Unlocking A Xiaomi Bootloader


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November 10, 2019

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Guide

bootloaderunlockxiaomi

Xiaomi phones have soared in popularity over the last couple of years, with consumers drawn in by their bargain pricing and decent specifications.

I recently purchased a Redmi 7A, and wanted to replace the MIUI software that comes preinstalled.

Xiaomi provide an unlock tool, which in theory, should make the process straightforward. In my experience, that was not the case, with the Mi websites proving difficult to navigate. This guide should make the process easier.

Before you start, be sure to make backups of anything on your device that you wish to keep, as unlocking will erase all user data.

Authorising the Unlock

The first step to unlock your bootloader is to configure both your phone and Mi account, to allow an unlock to take place.

Log in to your Mi account, using the following link: Mi Account Login. If you don’t have an account, you will need to create one.

Once you have logged in, you will need to add your phone number to the account recovery info. Without this, the unlock tool will not allow you to unlock your bootloader.

Phone number
A phone number has been added to the account.

The next step is to bind your Mi account to your phone.

To do this, you will need to first enable developer mode. To do this, navigate to ‘Settings >> About’. You should see something similar to the below.

About
Redmi 7A about page.

Tap the ‘MIUI Version’ section 7 times. When you do this, you should see a small notification at the bottom of the screen, counting down the taps required.

After 7 taps, the notification will inform you that developer mode is now enabled.

Next, go back to the ‘Settings’ page, and select ‘Additional Settings’. Towards the bottom, you will find the ‘Developer Options’ menu.

In this menu, you will find an option called ‘Mi Unlock Status’. When you select this, you will be asked to grant permissions to access a few phone/account related details.

Unlock status
The ‘Mi Unlock Status’ page, asking for permissions.

If you are happy to proceed, press ‘Agree’.

Now select ‘Add Account and Device’. Sign in to your Mi account when prompted. Once you have done this, you should receive a notification that your phone is now tied to your account. Note that the device does not tell you if your account is already linked, so if you navigate back to this page it will prompt you to complete the process again. This is not necessary.

With this complete, it is necessary to wait for one week before the bootloader can be unlocked. Once this time period is over, or if you’re unsure how long you have left, move on to the next step.

Using the Unlock Tool

To complete the unlocking process, you will need to download the Mi Unlock Tool. If you’re having trouble downloading a copy from the MIUI site, you can grab a copy of the version I used here.

Extract the ZIP file, and run ‘miflash_unlock.exe’. Sign in to your Mi account when prompted.

Missing phone
Tool is waiting for a phone connection.

You should now see something similar to the image above.

Enter fastboot mode on your phone, by holding the volume down key along with the power button to turn the device on.

Fastboot
Boot your device into ‘fastboot’ mode.

Connect the device to your PC. It should be recognised by the unlock tool. If it isn’t try re-running the tool, with the device still connected.

Connected
The phone is now connected to the PC, and recognised by the tool.

Now click the ‘Unlock’ button.

Prompt 1
Click ‘Unlock anyway’ at the prompt…

Yes.

Prompt 2
…and the second prompt.

Very yes.

Complete
The bootloader is now unlocked.

Finally…

Congratulations, you now have an unlocked bootloader! You will notice that the boot logo has now changed, featuring a small padlock with the word ‘unlocked’ at the bottom of the screen.

Check out my upcoming article for details on how to flash AOSP onto the Redmi 7A.

Troubleshooting

If you’re having trouble with this process, check out the common issues below.

Missing phone
Phone is not being detected by the tool.

Ensure the device is recognised by the PC. Windows should automatically configure the device, but you may need to install the drivers included in the Mi Unlock Tool download.

Missing number
Unlock failed due to a missing recovery phone number.

If you receive this error message, it means your Mi account does not have an account recovery phone number attached. Follow the first part of this guide to ensure one is added.

Impatient
Still time left to wait.

Once your device is added to your account, you will need to wait one week before the unlock can take place. Wait for the period of time outlined by the tool, and try again.