Rooting means that you unlock your bootloader

Will rooting or unlocking void your Android phone's warranty?

Many Android tweaking and hacking guides warn that if you continue, you will void your warranty. But are you actually denied repair service if you've logged in or unlocked your bootloader as root?

CONNECTED:What is the difference between jailbreaking, rooting and unlocking?

That is a difficult question to answer. There's what manufacturers say in warranty agreements, what's actually enforceable in court, and what manufacturers actually do when it's time to get warranty service. We are not legal experts, but we will answer this question from our own experience and what we have heard.

NOTE: Remember, this is rooting your phone or unlocking the bootloader, not unlocking from your carrier. Most carriers will unlock your phone so you can use it on a different network, which will never void your warranty. Unlocking your bootloader is a different matter.

What does the manufacturer say?

Manufacturers often endeavor to say any kind of unauthorized changes to the software will void your warranty on the fine print. The rules for Nexus devices or "Developer Edition" devices often differ, even if the manufacturers do not really describe this exactly. Here is an unusual example of a Motorola rep clearing up the problem a bit on a public forum:

“The new (2015) Moto X Pure is not a developer edition. Unlocking the bootloader voids the guarantee.

To summarize and clarify:

Unlocking the bootloader will void your warranty.
However, if an unrelated physical material should an error occur, e.g. B. a bad volume rocker or a faulty speaker, this is covered if the phone shows no signs of physical abuse. The key is that the problem is not due to software or abuse.
The above guidelines only apply in the United States. The guidelines differ by region / country. "

CONNECTED:Here's how to officially unlock your Android phone's bootloader

Yes, for most phones, even though many manufacturers offer an official method of unlocking your bootloader, they claim this type of customization could VOID YOUR WARRANTY. However, Developer Edition devices designed for hacking tend to be less vulnerable.

The language on Google's Nexus devices has also changed over time. Older Nexus devices used the phrase "yes, unlock bootloader (and void warranty)" while newer devices used the phrase "yes, bootloader unlock (possibly void warranty)" and would install a custom ROM on its Nexus 6P Not VOID THE GUARANTEE. But that's just a support agent, and that's not officially stated anywhere else.

What actually happens when you need warranty service?

CONNECTED:How to Roll Your Android Phone Using SuperSU and TWRP

With manufacturers so vague about theirs, it is difficult to know what is actually going on when you need service. While there isn't a hard and fast rule, most manufacturers can easily fix hardware-related issues (similar to Motorola guidelines above).

For example, if you're having problems with the screen showing or your hardware buttons not working properly, the manufacturer will likely simply fix the problem. This is especially the case if you are aware of your problem with the device in question - for example, if you are solving the loose headphone jacks on the original Motorola Droid. This is clearly a hardware problem that rooting or installing a custom ROM failed to cause.

Other times, it just may not be worth it, and you will struggle to figure out what will happen once you have it rooted. If your device crashes and won't start, the manufacturer likely won't try to do forensics on the device to see if your bootloader has been unlocked. They will likely repair the device or replace it under warranty. As always, a little politeness is enough.

On the other hand, this makes perfect sense. Manufacturers and carriers - if you bought the phone from a carrier - don't want to deal with customers who have rooted their phones or installed a custom ROM and got into trouble. The representative of your local AT&T service provider probably won't, and shouldn't, answer questions about why one or the other hardware feature isn't working on CyanogenMod.

If you caused the problem, you are out of luck

However, there is a difference between a clear hardware defect and a problem you are causing. If they try to start the device and you see a logo for a custom ROM before it fails to start, there is a good chance they are telling you that you are alone. (Of course, if you can boot up the device and see this logo, there's a good chance that with a little research you can fix the device yourself.)

Remember that rooting and flashing ROMs come with all possible dangers if done improperly. You might have flashed a custom ROM and wiped your WiFi, or you might have done something wrong and it won't start properly. If you take the device to the manufacturer or the shipping agent and expect them to fix it, raise your hands and say it is out of warranty and you are alone. This, of course, is a bit like installing Linux on a PC that came with Windows. You cannot expect the manufacturer to support software that you have installed yourself.

In very rare cases, this type of tinkering can "brick" your phone so that it can no longer boot. In this case, you don't want to tell the manufacturer that you tried installing a custom ROM. However, we should keep in mind once again that it is very rare for your phone to actually get bricked and in most cases the phone will at least turn on so with the right research you can salvage it.

It is also possible to do things that could harm your hardware with this root access. You may have overclocked your phone's processor a little, such as overheating it. Such damage is not covered by the warranty, nor is accidental damage caused by submerging the phone underwater or placing the phone face down on the sidewalk.

If you need maintenance, first remove the root directory of your device

Assuming you haven't caused serious hardware problems, as detailed in the section above, you may still be able to get warranty service even if you've technically voided it by rooting it. We were very lucky to get warranty coverage for our devices even though they were rooted, unlocked, or had previously run a custom ROM.

If your device is still working for the most part, it is best to remove the root before sending it to your manufacturer for repair. If you are using a custom ROM, you should restore the original ROM that came with the device and re-lock the bootloader.

Some devices have some sort of "lightning counter" that goes off if you ever unlock the bootloader and flash a custom ROM. A manufacturer can check this. This will most likely be the case if the phone has a hardware problem that appears to be caused by such changes.

However, when the phone has a hardware problem, the manufacturer is clearly to blame - and especially if it's not yet rooted, unlocked, or not running custom ROM - often fixing the problem. At least that's what happened in our experience.


What is the answer? It's a bit of a gray area. In general, as long as your device doesn't have hardware issues that appear to be caused by you, and sending it to the manufacturer or your carrier, you probably won't be running a weird custom ROM fine. There are no guarantees, but it's always worth a try.

Photo credit: Greece Android, Danny Choo on Flickr, Pixelmattic WordPress Agency on Flickr, Robert Nelson on Flickr