Some Vivo devices with Qualcomm processors can now be bootloader unlocked, unofficially
What’s the best modding-friendly Android OEM in the market right now? Depending on who you ask this question to, the answer could range from Google to OnePlus to Xiaomi to something else entirely. And that is perfectly alright, as each of those companies have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to aftermarket development, and they satisfy different needs for different people. But if you were looking to buy an affordable smartphone solely for modding, Vivo will confidently not be your first choice.
While OPPO, OnePlus, Realme, and Vivo(/iQOO) are all under the BBK Electronics umbrella, OnePlus has become the more obvious choice to those who wish to tinker with their devices and would like to retain their warranty while they are at it. An easily-unlockable bootloader and the availability of the kernel sources (well, at least partial) are the catalysts in this journey. Vivo, on the other hand, made the modding scene extremely difficult. The company neither offers an official bootloader unlocking method nor releases the kernel sources for the devices they sell. That’s where the XDA community comes in.
After fiddling with Vivo’s custom Fastboot interface for a while, XDA members Pervokur and Killuminati91 have managed to find a somewhat generic method to unlock the bootloader of a handful of phones from the Chinese OEM. Yes, the following devices now have been confirmed to have unlocked bootloaders:
- Vivo V21e
- Vivo X70 Pro Plus
- Vivo Y31
There are a few caveats to this unofficial method, though. Firstly, this apparently applies only to the Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC-powered device variants. Next, unlocking the bootloader disables the fingerprint reader, at least on the Vivo X70 Pro Plus. The final caveat, which is a minor one, is that you will have to flash a custom vendor image using a modified Fastboot binary and rely on a race condition for the bootloader to be unlocked.
Nonetheless, this is an exciting development for Vivo device owners, allowing them to have the best of both worlds: a bang-for-your-buck smartphone, which is also capable of running aftermarket software. If you’re interested, head on over to the linked threads below and read through all the requirements and step-by-step instructions needed to unlock the bootloader of your Vivo phone.
What are your thoughts on this development? Would you like the bootloader unlock to be extended to other Vivo smartphones as well? Let us know in the comments below!