Unlocking a Bootloader of a Xiaomi phone is not a nice thing to do. In this blog post you won't get a step by step instruction to unlock a phone but you will get to know what you should prepare for while sacrificing your first born, your soul and your permission to live in oder to summon magical fairies for the successful unlock. Or you can just lean back, enjoy the path of privacy destruction I went through and buy a phone from another vendor.
As you propably know, or read in a previous post, I am using a custom ROM (from the e.foundation) on my smartphone. To Install this ROM, you need an unlocked bootloader. I bought a phone from Xiaomi because they sell freaking cheap hardware. But what you also get with an unmodified OS is a lot of spyware sending your data to countries where some people don't really appreciate freedom of speach. I did not know about the process of unlocking before buying the phone, I just made sure, the phone is supported by the ROM vendor.
Preparing the phone
Ok, there I sit with this device in hand. I found a youtube video which told me to go to the developer options and sign into 'my Mi Account' there. WTF?! I never saw an option to add an account to your device inside the developer options. Well. Ok. Let's generate a trash mail adress, create a mi account, add it to your device. HAH! That's were I was wrong. Nope, you can't simply sign into your Mi Account while using wifi (thethered from a smartphone which uses VPN). You have to add your account while using a mobile connection. This sucks ass.
If you still think, chinese companies are just kind and want to do you a favor by selling the hardware so cheap, wait. There's more.
Sigh So I put the sim card in my device: here is my real ip, my tethered wifi credentials and all the stuff you can read from my device. Once activated I turned the device off. This is where the fun part comes: waiting for 168h (7days). Thats not a bad joke. You have to wait for 7 days to use your new device after it arrived.
Unlocking the device
Some days pass by. Now i'm taking a separate Laptop with a freh installation of Windows 10. I'm told I have to download an application from xiaomi and run it with administrative privileges. That done, after ~30 seconds a completely other program I don't know asks for firewall privileges. Denying this, I have to install additional USB drivers (not unusual for Win10). Now I see the phone, that I brought into fastboot mode and connected to the laptop, in the list view of the application with an option to unlock. After klicking the unlock button, I'm forced to log into the same Mi Account I logged onto the device. That done I'm told to add a phone number for security reasons, otherwise the login is not successful. Ah shit, here we go again. After logging in successfully, I'm now able to unlock the bootloader and install a custom recovery and finally a Mobile Operating System that provides freedom.
Well played, Xiaomi. Not that you're having to reveal your location, they're also wanting you to install some spyware on your computer (I assume most people don't do this on seperate devices or VMs) and have to add a phone number to your mi account.
That seems to be the price using bang for the buck hardware with a custom OS.
I will now erase the disk on my laptop, sprinkle some holy water on it and cuddle it for 2 days while saying 'I'm sorry' over and over again.