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Unlocking Vs. Debranding/Flashing Vs. Rooting -- Clarified

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By batman_112, Senior Member on 4th January 2011, 07:15 PM
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Hi All,

There have been many confused members (especially the noobs) who do not understand the difference between unlocking and debranding so I wanted to start this thread to clarify this matter once and for all.

Debranding/Flashing: : This is when you flash some firmware other than your original operator's FW. For example, if you have an AT&T or O2 branded X10, when you flash/debrand generic fw (or any other fw of your choosing) you simply get rid of the "branded" software pre-loaded on your phone. Hence, the term "de-branding". This does not mean that your phone is unlocked. You will still have to use your original operator's SIM card, like AT&T or O2, to use your phone EVEN AFTER flashing/debranding your handset.

Unlocking: This is when you "network unlock" your phone and are able to use it with any GSM operator you choose other than your original operator. For example, you have an AT&T or O2 branded X10 and you want to use it on T-Mobile US or UK, can you do that after simply flashing/debranding? The answer is NO. Why? Because your phone still requires a special code to be entered before it becomes network unlocked. For further reading, please go here.

Rooting: Rooting is a process that allows users of cellphones, and other devices, running the Android operating system to attain privileged control (known as "root access") within Android's Linux subsystem, similar to jailbreaking on Apple devices running the iOS operating system, overcoming limitations that the carriers and manufacturers put on such phones. Rooting makes it possible to use custom versions of the Android system such as CyanogenMod, supporting features unavailable in stock ROMs. It also allows for newer versions of Android not supplied by the original device manufacturer. Source: Wikipedia

Debranding, unlocking and rooting are mutually exclusive.

FAQs:

1. If I flash to generic firmware using Bin4ry's flash tool, will I unlock my phone?

No, you will simply debrand your phone but, you will still need to get the unlock code.

2. If I debrand my phone and then unlock it but, I would like to go back to my original branded firmware, will my phone become re-locked to that network again?

No, once you unlock your phone, it will remain that way no matter what firmware you flash in the future.

3. How do I know if my phone is network unlocked?

The simple way is to pop in another operator's SIM card, for example you have an AT&T branded X10a, then you can use a T-Mobile SIM card. If your phone reboots and you do not get a "enter code" screen and you see that you are connected to the T-Mobile network then your phone is network unlocked and can be used with any GSM operator.
Another way is to go into the hidden service menu. In the lock screen (the one with the swype animation) press the following sequence of buttons (Home, Back, Back, Home, Back, Home, Home, Back). If you are on 1.6 replace Home with Menu. Then go to service info --> SIM lock. In the top line, if you find this [X] Network 10, then your phone is locked. If you find this [ ] Network 10, then your phone is unlocked.

4. How can I get my unlock code?

There are a few sites from which people were successful in getting their unlock codes like MobileInCanada and CellUnlocker. There is also a thread by Xda-member "Lancez" here who can provide unlock codes for a fee. Currently, there is no known method of unlocking your phone for free.

I hope I have clarified this matter for everyone.
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4th January 2011, 07:21 PM |#2  
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this should clarify the unlocking scene
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4th January 2011, 07:22 PM |#3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancez

this should clarify the unlocking scene

I hope so!
4th January 2011, 10:42 PM |#4  
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Well, thanks for the info; however, what I wanted to know was the "technology" behind the lock codes which can survive after flashing. What do they use to keep them safe? In which part of the software is the code stored? or most likely, the code should be hardcoded then.
4th January 2011, 11:02 PM |#5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albiore

Well, thanks for the info; however, what I wanted to know was the "technology" behind the lock codes which can survive after flashing. What do they use to keep them safe? In which part of the software is the code stored? or most likely, the code should be hardcoded then.

Google is your friend. You can start here though.
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5th January 2011, 07:54 AM |#6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batman_112

Google is your friend. You can start here though.

Once again Batman, you post exactly what I was looking for 3-4 days after I was looking for it. I'm gonna take a few days off and come back, so all my questions will have already been answered. ;)

Thanks for all your help!

Sent from my X10a using XDA App
5th January 2011, 02:43 PM |#7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agentJBM

Once again Batman, you post exactly what I was looking for 3-4 days after I was looking for it. I'm gonna take a few days off and come back, so all my questions will have already been answered. ;)

Thanks for all your help!

Sent from my X10a using XDA App

Next time just flash the Bat signal
5th January 2011, 05:20 PM |#8  
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Hello, I have a question.

I have a x10a locke, so, I go to cellularunlocker.net and pay 39.99$ for the software... and make the unlock... later of reboot, my x10 can be used on any carrier...

so my question is::

if SE make a new update of software and base band:

my info:
Model: x10a
version firmware: 2.1-update1
baseband version: 2.0.46
Kernel Version: [email protected]#1
Build number: 2.0.A.0.504

if a do on the future a update to 2.2 exameple if SE done the update and my baseband too recivied the update. my phone will be lock again?

thanks and sorry my bad English
5th January 2011, 05:26 PM |#9  
Quote:
Originally Posted by roghax

Hello, I have a question.

Which is answered in the first post...
Quote:
Originally Posted by batman_112

2. If I debrand my phone and then unlock it but, I would like to go back to my original branded firmware, will my phone become re-locked to that network again?

No, once you unlock your phone, it will remain that way no matter what firmware you flash in the future.

6th January 2011, 01:00 AM |#10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roghax

Hello, I have a question.

I have a x10a locke, so, I go to cellularunlocker.net and pay 39.99$ for the software... and make the unlock... later of reboot, my x10 can be used on any carrier...

so my question is::

if SE make a new update of software and base band:

my info:
Model: x10a
version firmware: 2.1-update1
baseband version: 2.0.46
Kernel Version: [email protected]#1
Build number: 2.0.A.0.504

if a do on the future a update to 2.2 exameple if SE done the update and my baseband too recivied the update. my phone will be lock again?

thanks and sorry my bad English

No, it will not be locked again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by XperiaX10iUser

Which is answered in the first post...

I think people are too lazy to read through the whole post! Thanks!
7th February 2011, 02:36 AM |#11  
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Updated first post to add definition of rooting.
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