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What is Factory Reset Protection?

Factory Reset Protection is a security for Android smartphones, which is meant to make our smartphone useless in case of theft. The idea is glorious, but unfortunately the performance is much worse. The idea is very simple, if we are logged in to the phone with Android to your Google account (which is forced when you want to use e.g. the Play Store) and we have some screen protection (PIN, fingerprint, pattern, etc.), it creates a special partition in the memory in which it stores our account data. Now, even if we lose the phone and a potential thief will be able to reset it using the Recovery mode (because it will not be able to break our screen protection), it will still have to enter the account information that was recently logged on the phone to run it. Without such verification, you cannot use any other phone functions other than emergency calls.

And here I made a mistake, because Factory Reset Protection is active not only when we use the Recovery mode but also when we reset the unlocked phone from the system settings. To get rid of FRP you must first delete your Google account in the settings and only then do a phone reset to factory settings. This is especially important if you want to sell your smartphone on the secondary market. Later, you may need to provide your Google account login information to a third party to unlock it, or pay for re-sending (which is a safer solution).

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It would be enough for Android to display the FRP warning before resetting the settings from the menu and an active Google account. This would avoid stress for many users, and the fact that this is a popular problem is demonstrated by the number of instructions found on the web. There are hundreds of them, and the biggest difficulty is finding the right one. And here we come to the second problem related to Factory Reset Protection, unlocking the phone is not a major problem.

FRP Bypass is almost a business idea

Google search engine returns over 25 million results for "FRP bypass". Although this feature has been present since Android 5.0, i.e. for 5 years, it can still be bypassed, even on Android 10. The modus operandi for each version of Android is obviously a bit different, but in most cases you can do it even without the need connecting the phone to a computer. It took me about an hour to find the right instructions and unlocking them (OnePlus 3 from Android 9.0). I had to do it because I reset the phone for testing and comparison with OnePlus 7T, and for this purpose I created a temporary Google account with random data. Of course, after a week I forgot my password, and when I did a factory reset, I had an unpleasant surprise.

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There are a lot of methods, in practice in most cases it comes down to launching the Chrome browser (in a very unusual way ;-)), downloading the application to create shortcuts to go to the settings of the phone through it, and turn off the "Find my phone" function and "Google Play Services." After this operation, you can go through the verification process and regain access to your phone. There are even offers of paid FRP workarounds on the websites with offers (cost ~ PLN 40), so they are also probably willing. Unfortunately, this is not a big obstacle for a thief, and sometimes you can cause problems yourself. And it would be enough to display a warning before resetting to factory settings …

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