There are multiple reasons to unlock a phone’s bootloader, but the most prominent one is because you want to root. Before rooting a device, you’ll need its bootloader unlocked so you can flash the needed files. Additionally, you’ll need an unlocked bootloader for custom recoveries and ROMs.
So if unlocking your bootloader leads to so many new roads, why wouldn’t you want to unlock your phone?
Why Shouldn’t I Unlock My Bootloader?
Do you ever lock your front door, vehicle, back door, or suspicious entryway? If you don’t want anyone else getting inside and stealing your things, probably. This is the same concept at work with your bootloader. If your bootloader is unlocked, and you have no other way to protect your device, you’re inviting malware and viruses to take up residence.
However, if you have a proper bodyguard sitting on your doorstep, any virus that tries to waltz inside will be tossed out before it can pretend to knock.
I’ve already mentioned why you’d want to unlock your bootloader, so let’s get into what you’ll need.
Here’s What You’ll Need for the Unlocking Process:
- A locked Samsung Galaxy A5. Congratulations if it’s already unlocked, though I’ll have to question why you’re here.
- A USB cable to connect the Galaxy A5 to a PC or Mac.
- The proper drivers need to be installed.
- Next, you’ll need ADB fastboot tools, and your device to be fastboot enabled.
- As an additional requirement, you will need the most recent version of Odin.
The last thing you’ll need is 20 to 30 minutes of your time, and some patience.
As a warning: An OEM unlock will completely erase all data on your device. Before attempting this, make a backup of all important information.
Since an error in the unlock process can turn your A5 into a A-Brick, I’m going to run through the prerequisite steps needed to do an OEM unlock.
Let’s start with downloading the drivers you need. For this step I’ll be using the Samsung website, not the direct link in the section above. Direct your attention to the mobile section.
In this section, select Cell Phones and be ready to input information. You’ll need the name of your carrier, and the phone’s model number.
After you’ve input the information required, follow the onscreen steps to download the needed drivers.
Next up, you’ll need Android SDK tools, if you don’t already have them.
The full package that’s recommended to download is a large file, so be careful if you don’t have bandwidth to spare. You do not need to download the full Android Studio, as all you really need are the SDK tools.
Installing ADB tools and learning how they work can take time, so please refer to a full guide for installation.
Next, make sure your phone is not connected to your PC, and is powered off completely. You’ll be connecting it soon, but for now you’ll need it powered off before entering the bootloader.
From here on out, you’ll need to be familiar with the command prompt, or command line. You won’t be doing anything as complex as instructing your device to go bake a cake. However, you’ll at least need to enter some short commands to continue.
Navigate to your platform tools folder. This will be the folder that has your fastboot.exe and adb.exe on PC.
Once in your platform tools folder, open a command window. You can do this in the folder itself by hitting shift + right-click to open a new menu. On that menu, select: open command window here.
Next you’ll need to test your fastboot and ADB connections before proceeding. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to unlock the bootloader with a few commands.
With your phone powered off, connect it to your PC via USB cable. Once it has been connected:
- Power the phone back on.
Once the phone is turned on again, turn to your command prompt and enter the command:
- abd reboot bootloader
Enter that command exactly as shown above, and in a few moments, your phone should boot into the bootloader.
Now that you’re in the bootloader, we have two more checks to perform to see if everything is functioning properly.
Enter the command:
- adb version
This should result in the command prompt displaying the version of ADB you currently have installed.
Next, enter the command:
- fastboot devices
Entering this should show your serial number in the command prompt. If you don’t see your serial number, you haven’t done the install correctly and should repeat the above steps.
With this last check complete, you can now perform the OEM unlock.
One Final Warning!
As an additional warning, unlocking your bootloader will make your device more vulnerable to malicious software.
Once you’ve made sure all of your important data is safe and backed up, enter this command:
- fastboot oem unlock
As this is a very serious decision, you will be asked to confirm it on your phone. You can use your volume keys to scroll and select your decision. This may take some time, but once the process has finished completely, input the command:
- fastboot reboot
Once your phone has rebooted, you’ve successfully unlocked the bootloader.
Most of the time it takes to unlock the Samsung A5 bootloader is spent by downloading the required files. The actual unlock process, while intimidating, will only take a few minutes at best. Once your bootloader is unlocked, so is the door to opportunity. Now that the door is wide open, you can do whatever you want with your phone, when you want.
If you had any trouble unlocking your bootloader, or are still curious on what to do next, leave a comment below. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible with assistance.