Doublecheck before starting: unlocking bootloader, custom rom, custom recovery

1. Unlocking bootloader

If you’d like to tweak your phone, you will have to unlock your bootloader. Simple as that. For some phones this is really easy, for others it’s a bit harder. Nevertheless, a bootloader can almost always be unlocked. Find out if you can unlock your phones bootloader by searching for your phone’s model and type on a privacy friendly search engine like duckduckgo.com. Do you manage to be able to unlock your phones bootloader? Then you can proceed to step two.

2. Downloading your custom rom

In section three, we will guide you through installing LineageOS on your device. I can hear you thinking: What is LineageOS? Lineage is a custom rom. And what is a custom rom? It is a customized version of Android. The Android operating system is an open source project. Google made it open-source, so that it would be easy for phone manufacturers worldwide to implement Android on their phones. Because it is open-source, everyone can come in and duplicate the code and transform it to match it’s own needs. And that’s what the team behind LineageOS did. It is basically Android, without Google. As is says on their website: “LineageOS is an operating system for smartphones, tablet computers, and set-top boxes, based on Android with mostly free and open-source software”.

Please note that just installing LineageOS is not enough to maintain your privacy, that’s not necessarily where they are focussing on. There is a lot of work to be done after installing LineageOS. Also see the lesson ‘Can we solve those main problems?‘.

Find the custom LineageOS rom that suits your device. There is a big world of developers out there that are doing great work with customizing roms so that they are available for every device. Make sure you are getting the correct one that is compatible with your phone model.

Search for the custom rom in the following order:

  1. Check the LineageOS website: https://download.lineageos.org/
  2. Search the XDA developers forum: https://forum.xda-developers.com/
  3. Last but not least. If you can’t find your phone on above sources, use a privacy-friendly search engine like duckduckgo.com. E.g.: LineageOS rom Redmi Note 6.

Download the file to a newly created folder on your desktop called ‘android-privacy’.

3. Downloading your recovery

Next to your LineageOS custom rom, you should also be able to download a recovery for your device. The bootloader is the first piece of software that starts when you boot your phone. After that comes the recovery. It’s a place where you can install a new system, root your device, install applications, making backups and much more. When you mess up your system one way or the other, you can always get back into your recovery to fix things. In this course we are going to use TWRP recovery. It’s the most widely used recovery software for people that like to install a custom rom on their device. Just like in the case of LineageOS, you should download a version of TWRP that’s specifically made for your device.

Look for the right version of TWRP in the following order:

  1. Check the TWRP website: https://twrp.me/Devices/
  2. Search the XDA developers forum: https://forum.xda-developers.com/
  3. Last but not least. If you can’t find your phone on above sources, use a privacy-friendly search engine like duckduckgo.com. E.g.: TWRP recovery Redmi Note 6

Download the file to the ‘android-privacy‘ folder you created when downloading LineageOS.

Is it possible to unlock your bootloader and did you manage to download LineageOS and TWRP for your device? Then congratulations, you are ready to head on to section three. Let’s get things going! Section 3 will be available starting the 12th of december.

Give me access to the Section 3

My bootloader cannot be unlocked, what can I do?

When you can’t unlock the bootloader of your phone you can’t root your phone. And when you can’t root your phone, it basically owns you. We strongly advise you to buy a new phone. We are big fans of the Xiaomi Redmi Note series because of the great specs you are getting for a small amount of money. This is probably because those phones are filled up with bloatware by default, but we are getting rid of that anyway!

Where can I find my phone brand + type?

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Clare Galloway

Hi, Android-privacy 😀 Thank you for this fabulous course – I’m very much appreciating all that you’re sharing, and hoping to progress from here… I’m stuck on the bootloader step, however – I can’t seem to find a clear set of steps to help me ‘unlock the bootloader’. Below is the closest I can find to my Android 9, from https://forum.xda-developers.com/ But I’m stuck on the first steps here: Where do I find my serial number of the phone? How do I ‘reboot in fastboot mode’? Many thanks if anyone can respond here. Good wishes and gratitude, Clare For Android… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Clare Galloway
Clare Galloway

Hi, thanks Wesley! It’s a Nokia Android 9, TA-1032

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