Xiaomi may have revolutionised the smartphone industry across the globe by offering cheap handsets with attractive specifications, but not without disappointing MIUI fans and developers. It has started locking bootloader for its devices, and the recently-released Redmi Note 3 came with a locked bootloader.
The Chinese mobile phone-maker said it has to lock the bootloader to comply with Google's Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) guidelines, but it is surely against the interest the developer community.
"We've locked bootloader for Redmi Note 3 since its launching in order to protect user data safety. As we said before, we'll be making the same change for other Mi devices gradually. Now, the list will include Mi 4c and Mi Note Pro also," announced Xiaomi on the MIUI community forum (via XDA).
The company said it has decided to lock the bootloader to prevent sale of duplicate Mi products and easy use of lost or stolen devices by flashing a new ROM onto them. It went on to say that locking the bootloader would not affect normal OTA updates but ROOT would be disabled if the user enabled it before. (Enabling ROOT will need to unlock bootloader). Also, recovery mode would be changed and devices with locked bootloaders cannot update using Miflash (bootloader will need to be unlocked).
Locking the bootloader could have been done for better user experience, but it is certainly against the interest of developers. The company has also started locking bootloaders for Mi 4c and the Mi Note Pro.
To appease MIUI fans, the company has provided tools to unlock the bootloader for those who like to tweak their devices (Unlocking Tutorial).
The unlocking procedure is simple, but will need Internet access to get the unlocking password. Unlocking the bootloader may be avoided if you don't have good knowledge about Android, flashing, and custom ROM, as it can cause serious damage to your device or personal data.