Xiaomi has revealed controversial new restrictions that limit bootloader unlocking on its latest Android phones shipping with HyperOS. The change deals a blow to modders and developers who rely on unlocking to customize their devices, install custom ROMs, run unofficial software, and more.
The Chinese tech giant confirmed to Android Authority that it is disabling bootloader unlocking by default on HyperOS smartphones. Xiaomi claims the move provides “users with a more secure and stable user experience” and prevents data leakage.
However, the inability to unlock the bootloader has prompted backlash among Xiaomi’s most loyal fans and tinkerers.
Xiaomi Forces HyperOS Users to Request Bootloader Unlocking Permission
According to the statement emailed to Android Authority, Xiaomi HyperOS users will have to apply for permission through the company’s community forum to unlock bootloaders. Xiaomi stated:
“Please stay tuned for the announcement of the application portal on the Xiaomi Community website.”
This requirement adds an extra barrier compared to other brands like OPPO and OnePlus that allow bootloader unlocking directly on the device. It mirrors existing restrictions for MIUI, Xiaomi’s long-standing Android skin that HyperOS replaces.
Unlocking the bootloader is the first step for enthusiasts seeking deeper control and customization on Xiaomi phones. Therefore, the new permissions process represents a frustration for modders.
Harsher Bootloader Unlocking Limitations Introduced for Chinese HyperOS Users
According to reports, Chinese HyperOS users face even stricter unlocking rules. Requirements appear to include reaching “level five” status on Xiaomi’s community forums before applying for a three-time-per-year bootloader unlock permission.
Meanwhile, global users await details on the HyperOS unlocking process. But any restrictions pose problems for developers and tinkerers worldwide who wish to unleash the full potential of Xiaomi’s hardware via custom ROMs and mods.
Brands like OnePlus and Google impose few, if any, barriers to bootloader unlocking. This highlights how Xiaomi’s approach stands out as particularly restrictive.
Unlocking HyperOS or MIUI 14 Bootloader Prevents Future Updates
Xiaomi also revealed another blow to modders and developers – unlocking your HyperOS or MIUI 14 bootloader prevents future HyperOS updates even if you re-lock later.
This punitive measure limits unofficial software development on Xiaomi phones. Those who unlock the bootloader risk being stuck on older, potentially insecure Android versions.
The combined restrictions represent a stark shift for a brand that originally encouraged tinkering. They are sure to stir complaints among Xiaomi’s power users and fans in the modding community.
HyperOS is Xiaomi’s new Android skin that replaces MIUI on phones like the recently-launched Xiaomi 14 series in China. The controversial unlocking limitations threaten to hamper developer support for HyperOS as the skin eventually launches globally on some of 2024’s most hotly anticipated Android flagships.