How to unlock Nexus 6P bootloader

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 31 Oct 2015

Nexus 6P display

One of the advantages of owning a Nexus device is that they are pretty straightforward to tinker around with. This also makes them a favorite among the third-party Android development community, and with the Nexus 6P being the best Nexus handset ever released from Google, it is bound to get a love of love from the community.

If you plan on rooting or flashing a custom ROM on your Nexus 6P in the future, it is recommended that you unlock the bootloader first before going through initial setup. This way you will save yourself from the hassle of having to reinstall your apps and games again, since unlocking the bootloader will clear the phone of all and any data.

Compared to previous Nexus devices, unlocking the bootloader on the Nexus 6P is slightly different. Additionally, the QFuse on the Nexus 6P will also blow up once you unlock the bootloader. At the moment it is unclear what implications a blown up QFuse will have, but it is unlikely that Huawei and Google will not accept in-warranty repairs due to it.

So, ready to unlock the bootloader of your brand new Nexus 6P? Follow the steps below then.

Step 1: Download the necessary fastboot files and drivers from below. Make sure to extract all the content from below inside a new folder called ‘nexus’ on your desktop.

The above ADB/Fastboot files have been extracted from the latest Marshmallow Android SDK. You need to use them only as older versions of ADB and fastboot will not be able to detect the Nexus 6P.

Step 2: On your Nexus 6P, head over to Settings -> About Phone and tap on build number 7 times. This will provide you with access to the hidden ‘Developer Options’ menu. Now, head over to Settings -> Developer Options and check the ‘Enable OEM Unlock’ option.

Step 3: Switch off your Nexus handset and boot it into bootloader mode by using the Volume down + Power key combination. Once your phone boots into bootloader/fastboot mode, connect it to your PC.

Step 4: On your PC, open up a new command prompt or Terminal Window and then navigate to the ‘nexus’ folder on your desktop using the “cd” command. An example code can be found below:

cd /USERNAME/desktop/nexus

Alternatively, a simpler way for Windows users is to simply Shift + right click on the folder and select the ‘Open command window here’ option.

Step 5: Verify that your Nexus handset is properly being detected by your PC by issuing the below command:

fastboot devices

Mac owners will need to prefix a “./” before every fastboot command they execute, so for them the command to execute will be:

./fastboot devices

If your device is not detected by fastboot for some reason, restart your PC and repeat Step 1-4 above.

Step 6: The command to unlock the bootloader on the Nexus 6P is different from other Nexus devices, including the Nexus 5X. The new command is as follows:

fastboot flashing unlock

Confirm that you want to unlock the bootloader of your Nexus handset by selecting the ‘Yes’ option and confirming it by pressing the Power button.

Step 7: Your phone will reboot during the procedure. Once then, reboot your Nexus handset by running the following command:

fastboot reboot

Mac owners, don’t forget to prefix a “./” before the command.

With the bootloader unlocked, you will be easily able to flash a custom recovery like TWRP and gain root access on your Nexus 6P in the future in just a few steps without worrying about your personal data on the handset.