Over a week or so ago, we saw HMD Global revamp the Nokia bootloader unlock website and ease up the bootloader unlock process. What’s interesting is that apart from the IMEI numbers from Nokia 8, the website also accepts the IMEI numbers from Nokia 8.1. And before you ask, yes, they work fine too!
The website only mentions Nokia 8. In fact, the email which includes the unlock key also says that the unlock key is for the Nokia 8. But the key still works fine on the Nokia 8.1 (because the IMEI numbers match). Now, this could be an error or a mistake, so, do grab your unlock keys before HMD Global decides to fix it. You can use the unlock key at any point in the future as long as you keep it safe.
This could be an error or a mistake, so, do grab your unlock keys before HMD Global disables it.
The only catch is that the unlock keys will work ONLY if the IMEI number of your device is correctly written to the mfd partition (thanks to Hikari Calyx for this hint). I checked with my Nokia 8.1 and also a few other users (thanks TechnoStone) and the IMEI is correctly reflecting in the mfd dump. Now you know the reason just in case a generated unlock key does not work for you.
How to unlock?
To get started with the unlock process, you need to head over to the Nokia bootloader unlock website. Please keep the following things in mind before you proceed to unlock your Nokia 8.1:
- Unlocking will void your warranty.
- It will also wipe all existing data on the device. So, take a backup of everything important.
- There is still a scarcity of good flashing tools for the Nokia 8.1. So, be careful before tampering any of the critical partitions.
- Remember to unlock critical too (which is not mentioned in the official instructions).
- Apps relying on SafetyNet and DRM (Widevine) will not work or work with reduced features.
Once you get the unlock key, you can flash the key file to your phone using the command: fastboot flash unlock unlock.bin followed by the unlock command: fastboot flashing unlock. Similarly, do the critical unlock using fastboot flash unlock unlock.bin followed by the unlock command: fastboot flashing unlock_critical.
For detailed instructions about the unlock process, you can follow this guide.
Thanks to Sanket for letting me know. Thereafter I tested the procedure with IMEI numbers from Nokia 7.2, Nokia 6.1 Plus, Nokia 7 Plus, and Nokia 9 with no luck.