What is: A Bricked Phone?

When someone makes a device unusable, they refer to it as a ‘bricked’. Just like bricks are nothing except hard objects used for construction, the phone also becomes as useless a brick. There is a lot of misconception on what a bricked phone is. A bricked phone cannot be recovered and is lost forever. So if you hear that a ‘bricked’ phone was fixed, the phone was probably not bricked at all.

In this article, we will go through all the details on what bricking it and what you can do to avoid rendering your phone useless forever.

What is ‘Bricking’?

Like mentioned before, bricking signifies that a device has turned into a brick. The electronic might be worth hundreds of dollars but is now as useful as a brick (maybe not ‘that’ useful too). You cannot use a bricked phone and it refuses to turn on or do any operation.

A bricked phone cannot be fixed using normal methods. If someone says that their phone was bricked but they fixed it using a factory restore, it means that the phone wasn’t bricked in the first place. There is a lot of misconception amongst people who refer to a phone as ‘bricked’ in different contexts so make sure you confirm each time.

How does a phone get ‘bricked’?

A phone cannot get bricked ‘randomly’ or just out of the blue. They are bricked when their firmware or low-level system initializers are overwritten.

For example, suppose you have an iPhone, Android smartphone, a smartwatch, or anything which has a firmware. You see a notification that updated firmware is available for your computer so you start the firmware update process.

If during the updating of the firmware, your device turns off because of low power, you turn it off deliberately, or there is a power outage, your device gets bricked. If the firmware is half written and the operation is disrupted, you will no longer be able to use the device.

This is the reason why all manufacturer’s pop the warning “DO NOT turn off power” when your firmware is updating. Even routers can be bricked if they are interrupted during their framework update process.

This doesn’t include cases from higher levels of software. For example, if you are updating your Windows and the power goes out, you will still be able to reuse your computer after installing a fresh version. However, if you lose power when your BIOS is being updated, chances are that your PC will become bricked and you will not be able to use it.

What to do if your device is bricked?

There are some steps which you take in hopes of fixing your device and bringing it back to life. These methods are not guaranteed to work for all cases but you can still try.

  • Like mentioned before, it is not possible to fix a device if it is bricked. However, nowadays many devices include a failsafe method which allows the devices to be recovered. These recovery methods are included in BIOS (BIOS recovery feature when the flashing is interrupted), smartphones (DFU mode) etc.

 

  • If you were updating the firmware on your phone and your phone became bricked by itself, it means that the manufacturer is at fault. Contact your manufacturer and also bring along your warranty if it is valid.
  • You can also try advanced options by taking your device to device experts who can recover a bricked device by different technical methods such as soldering a JTAG header onto a circuit board and connecting the JTAG cable to your computer. 
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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What is: A Bricked Phone?

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