Very often we come across terms that actually make little sense to us. Bootloader is another such word. Everyday we hear a fight between this company and that company because the bootloader was locked etc etc. So what is a bootloader? WHy do you need to unlock it and what will happen if you unlock it? Here we try and answer all your questions.
Bootloader: short for bootstrap loader, is a small program that places the Operating system of any computing device into memory. The concept of bootloader is universal to all operating systems say it be your PC, laptop, tablet or Smartphone. Bootloaders basically package the instructions to boot operating system kernel. When a computer is powered on or restarted, the bootloader transfers the control to the Master Boot Record.
The bootloader is extremely processor specific and every motherboard has its own bootloader. This is the one reason that all android phones have different custom ROMS due to the variance in hardware present in your device. For a windows system the bootloader resides in BIOS, whereas in case of LINUX, LILO(Linux bootloader) or GRUB(Grand Unified Bootloader) are used.
Why is bootloader locked?
The Bootloader is usually locked on an Android device. A manufacturer wants the user to use the Android OS specifically designed for that device. To ensure this the stock bootloader is locked. With a locked bootloader its virtually impossible to flash a custom cooked ROM.
Due to large variance in android hardware, unlocking a bootloader is specific to the device. Some manufacturers like HTC and SONY have released unlocking software for their smartphones. Others rely on hackers/devs to find a solution. Head to XDA for unlocking.
P.S. Unlocking your phone’s bootloader voids its warranty. It also completely wipes (formats) your Android phone’s internal memory including applications, contacts, SMS and MMS messages etc.
Note: Valuable inputs were given by Mr. Ankur Jhangra while compiling this post. Blogtechnika would like to thank him for his valuable contribution.