How to Use Reboot to Bootloader on Android

If you have been using an Android device for quite some time, you have likely seen this option called bootloader on your device. If you are not sure what it means to reboot to bootloader on Android and you are curious to find out, then this guide is all that you need.

Joy Taylor Last Updated: Dec. 31, 2020

The system of your Android device is actually made up of various software parts. Your phone has a normal mode which is what you use every day, and then you have some other not-so-popular modes that are part of the full package. One of these modes is the bootloader mode that does an essential task without which your phone cannot turn on.

The bootloader on your Android device actually tells your phone what operating system to run and from when. The bootloader also loads up other essential items for your device like the recovery mode. This is how your phone gets to know how to boot-up, what essential files to use, and so on.

The following post tells you more about what reboot to bootloader means and what this mode can actually do for you on your device.

What Does Reboot to Bootloader Do

Reboot to bootloader does quite a few things to help you customize your device to a great extent and to let you fix issues on your Android device. You can use the bootloader mode depending on what your requirements are.

The bootloader basically helps you access fastboot which you can then use to do the following on your Android phone or tablet.

1. Unlock the Bootloader

One of the many things you can do in the bootloader mode is to unlock the bootloader. On many Android phones, you will find that the bootloader comes locked by default. This is actually to prevent third-party files from being flashed on your device. However, if you are sure what you are flashing, you can unlock the bootloader.

Unlocking the bootloader on an Android device does not take much effort. All you basically need to do is enable the bootloader to unlock option on your phone and then use a command in the Command Prompt from your computer to get the bootloader unlocked.

Once the bootloader is unlocked, you are then allowed to play around with the core files of your device. This lets you even replace the operating system files, and if done correctly, you can customize your phone to a really greater extent.

2. Relock the Bootloader

In most cases, you do not need to relock your bootloader after you have unlocked it. However, if you are looking to go back to the stock firmware and you do not wish to flash any further files to your phone, you can actually get your bootloader relocked.

The task to relock the bootloader is done from the bootloader menu on your phone. Again, you need to connect your phone to a computer and then issue a command from there. Once the appropriate command is executed, the bootloader on your device gets locked.

For as long as you keep your device’s bootloader locked, you cannot install third-party ROMs and such files. The only way to then use these files is to unlock your bootloader again.

3. Flash the Firmwares

One of the exciting things you can do with the bootloader mode is to install various ROMs (also called firmware) on your device. Replacing your current ROM with a custom one basically means to give a completely new look to your device. This changes the entire look and feel of your phone or tablet.

Flash ROMs Using the Bootloader

Flash ROMs Using the Bootloader

All your icons, themes, and even system functions change when you use a custom ROM. If you are a big fan of custom ROMs and you want to install one of those on your device, the bootloader mode is what is going to help you do that.

In case you end up tweaking your phone too much and you are not happy with the results, you can get the stock firmware flashed from the bootloader mode and that will bring your device back to the factory state.

4. Flash a Custom Recovery

If you have ever booted your device into the bootloader mode, you have probably seen the recovery option. When you choose this option, your device goes into Android’s stock recovery mode. However, it has a limited number of options. If you are looking to expand the recovery features, a custom recovery is what you need.

Install a Custom Recovery Using the Bootloader

Install a Custom Recovery Using the Bootloader

A custom recovery brings with it many more features than the stock one. Also, installing many third-party files requires you to have a custom recovery on your phone. It is this bootloader mode that you can use to flash a custom recovery like CWM or TWRP on your phone.

Once you have installed a custom recovery with the bootloader mode, then choosing the recovery option will reboot your device into this newly installed recovery.

Does Restart Bootloader Erase Data?

Those of you who have never tweaked their phones beyond what the system allows might be a little hesitant to use the bootloader mode. You might even be worried if restarting your device into the bootloader mode will erase your data. That is what we are going to answer here for you.

When you reboot your phone or tablet into the bootloader mode, nothing gets deleted from your device. That is because the bootloader itself does not perform any actions on your phone. It is you who decides what to install with the bootloader mode, and then it depends if doing that action will wipe off your data.

For example, if you unlock the bootloader, then all of your data will be erased. This is done for security reasons. Similarly, if you flash a full-blown custom ROM, it will wipe off all the data on your device. So it is necessary to backup your Android phone before unlock the bootloader.

How to Enter Bootloader Screen

Now that you know quite a bit about Android bootloader mode, you might want to see how this mode looks. If that is the case, it is actually pretty easy to enter the bootloader screen on most Android devices. The following are two methods you can use to enter the bootloader mode on your phone or tablet.

Method 1. Use a Key Combination to Enter the Bootloader Mode

One of the quickest ways to enter the bootloader mode on most Android devices is to use the designated key combination. Most phones have a certain key combination that you can press to reboot your device into the bootloader mode instead of the normal mode.

If you use a Google Pixel phone, you can press the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time while your phone is turned off to enter the bootloader mode.

The Bootloader Mode on Android

The Bootloader Mode on Android

On some Nexus phones, you need to press the same Volume Down and Power key combo to get into the bootloader mode.

Most LG devices also follow a similar approach where you need to hold down the Volume Down and Power buttons together to enter the bootloader mode.

On an HTC phone, you need to press the Volume Down key and then turn on your phone. Then, keep the Volume Down key held down and you will see the bootloader screen.

If you want to reboot to bootloader on a Samsung phone, you would be disappointed to know that Samsung devices do not have the bootloader mode. Instead, they use something called Download mode that you can reboot into by pressing the Volume Down + Home + Power buttons together.

Method 2. Use ADB to Reboot into the Android Bootloader Mode

If you are finding it difficult to reboot into the bootloader mode on your Android device, you can use a command with ADB to quickly and easily enter the bootloader on your phone or tablet.

The command works across all the devices that have the bootloader mode available on them. Here is how you issue the command.

Step 1. Enable USB debugging on your device from Menu > Settings > System > Developer options.

Step 2. Connect your phone to your computer and ensure you have ADB installed on your computer.

Step 3. Open a Command Prompt window in the ADB folder, type the following command, and press Enter.

Reboot into the Bootloader Mode with ADB

Reboot into the Bootloader Mode with ADB

Your device should immediately reboot into the bootloader mode. If you are wondering how long it takes to reboot to bootloader, it is usually instant in most cases.

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The Bottom Line

You can reboot to bootloader on your Android device to perform a plethora of actions. These actions often include flashing custom ROMs, flashing recoveries, and getting your device back to the stock ROM. We hope the guide can help you. If you have any other questions about Android phone, please leave a message in the comment area.

Joy Taylor

Member of iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS & Android related issues.