In this page we collected complete tips and tricks on how to unlock ROM bootloader of any MIUI devices. The tutorial will guide you how to properly unlock bootloader on any Xiaomi phones running any MIUI version with locked bootloader. As far as we can remember, Xiaomi has started locking bootloader since MIUI 7 on Redmi Note 3 device. Several Xiaomi phones having the bootloader locked are (as far as we know): Mi 4c, Redmi Note 3, Mi Note Pro, Redmi 3, Mi 4S, Mi 5 and all Mi devices launched in the year 2016 onward. Previously, there have been also several workarounds to hack this restriction by unofficially unlock the bootloader. However, that turns out risky though.
Therefore, we strongly suggest you to go through its official way by requesting the unlock permission from MIUI Developer team which is available from MIUI website. That’s being said, even if you have got the permission, the unlocking procedure might sometimes become complicated. Especially if you do not know how to properly and correctly proceed.
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.
You must firstly have following:
- A Xiaomi device with locked boot loader (e.g: Mi 6, Mi 5, Redmi Note 4, Redmi 4, etc).
- A USB 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). Currently there is no Mac-version of the unlocking tool.
- A valid and confirmed Mi Account.
- Download Mi Flash Unlock tool.
Step 1 – First thing first, you have to apply for permission to unlock. Simply go to this link http://en.miui.com/unlock/ or this link http://www.miui.com/unlock/index_en.html and click the Unlock Now button.
Step 1a – You will then need to login using your Mi Account. However, if the page is displayed in Chinese, simply click the English option at the bottom of the page:
Step 2 – In the next page, you will see the application form. Just fill in the necessary details including your Name, Mobile Phone number, and the reason.
It is important to tell your true reasons of unlocking. Just use your own words and do not copy paste from any websites you have found. Moreover, submit your reason in English only.
Do not also forget to tick at “I confirm that I have read and accepted the unlocking Disclaimer” part.
There is also one important tip that is worth trying: make sure there is no number, spaces and symbol in your Name.
Step 3 – Once done, click that greeny “Apply Now” button.
Step 4 – That’s it. Now you have to do is just to wait for the confirmation SMS.
Step 5 – Now input the verification code into the website.
Step 6 – Once submitted, you will see a message telling you that your request is waiting for review and approval by Xiaomi Developer team.
Step 7 – As you may can see on the website that they will send you an SMS notification within maximum of 10 days. The text will confirm your request has been approved.
There is a chance you missed the text message. In this case, you can simply log in again at http://en.miui.com/unlock/ to check your application status, whether you have been approved to unlock bootloader or been rejected. There is no clear statement whether the request is rejected or approved. However, if the Mi Unlock tool webpage is displayed once you logged in, that means your request has been approved.
On the contrary, if you can see “Reapply” option being displayed, that means your request is rejected. No worries! You can click that option and request for permission again. Alternatively, you can also click this link below:
The Bootloader Unlocking Procedure
Assuming that you have received the confirmation message and your request has been approved, you can now proceed to the real steps of unlocking MIUI bootloader. However, there is an unofficial rule that you better wait for 3 days after the date you received the confirmation. This is not really proved but some people get errors while unlocking sooner than 72 hours after approval. Some says it waits for Xiaomi servers to recognize and to sync their data including your Mi Account with approval.
Step 1 – Grab your phone and enable Developer Options. Open app Settings app and follow this path:
MIUI 8/9 Global:
Settings > about phone > click MIUI Version 7 to 8 times continuously
MIUI 8/9 Dev/Beta:
Settings > My device > All Specs > click MIUI Version 7 to 8 times continuously
Screenshot example on MIUI 9
Step 2 – Within Developer Options, you have to also enable OEM Unlocking and USB Debugging options. Follow this path:
Enable USB Debugging:
Settings > Additional Settings > Developer Options > enable usb debugging
Enable OEM unlocking:
Settings > Additional Settings > Developer Option > enable oem unlocking
Step 3 – Next, you have to bind your approved Mi Account under Mi Unlock Status. However, there is a chance that you will face error in binding the Mi Account. If that happens, for instance error 86012, simply skip this step and try to unlock your device a few days later. However, you may also try to do it again using Free VPN that provides China connection.
To bind your account, go to:
Settings > Additional Setting > Mi unlock status > add account and device
In MIUI 8:
Settings > Additional Setting > Developer Options > Mi unlock status > add account and device
This screen will be displayed once successful:
Step 4 – Next, some say this step is optional but it is really worth to give it a try. Now enable Find Device feature on your device.
Settings > Mi Account > Mi Cloud > enable Find Device
Step 5 – Next, turn on your PC/laptop if you haven’t do it yet. Install Mi Unlock tool that you have downloaded and extracted earlier.
- MiFlash Unlock tool requires at least .NET Frameworks 3.5. You have to firstly install .NET Framework before installing this tool.
- Also, it is strongly advised to Disable Windows Driver Signature on your PC before installing this tool. Otherwise, the included ADB driver won’t be installed properly and hence your computer may not recognize your device.
Step 6 – Click “Agree” when asked. It is important for you to understand all the risks of unlocking bootloader.
Step 7 – Next, signin with your Mi Account. Make sure it is the account that you have approval with.
p.s: It is a good practice to always use latest version of software. Therefore, once logged in, it is better to click on the top right gear button to check for the update for both USB driver and Mi Unlock Tool.
Step 8 – The tool will then checking the bootloader permission status of your account. Once done, it will ask you to connect your device.
Step 9 – 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 10 – Now use the USB data cable and connect your phone into your computer.
A known common error is that your computer (and the tool) cannot detect your phone. There are several solutions worth trying like:
- Make sure you use latest version of Mi Flash Unlock tool.
- Try to use different USB cable or try different USB port.
- Quit Mi Unlock tool for a while and try to install Mi Flash Tool first.
- Alternatively, you can quit Mi Unlock tool for a while and install the standalone Xiaomi USB driver.
Step 11 – Assuming the tool has recognized your phone, now simply click the Unlock button to start.
Step 12 – The tool will start its job. Just sit tight and wait for the tool to complete the unlocking process until the progress bar reaches 100%. Once finished, you will see the “Unlocked Successfully” message.
Step 13 – Finally, click the “Reboot phone” button in the middle of the tool.
Step 14 – Your phone now will reboot into normal mode. At this stage you can simply unplug your phone from your computer and close Mi Unlock tool.
Now you can check the status of your phone’s bootloader by going to:
Settings >> Additional settings >> Developer Options >> Mi Unlock Status
You will then see something similar to this:
That’s it. Congratulation, your Xiaomi 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.
Credits: MIUI Community.