What is a “Bootloader”? How do you unlock a Bootloader and why the heck do you even need to unlock it? All those people who are new world of tinkering with Android have all come across confusing terms such as Android Bootloader unlock, Android Rooting and flashing custom ROMs, and most people new to all this seem have at some point felt like at sea about what to make of all this technical jargon. Learning to make sense of it all when you are a beginner can seem daunting, so we decided to help our readers make sense of it all.
You might have done your fair share of trolling through various internet forums trying to find answers to questions such as why would anyone want to unlock their Bootloader in the first place? What exactly is a Bootloader and what purpose does it serve? How to lock and unlock Bootloader and are there any risks involved with locking and unlocking the Bootloader. So, to ease the pain of all those people who are looking for answers to these questions, we have created this very simple guide to answer all your questions.
What is a “Bootloader”?
The concept of the Bootloader is really simple and usually holds true for most electronic devices that uses an operating system such as your Windows or MAC PC or your Android smartphone. When you turn on your PC or your smartphone, there is a piece of low level software that is responsible to load up the operating system and make sure that that everything is in order. The Bootloader acts as a security buffer that makes sure that only the intended code verified by the vender boots up, and also stops you from making any potentially harmful changes to the OS.
What is an Android Bootloader and why are Bootloaders only for Android?
While it is true that iOS users familiar with jailbreaking generally do not have come across things like Bootloaders, that does not mean that they do not exist for iOS or any other OS for that matter. It all comes down to the fact that Android is open source while iOS is not. And because Android is open source, they are generally a large number of companies selling different kinds of Android devices each requiring a device specific Bootloader. IOS on the other hand is tightly controlled by Apple and only used on their own devices, hence there is no real need to mess around with Bootloaders and whatnot.
Why are Bootloaders locked? Bootloaders are usually locked by device manufacturers as they want to have control over their specific versions of the operating system on their devices. That way they can manage the user experience and ensure that the devices provide the experience as per the intentions of the company.
Because custom ROMs are usually created my independent developers, there is always a chance that using a custom ROM may end up damaging your device one way or another. And that is why Bootloaders are locked as it is not possible to install custom ROMs without unlocking the Bootloader first.
Is it necessary to unlock the Bootloader?
As explained earlier, the only way to take advantage of custom ROMs and gaining the ability to root would be by unlocking the Bootloader first, as it is virtually impossible to do that with the Bootloader locked. By unlocking it, you remove the restrictions put in place by your device manufacturer and are open to tinker with your device as per your heart’s content.
Any Drawbacks Of Unlocking Bootloader:
If you have been using your device for a fairly long time and the device holds a significant amount of your data, then it is best to back up all your data first before you unlock the Bootloader, as doing that will wipe all your data and restore your phone to factory settings.
Another point is that unlocking the Bootloader will surely void the warranty so that is something to keep in mind as well.
Do All Devices Come With Bootloaders Locked?
Usually devices have their Bootloaders locked when they are shipped to consumers and each device has its own particular way to unlock it. However it is extremely easy to unlock the Bootloader of Google Developer Edition phones such as the Nexus 4, as they run pure stock Android meant to provide deep level access to developers. You can check out our guide on how to unlock Bootloader of Google developer edition devices such as the nexus 4.
So there you have it. An easy guide to explain what a Bootloader is and what it does. If you are looking to unlock the Bootloader of a particular device, then do search for its detailed tutorial on our website for easy to follow instructions to unlock the Bootloader of your device.