When HMD revived the Nokia brand, their decision to stick with stock Android eventually gave them an extra mileage. The portfolio of the OEM is huge, and end users can pick up phones from virtually every price category with the guaranteed timely updates, thanks to the Android One certification.

Android One phones will receive at least two years of OS upgrades. With the latest version of Android, you’ll get software that auto-adjusts to your needs, and helps you get things done more easily throughout the day.

For the lowest tier phones, the company opts for Android Go initiative. Although Android Go doesn’t enforce any rule about skinning, Nokia ships almost untouched Android in phones with 1 GB of RAM like Nokia 1, 2 and 2.1. In the US, the Verizon branded Nokia 2.1 is available as Nokia 2 V.

Nokia 2 V (rebranded Nokia 2.1)

Unlike their predecessors, the Nokia 2.1 and 2 V were launched with Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition). While the unlocked model received Android 9.0 update back in February, the carrier branded variant is stuck with Oreo. Moreover, the bootloaders are locked, so the chances of custom development are skew.

Nokia 8 is the only Nokia phone which can be officially bootloader unlocked

While these Snapdragon 425 powered phones with 1 GB RAM are no powerhouse, now you can tinker with them as the bootloader can be unlocked unofficially. Famous Nokia modder Hikari Calyx shared the guide, so that you can play with these phones (considering you can buy one with as low as $40).

The procedure is pretty simple:

1. Download the appropriate service bootloader for your model from here.

2. Boot your phone in download/fastboot mode:

fastboot oem alive

3. Flash service bootloader:

fastboot oem dm-verity (md5_of_serial_number)

This old trick is still applicable for these phones. Afterwards, do the following:

fastboot flash aboot /path/to/service/bootloader
fastboot reboot-bootloader

4. Now you need to grant unlock permission:

fastboot oem dm-verity (md5_of_serial_number)
fastboot oem fih on
fastboot oem devlock allow_unlock

5. Time to actually unlock the bootloader:

fastboot oem flashing unlock_critical

6. When the phone is erasing userdata, execute the following commands:

fastboot oem alive

After triggering to download mode:

fastboot oem dm-verity (md5_of_serial_number)
fastboot oem fih on
fastboot oem devlock allow_unlock
fastboot oem unlock-go

7. At this stage, you should reboot your phone to download mode and restore deviceinfo.

Hikari further mentioned than HMD/Nokia might block this method in future by updating the bootloader. In that case, you have to go through the NB1-Collision method. The details are out of scope of this article, so please refer to this thread.

The NB1-Collision method requires you to force the device to boot to EDL mode by shorting these test points

Now Nokia 2.1 as well as Nokia 2 V owners can freely tinker with their phones; even flash various GSIs to get the taste of updated Android based vanilla and custom ROMs.

Are you planning to give a new life to your Nokia 2 V/2.1? Comment below.

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Kingshuk De
896 Posts

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.

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