Historically, Xiaomi phones have always been bootloader unlockable. Despite that their bootloader unlocking process can be incredibly annoying (mostly because of the long waiting times), that it’s still possible elevates Xiaomi smartphones in the minds of power users. The availability of bootloader unlocking on top of decent performance at low prices have made Xiaomi phones wildly popular on XDA. I’ve personally bought 2 of their devices (the Redmi Note 4 and the Mi A1) in the past because of the large developer community behind them.
That’s why the news we heard this morning was shocking. The company was allegedly closing down bootloader unlocking for their devices next month. Word quickly spread from Chinese social media to various international Telegram groups and finally to Reddit. Xiaomi fans feared that the company would be following Huawei’s footsteps by blocking popular devices like the POCO F1, the Xiaomi Mi A2, and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro from rooting, installing TWRP, or AOSP-based custom ROMs. We quickly reached out to our contacts at Mi India for clarification, and the company’s representatives have come out publicly to debunk the rumors. Xiaomi devices will remain bootloader unlockable for the foreseeable future.
Were the news to be true, it would have been a fatal blow to the developer community given how popular their budget and mid-range devices are. Xiaomi’s bootloader unlock waiting times, anti-rollback protection measures, and out-of-region MIUI restrictions still make us worry, but we’re glad to see the company come out so publicly in favor of independent custom development. We praise Xiaomi for their decision to continue providing bootloader unlock codes and hope that the company does not renege on their statements. We’re still waiting on the Mi Pad 4’s kernel source code, after all.
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