How to Unlock and Root Huawei Mate 20

The Huawei Mate 20 is a powerful Android device that comes with a Kirin 980 SoC, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage. Unfortunately, Huawei scrapped their official bootloader unlock program for international devices, so there is no official method to unlock the bootloader on new Huawei devices that come with international firmware.

Fortunately, it is still possible to obtain bootloader unlock codes through third-party services. This carries a fee, but we will only point you in the direction of the third-party services that have a strong reputation with the Android modding community.

After you have obtained a bootloader unlock code, it is simply a matter of flashing some files through ADB, then flashing Magisk for a /systemless root. It is a delicate procedure that involves several files from multiple sources, just follow along closely and comment if anything goes wrong.

Requirements

  • ADB & Fastboot (see Appuals guide How to Install ADB on Windows)
  • Bootloader unlock code (see rest of guide for further information)

A note on current status of bootloader unlocking:

  • Chinese version firmware: OEM Unlock / direct bootloader unlock possible via Developer Options.
  • EU / NA version firmware: OEM Unlock greyed out in developer options. Bootloader unlock possible via FunkyHuawei method if you upgrade to firmware .170, or you can skip FunkyHuawei method and go directly to bootloader unlock if you have received .171 firmware from carrier.

How to get bootloader unlock code?

There are currently two reputable services that offer Huawei BL unlock codes. FunkyHuawei offers a one-time unlock code for $55 USD, or $132 USD for unlimited flashing + BL unlock code.

MinistryofSolutions offers a BL unlock code for $35 USD.

Most enthusiasts will recommend FunkyHuawei, we only mention MinistryofSolutions as an alternative.

FunkyHuawei BL Unlock Method (Recommended)

  1. Create an account at FunkyHuawei.
  2. If you need to download the .170 firmware for EU/NA, purchase 1 FH credit. Otherwise skip if you are already on .170 firmware.
  3. Enable Developer Mode on your Huawei Mate 20. Go to Settings > About > tap Build Number 7 times.
  4. Go to Settings > Developer Options > enable USB Debugging.
  5. Navigate to the “Select Firmware” section, and use LYA-Global if you don’t see your exact model. Choose the .171 version firmware.
  6. Install HiSuite version 9.0.2.301 on your PC.
  7. Run FHHiSuiteInstaller.exe as administrator.
  8. Select the update you want to install on FunkyHuawei’s site.
  9. Put your phone into fastboot mode (with the phone off connect the usb cable while holding volume down, or boot the phone holding volume down with USB cable connected to PC.)
  10. Choose System Recovery in HiSuite.
  11. The update will download, decompress, and install.  Your phone will reboot from fastboot to USB install mode during this process.
  12. Verify your device has been upgraded to the .171 firmware in Settings > About.
  13. Now copy down your BL unlock code from FunkyHuawei (or MoS).
  14. Go into Developer Options and enable OEM Unlock, which should now be available and no longer greyed out.
  15. Prepare a backup of all your important data, because unlocking the bootloader will perform a data reset on your device.
  16. Connect your Huawei Mate 20 to your PC via USB, and launch an ADB terminal (hold Shift + right click in your main ADB folder and choose ‘Open a Command Window Here’).
  17. In the ADB terminal, type the following commands:
    Adb devices = This will prompt a pairing dialogue on your phone, accept it.
    Adb reboot-bootloader
    Fastboot devices
    Fastboot oem unlock xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx = Replace xxxx with your unlock code.
  18. Your phone will proceed to factory reset your data and unlock the bootloader. When its done, you can go through the Android setup wizard, and enable Developer Mode and USB Debugging again.

Root the Huawei Mate 20 with Magisk

  1. Install the Magisk Manager APK on your device.
  2. Launch Magisk Manager and go to Settings > Update Channel. Set it to Custom, and give it the URL https://bit.ly/2N8UVlq – this URL may be subject to change, check this XDA thread.
  3. Go back to Magisk Manager’s main screen, and swipe down the screen to refresh. It should now say Latest Version > v18.0.
  4. You now need the stock RECOVERY_RAMDIS.img file. You can use HW Firmware Finder (see this XDA thread).
  5. You also need the L0C update file, some users report the L09 update file works instead. You also need the update.zip for firmware .171, it can be found in the latest full update version here. An XDA user also posted the ramdisk image (both original and Magisk patched) for Mate 20 Pro LYA-L09, you can use this at your own risk.
  6. Unzip the latest full update version in the previous link, and drag out the UPDATE.APP file within the zip package. Open it with Huawei Firmware Extractor.
  7. In the “Update File” tab, extract and open the UPDATE.APP file. If you receive a checksum error, uncheck both of the “verify checksum” options in Settings > Extract.
  8. You should see a RECOVERY_RAMDIS.img file, right click and extract it.
  9. Send the RECOVERY_RAMDIS.img file to your phone, preferably the SD card for easy access.
  10. Go back to Magisk Manager and tap Install > Patch Boot. Now transfer the patched_boot.img file from your phone to your PC. Place it in your main ADB folder (next to ADB.exe).
  11. Launch a new ADB terminal and type:
    Adb reboot-bootloader
    Fastboot devices
    Fastboot flash recovery_ramdisk patched_boot.img
    Fastboot reboot
  12. Your Huawei Mate 20 will reboot but not have root status yet. Turn off your phone completely with the Power button, disconnect it from the PC, then boot into recovery (Power + Volume Up).
  13. In Recovery Mode, choose to reboot to Android system, and Magisk should now show root status.

Everytime you want to reboot your Huawei Mate 20 into root status mode, you must reboot through the recovery! If you do a simple reboot, it will not retain the root status until you reboot through Recovery again.

An XDA user suggested a useful app that adds a Reboot from Recovery option to your power menu. Find it here.

Kamil Anwar
Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.

Expert Tip

How to Unlock and Root Huawei Mate 20

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