What Happens to Phones When They Are Flashed?

By Louis Kroeck

There are two different methods for flashing a cell phone, which are full flash and partial flash. What will happen to your phone will vary depending on whether you undertake a full or partial flash. Before flashing your phone, be sure to back up any important information as it may be lost in the process.

Why Flash a Phone

There are a variety of reasons that individuals may decide to flash a phone in order to alter that phone's settings. The most common reason is so that a locked phone from one cellular network can be used on a different cellular network. However, you may also flash a phone in order to change the operating system of that phone.

What Happens When a Phone is Flashed

When a phone is flashed its software settings are altered in order to change the operation of the phone. Exactly what will happen to your phone will depend on the type of phone you have and the software you are using in order to flash your phone. Remember that it is not always lawful or in accordance with your cell phone policy to flash your phone, so be sure to proceed accordingly.

Locked Phones

The most common reason that phones are flashed is that they are locked to a particular cellular network. Wireless carriers want you to purchase a new phone if you migrate to a new network, therefore phones are generally locked to a particular network. Some carriers will unlock your phone upon request but in other instances you may need to flash your phone in order to use it on a different network, this is known as a partial flash.

Full Flash

A full flash refers to actually changing the operating system on your phone. If you undertake this type of flash all of the information on your phone may be removed. A full flash could mean just upgrading or downgrading to a different version of the operating system on your phone, or changing to an entirely new mobile operating system. Flashing your phone may void your phone's warranty and it may render your phone useless depending on the security measures in place on your phone.