Galaxy S7 MWC AH 6

Galaxy S7 Bootloaders Locked on T-Mobile

March 15, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

Back when Samsung announced the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, they announced devices that were big improvements over the previous generation of Galaxy S devices. The improvements – such as the return of water-resistance and the microSD card slot – weren’t too surprising, but the quick turnaround from announcement to retail launch was something of a surprise. Samsung didn’t disappoint, either and the devices were launched in 60 countries all over the world come Friday the 11th of March. For customers in North America however, T-Mobile jumped the gun and started to ship Galaxy S7 devices to customers almost a fortnight early. They may have been ahead of the curve here, but they’re lagging behind in one area; the locked bootloader.

Devices from AT&T appear to have arrived with unlocked bootloaders, but Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge devices from T-Mobile are locked down. Many have got in touch with head honcho John Legere to express their displeasure and ask just what is going on. In most cases, Legere’s answer was the same; “It’s under Samsung’s control, but my engineers are asking them for a solution that they can support.” It’s unlikely that T-Mobile will get an unlocked bootloader solution from Samsung that people are happy with, after all T-Mobile relies on carrying devices like the Galaxy S7 to bring in customers, and Samsung wants to keep devices as secure as possible. Still, it’ll be interesting to see just what Legere and his engineers do come up with, as many users are more than a little upset.

An unlocked bootloader is needed to flash custom ROMs properly, and without one, it makes pretty much any aftermarket development very difficult. To make matters worse, Samsung is shipping devices with their own Exynos 8890 most places outside of the US, which is – if history has taught us anything – likely to feature any real development at all due to the poor documentation that Samsung provides for their own hardware. Regardless, it seems as though T-Mobile users won’t be doing too much to their Galaxy S7 devices just yet.