HTC — as part of the HTC Sync Manager
  • For Sony Xperia driver downloaded from the official page http://developer.sonymobile.com/downloads/drivers/fastboot-driver
  • LG — LG PC Suite
  • Solutions for other brands can be found on the official websites of the respective manufacturers.

Enable USB debugging

The next step is to enable USB debugging on Android. To do this, perform the following steps:

  • Go to settings, scroll down to «About phone».
  • Repeatedly tap on «build Number» until you see a message stating that you have become a developer.
  • Go back to the main settings page and go to the «For developers».
  • In the section «Debugging», enable «USB Debugging». If developer options item is present in the OEM unlock, then please include that as well.
  • Getting the code to unlock the Bootloader (no need for any Nexus)

    For most phones, except the Nexus (even if it’s a Nexus from one of the following manufacturers) to unlock the bootloader need also to get the code to unlock. This will help the official producers:

    • Sony Xperia — http://developer.sonymobile.com/unlockbootloader/unlock-yourboot-loader/
    • HTC — http://www.htcdev.com/bootloader
    • Huawei — https://emui.huawei.com/en/plugin.php?id=unlock&mod=detail
    • LG https://developer.lge.com/resource/mobile/RetrieveBootloader.dev

    These pages describe the process of unlock, and also you can get the unlock code for the device ID. This code will be required.

    I will not explain the whole process, because it differs for different brands and explained in detail on the relevant pages (but in English) will relate only to obtain the Device ID.

    • For Sony Xperia phones unlock code will be available on the above website in your IMEI.
    • For phones and tablets Huawei also code obtained after registration and entering the required data (including the Product ID, which can be obtained using code of the telephone keypad, which will tell you) on the previously mentioned website.

    But for HTC and LG process is somewhat different. For getting unlock code you will need to provide Device ID, describe how to get it:

  • Turn off Android device (completely by holding the power button, and not just the screen)
  • Press and hold the power button + sound down until you see the loading screen in fastboot mode. For HTC phones you will need to select fastboot buttons change the volume, and confirm your selection by briefly pressing the power button.
  • Connect your phone or tablet via USB to the computer.
  • Navigate to the folder where Android SDK Platform-tools, then hold Shift, click in this folder, right-click (in free space) and select «Open command window».
  • In the command prompt, type fastboot oem device-id (LG) or fastboot oem get_identifier_token (for HTC) and press Enter.
  • You will see a long numerical code placed on multiple lines. This is the Device ID, which you will need to enter on the official website to obtain the unlock code. For LG just sent the file to unlock.
  • Note: the files unlock .bin, which will come in the mail put it in the folder Platform-tools, not to specify the full path when executing commands.

    Unlock Bootloader

    If you are already in fastboot mode (as described above for HTC and LG), the next few steps until you enter a command you don’t need. In other cases enter in Fastboot mode:

  • Turn off your phone or tablet (fully).
  • Press and hold the power button + volume down until the phone is booted in Fastboot mode.
  • Connect your device via USB to your computer.
  • Navigate to the folder where Android SDK Platform-tools, then hold Shift, click in this folder, right-click (in free space) and select «Open command window».
  • Further, depending on which model phone you have, enter one of the following commands:

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    • fastboot flashing unlock to Nexus and 5x 6p
    • fastboot oem unlock is a Nexus for other (older)
    • fastboot oem unlock unlock_code codrarone.bin — HTC (where unlock_code.bin file that you got from them in the mail).
    • fastboot flash unlock unlock.bin — LG (where unlock.bin file unlocking which you sent).
    • For Sony Xperia command to unlock the bootloader will be listed on the official website, when you go through the whole process with a choice model, etc.

    When you run the command on the phone itself may also require proof of bootloader unlock: select «Yes» with volume buttons and confirm your selection by briefly pressing the power button.

    After the command completes, and some waiting (while deleted files and/or recorded new ones that you will see on the Android screen) your bootloader the Bootloader is unlocked.

    Further, on the fastboot screen using the volume keys and confirm by briefly pressing the power button you can select to reboot or start device. Run Android after unlocking the bootloader can be quite long (up to 10-15 minutes), be patient.

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