How to Unlock Bootloader, Install Custom Recovery & Root OnePlus 3/ 3T smartphone

OnePlus 3 and the recently launched OnePlus 3T both are considered to be one of the most developer friendly smartphones. Unlocking the bootloader and rooting them is actually quite an easy job. However, just like any other tutorial, it is suggested that you understand and know what exactly you are doing before proceeding through the process. In this post, we will be unlocking the Bootloader of OnePlus 3/3T, Install Custom Recovery and Root the devices. If you are planning to perform either of the three or all the three of them, then follow all the steps given in the tutorial very carefully.

Unlocking the bootloader opens the door to the internal memory of the device which is otherwise not accessible to the users. This is usually done if users are trying to flash images directly onto the main partition of the phone. Installing a custom recovery, on the other hand, bring a lot of functionalities. It gives you abilities like performing wipes, install flushable zips, create full backups and various other features. Rooting allows you to gain root access to the device by either flashing via recovery a pre-rooted custom ROM or flashing a zip which contains the SuperSU. Do make a note that a custom recovery is necessary to do this. Long story short, if you follow all the steps given below, your device will be successfully rooted, the phone will have a custom recovery installed, and the phones bootloader will be unlocked.

Note – By trying attempt any of the process listed in this thread which you are about to follow if anything goes wrong during the setup and if your device stops working, etc. we are not responsible for the same, and you agree to take full responsibility. Hence make sure you know what you are about to get into.

Prerequisite and certain things to keep in mind before the procedure

  • You will need ADB and Fastboot for the installation and hence make sure you have them installed on your PC.
  • You can download ADB for Windows PC from here – ADB Download
  • Or you can find a universal ADB & Fastboot tool from this link here – Universal ADB
  • Once you have the files downloaded, run the .exe file as Admin.
  • Proceed through the installation and get the installation over with first.
  • Once this is done, the next thing is to create a back up of your all your data. While this step is completely optional, but it is highly suggested that you do create a backup of the same if you have lot of important files, etc.
  • Enable USB debugging on your phone as this will be useful.
  • Also make sure you enable OEM Unlocking and Advanced Reboot option on your phone.

Unlocking the Bootloader

Once you have all the prerequisites out of the way, it is now time to begin the process. First, we will show you how to unlock the Bootloader of the device(s). If you already have your Boot loader unlocked, then you can skip this step and directly go to the next part of the tutorial.

  1. The first step is to turn off your device. Once you have turned off your device, then enter the fast boot mode. This can be done by holding volume up and power butting together until the ‘fast boot’ screen appears on the screen. Alternatively, if you have enabled the Advanced Root option, then you can press Reboot -> Bootloader from the power menu of your device.
  2. Once you are on the fast boot screen, it is now time to plug your device into your PC. Then open command prompt window on the desktop and type the following command -
 fastboot devices
  3. At this point, the PC will generate the list of connected devices. If your device’s serial number shows up on the list, then you are good to go. However, if it is not listed, then don’t panic, You just need to make sure that your drivers are installed.
  4. Once your device is successfully listed in the list, it is now time to proceed. In order to proceed, you need to enter the following command -
 fastboot OEM unlock
  5. Do make a note that this command will unlock your boot loader and this step will wipe everything off the device. Hence if you haven’t created a backup earlier, then now you are left with a clean device with nothing in it. Once the above code has finished executing, you can run the following code -
 fastboot reboot.



After this, your phone will now reboot. If all you wanted to do was unlock the boot loader of the smartphone, then you are done now. However, if you want to proceed with installing a custom recovery, then you can do so by proceeding through the process.

Flashing a Custom Recovery

Now in this part, we will show you how to flash the custom recovery software onto your device. There are a lot of custom recovery software out there. However, we will be going with TWRP for this tutorial just like all of our posts.

Note – The OnePlus 3T stock boot image has dm-verity. This prevents from booting if you swipe to enable system notifications. Do worry; there is a solution for this. Simply follow the steps given below as the precaution measure is included for the same to avoid going into a boot loop.


  • You need to have a custom recovery software image for the installation. You can download Official TWRP for OnePlus 3T image here. If you are using a OnePlus 3 the download the image from this link here.
  • You will also need SuperSU which you can download from this link here.
  • Download all these files and place them on the smartphone’s internal memory. You can also keep them on a USB OTG storage device.

Follow the below given steps to install the custom recovery

  1. First turn off the device. And then boot into fast boot mode which you can do by pressing volume up button and power button together until you see the fast boot screen on the device. Alternatively, you can do the same by simply going to the power menu and tapping the fast boot reboot option. However, this is will only work if you have enabled advanced reboot option.
  2. Make sure you rename the recovery file you downloaded earlier to recovery.img and also make sure that the file is placed on the desktop for easy access.
  3. Once that is done, open new command prompt on desktop and run the following command – 
fastboot flash recovery (file name).img
  4. It will start flashing the image and once it is done, skip going for ‘fastboot option’ just yet. Instead of doing that, unplug your phone and manually boot it into recovery mode by holding the power button and volume down button together. Alternatively, you can use the following code -
 fast boot boot recovery.img
  5. The above step is to make sure that you don’t boot into the OS and go for the rooting part directly and get it over with together.


Now after the last step which you just followed above, your smartphone should now boot into the TWRP mode. You are probably on a screen which is asking you if you want to allow system modifications. Here in this case if you swipe right, then you will trigger dm-verity. After that, if you don’t follow the below steps and root the device, then you won’t be able to boot ever again. Hence it is safe to go ahead and swipe right and enable modifications. Follow the following steps to Root your smartphone –

  1. Now without leaving the TWRP, get the no-verity-opt-encrypt zip onto your device over MTP. Make sure to select it fro internal storage and place it before and flash it.
  2. The next step is to go to “wipe” section and tap “Format Data”, and type “Yes”. (Keep in mind that this wipe may take a long time in some cases since the device needs to rebuilt Dalvik cache and initialise other first boot)
  3. Now navigate to Install Zip and select ‘’ to root your OnePlus 3/ 3T smartphone.
  4. Now Swipe to install SuperSU and reboot your device.

That is all. Congratulations, if followed through all the steps given above in this tutorial, then you have now successfully unlocked your device’s Bootloader, installed a custom recovery software and have rooted your smartphone as well. Yes, if nothing went wrong and if you are still able to see something on your screen at this point, then pat yourself on your back.

Now at this point, it is recommended that you create a backup of your device in its current state since everything is nice and clean and working fine. If in future if you feel like going crazy and something goes wrong, you can simply go to TWRP and restore to this state. You can make a Nandroid backup which can be done by following the steps given below –

  1. Now Firstly, boot into your recovery/ TWRP Recovery.
  2. Next step is to go to backup Menu and select all the listed partitions.
  3. Simply swipe to take backup of the partitions. This process should ideally take only about 3-4 minutes since there is pretty much nothing installed on your device.
  4. Once it is done, reboot your system to finish the process.

As mentioned earlier, if anything goes wrong in future, you can simply restore the backup using the recovery option in your TWRP Recovery software. Also, if at any point during the process, if anything goes wrong, be sure to comment down below and we will try to resolve the issue and stay tuned for more tutorials like this.

Source: OnePlus Forum

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