[Update: Will be reversed with OTA] The Nokia 7.2 could be the first HMD Global phone to ship with an unlockable bootloader
If there’s one thing that hasn’t sat well with our users regarding Nokia/HMD Global devices, it is how developer-unfriendly these phones are. After all, these phones are not bootloader unlockable. Without bootloader unlock, most mods, including rooting and custom ROMs, become simply impossible to achieve, closing a lot of doors for power users interested in modding their devices. Nokia’s constant reluctance to allow bootloader unlocking, as well as broken promises to allow it in the past, has not helped its cause either, but the Finnish company may be looking into reversing course in this stance. The Nokia 7.2 was recently launched as one of HMD Global’s most competent midrange devices, but it’s also apparently the first phone to ship with an unlockable bootloader.
Indeed, the device’s bootloader can be unlocked very straightforwardly without going through any weird hoops and workarounds by enabling OEM unlocking in developer settings and unlocking it through fastboot just like you would unlock any other phone out there. Once the bootloader is unlocked, users are free to do whatever they want with their phones, including, but not limited to, installing a custom recovery like TWRP, rooting, and flashing custom ROMs (either in the form of GSIs or device-specific ROMs). Previously, Nokia users were mostly out of luck when it came to unlocking their phones’ bootloaders, and as such, were forced to remain completely stock.
Have in mind, however, that there is a possibility that this is just a massive accident or mistake on HMD Global’s part, and that they didn’t mean to ship the phone with an unlockable bootloader. This is something that can be easily fixed with a software update if they wanted to. As such, if you bought a Nokia 7.2 and you want to mod it, then go ahead and unlock your phone as soon as possible, and avoid taking any over-the-air updates until HMD Global actually speaks out on this.
Update: Ability to unlock bootloader will be reversed with future OTA
As widely feared, the ability to unlock the bootloader on the Nokia 7.2 and Nokia 6.2 was a mistake and completely unintentional. There has been no change in HMD Global’s stance on unlocking bootloaders. A company spokesperson issued the following statement to Nokiamob.net:
There is no change to our policy of allowing unlocking bootloader on Nokia phones. This was an inadvertent miss in the case of Nokia 7.2 and we will be issuing a maintenance release to remove the option. We regret the inconvenience and would like to remind our consumers that unlocking the bootloader will lead to the warranty on their Nokia phone becoming void.
This is a tricky situation for users who were looking forward to getting their bootloaders unlocked, as not only do they lose warranty, but there is also a possibility of bricking their devices if they inadvertently accept an OTA (depending on how HMD Global executes this maneuver). It’s a bad situation to be in, as locking the bootloader will curtail the scope of development on the device, because of which there will be fewer notable development projects available for interested users.
If you are interested in unlocking the bootloader of your Nokia 7.2 or Nokia 6.2, do it while you still can.