Many people, like myself, look at Google's phones for one specific reason: they have an easily unlocked bootloader. That means when software support runs dry, or you get the itch to root/ROM, you can modify things without having to compound any potential security concerns with additional issues like exploits or undocumented software. If that's your motivation, too, this news could be a small concern. Some Pixel 2s purchased directly from Google seem to have locked-down bootloaders.
Back in 2015, LG officially started allowing customers to unlock bootloaders of select LG phones. You would still void your warranty, but you had the option. Now the bootloader for the 'H840' variant of the LG G5 can be officially unlocked.
By now most orders for the Nexus 6P have been delivered, or at least getting close. If you haven't tried unlocking the bootloader yet, it might come as a surprise that the 'fastboot oem unlock' command no longer works. Attempting to use it with the Nexus 6P fails with a message that it is an unknown instruction. Don't worry, this doesn't have anything to do with drivers, and it isn't a fluke. Google had Huawei replace the oem command in the Nexus 6P bootloader with the new flashing command. Here's what it will look like:
fastboot flashing unlock
fastboot flashing lock
fastboot flashing unlock_critical
fastboot flashing lock_critical
fastboot flashing get_unlock_ability
There are two levels of unlocking: normal and critical.
Ah, Developer Editions, what would we do without you? Probably suck it up and buy the retail versions, since anyone who's actually in the market for a Developer Edition phone on Verizon doesn't have a choice of GSM carriers with unlocked phones. If you've been drooling over the Galaxy Note 4's high-end hardware but lamenting Verizon's locked bootloader policy, Samsung is ready to sell you an unlockable phone. That will be $699.99, please.
The Developer Edition of the Note 4 is identical to the Verizon retail version, up to and including the customized software build with Verizon's bloatware apps. The only difference is that, like most of Samsung's non-carrier devices, the bootloader can be unlocked via a fastboot command.
The T-Mobile version of the LG G3 isn't bootloader locked, but all the others are. That's par for the course, but now you can finally do something about it. Bump! is a new bootloader unlock tool that will allow you to run a full version of TWRP and flash anything that has been "Bump'd."
Much to the chagrin of cell carriers and hardware manufacturers, there are still many in the Android community that choose to delve into the world of hacking and modding their phones. Owners of the Verizon Moto G are certainly in this crowd, and they've been eagerly awaiting a reliable method for unlocking their bootloaders. It turns out that their wait ends today. Sunshine, a tool built by Justin Case, Beaups, and others to unlock HTC and Motorola phones, just gained support for the Moto G on Verizon.
In case you've never heard of SunShine before, you'll want to check out the thread on XDA-Developers for more details, but it's pretty simple.
If you like to mod your Nexus devices but you're also a fan of tight security, you probably already know BootUnlocker. It's a simple app that allows rooted devices to lock and unlock the bootloader without wiping user data. The developer, segv11, is back with v1.5.1 of this handy little utility. The latest update adds support for the WiFi (flo) and LTE (deb) variants of the 2013 Nexus 7 and the ability to set the tamper flag on the Nexus 4 (mako) and Nexus 5 (hammerhead).
Prior to this update, BootUnlocker supported every Nexus device since the Galaxy Nexus with the notable exception of both generations of the Nexus 7.
Did you know it's possible to unlock your Nexus 5 bootloader without wiping user data? If your device has already been rooted and relocked for optimal security, then unlocking is just a button tap away thanks to the latest update to BootUnlocker. Support for Google's latest flagship phone was just added with an update to version 1.4 of the app from XDA member segv11. Sadly, both generations of the Nexus 7 from ASUS remain unsupported.
If you haven't heard about BootUnlocker, it's a simple utility app with a single purpose: toggling the locked state of the bootloader on supported Nexus devices.
It's pretty disheartening to get an awesome new phone only to realize the bootloader's locked down tight. That's means no custom recovery, no ROMs, no custom kernels, no... anything fun. Until, of course, some dedicated developers get ahold of the device in question and bend it to their will. That's exactly what Project FreeGee has done for both the Sprint and AT&T variants of the LG Optimus G.
The tool essentially unlocks the bootloader of both devices, allowing a custom recovery - and eventually, custom ROMs - to be flashed. Of course, it's still in its early stages of development, so a few quirks are to be expected - like invisible text on the bootloader menu (as seen in the above video).