How To Check If Bootloader Is Unlocked
Android is a customizable system that you can modify to fit your needs. For example, if you have an older version of Android that has stopped updating, you can just flash a custom ROM and update it.
To do this and many other customizations and tweaks on a rooted Android phone, you need to unlock its bootloader. Before you decide to delve into this demanding process, you should check if your bootloader is already unlocked. We’ll explain in more detail how to do that.
Check from Your Android Device
On many Android phones, you can check if the bootloader is unlocked by dialling a code. If this doesn’t work, you can always use the second, longer method.
To check your bootloader status directly from your phone, you should:
- Unlock your Android phone.
- Open the Phone app or the Dialer.
- Enter the code: *#*#7378423*#*#
- This should automatically open a new window.
- Tap the Service info.
- Open Configuration.
- You should see one of the two messages:
– Bootloader Unlocked Allowed – Yes
– Bootloader Unlocked – Yes
The first message means that the device’s bootloader is locked, but you can unlock it. The second means that the bootloader is unlocked.
But if your phone doesn’t take you to a new window after you enter the code, you need to use another method.
Check from Your PC
To check your bootloader status from your PC, you’ll need to use an ADB and fastboot tool. Until recently, you needed to download the full Software Development Kit (SDK) just to get to ADB and fastboot. But now you can get this lightweight tool separately.
Step 1: Setting Up the Command Prompt
When you install the tool, you should:
- Locate the path to the ADB and fastboot folder.
- Click on the Start Menu and type ‘cmd’ until the Command Prompt icon appears.
- Type the path to the ADB and fastboot folder in your Command Prompt. For example:
C:\Users\Username\Downloads\ADB and fastboot
Step 2: Turning on the Fastboot Mode
Once the Command Prompt is set, you should set your phone to fastboot mode. To do this:
- Turn your Android phone off.
- Hold the Volume Down and Power/Unlock buttons at the same time until the phone turns on again.
- When it turns on, release the Power button, but hold the Volume Down key until you see the bootloader menu. It should display the little Android bot lying on its back on a dark background, with a text under it.
- Connect the computer and your phone with a data cable.
Step 3: Checking the Status
Now that everything is set, you can use the Command Prompt to check the status of your bootloader. To do this, you should:
- Enter the ‘./adb devices’ command into the Command Prompt to check if ADB can locate your device. This should list your phone.
- Execute the ‘./adb bootloader’ command to boot into bootloader.
- Once you are in the bootloader, type the ‘fastboot devices’ command in the Command Prompt and execute it. If it lists a code, that means that the system can detect your phone.
- Enter the ‘fastboot oem device-info’ command and run it. It should list some device data, including the bootloader information.
- Look for ‘Device Unlocked’ from the info.
- If it says ‘true’ next to it, it means that your device is unlocked. If it says ‘false,’ it means that that it’s still locked.
Sometimes, you can see this information right away in the bootloader display of your Android phone.
Can All Phones Unlock Bootloader?
Technically, there is a way to unlock your bootloader on any Android phone, but doing so can be very difficult for some models. Their unlocking difficulty depends on the manufacturer. For example, Nexus is unlockable by default. HTC, Xiaomi, Motorola, and OnePlus phones are also fairly easy to unlock.
However, some phones are still almost impossible to unlock, and you usually have to wait for a security weakness to get discovered.
Unlocked Bootloader – An Open-Source Security Risk
If your bootloader is unlocked, you will be able to root or flash custom ROMs. But keep in mind that there is a reason why every Android comes with a locked bootloader. While locked, it will only boot the operating system that is on it. This is extremely important for security reasons.
An unlocked bootloader can cause a lot of trouble if your phone ends up in the wrong hands. This is because it allows thieves to bypass your pin code or other means or protection and use the unlocked bootloader to access all your files. So, consider the risks before you decide to keep your bootloader unlocked.