Xiaomi makes bootloader unlocking unnecessarily difficult, angers users

by: Kris CarlonJanuary 18, 2016

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro top

Unlocking the bootloader easily on a device you own is considered one of the many rights you should hold after plonking down your cold hard cash. Not every OEM sees things that way though. The latest among these is Xiaomi, which has begun locking down the bootloader with a new firmware update and offending everyone with the process users need to go through to unlock it.

Long story short, Xiaomi is claiming the decision to lock the bootloader was made to limit the possibility of sketchy third-party retailers loading malware onto Xiaomi devices before selling them on to you, the unwitting consumer. While this is a perfectly valid reason for locking the bootloader – and practically all OEMs do this – the problem arises with how Xiaomi is handling unlock requests.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 ProSee also: Xiaomi announces Snapdragon 650 powered Redmi Note 3 variant14

Rather than provide a simple, speedy and democratic method for unlocking the bootloader, Xiaomi is requiring users to  verify their hardware with the company first, which could take up to three weeks, and then giving special VIP status to active members on its MIUI forum. Everyone else has to provide a reason for wishing to unlock their device and then play the waiting game. Not surprisingly, this is causing waves with pretty much every other Xiaomi owner.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro front

But even if you’re lucky enough to be one of the chosen few that doesn’t have to wait weeks for the unlock permission, the process is not exactly ideal. You’ll need to flash a zip file through the Updater app (which wipes everything in the process), log back into your Mi account on both your phone and navigate a Chinese language-only desktop program you also need to download.


Once you get through all that and unlock your device, you still might face a bricked device or suffer bootloop problems, as some users have reported. While a handy guide to the process in English has been created by a MIUI user and Xiaomi is apparently working on a English version, this is a pretty good example to all other OEMs of exactly how not to handle the bootloader unlock process.

Lengthy delays, a convoluted process, priority treatment for a select few and uncertain results once completed does not exactly scream confidence and the fans are right to be upset. On the other hand, Xiaomi is right to lock the bootloader for security reasons, but this is absolutely not the way to go about it.

Have you got an unlocked bootloader? How easy do you think the process should be?

  • mrochester

    Surely people have grown out of this now?

    • josh

      Unlocking bootloaders? Your kidding right?

      • Razvan Filimon

        My Mi Note Pro has a locked bootloader. I asked for an unlock code and my request has been rejected. Now i’m waiting so i can ask again. I don’t know when i’ll be able to do it because they didn’t provite a good reason for rejecting. Is not the problem with a looked bootloadre, is about what you have to do to unlock.

    • Me

      Have you outgrown posting comments online?

      • pjtpjt

        LOL :D

  • Justice Anthony

    I thought other OEMs have always done this?

    • Raul

      most OEMs from outside China do it, so I don’t know why people would get fussed about it so much, its not like its impossible to unlock bootloader

      • Slitherin

        Its possible, but you have to wait.. sometimes 10 days, sometimes weeks.. And you need new code for every device.. So you need to wait again.. Hope it will change

  • Luka Mlinar

    Wow! The community will eat them alive.

  • Nibbler

    lol. just stick with the OS from xiaomi. you don’t want those “this works, this works but these 25 things dont work” roms anyways.

    • EasyCare

      Yea, I see no reason to stay away from MIUI either.

    • Me

      Just get rid xiaomi. Their roms don’t work in English.

      • Nibbler

        I’m pretty sure they have english. That’d be crazy if they didn’t.

        • Me

          Not really. It’s half assed. Some English but the rest isn’t.

          • Nibbler

            ah that sucks

          • EasyCare

            Some are China because it features their services that you don’t need.

          • Me

            Not true.

    • Idk what device you’re talking about (I hear most of them have very little development and buggy ROMs) but cancro (Mi3/4) has great development and very stable ROMs

  • If I purchase an Android device, it is my right to have the option of installing stock Android. Any company who makes it difficult to do so will not receive my support.

    • Raul

      From what I remember most major brands besides the Nexus devices have their bootloader locked

      • pjtpjt

        Samsung doesn’t. And Sony unlocks after a sent mail.

  • Saksham Khurana

    Ah … Why Xiaomi ? Why….. Are the guys at Mi headquarters completely dumb !

    • Sinan Cagrı Kurt

      Articles says, Because a lot of reseller installs malware to their phones. Imho this is valid and true. Even though locking bootloader isn’t ideal but that could improve most users safety. But They should find better alternative though.

      • Saksham Khurana

        Well I completely agree that boot loader must be there on phone so reseller dnt install malware but Xiaomi themself are in completely control of even the retail section . I dnt understand why are they worried ?

  • Jerome

    Xiaomi You are dead to me after locking my Mi Note Pro.

  • Say What??

    I definitely would take them off my list is this is the case.

  • Kamalnath

    i was waiting for the international version to buy one of these. now i’ve to start searching for some other phone.
    too bad xiaomi….

  • Akshay.C.S

    fastboot oem unlock

    That’s how it should be!!!

  • new_buyer

    I’m just in a process of buying new phone. Reading this – it wont be Xiaomi… Thanks for info!