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Buying The Right Device (Bootloader)?


Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2011
Pittsburgh, PA
Hello All,
When buying a phone from EBay, I'm wondering how to assure I can unlock the bootloader. I used to "Play" with these devices but 10yrs ago. When I see "Unlocked" I assume that means carrier unlocked but nothing about the devices bootloader and ability to root?
My daily is a Pixel 7, locked till paid off. I travel to the EU 30%+ of my time and want something for that. Currently, I use a 100$ ZTE Blade. Problem, there is zero community for it and couldn't root.
Honestly, just looking for a cheap toy. I just don't wanna buy and have the bootloader be secured. I was thinking about an original Pixel or maybe the "2".
Sorry for the novel, all I'm really asking is any advice for buying with these needs in mind.
Thanks Everyone...
Well keep in mind that a locked bootloader is different than a carrier-locked phone. An unlocked bootloader allows you to root the phone if you wish to do so. An unlocked phone implies that the phone is not a branded device that's restricted to a particular carrier. So two different aspects, but create some confusion because both have the word 'lock' in their respective naming.

Buy phones on Ebay to find cheap prices, but be really vigilant about buying a phone there that has all the requirements you're looking for. (Pay a lot of attention to the seller's history and verified buyer ratings.)
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An older Pixel might do what you want, though some phones sold through service providers may have locked bootloaders so you'd still need to check that.

I'd buy a bit newer than an original or a 2 though, if you can find it at a sensible price. The batteries on those will be shot by now, which will limit what you can do - my Pixel 2's battery died in late 2021, and when I tried to charge it a few months later to play with it the battery immediately swelled-up and popped the display out.

But what's the relevance of travelling to Europe and unlocking the bootloader? Your Pixel 7 will work fine over here, and as already said if you want to use a European SIM in it then a bootloader lock is irrelevant, it's a service provider lock ("SIM lock") you need to avoid (and you really do need to avoid it with a second-hand phone, because the carrier may well refuse to provide the unlock code to you because you aren't the customer who bought the phone from them).
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