Rooting the Galaxy Z Fold 3 Disables the Camera

Samsung aims to dissuade users from gaining access

A new security measure for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has been discovered that disables the device’s camera if the bootloader is unlocked.

The measure was found by two senior members at XDA Developers, a software development community centered around Android devices. The two users attempted to gain root access to the Galaxy Z Fold 3, only to have the phone’s camera cease to function.

Galaxy Fold smartphone

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This means facial recognition is made unavailable and third-party camera apps won’t work either.

A bootloader is software that loads into the memory of a device and comes standard in most operating systems. Utilizing this software can give root access to the device, allowing the user to alter or replace settings, run special apps that require admin-level permissions, or carry out other functions that are normally inaccessible.

However, doing so is risky, as it voids the warranty on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and may make the phone unstable, which can lead to device failure, or "bricking." Rooting is done at the user’s own risk.

People at the attendance at Samsung event

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Samsung already makes it difficult to have root access thanks to its Knox security framework. Trying to gain root access trips security flags on this framework, which can permanently disable Samsung Pay.

The senior members later discovered that relocking the bootloader allows the camera to work again, which means it may be possible to detect the parameters that cause the camera to stop working. Such a bypass has yet to be discovered.

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