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PSA: Don't root your Galaxy Z Fold 3
Unless you wanna lose access to your cameras.
If you’re a developer and you’re intrigued by Samsung’s new $1,799 Galaxy Z Fold 3 and you want to play around with its software to see if you can tweak it and customize it however you want, here’s an idea: don’t.
Well, do whatever you want, but you’ll have to be okay with disabling your cameras.
XDA-Developers has done what it does best and tried to unlock the bootloader of a new smartphone. This time, it was the Galaxy Z Fold 3 in the hot seat as a user tried to free the bootloader in order to root the device and begin tweaking the software. However, after unlocking the bootloader (a process that’s perfectly functional on the device), they were met with a message across all apps that use the device’s cameras. In essence, it was this GIF:
It’s important to note that not only is the message displayed when you try to use apps like Camera, but you’re also warned before unlocking your bootloader that “doing so will cause the camera to be disabled.”
You also get messages like this, apparently:
If you want to re-enable your cameras, you’ll have to relock your bootloader. It’s after that, users report, all of your cameras become functional again.
Why does this happen? It’s likely a cheap move by Samsung to discourage third-party operating system installation on the Z Fold 3. Over the years, Android device manufacturers have tried to block and eliminate different methods that let you hack into their phones in hopes of maintaining high levels of security and stability. Of course, this effort has gone largely unnoticed since the worst things OEMs typically do involve adding extra hoops devs have to jump through to achieve things like root access.
However, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a manufacturer disable the cameras when you simply unlock your bootloader. I’ve unlocked the bootloader of many phones before, and all I’ve ever gotten was a scary message saying my device was no longer as secure as it once was. That, I suppose, wasn’t enough to convince enough people to knock it off, so Samsung said “screw it, we’re not letting you take pictures.”
Obviously, we’re talking about Android developers here. They’re some of the most crafty and well-versed on the entire internet, so there will likely be some workaround for the issue in the future once enough people get their hands on the device.
By the way, if this is what happens when you unlock the bootloader, I wonder what happens when you achieve full-on root access on the Z Fold 3. If you root a modern Samsung phone, you’ll permanently lose access to all of the company’s Knox security features, which means things like Samsung Pay won’t be functional any longer. Whether things get worse with Samsung’s $1,800 foldable is unclear, but I assume we’ll find out soon enough.
All in all, it feels weird that on one of Samsung’s most expensive phones ever, you can’t unlock the bootloader without losing your cameras. I suppose the “most expensive” part of that sentence is the reason they’re doing it, but it still feels dirty.
Right now, it’s unclear if Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 will suffer from the same issue.
Tapping The Wire…
Samsung’s newest foldables seem to be a hit. According to The Korea Herald, preorders for the company’s new Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 are skyrocketing compared to past smartphone releases. The publication reports over 450,000 units between the two devices have been preordered by customers, with that number likely finishing off between 600,000-800,000 by the time the devices actually launch later this week.
For context, this is apparently twice the amount of preorders that were placed for Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series from earlier this year and 1.5 times better than the Galaxy Note 20 series last year. Enthusiasm seems to be driven by Samsung’s refinements its made to both devices, especially with the prices since you can now buy a Samsung foldable for under $1,000.
Interestingly, The Korea Herald also suggests the new foldables are performing well with younger crowds. Those in their 20s and 30s are eating up a majority of the preorders being placed, which is indicative of the futuristic appeal of both devices.
Samsung definitely made a lot of improvements to this year’s phones. Both Galaxy Zs have IPX8 certification, while S Pen support has made it to the Z Fold 3. The Z Flip 3, meanwhile, gets a larger cover display and a better bendable display thanks to a 120Hz refresh rate.
It was pretty clear when these phones were announced and they’ll be worth keeping an eye on given how well-positioned they are to propel foldabes into the mainstream. Now, it looks like we’re seeing the evidence of that.
2. A screenshot from a Pixel 6 Pro seems to confirm the under-display fingerprint reader
Hiroshi Lockheimer, the senior VP for various divisions within Google including Android, tweeted a screenshot of the new Material You UI in Android 12, and it seems like it was captured on a Pixel 6/Pro. The screenshot includes an icon for what’s likely an under-display fingerprint reader which both the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are rumored to include. It’s perfectly normal for executives in companies to use pre-release products, so Lockhemier’s probably on a next-gen Pixel and didn’t realize what he tweeted. After all, the tweet was eventually taken down.
3. The Apple Watch Series 7 might come in two new sizes
Apple’s next Watch, the Series 7, will apparently come in two new sizes: 41mm and 45mm. If you’re keeping track, that’s a full 1mm larger for both models over what’s available now. A user on Weibo (spotted by MacRumors) was first to report the change, which would make sense given other rumors indicating a full redesign is in the cards for this year’s Apple Watch. Obviously, all of your bands would still fit according to whether you have the small or large size.
4. Yeah, no, the iPhone 13 isn’t getting Touch ID
Mark Gurman from Bloomberg said it, so it must be true.
5. Apple’s Mac mini might be going Pro
I wrote an article about it.
6. Fitbit’s Charge 5 leaks out again in a video
The video surfaced on Twitter by a leaker known as “Snoopy.” They later tweeted additional specs about the device like up to 7 days of battery life, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, automatic activity tracking, and a built-in GPS. It’ll also apparently cost $179.
7. You won’t be able to buy LG’s 42-inch OLED TV until January 2022
8. T-Mobile giving Magenta subscribers a free year Apple TV Plus
9. RIP: Instagram is killing the swipe-up
The replacement is stickers, which I think is stupid. Again, The Verge got the scoop on this one.
10. TikTok now testing its shopping tab
The New York Times published a piece on TikTok’s new partnership with Shopify. For the time being, only a few Shopifiers will be offered integration with the new Shopping tab, but that number will undoubtedly grow over time.
11. Spotify is opening podcast subscriptions to all Anchor users
If you use Anchor to host your podcast, its owner, Spotify, will now let you ask your subscribers to pay. Paid subscriptions for podcasts are now available across the United States for all Anchor users. Interestingly, the company says for the first two years of operation, it won’t be taking a cut of any revenue generated. Then, in 2023, it’ll implement a 5 percent fee.