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Realme XT bootloader unlock now officially available, but there's a downside

The Realme XT's bootloader unlock is now officially available. (Image Source: Realme)
The Realme XT's bootloader unlock is now officially available. (Image Source: Realme)
The bootloader unlock tool for the Realme XT is now official with instructions for use being made available on the Realme Community site. While the bootloader unlock allows Realme XT users to install custom ROMs, it disables official OTA updates and also downgrades the Widevine level from L1 to L3.
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Realme is among the few OEMs that allow officially unlocking the bootloader. After the Realme X, Realme 5 Pro, Realme 3, and Realme X50 5G, the latest phone to receive an official bootloader unlock is the Realme XT. A tutorial for unlocking the bootloader has been posted on the Realme Community, and the process is fairly simple. 

Firstly, users need to ensure that the smartphone is charged to a minimum of 60%. The Community page has a link for the official Unlock Tool APK. The phone needs to be connected to a PC or Mac with a USB cable for issuing fastboot commands. The complete instructions for unlocking the bootloader are given at the Source link below. Just be sure to backup your data prior to the procedure. While unlocking the bootloader gives the freedom to play around with custom ROMs, it does stop access to official OTA updates. To get official updates, the bootloader should be re-locked again. 

There is one issue with the Realme XT's bootloader unlock, though. After unlocking, the Widevine L1 capability will downgraded to Widevine L3. For those not in the know, Widevine is a widely popular Google DRM platform. Android phones need to conform to the L1 security level in order to be able to stream Netflix, Hulu, Google Play Movies, and Amazon Prime Video in HD and higher resolutions. Widevine L3 devices are restricted to only 480p video streams from these providers. 

In general, bootloader unlock should not affect Widevine levels. For example, the Pixel 3 XL still retains Widevine L1 support even after unlocking. However, other phones such as the OnePlus 7 Pro can fall back to L3 once the bootloader is unlocked or even just by enabling OEM unlocking in the Developer options. 

Bootloader unlock option on a Realme device. (Image Source: Realme)
Bootloader unlock option on a Realme device. (Image Source: Realme)
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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1340 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 04 > Realme XT bootloader unlock now officially available, but there's a downside
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2020-04-10 (Update: 2020-04-10)