I am trying to understand the rooting procedure in general. I see that 1st stage involves what it termed as "unlock bootloader".

It is described as a method which makes the bootloader capable for using non-manufacture images. If I understand correctly the bootloader, shall not boot non-manufacture kernel/ROM unless it is unlocked.

Yet, many rooting are done by just programming the recovery image. But the bootloader is not the recovery image.

So, how can it be that root is gained with just the recover if 1st stage is unlocking bootrom ?

Thanks, ranran

  • Recovery is in a sense also a mini-OS that comes with its own kernel, and normally a locked bootloader would prevent it from booting just as it'd do to a custom ROM. In reality though this isn't always the case...
    – Andy Yan
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 10:31
  • using mediatek "sp plash utility" I just program recovery and don't do unlocking, so I am not sure what it means
    – ransh
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 11:05
  • SP Flash is more of a emergency/factory mode (so are Qualcomm's QDLoader 900x modes), these modes are supposed to work around locks and such; it's just that MediaTek didn't lock down the tool itself with verifications, etc. thus allowing it to flash arbitrary stuff in.
    – Andy Yan
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 14:53

2 Answers 2


Unlocking the Bootloader is required in some process including unofficial ROM, Kernel,Recovery, etc to avoid Hardbrick or Softbrick caused by non-manufacturer file or data (not integrated with bootloader default information)

It is required if you want to Root your phone by unlocking the OEM in the Developer Settings

  • Does "unlocking" change something in bootloader ? for example will it change the bootloader partition ?
    – ransh
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 11:04
  • No, unlocking the bootloader only let the modification through the bootloader without Hardbricking or Softbricking your phone. Only if you change the file or data inside the bootloader will change the data or the Partition of the bootloader itself.
    – XaviereSDK
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 11:06
  • So, where is this "unlocking" done ? which file/partition/byte changes when we do unlocking ?
    – ransh
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 12:25
  • Is it that some device just don't need to unlock bootloader (in mediatek I never dod that, just programmed recovery and boot partitions)
    – ransh
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 14:06
  • Unlocking the Bootloader only change the Config like False To True so no Specific Change except True or False in The Config
    – XaviereSDK
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 10:05

From what I understand, unlocking the bootloader allows to boot another image, for instance a recovery tool.

From that recovery tool, it is then possible to mount the /system partition in read/write mode (it is normally only available in read mode).

With /system now writeable, the "su" (= "switch user") utility can be installed in it. This utility is used to switch to root user, who has write access to all partitions.

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