Xiaomi Bootloader Unlock Times Seemingly Increased to 2 Months

For some strange reason, users of Xiaomi phones that want to unlock their bootloaders are reporting waiting times of up to two months for their official bootloader unlock code from Xiaomi.

While some manufacturers like to lock down the bootloaders of their devices to prevent device tampering, a further subsection of these device manufacturers offer official bootloader unlock request methods (usually through an online application form) – you fill out a short online form, and receive an unlock code via email, which you type into ADB.

Reddit user’s screenshot of Xiaomi wait time.

Unlocking the bootloader of an Android device has always been extremely easy on devices like the Google Pixel 2 and OnePlus 6, whereas bootloader unlock request forms are more popular in Chinese manufactured devices – Huawei, for example, offered a simple bootloader unlock method until they recently stopped offering it altogether. Xiaomi’s particular reason for locking their bootloaders and forcing a waiting period is to combat resellers that sell devices with modified software (AKA stolen devices that could easily be wiped if the bootloader was easily unlocked).

We’re not exactly sure what is going on over at Xiaomi, except that a bootloader request through the Mi Unlock tool typically only takes 15 days (it was actually originally 3 days, but was increased to 15 days earlier this year). But it seems users are reporting that the waiting time has been increased significantly, as long as 2 months for some.

This is extraordinarily peculiar, and we have to wonder if Xiaomi has done this intentionally, following in Huawei’s footsteps and steering people away from unlocking their bootloaders (and thus preventing phones from being rooted, which is a major blow to a modder’s ability to customize their device) – a bit sad if you think about it, since Android is an open source operating system, and yet so many device manufacturers seem to want you to be limited solely to how they want you to use the device.

Particularly concerning about this increased wait time is that Xiaomi announced they would support the development community on the Poco F1, so again we’re not sure if these increased waiting times are some kind of mistake, or if Xiaomi is intentionally hampering the modding community.

Because Xiaomi has always been particularly friendly towards modders and developers, we’re willing to hope this is all some kind of mistake that will soon be fixed – unlocking the bootloader is a requirement to installing custom recoveries, rooting the device, and installing third-party ROMs – so we’re really hoping Xiaomi isn’t going to become just another brand that locks you to their “brand experience”.

Of course, on a less optimistic note, this could certainly be intentional as Xiaomi grows as a worldwide company – and stock ROMs like MIUI typically come bundled with pre-installed software, which companies typically don’t want you to remove from an investment point of view.

We will stay on top of this developing story and update this article if and when Xiaomi makes any kind of official statement regarding this matter.

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.