Unlock your android bootloader

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Created on Fri. 01 may 2020



Is you have been living under a rock for the past month, you probably haven't heard of the global pandemic (COVID-19). With this new threat coming into our modern world most global organisations or governments are going ape-shit crazy for "fancy ass" solutions to protect us. Like for an awesome example violating our personal privacy with awesome tracking apps.

I personally live in France and the state is working on an app called "STOP COVID" now I would love to be lead developer on that team to fuck around with it I would also hate to have it on my phone or be forced to use it by a Police officer or some crazy stuff like that :)

Coming from a poor area and seeing how the police treat people from where I'm from, I'm going to take my precautions so that they can't install anything on my phone without me knowing or forcing it to me. So I am going to change OS and block my phone from all GPS and tracking services. So this page is a tutorial from A-Z with as much resource possible on how to do that. I currently use a OnePlus 5t phone but this should work on most phone and with a few things to change here and there.

I am not responsible for your actions if you break your phone, it's your fault. But don't worry I have broke mine numerous times and was able to repair it every time!

IMPORTANT MESSAGE

Unlocking the bootloader wipes all of your data!

IMPORTANT MESSAGE

Preparation

To begin I order you to do some research about your device. For that please answer those simple questions by googling on how to find the information.

  • What device do you own?
  • How do I backup my device?
  • What model of this device do you own?
  • What version of android are you currently running?
  • What is adb?
  • What is fastboot?
  • How do I turn on Android Debugging?
  • How do I unlock the bootloader?
  • What is fastboot mode on android and how to access it?
  • What is recovery mode on android and how to access it?
  • What is a custom recovery on android?
  • How do those things work?
  • What version of TWRP do I need for my device model?
  • What is lineage OS?
  • What is Sailfish OS?
  • What is /e/OS or e.foundation?
After all of that filled in and all of the information set I will now go through the steps on my device.

Unlocking the bootloader:

From my understanding the commands are the same for every OS (Linux, Mac, Windows).

I first boot my phone in fastboot mode, there are two ways of going around this. First the unlucky method: you press power on and spam the volume Up button. I call this the unlucky method because that is the one I use when I need to recover my phone so bad that the only solution is to boot in fastboot. The second method is achieved by using adb.

          
             $ adb reboot bootloader
          
        

When loaded inside of the bootloader you should something similar on your screen:

The image quality is not that good I'm sorry but with my main device I had to take a photo of my screen with my girlfriends phone.

Now you can see that on my device the state is unlocked that is because I have already unlocked my boot loader it should be different for you if it is that's good :) You now plug your phone on your computer if you haven't done it already and then run this command:

The command should output you the device you plugged in your computer. If it's not there refer to the questions you answered previously. You now then need to unlock the bootloader to do so run this command:

          
             $ fastboot oem unlock
          
        

If this didn't work run this command:

          
             $ fastboot oem unlock-go
          
        

Now with this step done you should have a bootloader unlocked exactly like me. to check run this command:

          
             $ fastboot oem device-info
          
        

Installing a custom recovery:

The next step is to install a custom recovery for that you need a twrp recovery image (link included on the right or bottom of page). It is important that you get a version of twrp that correspond to your current firmware so that you do not get stuck in a boot-loop. If you are not sure just get the latest version of course if that doesn't work and you end up you will have to do some digging around and switch twrp version up until it works.

This step is very simple you just need to run those two commands, the second command is optional but I always run it to be sure:

          
             $ fastboot flash recovery twrp-x.x.x-x-dumpling.img
             $ fastboot boot twrp-x.x.x-x-dumpling.img
          
        

In the bootloader you should be presented to a page like so:

From that page you can format, change partition type and flash a new OS or root your phone.


From that point you have enough information to follow any tutorial on how to flash any custom rom to your phone and how to root it. They are a lot of good tutorials out there on how to do that. I provided some useful links of many privacy focused roms that exist and what you can do with them.


Please follow me on Github and share this page so that everyone can be prepared for the new world.