How to unlock your Nothing Phone 1 using EDL flashing


The Nothing Phone 1 is one of the most beautiful smartphones on the market with its unique glowing notification ‘glyphs’ and glass-aluminum design. The manufacturer has also been receptive to the XDA aftermarket developer community. Aside from the ready availability of the kernel sources, you can easily unlock the phone’s bootloader, which means diving into the modding scene is pretty seamless for the Nothing Phone 1.

Help! My phone won’t turn on

However, modifying your device is not without risks and may even cause your phone to be temporarily bricked. If you don’t want to visit a service center or send your phone to one, but want to bring your phone back from the dead, you need to find a suitable flashing tool that can communicate with the device via SoC-specific low-level flashing protocol. Devices with Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets have an alternate boot mode called emerger eownload Mode (EDL), which is strictly for OEM service. Now you can finally use this mode to revive your device.

XDA Senior Member mark332 has gathered all the necessary packages in one place and designed a handy GUI so that you can use it to bring your Nothing Phone 1 to life even from a hard brick. The tool requires Windows, although you can technically use it on Linux as well if you can get your hands on the appropriate Qualcomm flashing binaries.

How to unlock Nothing Phone 1

Unlike Google, Nothing does not maintain an official portal for the factory images corresponding to the Nothing Phone 1. Of course, you can manually grab the OTA packages from our Nothing Phone 1 update tracker, but that won’t be enough to revive your device when you can’t even access Boot/Fastboot mode and you’re stuck with something like this:

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Nothing Phone 1 hard brick

Fortunately, you can force the Phone 1 to enter EDL mode using a hotkey. Just make sure the target device is completely turned off, then hold down the volume up and volume down buttons when plugging your phone back into the computer. You also need a modified USB cable to force the device to boot into EDL mode.

In case the above method doesn’t work, you need to disassemble the phone and short two test points. If all goes well, the phone should boot into EDL mode at this point, which can be easily verified by looking for a new entry “Qualcomm HS-USB QDLoader 9008” (or “QHUSB_BULK” if the driver isn’t properly installed) under Device manager.

In particular, on adb reboot edl command should be enough to boot into emergency download mode for this phone when Android is booting, but useless for a hard brick scenario.

Now that your computer can recognize the phone in EDL mode, we can proceed to the next phase. To flash the device, do the following:

  1. Download the flashing tool from mark332’s thread.
  2. Unpack the flashing tool somewhere with a short path and no spaces (eg D:\unbricktool).
  3. Make sure the Nothing Phone 1 is connected to the PC in QDLoader 9008 mode via a virtual COM port.
  4. Run unbricktool.exe and check if it shows the same COM port in the upper right side.
  5. Select “Firmware Flash”, click “START” and wait for the process to complete.
  6. The phone should reboot into a fully working Nothing OS environment.

Nothing Phone 1 Unlock Tool

The tool will completely wipe your phone during the flashing process. It will also (re)lock the target device’s bootloader. It’s not that big of a deal considering you can easily unlock again, but it’s still worth noting.

What next?

Note that the EDL package is based on Nothing OS 1.1.7, not the recently released Nothing OS 1.5.2 based on Android 13. With that said, it’s pretty easy to manually sideload Nothing OS updates, so you can to instantly reach the latest firmware after unlocking your phone without waiting for a series of OTAs.

Thanks to almost unlimited low-level access, the tool is powerful enough to read back partition contents, backup IMEI and similar unique identifiers, change region and much more. So try tinkering only if you know what you’re doing.

Nothing Phone 1 XDA Forums

Source: XDA Forums (1, 2)


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