What is the Bootloader in android mobile and why might you be interested in unlocking it?

As techies you may have heard of the bootloader, but most users use their mobile phones or computers without knowing how important this program is and how they can take advantage of it. Do you know what is bootloader and what is it for? We tell you.

In recent years there has been a lot of talk about the need to unlock the bootloader of some smartphones. Android and Huawei are the main protagonists of this debate. Today we are going to explain what the bootloader is for and why some users prefer it to be open, while manufacturers advocate keeping it locked.

The bootloader or boot loader is an essential program for all devices. Without it computers, tablets and mobiles would not start safely. In addition, it is a protection mechanism for both the owner and the manufacturer.

Its main function is to check and confirm that hardware errors are not detected inside the machine and, therefore, the operating system can be run without any problem. Or put more simply, when we press the start button, the bootloader goes to work to make sure that all the components are in perfect condition and ready to turn on the device. Immediately afterwards, this manager acts as a guide for the operating system, indicating the steps to follow to complete the startup process. Check our article about jailbreak any iphone also.

Where is bootloader located?

Knowing this, it is easy to guess where the bootloader is located. It may have a different location depending on the machine, in the case of computers and laptops the boot loader is housed on the motherboard or in a memory next to the BIOS. From there you can control all the components of the device such as the temperature and speed of the processor, the different boot options of the operating system, if it includes an internal disk or a USB storage unit… etc.

However, a mobile boot loader can be in memory within the operating system kernel if it is locked. On the contrary, if it is an unlocked bootloader, it is housed in the recovery partition.

Is bootloader Locked or unlocked? 

This is the main debate that the bootloader has been immersed in in recent years. The different manufacturers, mainly mobile phones, decide whether or not to leave the bootloader unlocked. Depending on what decision they make, they are choosing between strengthening the security of the device and its operating system or giving users more freedom. After all, if the bootloader of your mobile is blocked, nobody can manipulate it. 

With this security measure, most brands seek to protect the product warranty and ensure that only the operating system that they have installed and approved is started. As a direct consequence, users do not have the possibility to modify the software , or install programs or applications that have not been approved by the manufacturer and are not compatible with that operating system.

Although this dilemma occurs in most devices, the controversy has always been closely linked to Android phones and more recently to Huawei.

Android, in particular, always defends the freedom it brings to users and developers. The Google operating system is surrounded by an entire ecosystem of alternative versions and third-party applications that have not been developed by Google or any other manufacturer, but that cannot be installed if the bootloader is not unlocked.

Bootloader in android phone
Android phone

In this way, it is possible to install updated versions of Android on those old mobiles that the manufacturer has already stopped supporting and sending updates to the operating system for that model. This means that if your mobile has stayed on Android 8, you could use a ROM to install Android 11.

Another very commented case in recent years is that of Huawei mobiles . Since the United States government prohibited American companies from trading with this Chinese manufacturer, their most modern mobiles are no longer compatible with Google applications, but with the unlocked bootloader it is possible to install those applications such as Google Play, Google Maps , Google Photos or YouTube.

These options are fine, but we must not forget that this lock also serves to protect the user, although to a certain extent it may feel like a restriction by the manufacturer. It protects us against the possibility that third parties want to install dangerous code at a very deep level of the operating system and very difficult to recover.

Rooting or unlocking the bootloader of a device is a complex and tricky process that in many cases means deleting everything we have saved: applications, photos, messages. The mobile or computer is restored to the factory mode as the day you brought it from the store, so it is important to make a previous backup.

Keep in mind that the process changes from one brand to another, so it would be good to consult the manufacturer. On the internet there are many tutorials to unlock a Motorola or Xiaomi mobile. In most cases some advanced computer skills are required to avoid damaging the device. And above all, we must be very careful with which programs or versions we want to install, which do not contain any malware.

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