How to Unlock and Re-lock Nexus 10 Bootloader

Google’s highly anticipated Nexus 10 tablet has finally been launched, and no doubt many Android lovers all around the world are looking to get their hands on one. Soon, custom ROMs, kernels, and other modifications will start coming out for the tablet, by developers trying to get the most out of it.

To flash such modifications and tinker with your Nexus 10 in any way, you will need to unlock its bootloader. We’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to help you do just that, which you can follow and unlock your Nexus 10’s bootloader quickly and easily. Oh, and we’ve also included how you can re-lock the bootloader, which is important to regain warranty.

However, unlocking the bootloader will wipe all data from your phone and reset it to factory settings (and will also void warranty, though it is easy to re-lock the bootloader to get warranty back). This isn’t a problem as things can be backed up and restored, but it is best to unlock the bootloader before you install or put any data on your Nexus 10, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of restoring everything back to it.

Now, let us see how the bootloader on the Nexus 10 can be unlocked/re-locked.

Compatibility

The procedure described below is only for the Samsung Nexus 10. Do not try it on any other device.

Warning!

The methods and procedures discussed here are considered risky, so try them out at your own risk, and make sure to read each step carefully before attempting anything. We will not be held responsible if anything goes wrong.

How to Unlock/Re-lock Bootloader on Nexus 10

Unlock Bootloader

  1. Unlocking the bootloader causes all the data on the device to get wiped, including everything on your internal storage. First, backup installed apps and other data such as contacts, messages, bookmarks, etc, by referring to our Android Backup Guide for help. Then, copy everything from the SD card to your computer, which will also include the apps and data you backed up.
  2. Download and install the Android SDK → from here. This will install the necessary drivers for the tablet on your computer. Skip this if you have already installed the SDK while following step 1.
  3. Download Fastboot. Fastboot is what will be used to unlock the bootloader.
    Download Fastboot | Filename: Fastboot.zip
  4. Extract the Fastboot.zip file you just downloaded to a convenient location on the computer to obtain a folder named Fastboot which will have four files inside it. To keep things easy, copy the Fastboot folder to drive C.
  5. Turn off your Nexus 10. Then, boot into fastboot mode by holding down the Volume UpVolume down + Power buttons together till the screen turns on and shows “Start” written in big green letters.
  6. Then, connect your Nexus 10 to the computer with your USB cable, then wait for Windows to finish installing the drivers (drivers will be installed only the first time). For reliability, ensure that you use a USB port at the back if you are using a desktop computer, as the front panel ports can be loose and cause problems.
  7. Click on Start menu » All Programs » Accessories » right-click on Command Prompt and click on Run as administrator. If you are using Windows 8, this can be done by right-clicking on the extreme bottom left corner of the taskbar, then selecting “Command Prompt (admin)”
  8. Now, perform the following steps in the command prompt to unlock the bootloader (check the screenshot after step 8.3 for reference)
    1. Navigate to the Fastboot folder which you obtained in step 4. For example, if the Fastboot folder is in drive C on your computer, enter cd C:Fastboot in command prompt (and press Enter) to navigate to the folder.
    2. Then, enter fastboot devices. If your Nexus 10 has been detected properly, you will see a device ID show up in command prompt. If nothing comes up, make sure you have installed the drivers (step 2).
    3. Finally, to unlock the bootloader, enter fastboot oem unlock in command prompt. You will get a prompt on the tablet asking whether you want to unlock the bootloader. Just select Yes. Remember that this will wipe all your data, so make sure you took a backup.
      nexus-4-bl-unlock-ss1
  9. The tablet will then reboot, and once it starts up, you can set up your tablet with your Google details, etc.

Relock Bootloader

If needed, you can also lock the bootloader on your Nexus 10 again, which will give you back your tablet’s warranty and will only allow official signed Google images and firmware to be flashed. Here’s how you can re-lock the bootloader.

  1. First, make sure to flash back to a stock firmware and recovery, as after re-locking the bootloader, the tablet won’t boot if you have made some modifications to it, like flashing a custom recovery or custom ROM.
  2. Also backup everything on the tablet, as data may get wiped when re-locking bootloader.
  3. To lock the bootloader, follow all the steps of the unlock guide, but replace fastboot oem unlock by fastboot oem lock in step 8.3.
  4. The tablet will then reboot and the bootloader will be locked again.

So there you have it. Using the step-by-step procedure above, you have successfully unlocked/re-locked the bootloader on your Nexus 10. You can now proceed to flashing a custom recovery, using which you can then flash custom ROMs and the like. Do let us know how it works!