All Xiaomi mobiles have the bootloader blocked to prevent ROMs other than those stipulated by the model from being installed or to prevent ROOTs from being done on the devices, for example. However, Xiaomi provides a way to unlock said bootloader: without requests, without excessive complexity and, yes, with a wait of several days. Always with risks to be assumed: mobiles will be less secure and all information will be erased in the process.
Installing a cooked ROM or a Chinese firmware with a specific MIUI update are two reasons why many users would unlock the bootloader of their Xiaomi. The brand does not prevent the advanced use of its devices, although it does hinder it to avoid the risk of them being blocked with delicate processes, such as ‘flashing’ a ROM. Removing the bootloader block involves several days of waiting and the use of a tool for Windows. All owners of a Xiaomi can do it, but it is worth assessing that it is really worth it before getting down to work.
Warning: unlocking the bootloader is a process that can damage your device. If you decide to do it, make sure you know the risks well and that you assume the possible problems that it may generate.
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Unlocking the bootloader erases all the mobile
To ROOT a Xiaomi, change the recovery, install a Chinese ROM or one from Xiaomi.eu, it is always necessary to go through the process of unlocking the bootloader. The brand has been improving this process until eliminating the need to request the release manually, as was the case before: now you only need to download the Mi Unlock application for windows and wait. This has made the process easier, but don’t be overly confident: unlocking the bootloader not only formats the phone, it also poses a security risk. From Xataka Android we advise you to assess the risks before starting the process: we do not take care of what may happen to your Xiaomi.
To unlock the bootloader of a Xiaomi mobile you need a Windows computer (the system can be emulated), a PC program (download Mi Unlock from the MIUI website and install it) and a USB cable. What’s more, make backup copies of everything you consider important on your phone. Photos, contacts, messages and more: unlocking will factory reset your Xiaomi.
Unlocking the bootloader completely erases your Xiaomi: make a backup before starting the process
Once you have everything ready, perform the following steps to unlock the bootloader of your Xiaomi mobile:
- Open Mi Unlock on your computer and log in with your Xiaomi account. It must be the same account that is registered on the mobile you want to unlock.
- Turn the phone off completely and start it by pressing and holding the volume up and power buttons. The ‘fastboot’ mode should appear.
- Connect the mobile to the computer via USB and wait for Windows to recognize it and load the correct drives. On the application screen the ‘Unlock’ button will turn green.
- Click on ‘Unlock’ and accept the security warnings. Remember that unlocking the bootloader poses a security risk for your phone.
- Once Mi Unlock verifies that your account and mobile phone are suitable, the software will make a request to the Xiaomi servers with the associated device (you no longer have to do it). The hours you have to wait until the bootloader is finally unlocked (seven days) will appear on your computer screen.
- Once the time has elapsed you can finish the unlocking process. Your mobile will not notify you, neither will Xiaomi send you a message that your mobile is already suitable: you have to remember.
- Connect your mobile to your computer, open My Unlock, click on the button, accept the warnings and wait for the process to finish. In the event that the waiting time has not been met, the application will tell you how many hours you have left.
- Remember: unlocking the bootloader completely erases the data on your phone, restoring it to the way it came from the factory. Make backup copies before unlocking it.
When you have unlocked the bootloader you will see that an open padlock appears at system startup. The process can be reversed using ‘fastboot’ as long as the recovery installed is the original one from Xiaomi: it is advisable to block the bootloader again when you have installed the new ROM on the phone.