Several buyers of a Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro with unlocked bootloaders have reported the issue on Reddit. So far, so usual. If it weren’t for the fact that the owners of the cell phones had nothing to do with it. It is currently unclear how widespread the problem is. However, Pixel smartphones with unlocked bootloaders usually give a pretty obvious warning.
The following text is displayed to the user:
“The bootloader is unlocked and software integrity cannot be guaranteed. Any data stored on the device may be available to attackers. Do not store any sensitive data on the device.”Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro
According to the Reddit post, an unlocked bootloader is generally not a big problem, but it does raise some questions regarding privacy and security. The most obvious consequence of an unlocked Android bootloader is, among other things, that some financial apps will no longer work for security reasons. This also includes contactless payment on Android via Google Wallet.
A bootloader is a piece of software that handles the initial boot of a device and loads the operating system itself, in this case Android. If you want to make changes at the operating system level and install things like patches and mods or flash a new ROM directly, you need an unlocked bootloader.
In theory, even a user with a computer and an ADB connection could fix the problem. Obviously, Google cannot demand such steps from its customers. Instead, the search engine behemoth is offering affected customers new Google Pixel 8 devices. According to the Reddit reports, however, a longer chat with the support department is necessary.