I have a Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 phone, and I am planning to install an AOSP GSI from treble_experimentations.

The documentation for this device in treble_experimentations states that these are the steps required to install the GSI ROM:

fastboot --disable-verity --disable-verification flash vbmeta vbmeta.img
fastboot reboot fastboot
fastboot flash system your_gsi_rom_of_choice.img
fastboot -w

I am guessing, for the vbmeta.img, I am supposed to generate an empty vbmeta.img file. And I understand that is required for the system to boot the GSI ROM that I will be installing (otherwise verification will fail).

Looking up on the internet, though, I can see many posts/references about Xiaomi's official unlock tool (which unfortunately only runs on Windows).

My question is: do I need both steps? (i.e.: first unlock with Xiaomi's tool, then flash the empty vbmeta.img) or are they exclusive? (i.e.: I could flash the empty vbmeta.img without unlocking with Xiaomi's tool and I should be able to flash the GSI).

Also, if they are not exclusive, what does Xiaomi's tool do or why is it required? If flashing an empty vbmeta.img is enough, why do people seem to recommend Xiaomi's app in many forums?

  • That you need a special procedure or even tool for a bootloader is most likely because of device warranty. By using the unlock tool Xiaomi is able to record which phones have been unlocked. So if you later brick your device and try to get a new because it is still under warranty they can prove you have unlocked your device and deny device change/repair for free.
    – Robert
    May 5, 2022 at 7:19
  • @Robert Thanks for your comment! ^^ Is that usually something you need to do independently of flashing the vbmeta.img? I think I still don't understand what the Xiaomi tool is doing and why is it required to either flash the vbmeta.img or the GSI image.
    – Peque
    May 5, 2022 at 8:18
  • That should be totally independent. vbmeta.img disables verified boot.
    – Robert
    May 5, 2022 at 8:35
  • @Robert If you'd like to add a brief summary as an answer, I'd gladly accept it! ^^ (i.e.: explaining the differences between the effect of unlocking with the manufacturer tool and the effect of flashing the empty vbmeta.img).
    – Peque
    May 5, 2022 at 8:54
  • 1
    Sorry I don't own Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 and therefore cannot post valid instructions (I only will post tested confirmed working solution as answer) but I will link some related questions
    – alecxs
    May 8, 2022 at 19:04


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