Samsung Will Break Your Galaxy Z Fold 3’s Camera If You Unlock the Bootloader

The Samsung Galaxy Fold3 in green, black, and silver.
Samsung

For whatever reason, Samsung is constantly trying to discourage people from rooting its phones. Unlocking the bootloader on a Samsung device voids its warranty, breaks the Knox security system, and disables important features like Samsung Pay. But the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s anti-rooting measures go a bit too far—its cameras stop working if you unlock the bootloader.

First noticed by XDA Developers Senior Members 白い熊 and ianmacd, the Fold 3’s cameras are fully disabled when its bootloader is unlocked. You cannot use the camera for any purpose (including face unlock), even with a 3rd party app.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 actually warns that its cameras will stop working during the last stage of the bootloader unlock process. Most people will breeze by this warning without reading it, but at least we know that Samsung is intentionally disabling cameras and that this isn’t a bug.

Three photos showing the Galaxy Z Fold 3 bootloading process, which warns that cameras will stop working.
XDA Developers

For what it’s worth, the Fold 3’s cameras will work again if you go back and lock the bootloader. Because the cameras aren’t permanently disabled, then they could be re-enabled with an unlocked bootloader with a root management tool like Magisk—we don’t know for sure yet, though.

We also aren’t sure why Samsung is going to such extremes here. Phone enthusiasts often buy Android for freedom and customization, not arbitrary restrictions. Maybe it has something to do with the Fold 3’s under-display camera, or hey, maybe Samsung wants to save people from accidentally bricking their $1,800 phone.

Will Samsung extend this restriction to all of its devices? Well, according to XDA member 白い熊, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 bootloader unlock screen doesn’t warn about disabled cameras. That means the Flip 3’s cameras probably work fine when rooted, and that Samsung is specifically singling out the larger Fold 3.

Source: XDA Developers

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support Review Geek.