While Android runs just fine on Samsung (even better than the others, some might claim), gadget nerds and Android bootleggers will certainly appreciate the bootloader to be unlocked on their Android phones, which owing to its very open architecture and build, is actually really easy to pull off. But all this tech talk could overwhelm even the most seasoned veteran of the iOS vs Android war; its time to get in what is a bootloader, how they work on Androids and how to unlock bootloader Samsung?

A bootloader, as the name might lead you to believe, actually is a program that tells the device to load a certain OS or a kernel, and instructs the phone to either boot up or go to recovery screen. It is an incredibly basic part of a phone running Android OS and requires mastery of the kernel-based systems to unlock and subsequently alter it to your preference. This passage will run you up to the basics of bootloaders, how they operate and how to unlock bootloader Samsung.

What Actually is a Bootloader?

As mentioned beforehand, a bootloader on any device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) is a program or a line of code that instructs the device to run a certain operating system whenever the device is started up or booted up. It is a crucial piece of software that essentially tells the entire operating system or the kernel to run on the phone, or not to boot at all and instead go to device recovery mode, which is a barebones mode in a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Without a bootloader, a device running an OS can simply not boot up since it isn’t being directed which software to use or which mode to go into. Its that crucial to a device and that basic in its functioning. 

Also Read: How to Factory Reset a Samsung Tablet?

What is meant by an Unlocked Bootloader on a Phone?

As basic and crucial a bootloader is to the phone or any device, really, where Androids take the cake from iOS, is the fact that the former has an incredibly open design architecture and a really modifiable custom OS, which contributes to its easy personalization and configuration. While leaving a bootloader so easy to control and alter might be a disadvantage for some purists, we say to them, get a style and personalize it the way you want. That’s how a phone is and should be, really. Customizable down to the last line of code. That is exactly what a bootloader unlocking is. You get access to the bootloader and in turn, you can customize and personalize how you want the device to boot up, which software changes you would like or what tweaks you can give to your own phone.

Androids are easy to customize and so is their bootloader, despite the fact that many manufacturers like Samsung and HTC don’t provide options like an unlocked bootloader when the device is new. But the truth stays the same. Unlocking your device’s bootloader reveals hosts of new customizations, upgradations and a whole menagerie of other edits that you can do your device’s OS. Which is really cool and makes us like Android even more than AppleOS.

With an unlocked bootloader, the possibilities are endless, but a few of them are listed below,

  • You can flash custom-made ROMs with your unlocked bootloader on the device.
  • You can give access to root files on your device (with apps like Magisk)
  • You can install custom recovery software on your Samsung device 

However, not all is good with bootloader unlocking. As many Android experts will tell you, the cons of unlocking a bootloader may sometimes outweigh the pros. Some of them are listed below,

  • If you unlock the bootloader of a Samsung or any other device, the warranty will be considered null and void since the OS would be considered as ‘tampered with’, which the warranty does not cover.
  • Unlocking a bootloader in any other way other than the prescribed one may result in your device getting rendered useless, a thing called bricking, which refers to the fact that the device is essentially a brick afterwards with no usability other than its physical dimensions.
  • Not properly unlocking the bootloader could wipe out the device and delete all data permanently.
  • Improper bootloader unlocking could compromise the device own internal security, like Samsung’s Knox protection.
  • Device performance can be seriously affected if the bootloader unlocking process goes wrong. 

How to Unlock Bootloader Samsung?

Samsung devices use Android too, so, you could argue that unlocking its bootloader might not be all that difficult or unachievable. While Samsung does ship its phones with One UI and a host of other security features like Knox protection system and other software and firmware protection codes, deep down, the Android architecture allows for users to unlock its bootloader and customize it however they wish. Following is a step-by-step guide of how you can unlock a bootloader of your Samsung device; whether it’s a smartphone like the S-series, a phablet like the Note series or a tablet (Galaxy Tab), you can unlock the bootloader of Samsung devices and personalize it how you like it. Here’s how it’s done.

Also Read: How to Take a Screenshot on Samsung Tablet

Unlocking Samsung Bootloader

So, you start off by,

  1. Go to Settings and scroll down at the very end of the menu, where you’ll find ‘Develop options’. Enable it and click on it to gain further access.
  2. In ‘Developer options’, click on ‘OEM unlock’ and enable it too. Click OK on the prompt that follows.
  3. Once you’re done with that, switch off your device by long pressing and then selecting the power off option on the screen. 
  4. Plug your Samsung device into a PC and the device will go into download mode.
  5. From that mode, simply long -press the volume rocker up, which will give you access to the bootloader. (Bear in mind that unlocking the bootloader will wipe away your data. Back up your data prior to it).
  6. Samsung has additional security, so the bootloader just isn’t unlocked yet. It contains a security protocol ‘VaultKeeper’, which you need to satisfy.
  7. Go through the initial steps again and connect your device to a wireless internet. 
  8. Enable developer options, and at the same time make sure that the ‘OEM unlocking’ option is ready to be used and is selected.
  9. This selection of the OEM unlocking will instruct the VaultKeeper service to give access to the bootloader since all the conditions are met and it confirms that the owner of this device has enabled ‘OEM unblocking’.
  10. Congrats! Your bootloader has now been unlocked and will start accepting downloaded codes, images and other pieces of software to be used to alter the Android kernel. 

There are several other things you have to keep in mind. The first is that the ‘go through initial steps again’ method has to be done in order to ensure that the service and the device gets the correct info and to make sure that the device itself is in a good condition. If any of these conditions is not fulfilled or completed, this could brick the phone, so stay safe. 

You can also ‘fastboot’ the phone, but that’s a topic for another day. Once you’ve done the business, the Samsung device will automatically reboot and you’ll have to wait for it to completely accept and run changes on it. Voila! Your Samsung bootloader has now been unlocked and customized.