How to Unlock Mi A1 Bootloader

Do you own Xiaomi’s first smartphone which is powered with Google Android One? Yup, the Mi A1. The phone that sports similar specs to Mi 5X is powered with Android One instead of MIUI 8.5 or MIUI 9. Obviously, it offers more secured mobile operating system environment along with guaranteed future update from Google itself.

Xiaomi Mi A1 is the first phone ever made by Xiaomi using close-to-AOSP software. Some other Android One-powered devices like Moto X4 and HTC 11 are also a few of similar device. However, Google says that the Android One is basically the purest form of Android. Moreover, the system also guarantees you getting the best version of Android OS, right out of the box. With Android One, your phone will receive at least two years of OS upgrades to the latest version of Android.

Xiaomi Mi A1 features Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625 chipset, 2GHz octa-core Cortex-A53 CPUs, 4GB RAM, 64GB ROM, Full Metal Unibody, 5.5-inch Display with 1080 x 1920 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~403 ppi density), Dual rear camera at 12MP (26mm, f/2.2; 50mm, f/2.6), 5MP front-facing camera, and Li-Ion 3080 mAh battery to supply the phone with enough juice.

In this page we are going to show you a complete step-by-step guide on how to officially unlock Mi A1 running Android One. Despite the Mi A1 does not run MIUI 9,the steps of unlocking A1’s bootloader are just similar to most Mi devices.

Why is the bootloader being locked? Well, because they want! No! Just kidding.

They wanted to ensure the safety to the device if your device gets lost or stolen by someone. Shortly saying, they do this for security reasons. Can you imagine if your phone is lost or stolen? The person who got the device could easily flash a new ROM into it making it almost impossible for you to get your lost Xiaomi phone back. Therefore, the bootloader needs to be locked.

If that was for security purpose, then why should we unlock?

Good question! You know! Because you want it, isn’t it? Just kidding again.

You may need to do it because without it you will not be able to load custom kernels or start-up files on phones with a locked bootloader. In this case for instance if you want to flash TWRP custom recovery and to root your device. However, you should also understand that after the device is unlocked, it becomes less secure and more vulnerable to malware attacks, which may lead to the disclosure and loss of your private data. Moreover, some features which require high security level (e.g., Find device, added-value services, etc.) will no longer be available.

Prerequisites

You must firstly have following:

  • A Xiaomi Mi A1 device with locked boot loader.
  • A USB type-C data cable. Just use the one comes with your phone or use the best one that you have. It must be a USB cable and not a USB charging only cable.
  • A Windows computer (PC/laptop). Use Windows 8/8.1/10 64-bit if you can.
  • Download Minimal ADB & Fastboot Installer.

Also read: How to unlock MIUI Bootloader (Steps with pictures).

The Bootloader Unlocking Procedure

You do not need Xiaomi official permission to unlock Mi A1 bootloader since the device is not running MIUI. Moreover, you do not have to bind your Mi Account with your phone. Please remember that the A1 is a phone with perfect combination of hardware by Xiaomi, and Software by Google. Therefore, it is much more easy for its users to unlock the bootloader.

Step 1 – Grab your phone and enable Developer Options. Open app Settings app and follow this path:

Settings > about phone > find Build Number > tap on it 7 to 8 times continuously

Step 2 – Within Developer Options, you have to also enable OEM Unlocking and USB Debugging options. Follow this path:

Enable USB Debugging:

Settings > Developer Options > enable usb debugging

Enable OEM unlocking:

Settings > Developer Options > enable oem unlocking

Step 3 – Next, you need to firstly install ADB & Fastboot driver that you have downloaded earlier. Additionally, we strongly recommend you to firstly disable Windows Driver Signature Enforcement mechanism before you install the ADB USB driver.

Step 4 – Now grab your phone and turn it off completely. Once it is off, press Power button and Volume Down (-) button together until you see the Fastboot logo. This indicates your phone enters bootloader mode or fastboot mode.

Step 5 – Now use the USB data cable and connect your phone into your computer. If this the first time you connect your phone to PC, then it should take one or two minutes for your computer to figure out the appropriate drivers and then to install it.

A known common error is that your computer cannot detect your phone. There are several solutions worth trying like:

  • Make sure you have properly installed minimal ADB & Fastboot USB driver.
  • Try to use different USB cable or try different USB port.
  • Try to install Mi Flash Tool since it has all necessary drivers package.
  • Alternatively, you can also install the standalone Xiaomi USB driver.

Step 6 – Assuming the tool has recognized your phone, now in your computer you have to find the location of ADB folder of where the ABD & Fastboot driver software has been installed. Open Windows Explorer and go to that folder which is usually located in System Drive or drive C:\.

Step 7 – Now in Windows Explorer, right-click anywhere inside the ADB folder while holding the Shift button on your keyboard. This will reveals several options. Choose “Open Command Windows from here” or if in Windows 10 choose “Open PowerShell window here“.

Step 8 – A familiar Windows command line interface (cmd) will appear. Now type this command followed by hitting the Enter button o your keyboard:

fastboot devices

This will check the status of connected Android device. Again, you may need to try one of the solution alternatives in Step 5 if no device is displayed there.

Step 9 – Finally, this is the ultimate command line you need to execute in order to unlock Mi A1 bootloader. Type this command and hit Enter again:

fastboot oem unlock

Step 10 – The process should not take longer than 5 minutes. Once the process is done, you need to issue this command to kick your Mi A1 out of Fastboot mode:

fastboot reboot

Your phone now will reboot into normal mode. At this stage you can simply unplug your phone from your computer.

That’s it. Congratulation, your Android One phone is now having an unlocked bootloader. At this stage you are ready for the next big thing: flashing custom recovery and rooting your device.

Have you tried this guide? Do not hesitate to share your experience with us and with many of other readers in the comment section below.

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  • Abhimanyu Pandey

    I’m getting FAILED (Command write failed (Unknown Error)) on putting in the command fastboot oem unlock.

  • Robert Awateng

    My phone is already locked out by accident. i am unable to access Developer options via settings in the phone. How can i enable the developer access and unlock the bootloader options via command line, etc???

    • Fariez NA

      by what you mean “locked out” is it the bootloader being relocked or you are unable to open / have access to your phone?

  • Jeronimo Fausto

    I can´t access to my phone, it´s in a bootloop. How can I enable USB debugging?

    • Fariez NA

      Well, this is basically impossible if you don’t have root access on your phone. If you have, you can ssh to your phone from command line and issue this command:
      settings put global development_settings_enabled 1
      settings put global adb_enabled 1

      Without root access, you need to reset your phone by reinstalling the ROM. You can do that, I recon, via test point method.

  • abdul chalik

    Can I install custom ROM (Ressurection Remix 6.0 for Xiaomi Mi A1) without root my phone only with TWRP?

    • Fariez NA

      yes you basically can. Installing custom rom does not require root. Just make sure you have an unlocked bootloader and custom recovery.

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