Galaxy Z Fold 3 cameras blocked if bootloader unlocked

The newest in Samsung Galaxy foldable devices appears to have a few more locks on it than some past devices. As discovered this week by intrepid software engineers at XDA, a bootloader unlock of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 disables said device's cameras. This isn't the first time this has happened on an Android smartphone, but it's pretty rare.

Samsung already had some sizeable locks on many of their Android devices – especially in the case of devices that have Samsung Pay enabled. If you have almost any Samsung smartphone with Samsung Pay, the device works with a security system called Knox. Knox makes certain that any major software modifications made to a Samsung device will disable features like Samsung Pay.

This is smart – Samsung wants to make absolutely certain Samsung Pay isn't hacked, and disabling access at the most basic level is a very good way to do so. You'll also lose other Knox security features by unlocking the bootloader to a Samsung device, and the device's warranty will be voided.

Per XDA members 白い熊 and ianmacd, there is an additional disclaimer that comes with unlocking the software on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. As the text on the device suggests when attempting to unlock the bootloader:

"Unlock the bootloader to install custom operating system software. Doing so will cause the camera to be disabled and may cause your phone or apps to stop working correctly." It's also suggested that unlocking the bootloader "may void warranty." It's likely this will be the case with future Samsung phones, as well – but it might just be relegated to those devices with features like under-screen cameras.

Is this a deal-breaker for you? Are you the sort of person that buys an Android device with the intent of taking a very, very close look at the software and modifying the device's features?