HTC One bootloader unlocking deletes apps, blocks future updates

HTC One owners are warned that unlocking the bootloader will delete pre-installed applications and prevent future OTA updates from being installed

15 Mar 2013

HTC One owners looking to unlock the device's bootloader in order to install custom versions of Android are being warned that certain pre-installed applications are automatically wiped and future software updates blocked from the device.

According to testing by MoDaCo, unlocking the bootloader on HTC's latest top-end Android smartphone will wipe a special section of the data partition that contains four pre-installed applications: the Calculator, Flashlight, Ringtone Trimmer and Sound Recorder application. When the bootloader is unlocked - a step required for the installation of a third-party or otherwise modified operating system from a 'ROM' file - these applications are permanently wiped from the device and cannot be reinstalled.

While the loss of those applications is annoying, it's hardly critical: alternatives for doing all four tasks are freely available in the Google Play market. Their loss causes another issue, however: once the files are gone, no future software update released by HTC for the One handset will install - instead kicking up an error about the missing applications.

That's a serious problem for those who like to tinker with their handsets: even re-locking the bootloader will not allow the system to install future software updates, meaning that anyone unlocking the bootloader on their HTC One handsets will be relegated to using unofficial software on their device forever more - or at least until HTC releases a full version of its stock operating system ROM file, which could restore the devices back to their factory-standard settings.

In many handsets, it's impossible to 'root' the device - a process analogous to 'jailbreaking' an iOS handset, which provides the ability to perform tasks normally forbidden by the handset's creator - without first unlocking the bootloader and installing or booting from a custom recovery ROM. For those who like to tinker, then, the HTC One is best left alone - at least, until a workaround for the issue is discovered.

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