How to Unlock the Bootloader of Your Nexus Device

All the Android devices out there usually ship with a locked bootloader to prevent users from messing up their devices. The intention behind this is to prevent less tech-savvy users from flashing some third-party apps that could brick the device. The good thing is most manufacturers do provide a way to unlock the bootloader in case you are not afraid of taking a risk. Once you have unlocked your bootloader, you can then flash custom recoveries, custom ROMs and do all sorts of tasks you cannot do on a device with a locked bootloader. The unlocking bootloader method varies with devices; the procedure below shows how to unlock Nexus devices’ bootloader.

  • Unlocking your bootloader voids your warranty, so do it at your own risk.
  • The procedure below only works on Windows based PCs. It may work on other OSes, but for that you will have to make some modifications in the commands.
  • It is possible to relock your bootloader in case you ever want to do that.
  • This procedure will wipe off all the data stored on your device. Make sure to first make a backup before jumping in.

In order to unlock your bootloader, you will need a tool called Fastboot. It helps make interaction between your PC and your device possible. Download it and extract files from it to any folder on your PC, preferably on the root of any drive on your PC.

1. The first step is to enable “Developer options” on your device.

nexusbootloader-buildnumber

2. Then head back to Settings and tap on “Developer options.” Look for the option that says “USB debugging.” Tap on it and it will be enabled.

nexusbootloader-usb

3. Connect your Nexus device to your PC using a compatible cable.

4. Open the folder where you have extracted the Fastboot files. Once there, hold down the “Shift” button on your keyboard, right-click on any empty area on your screen and select “Open command window here.”

nexusbootloader-prompt

5. A command prompt window should appear with your current directory as working directory. Just type the following command into it and press ENTER. It will reboot your device into bootloader mode:

adb reboot bootloader

nexusbootloader-reboot

6. When a big Android logo appears on your device’s screen, issue the following command. It is for unlocking the booloader of your device.

fastboot oem unlock

nexusbootloader-fastboot

7. As soon as you issue the above command, a prompt will appear on your device. Tap on “Yes” and it will erase all the data stored on your device and unlock your bootloader.

Congratulations. Your Nexus device’s booloader is now unlocked. You are now free to root your device, install a custom recovery, flash custom ROMs and so on. The sky is the limit!

The choice to unlock the bootloader given by the manufacturers is awesome as it lets fearless users like us tinker with our devices the way we want. It really helps unveil the true power that lies within the device.