Some folks like to hack their smartphones to add support for apps and features that wouldn’t otherwise be available. That’s why there’s a community of iOS users that jailbreak their devices (or find new ways to do so), and a huge community of Android users rooting their phones and tablets, unlocking bootloaders, and installing custom ROMs.
But Windows Phone users haven’t had many options… until now.
Windows Phone Internals is a tool that allows you to unlock the bootloader on many recent Microsoft Lumia phones running Windows Phone 8.1 or Windows 10 Mobile.
So what can you do with an unlocked bootloader? According to developer Heathcliff74, you can gain root access, which lets you alter files that would otherwise be protected and install third-party apps that require access to those files and settings. You can also flash custom ROMs on the phone. Those are basically custom operating systems that replace the software that shipped on your device.
Windows Phone Internals also lets you make a complete backup of your device so that you can restore it to its previous condition if anything goes wrong.
Before Android and iOS were released, there was actually a pretty strong community of hackers building custom ROMs for phones running Windows Mobile software. It’s not clear if Windows Phone Internals will lead to a resurgence in Windows phone hacking… but it does open the door… assuming Microsoft doesn’t close it in a future software update.