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Galaxy Z Fold 3: An unlocked bootloader disables all cameras on Samsung's latest foldable smartphone

The Galaxy Z Fold 3's cameras will only work with a locked bootloader. (Image source: Samsung)
The Galaxy Z Fold 3's cameras will only work with a locked bootloader. (Image source: Samsung)
Samsung really does not want people unlocking their devices. With the Galaxy Z Fold 3, unlocking the bootloader disables the device's cameras. While seemingly a software lock, it is not a good look for the South Korean company.

It may be possible to unlock many Samsung smartphones, but the South Korean company is not a fan of people tinkering with their devices. For example, rooting a recent Samsung smartphone will trip Knox, breaking functionality like Samsung Pay. Rooting switches the e-fuse irreparably from 0x0 to 0x1, which must discourage most people from unlocking their device.

Now, Samsung has taken another step with the Galaxy Z Fold 3. According to XDA Senior Members 白い熊 and ianmacd, Samsung disables all the device's cameras if you unlock its bootloader. Apparently, an unlocked bootloader disables the cameras in all instances, including facial recognition. An unlocked bootloader does not break Knox, for reference.

Consequently, re-locking the bootloader re-enables the cameras, so Samsung has not tied the disablement to Knox. Oddly, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 does not appear to have the same restriction, for one reason or another. Unsurprisingly, Samsung has not commented on the matter. Thankfully, Google, OnePlus and Xiaomi, among others, have not followed suit.

Purchase the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 on Amazon

Samsung's warning is easy to miss. (Image source: ianmacd)
Samsung's warning is easy to miss. (Image source: ianmacd)
The default camera app will not load with an unlocked bootloader. (Image source: ianmacd)
The default camera app will not load with an unlocked bootloader. (Image source: ianmacd)
Face unlock no longer works either. (Image source: ianmacd)
Face unlock no longer works either. (Image source: ianmacd)
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 does not display the same warnings as its bigger sibling. (Image source: 白い熊)
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 does not display the same warnings as its bigger sibling. (Image source: 白い熊)
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 08 > Galaxy Z Fold 3: An unlocked bootloader disables all cameras on Samsung's latest foldable smartphone
Alex Alderson, 2021-08-24 (Update: 2021-08-24)