In what is a rather odd situation, Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro buyers have been spotted on Reddit complaining that their shiny new devices arrived with an unlocked bootloader.
We aren’t sure how widespread the issue is, but from the looks of things, it is fairly limited since these things tend to blow up online fairly quickly nowadays, and Pixel 8 devices also feature a pretty obvious warning for an unlocked bootloader during the boot process. The following text is presented to the user:
The bootloader is unlocked and software integrity cannot be guaranteed. Any data stored on the device may be available to attackers. Do not store any sensitive data on the device
As the message states, an unlocked bootloader, while not a huge issue, does carry some concerns regarding data privacy and security. The most obvious consequence of living with an unlocked bootloader Android device is that some financial apps, among others, will outright refuse to run out of security concerns. For instance, Android’s contactless payment through Google Wallet does not work with an unlocked bootloader.
In case you don’t know what a bootloader is and why it can be unlocked, the bootloader is the small piece of software that handles the initial boot of your device and loads the OS itself (Android, in this case). If you want to be able to tinker with your phone on an OS level and install things like patches and mods or outright flash a new ROM, you need an unlocked bootloader.
Again, we can’t say for sure how widespread the issue is, and theoretically, it should be fixable even by an end user through a computer and ADB connection to the phone. Obviously, however, Google can’t require such steps from its customers, and as far as we can tell, the internet giant is already doing the right thing and offering replacement units to affected customers. However, as per reports, that does require a lengthy support conversation.
Honestly, we would love to learn exactly how this situation transpired since every year Google Pixel phones seem to have at least a couple of such extremely odd “quirks” about them, for lack of a better term.
Source 1 | Source 2 | Source 3 | Via