How to Unlock The Essential Phone Bootloader

Although a user of the Essential phone does not necessarily need to request for official permission from the developers of the Essential phone, the process of unlocking bootloader is a little bit arduous, especially for those considered novice users. Therefore, we want to share you the proper method on how to successfully unlock the bootloader of an Essential phone which in this case is the PH-1 device.

While for some other brands (like Xiaomi) unlocking bootloader will not wipe the data, it is still a best practice to create a complete backup of all your essential data including contacts, messages, photos, videos, and so on. Unlocking bootloader can somehow mean as performing factory reset especially when things have gone wrong. It would be very pity if the way you unlock bootloaders lets the phone into a bricked device. Hence, please read this guide thoroughly before actually implementing all the steps. You have to make sure that you have understood with all information presented within this tutorial article.

Pre-requisites

You will need:

  1. An Essential phone with a locked bootloader.
  2. A Windows computer either a laptop or a desktop PC.
  3. A USB data cable to connect the phone to the computer. Make sure it is not a “charge-only” cable.
  4. Download the official Essential USB Windows Driver.

Unlocking The Bootloader

Step 1 – First, you have to enable the Developer Options on your phone. Open up the “Settings” app then go to “System”. Locate the “About Phone” section and tap on the Build Number several times (most likely 7x) until you have seen “You are now a developer.” The sequence is:

Settings > System > About Phone > Tap build number 7 times

Step 2 – A new menu which is “Developer Options” is now displayed in the Settings area. Now go back to System then tap Developer Options, and enable OEM Unlocking option.

Settings > System > Developer Options > turn on "OEM Unlocking" option

Step 3 – Now on your computer, install the newly downloaded Essential Phone USB drivers software. This software includes all the necessary ADB and Fastboot files for your computer to properly recognize your device.

Step 4 – Next, go back to your phone. This time you need to turn it off completely. Once it is off, press and hold the Power button and Volume Down (-) button together simultaneously until it enters Fastboot mode (which is also known as Bootloader mode). Finally, connect the phone to the computer.

Alternatively, if you cannot enter Fastboot mode using the manual method above, you may also try this one. Turn on your phone as it normally is. Next, connect it to your computer using its USB cable. Make sure it is in MTP mode connection. Now issue the following command:

adb reboot bootloader

Step 5 – Wait! If you never know how to issue ADB and Fastboot command before, then this is how to do it. Download and install the Minimal ADB & Fastboot files. Open up Windows Explorer and go to C:\adb. Hold down the Shift button while right-clicking on an empty area then choose “Open command window from here” or “Open PowerShell window here.

Step 6 – A command prompt window will appear in which you can then issue any ADB command from there. Now try by issuing this command (type the command and hit Enter on your keyboard):

fastboot devices

The command above should return with a list of attached device. However, if for some reasons, there is no attached device, you may need to either reinstall the USB driver, check the USB port, or use a different USB cable.

Step 7 – Now issue this main command to unlock the bootloader:

fastboot flashing unlock

Step 8 – Next, pay attention to your phone. A message will be displayed. Press the Volume Down (-) button to navigate through the options, and select “Yes”. Press the Power button to confirm choosing the “Yes” option.

Step 9 – Simply wait for the phone to reboot. It will then reboot again into normal mode.

Congratulation, your Essential phone now has an unlocked bootloader. You can then proceed to install a custom recovery (like TWRP) and gain root access to it.

Alternative Method

There is a small chance that you might end up fail during the unlocking process. If this is the case, you can try using this command instead:

fastboot devices -i 0x2e17
fastboot -i 0x2e17 flashing unlock
fastboot -i 0x2e17 flashing lock

That’s it. At this point, you have to make sure you can keep better security for your own phone since the bootloader has been unlocked. Every manufacturer has their own version of bootloader specific for the hardware present in its environment. The manufacturer locks this device-specific bootloader to prevent any altering attempt. That is why at this point your warranty might void. Therefore, do whatever you want to do and then, it is possible, re-lock it again.

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