Update (Aug 8, 11.45 pm ET): Asus clarifies the misunderstanding on unlocking the bootloader on its devices.
What you need to know
- ASUS Zenfone owners have complained that they are unable to unlock the bootloader on their devices.
- ASUS support has told some users that the feature will no longer be available for ASUS phones, although there has been some mixed messages.
- It seems ASUS has only temporarily disabled the capability and that it will return soon.
Asus recently launched the Zenfone 10 as a mighty successor to the Zenfone 9, both reigning as premium offerings in a compact form factor. Both phones, however, are reportedly losing the ability to unlock the bootloader, to the dismay of some Zenfone fans.
A Zenfone 9 user took to Asus's support page (via Android Authority) complaining about the inability to unlock the bootloader. Unlocking the bootloader, for those who are unaware, gives users a ton of options to customize their phones (through rooting) with modifications that OEM manufacturers often don't supply.
However, the response from the Asus Spain technical support staff in the aforementioned user's email makes it clear that the Zenfone 9's bootloader cannot be unlocked. Additionally, the support team notes that it won't be available on the most recent Zenfone 10 as well.
It seems the move caught ASUS owners off guard because they had assumed that Asus would enable the feature in the third quarter of this year after it was apparently under maintenance for the Zenfone 10. This could still be the case, as noted by some users in the comments, who point to statements from moderators that say the unlock tool will return in Q3 of this year. That said, it seems there are some conflicting statements.
Nonetheless, ASUS Zenfone owners and fans are now saying that the move is a dealbreaker for them. They are considering returning their Zenfone 9 and even the Zenfone 10 or just not buying ASUS phones to pressure the company.
While Zenfone 9 and Zenfone 10 users surely are affected by the unexpected decision, per the support team, the decision could extend to future ASUS phones. The move could make dedicated Zenfone or Asus fans, in general, look elsewhere, as there are plenty of good Android phones for rooting out in the market.
For now, we will have to wait and see if ASUS does indeed bring back the unlock tool before the end of September.
ASUS has confirmed to Android Central that it will continue to offer the ability to unlock the bootloader on its phones. The unlock tool is unavailable at this moment, but ASUS says it will be back up shortly. Here's the statement the brand shared with us:
"The service team reply misunderstood the situation. Unlock tool is unavailable at this moment but we are allowing the possibility to unlock, please stay tuned."
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Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.