What is OEM Unlock on Android (Everything You Need to Know)

Last Updated: October 20th, 2023By Categories: Android Unlock

If you’re an avid Android fan who’s updated with the developments in Android OS, you might be familiar with the OEM Unlock feature. But if you’re just starting to explore and experiment with the Android system, OEM unlock is an essential feature you need to get to know.

So, in this article, we are going to tell you everything there is to know about OEM unlocking, including how to find and enable it. Read on!

OEM Unlock Poster

Part 1: What is OEM Unlock

For starters, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) unlock is a feature that allows you access to the bootloader (the bridge between the Android operating system and the hardware). It basically lets you make major changes or customize your device through rooting, flashing, and the like.

However, you don’t typically see this feature hanging around your phone Settings. Manufacturers of Android phones and Google itself have it hidden by default so average users don’t damage their phones out of curiosity.

OEM Unlock Settings

OEM Unlock is reserved for advanced users and Android developers. That’s why it can only be accessed through the Developer Options. And even the Dev. Opt. is hidden, too. You can’t open it unless you know how to make it appear.

What Happens When You Enable OEM Unlock

In case you’re considering activating OEM Unlock, it’s necessary that you know what comes with it. That way, you can assess the risks and advantages that you may encounter. Here are the common things that happen when OEM Unlock is turned on.

  • Removes restriction of the Admin settings and Bootloader
  • Allows rooting and flashing of custom ROMs and Kernels
  • Allows uninstalling of preinstalled applications.
  • Enables partition management.
  • Allows you to install the latest Android OS version compatible with your device.
  • Gives privileges to overclocking and underclocking the CPU (to maximize performance or save battery)

Those were only a few of the many things you can do with OEM Unlock at your disposal. However, it’s important that you don’t do them incorrectly to avoid bricking or permanently damaging your phone.

Note:

In some cases, OEM unlock can also be used to bypass Google Account Verification after a factory reset.

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Part 2: How to Enable OEM Unlock

There are two easy ways to enable OEM Unlock: via phone Settings or ADB (Android Debug Bridge). If the former works, you don’t need to do the latter.

Enable OEM Unlock via Phone Settings

This method involved activating the Developer Options first. Also, the steps below are for Samsung phones. But don’t worry, the procedure is the same with other Android phone brands.

Step 1

Open Settings and scroll down to About phone. There, tap on Software Information. Then, look for Build Number and tap it 7 times in a row or until you see “You are a developer now”.

Build Number Samsung

Step 2

Go back to Settings and you should find the Developer Options under About Phone. In there, scroll down a bit and you can find OEM Unlock. Just toggle it on and you can do what you want with your phone afterward.

Enable OEM Unlock via ADB on Samsung and other Android Phones

Sometimes, the Developer Options may not be available due to glitches or whatnot. Don’t lose hope. This is an alternate route to enable OEM Unlock without Developer Options on Samsung and other brands. However, USB Debugging must be enabled before the DO went missing.

All you need is ADB or Android Debug Bridge. It’s a tool that you install on a computer and it can send certain commands on your phone, including enabling OEM Unlock.

Step 1

On your computer, go to the official Android developer’s website to download and install the tool. Then, connect your phone using a compatible USB cable. It should not be faulty to avoid interrupting the process.

ADB Command Window

Step 2

Next, you need to open a command window on your PC. You can find it by searching “Command Prompt” on the Windows search bar. Then, enter the command “adb oem unlock”. Your device will then require you to enter the Bootloader code

For Samsung phones, you can get the code for your device on the official Samsung webpage. For other brands, refer to your respective official web pages or contact customer support to get it.

Step 3

Once you have the bootloader code, enter it and your device will automatically reboot. After it restarts, you will see the OEM Unlock is activated.

To verify that OEM Unlock is completely enabled,  paste “adb oem device-info” on the command window. The “Device Unlocked” status should indicate “true”. Otherwise, the activation failed and you may need to try again.

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Part 3: How to Fix OEM Unlock Missing on Android

Well, you can’t enable something if you can’t find it. That’s also true for OEM Unlock. There are reports that it goes missing sometimes, which is a big issue if you really need to use it for modifying your phone. The good news is there are ways to fix it.

Fix 1: Restart your Phone to Fix OEM Unlock Missing

If you suspect that the issue is caused by a minor system glitch, restarting the device could quickly fix it. Doing so will refresh the system and settings of your device, which consequently removes errors.

Just hold the Power key and tap on Reboot/Restart. After that, just check the Developer Options if OEM Unlock is there.

Fix 2: Fix OEM Unlock Missing via Settings

This fix involves manipulating the actual date & time on your phone, which tricks the system into showing OEM Unlock. Please note that the steps below were done on a Samsung device. Feel free to try it on other brands as well.

Step 1

Go to Settings and scroll down to General Management. In there, tap on “Date and time”. Then, disable the Automatic Date and Time option to access the manual settings. Next, set a date that’s 7 days or more before today.

Samsung Date Time Settings

Step 2

Step back to the main Settings and go down to About phone. Select System Information and tap the Build Number 7 times to enable the Developer Options. Then, go back again and you should be able to access DO under About phone.

Samsung Settings Developers Options

Step 3

In the Developer Options, look for Automatically Updated System and toggle it off. Then, go back to the main Settings again, and tap on Software Update and Auto Download & Install. Set it to “Do not allow”. Finally, restart the phone.

The OEM Unlock feature should show up after the restart. Check it on the Developer Options to confirm whether this method works for your phone.

Fix 3: Fix OEM Unlock Missing on Android by Removing the SIM Card

Carrier restrictions and mobile networks may interfere with the methods above. If that’s the case and they really fail to work, we recommend you remove the SIM card this time. Then, do the previous fixes again.

But if removing the SIM still doesn’t work, it may be time to visit a professional technician for Android phones. They would surely know how to fix the issue with their more advanced tools.

Conclusion

OEM Unlock is definitely an important feature when it comes to customizing your Android phone. If you know how to take advantage of it, you can definitely improve your Android experience to the next level. So, if you are planning on modding your phone’s software, getting to know OEM Unlock and how it works should be your priority.

FAQs

When you enable OEM Unlocking, the bootloader gets unlocked. This will allow you to customize your device through rooting, flashing ROM, etc. The process also includes factory reset, which erases all the phones data, including the ones stored in the internal storage.

OEM Unlock is safe for advanced Android users, especially technicians. However, it can be dangerous for regular users as it involves tinkering with the phone’s internal settings, which may cause permanent data loss or damage to the device.

The main advantage of OEM unlocking is access to administrative settings and features, which are not available for regular Android users. It unlocks the bootloader, allowing flashing custom firmware, rooting, modding, and even installing of apps restricted by manufacturers.

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