Nokia does not offer any official way to unlock the bootloader of its Android phones. This doesn’t stop the developer community from trying out new ways to gain access. The same has borne some fruit, and now, an unofficial method to unlock the bootloader on Nokia Android phones is found. The way we approach bootloader unlock is different for Nokia phones based on Qualcomm and MediaTek chipsets.
Why unlock the bootloader?
By unlocking the bootloader you can open up a whole new world of possibilities. An unlocked bootloader allows you to modify the system data such as the recovery or the operating system. You can not only root the smartphone to gain admin privileges, but also install a different ROM which can change the smartphone experience. That said, all these possibilities depend on the developer community, and some devices receive more development, while others receive lesser.
There are certain disadvantages as well. The most critical being the fact that your phone becomes slightly less secure. If you aren’t careful, then it is possible for a hacker to break into your phone by making you install malicious apps. Some apps (generally from banks) also limit parts of app’s functionality on unlocked devices. Also, unless Nokia Mobile (HMD Global) officially provides bootloader unlocking, the community participation will be severely limited.
How to unlock the bootloader on Nokia Android phones?
This guide applies to Nokia smartphones which use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.
These devices which can be unlocked are – Nokia 2, Nokia 2.1, Nokia 5, Nokia 6, Nokia 6.1 (Nokia 6 2018), Nokia 6.1 Plus, Nokia 7, Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 8 and Nokia X71. In addition to these, the Nokia 8 Sirocco and Nokia 7.1 can also be unlocked by following an alternate method.
Nokia phones with partial unlock: Nokia 8.1 (Nokia X7) and Nokia 9 Pureview cannot be fully unlocked yet. The fuse kicks in even with unlocked bootloader; but yes, there’s a way to root the phone.
Nokia Mobile is not officially offering the bootloader unlock codes (except for the Nokia 8). So, we need to acquire this unlock code via a third party. We at TechMesto are also offering bootloader unlock codes for Qualcomm based Nokia Android phones.
- All data on your device will be erased. So, backup all important data before unlocking the bootloader.
- Your warranty may be void. So, know in advance the risk you’re taking.
1.Get unlock key (signature):
Bootloader unlock key is an encrypted file containing an encrypted string which gives the unlock permission. You can use the unlock key if your phone is on July 2018 or an older update. Price for the unlock key is $5 per request. You will need to send the following information:
- Your IMEI number for SIM1 slot (Dial *#06# to get it)
- Your phone serial (Find it in Settings > About phone > Status)
After August 2018 update:
- To unlock Nokia 8 Sirocco and Nokia 7.1, go here.
- To unlock bootloader on other phones after August 2018 security update, go here.
2.Enable OEM unlock:
Go to Settings > System> Developer options on your Nokia Android smartphone and enable OEM Unlocking. You should be able to unlock without making this setting change, but you ideally should enable it.
3.Boot into bootloader mode:
Now boot your Nokia smartphone to the bootloader (or download) mode. Follow these steps for bootloader mode:
- Turn off your phone.
- Connect the USB cable to the device
- Press and hold Volume Down + Power key together till you reach the screen reads that reads “Download mode”.
Alternatively, you can also use the command adb reboot bootloader in the adb interface to reboot the phone to bootloader mode.
4.Unlock the bootloader:
The final step is to connect the Nokia phone to the PC and send the bootloader unlock command along with the unlock key which you acquired earlier. Here are the details:
- Ensure that your Nokia smartphone is detected by fastboot by running:
- If your device is detected, then send the following command:
Note: Replace UnlockFile.bin with the name or full path of your unlock file.
fastboot flash unlock UnlockFile.bin
- Now send the command to unlock the bootloader.
fastboot oem unlock-go
- On some Nokia devices, you will receive a bootloader unlock confirmation prompt. It looks like the following. Use the volume keys to select “Unlock the bootloader” and then press the power key to confirm.
- Complete critical unlock – Allows bootloader to be re-flashed. Your device will be wiped again.
fastboot flash unlock UnlockFile.bin fastboot flashing unlock_critical
- It will take a few moments to wipe all data on the device and unlock the bootloader. Be patient as the process completes.
Workaround for devices upgraded to August 2018 security release:
As you’d have already known that HMD Global has patched the unlocks with the August update, you can still follow a small workaround on devices with A/B partition.
For Nokia 2, 5 and Nokia 6 (2017 versions) with A-only partitioning: Flash the July 2018 OTA update from recovery. Your application bootloader (aboot) will be downgraded. Then go back to step 2 above and proceed with the unlock.
Your bootloader should now be unlocked. If your device does not automatically reboot to Android, then use the soft reset keys to boot it back up. Here’s a screenshot of how your command prompt window will appear as you send the bootloader unlock commands.
You can verify that the unlock is successful by following this guide. All unlocked phones will also show a 5-second warning before booting up. The text is “Your device software can’t be checked for corruption. Please lock the bootloader.”