Share this Story

Verizon Locks Bootloaders Because Unapproved Software on Devices Will Ruin the Earth

Verizon issued an official statement today to acknowledge that they are opposed to unlockable bootloaders. This essentially confirms that the Samsung Galaxy S3 bootloader locking was done on purpose, even though every other major U.S. carrier is fine with leaving it open, as is the rest of the entire world. It’s the exact same canned response that we saw in an FCC letter back in February. Basically, they think that “unapproved” software on your phone could potentially destroy the experience that another customer of theirs could have. They also claim that it will impact their ability to provide you with proper support, should you run into problems with your phone. 

Verizon Wireless has established a standard of excellence in customer experience with our branded devices and customer service. There is an expectation that if a customer has a question, they can call Verizon Wireless for answers that help them maximize their enjoyment and use of their wireless phone. Depending on the device, an open boot loader could prevent Verizon Wireless from providing the same level of customer experience and support because it would allow users to change the phone or otherwise modify the software and, potentially, negatively impact how the phone connects with the network. The addition of unapproved software could also negatively impact the wireless experience for other customers. It is always a delicate balance for any company to manage the technology choices we make for our branded devices and the requests of a few who may want a different device experience. We always review our technology choices to ensure that we provide the best solution for as many customers as possible.

So, every other Samsung device that Verizon released without an encrypted bootloader over the last couple of years was OK, but the Galaxy S3 is not? They were also fine with exclusively releasing the Galaxy Nexus last year with an unlockable bootloader, just not this one. The fact that every other carrier on the planet seems to be fine with an unlockable bootloader on the biggest phone of the year, doesn’t mean a thing either.

Yeah, sure seems to be all about the customer, doesn’t it?

Via:  The Verge

Cheers David!

  • I do believe one of you jerk came snotty to me about Samsung “Not having locked bootloaders” when I asked if it was unlocked on Verizon.

    See? never hurts to confirm the ducks are in a row/

  • Ryan Buck

    I find it interesting that verizon keeps referring to the devices as “theirs”. Now! Wait a minute, isn’t my device, my device? Don’t I have the choice to use it as I see fit? Locked or unlocked is my decision not ve5zonss.

    • Well, for those who don’t purchase their phones outright it kind of is VZW’s, as they are subsidizing the balance of the real price of the phone and what you paid.

      • stupidllama

        nope, sorry but this is wrong. If you buy a car do you own it, even if you make payments, who’s name is on the title. It is not there device, you are getting the device at a subsidized price in return for signing a two year agreement w/ early termination fees. In no way shape or form are these their devices.

        • You don’t really own a car until yoird done paying it off. They can repo it if you don’t pay. Yeah your name is on the title, but you don’t get possession of the real title until you’ve fully paid. Same for houses. And exactly… Its kind of their phone until you really h the end of the agreement or you pay early termination.

  • john

    Just replace all the words “customer” with “business partner”(bloatware), then it all make sense. Considering the alternatives, they could’ve ask their customers to sign over their souls and still get away Scot-free.
    Those crooks…I mean the…FCC should be held responsible for partnering (off the record, of course) with VZW to shut down Light Square.
    Free Enterprise at work, nothing new here to see…move along.

  • VZW tech support? No thanks, where do I sign to forfeit “tech support” and my warranty to gain full access to the hardware I purchased and use on the carrier I pay for on time every month?

  • J Dub

    What a bunch of bull. HTC phones on VZW have a method of being unlocked. The Nexus is unlocked. No ones care enough about LG phones to know if they are. Motorola…well. It’s Motorola. I really hope Samsung pulls through and helps people out.

    • PC_Tool

      LG are unsecured. We unlocked the spectrum pretty easily. Too bad the devs are so few and far between on that one. Good hardware, crap company behind it…would have been amazing with decent software.

  • Most likely the same amount of users will still “root” and “hack” their phones with the locked bootloader. The difference between locking and unlocking it, as far as Verizon is concerned, is that if it’s locked then many, many more will not know how to “unbrick” their phone because the process is much harder.

    This would lead to more returned phones and also less support for the device. Although the root community in Android is small, it contains the most die hard Android fanatics. Root users are more likely to tell friends about what phone to get and purchase applications. Know your user base Verizon!

  • “.. it will impact their ability to provide you with proper support, should you run into problems with your phone. ”

    Yes all those maintenance or software updates that we request time after time yet they do not provide you. If they do choose to they are months, sometimes years delayed or at VZW’s discretion you’re device is even worthy of receiving one.


    If I want to void my warranty, ruin my phone and buy a new one a full retail price, then thats my choice !!

  • Bob Someguy

    While I believe that unlocking the bootloader and rooting the phone is what I want in a phone from now on and have the ability and knowledge to do so (I rooted my Google TV, which was a pain in the ass), you have my brother who learned that you can make the phone “do more things” by rooting it, and tried to root it, and failed. Goes on to install full Busybox and removes key files because he didn’t think he needed them. He was going to go to Verizon and try to get it fixed, but I stopped him and restored the image. People who have no idea what this entails should not root the phone.

  • The script writers at VZW should go to work for the government. Their lies are as believable as those we get from Washington.

  • TheDrunkenClam

    I’ll ride out my unlimited data with my Gnex until my contract is over.. By then, if I want a new phone, it’ll be on a different carrier.

    • frankandsimple

      I paid 500 ETF to Verizon for 2 lines..Sold my verizon phones on craigslist.. Bought 2 Gnex directly from the play store after the price drop.. .. Went with T-Mobile prepaid.. 30 dollars each line per month.. 5 GB 4G data and unlimited text and 100 minutes per line…
      Will break even in December.. after which I’ll be saving 70 dollars per month.

  • Honestly, I say all “tinkerers” should move to verizon and make as big a deal as possible. Moving away from verizon would only give them the satisfaction of knowing of what they are doing is working against our niche crowd. People keep moving away from verizon from anything little thing they do, and verizon will keep doing stuff like this more and more. Sorry, but voting with your dollars doesnt work in this case since verizon is purposely doing this so that verizon doesnt want to deal with us. In this case, we need to stand together on verizon and get enough attention to this issue, and everything else verizon is doing wrong against their so called customers.

    Verizon keeps claiming they are doing this for us, but honestly where does verizon even do their research. Yes, I know im not all of verizons customers, but who ever said I wanted to be charged for money for less service?

    • Wayne Randall

      National Teather-the-shit-out-of-your-phone Day?

  • frankandsimple

    If Verizon has a stated policy of NOT supporting devices that are unlocked or rooted.. I don’t see why they want to go to extent of locking the bootloaders.
    A “tampered with” phone DOES ruin the experience in my opinion.. A lot of androidians place a kind of blind trust on developers.. but truth be told a lot of these “developers” are amateur programmers hacking away to their hearts content and learning things on the fly either by emulating others or experimenting.

    I for one certainly will never run a “custom rom”. Stock by far is the way to go for me.. even if it means a few less features… features that I consider polluting/corrupting the code.

    But that is still me an individual… Even if Verizon believes the same.. I don’t see why they simply can’t leave it up to their consumers to make that decision.

    • Guest

      I don’t know, Cyanogen Mod made my OG more than it ever was on stock. Some of these ROMs are maintained by competent developers and go through long testing periods to assure their workability. Some security features that come with custom ROMs are also far superior to anything stock allowing you to make your device significantly harder to break into if stolen or lost.

      • frankandsimple

        I think CMs have been very good in the beginning..especially during the droid incredible days when stock firmware sucked. Since you had an OG droid.. I am guessing it’s stock firmware wasn’t that great to begin with… especially with motoblur.
        But all the new phones these days..even the heavily skinned ones like HTC Sense have done a very good job of making their software smooth and efficient. Stock firmware is definitely less buggy these days I believe.

        • will bartlett

          correct me if im wrong but wasnt the og a pretty stock experience?

          • frankandsimple

            you may be right.. and from I read in Cyanogenmod’s website.. the stock experience of OG droid is better than any aftermarket roms.

  • gforce1963

    Cancel your pre-order..that might get them to rethink this. Money talks.

    • Bionic

      it would take everyone who is ready to buy a phone , not just one pre order

      • gforce1963

        correct. But today money means the world to everyone. So take away some cash from big red. Then they might rethink some of their policies.

  • LordStickMax

    A better headline would be “Verizon locks bootloaders because you touch yourself at night”. Its basicly the same thing. So stop touching your boot loaders!!!

  • gregwilliams

    I’m pretty sure not a single person that has unlocked their bootloader has called Verizon Wireless for support.

    If something happened on my GNex due to me unlocking, rooting, flashing ROMS, etc. you (Verizon) would be the one resource I would never turn to.

  • RezCommando4231

    If coorporations were really people, I’d pray VZW got cancer

    • tehserver

      Ever think they are the cancer?

  • anyone with the ability to root / flash a custom rom has, by default, exceeded the maximum technical abilities of anyone at VZW …. true story.

  • NorCalGuy

    “In the coming weeks your issues should be fixed” is not support Sry vzw your coming soon is more like buy a new phone if its that big of a deal. This is why people root to take care of the problems on their own. Also all the people who say they r going to pick up and leave Cruz of the locked bootloader you are playing in to Vz hand they could care less if every person who rooted their phone left Vz it would probably make them happy.

  • duke69111

    I wonder who is the head dipshit that is leading the charge on these unlock-able bootloaders?

    • Bionic

      probably whoever has a degree from MIT over at verizon. The head of “phone development” or something

  • So the Galaxy Nexus is breaking their network? My next phone is going to be an unlocked Nexus or I’m leaving you, Verizon.

  • trixnkix637

    The requests of a “few” for unlocked bootloaders vs the “supposed” requests of “many” for shared/tiered data… What the hell mirror does Verizon look at everyday? Talk about drinking the kool aid.

  • Stewie

    Lemmings will always buy new devices. Until one can stem that tide and have everyone stay on the phones they are on, or buy them without sub and add them to accounts, you will not affect anything on this network, period. But it just isn’t going to happen.
    The petition is fruitless and pointless, wish I had a dollar for every signup there, I’d be set.

  • Nick

    1 month after buying 2 RAZR MAXX phones, I noticed that the LED backlights for the Search and Back buttons on the bottom right were out, and the Menu & Home buttons were lighted. I checked the other phone and they were lit (when in Dim light). So, I took the phone to a Verizon store telling the lady that helped me of the problem. I can see why she didn’t work at the Genius Bar in an Apple store. She was emphatic that the lights weren’t supposed to be lit. I held me finger over the light sensor, and showed her that the left 2 lit up. So, I told her that by her understanding, I should have a problem because the right 2 didn’t lightt, or a problem because the left 2 lit. She said that there was nothing wrong with me phone, and that she would not do anything about it. So, I called Verizon, they said they would have a phone out that evening by 2nd day service. I then talked to the Store Manager, and explained the problem. This was a VERIZON company store. The Manager agreed that I had a problem, and told me that I did right calling Verizon.
    Aside from this, how hard is is for Verizon to make available a download that would Reset then entire phone to factory specs regardless of what Mod you are running? And just like any other ROM, you are on your own with support only from the DEV forums is you Unlock the phone. You can already ROOT the phone. The Bootloader don’t prevent this. So, what’s their problem. I guess that not understanding their stance is why I don’t work at the Genius Bar at Apple.

  • nightscout13

    Galaxy Nexus 2 will probably be unlockable.

    • Bionic

      the first one wasnt?

      • twas, twas

      • nightscout13

        I should have clarified, I was referring to a Nexus 2 because if would have followed the GS3 in sequence. Yes, the first one is unlockable.

    • PC_Tool

      …but it probably won’t be on Verizon. At least, I hope it isn’t…

      • nightscout13

        When it’s a nexus device, it has to be unlockable. Weather on Verizon or not.

        • PC_Tool

          I was referring to availability of the device itself, not it’s bootloader.

          • nightscout13

            I enjoyed having Verizon AND nexus together. Did you not?

  • Hothfox

    To some degree, though, they kind of are “right”. They can only garantee the stock experience of any phone. What a ROM or kernel some other dev wrote and you flashed really may change things. I know from experience some ROMs I’ve flashed have caused poor cell signal, or gotten rid of a feature. Users who are new to custom software may call Verizon and try to get help from them, and the rep won’t know necessarily how to troubleshoot a specific ROM.

    What they SHOULD do is allow unencrypted bootloaders and give you the option to break your warranty and unlock it. They can refuse to service your device if it’s unlocked, avoiding needing to know how to troubleshoot X custom ROMs.

  • nightscout13

    F U Verizon

  • letinsh

      What a poorly written petition.

    • Bionic

      as if this will change anything, people who root and customize and flash roms are probably less than 10% of all customers

  • shdowman

    For someone who has had Verizon for over a decade and a half and who worked for Airtouch Cellular before VZW took over, I am done.

    Between everything they have taken from the customer (2 year contract deals, 1 year contracts, Unlimited Data) and in turn made it more expensive to stay with them, I will sadly be looking elsewhere for a provider. They are in no way shape or form customer-minded.

    I know I will suffer due to not having comparable coverage, but they were officially out of hand 6 months ago. This is the final straw.

    I sure hope Sprint gets on the ball with their expansion of coverage….


    • Bionic

      The sad thing is, even 3 years from now when Sprint has LTE up and going, they will likely have no choice but to get rid of unlimited just like verizon did. No network on earth can handle unlimited LTE and its benefits.

      • shdowman

        Maybe, but at least I can save over $80 a month..yes, it comes at a price of slower than molasses uphill data speeds, but something I suppose I’ll learn to live with.

        The bootloader is not the main reason I am leaving VZW by any means.

  • Bionic

    I guess im in the minority, I simply do not care about bootloaders. All I want is a fantastic phone as it is. If its not vanilla Android, I use Go Launcher and that serves me perfectly fine.

    I can understand why those of you who love custom ROMs and all that stuff are upset over this, but for me personally, I prefer to stick with the best network available because I use my cell phone EVERYWHERE I go, which includes very rural areas. Verizon is the only network I get service with in many places I go.

    You get what you pay for. I agree that its just a phone and they should leave it alone, but for me personally, I simply dont care.


      Nice try, Verizon PR guy.

      • Bionic

        I dont work for verizon, I work for Walgreens

      • Bionic

        and btw, there is nothing wrong with liking a phone as it is out of the box. I understand those who love to super customize, but I am not one of those people.

    • Well put!

    • moelsen8

      yeah but we should have those choices. and if you don’t push back on this kind of stuff, how far will verizon take it? how long until they disable using your own ringtones again and crap like that. they don’t give a F about customers.

      • Bionic

        what company does? Seriously, name me a major corporation that gives a flying fuckk about its customers. All they care about is stock price going up and making share holders happy. That is the definition of a corporation.

  • Drummer62

    Why not just tell a potential customer that is calling for support ” I’m sorry but you have altered the stock ROM on your phone and we are unable to provide support for that”. Then maybe they can add “If you are able to return your phone to the stock ROM that was provided when you bought your phone and are still having any issues give us a call and we will be happy to help you”. Seems easy to do no???

  • briz03

    Right here Big Red!!!

    ……….(‘(….´…´… ¯~/’..’)

  • Stewie

    Lemmings don’t even know what locking the bootloader is, so the whole thing is just PR BS ….
    “An open bootloader allows those who know how to take advantage of it to effectively screw us in our own game, tether without paying us, make their phones more useful by increasing their speed, installing modern version of the OS before we have a chance to bloat it down or skin it, and truthfully there isn’t any way it negatively affects the network for other customers, just what we didn’t receive in coin”

  • GS3Tomorow:)

    There’s a bounty of pledge money being collected to pay the first dev who unlocks the boot loader with a proven repeatable technique. The more of us who pledge, the higher the incentive for some brilliant dev to find the key to unlocking it. Already over $1K.

  • DanWazz

    Who would root their phone, flash a custom ROM, then call Verizon for help? This company is becoming worse everyday.

    • wickets

      a noob like me!!!!! haha

  • MrSteve920

    Yeah, I’m switching to either T-Mobile prepaid or Straight Talk the first chance I get, and I don’t even own a SGS3!

    • Bionic

      both of the networks you just mentioned suck outside of any city

      • MrSteve920

        That’s great, except I live right in a major city…

        • Bionic

          and that is good, but I go camping and I also do work in very rural areas.

        • Dude, do you ever, you know, go anywhere?

          • MrSteve920

            $90 for dealing with all of Verizon’s crap versus $45 for T-Mobile/Straight Talk. I personally could care less about network strength, I use wifi most of the time I need to do anything important, I don’t make any calls, and text messages require a very minimal amount of signal.

  • Scott

    bunch of freakin morons… I unlocked, rooted, and romd my nexus within 20 minutes of owning it… soo much nicer than the crap that verizon has to offer…

  • summit1986

    As I watch the wireless world burn before me, I count down the trivial days of my contract. Once this contract expires, I’m leaving VZW, for I don’t see the ecosystem improving to the way things were in the days of old.

  • Crakalakin

    Verizon is the Apple of carriers. “We know what’s best for you; we’re protecting you from yourself”. There’s a monopolistic side to that argument. Does anyone remember when the Blackberry GPS was locked and even though you could get Blackberry maps for free and it worked on the other carriers, only VZ Navigator could utilize the GPS chip on VZW phones? To me, this really comes close to being anti-competitive but that’s always been VZW and they won’t change until they’re made to change.

  • redbar0n11

    “UNAPPROVED SOFTWARE”… We all know damn well this statement is so narrow and unfocused, it’s laughable. However, a locked bootloader will still allow ALL THE SPAM/SCAM/VIRUS “SOFTWARE (APPS)” that will do a lot more damage to the devices when the uninformed masses download them. And lets be honest, that’s the majority of their customer base. Yet, they could give to shits about all that SOFTWARE.

    So, now that they are forcing everyone into tierd data – HOW MUCH YOU WANNA BET THEY WELCOME ILLEGAL WIFI TETHERING! “GO AHEAD!… TETHER YOUR LAPTOP AND LOAD A COUPLE CONTENT-LOADED WEBPAGES NOW! WE BEG YOU!”…What a bunch of douchenozzles!

  • briz03

    Right here big red!!!

    ……….(‘(….´…´… ¯~/’..’)

  • cb2000a

    They own you and your phone…we are Verizon we know what is good for you.

  • Cowboydroid

    This is basically just another nail in the coffin. I’ve already decided I’m leaving after my unlimited contract is up. This is doing nothing but reinforcing that goal.

  • lol which is funny because their form of “help” over the phone is having u turn it off and then back on, whoopdifreakindo

    • Don’t forget the good old wipe your device and try again fix.

  • mike

    A) Who calls verizon for support for anything other than “why is your network down”
    B) There is nothing you can load on your phone that will ruin other customers experience, unless you suddenly find a way to utilize all of the bandwidth on a node.
    C) The only reason they lock bootloaders is so you cannot remove their bloatware as easily.

    If they’d realize that maybe 1 in 1000 people actually use their crappy apps for something more than checking minutes/data used, they’d be able to increase their profit margins even more by nixing these crap services.

  • andydrives2fast

    You have got to be kidding me? If someone unlocks their bootloader and loads new software, it is obviously a premeditated decision. Its not like I can butt dial myself into a new recovery or a corrupted bootloader. All these pieces of software are deliberately loaded onto the phone by the end user. How can Verizon say that ““unapproved” software on your phone could potentially destroy the experience that another customer of theirs could have.”? All this unapproved software is flashed specifically by the customer FOR A DESIRED EXPERIENCE (i.e not the one Verizon wanted me to have). Everyone else who doesn’t flash new software will be having the exact experience Verizon wants them to have. I don’t see why this is such an issue for Verizon? Something tells me they just don’t want unlocked bootloaders so people can’t activate WiFi hotspot without paying for the plan (or use other apps to bypass paying for services Verizon makes you pay for). Either way, my patience with VZW is growing thin and I can see my GNex being my last phone on their network…

    • Teabling

      I wish I could up vote this twice.

  • Kyle

    I hope that I can go on a GSM plan with a nexus from Google play when my contract is up in 1.5 years and have the service not be spotty.

  • r0lct

    I would like to believe if the SG3 is a major international success that would give them the power to not do it for the SG4 if they didn’t want to. But I doubt they’ll have that kind of power or even desire to fight that fight.

  • King of Nynex

    Deal with it. -VZW

  • gorkon

    Soooo…someone who changes the ROM is actually going to call your support? What kind of stuff are you smoking Verizon??