What Is a Bricked Phone?

By Darnell Clayton

Altering the operating system of your phone in a way that causes the mobile device to become unusable (or unresponsive to input via the touch screen and physical buttons) results in a bricked, or inoperable, phone. Hacking -- sometimes referred to as "jail breaking" or "rooting" -- your mobile device or receiving a corrupted update may result in your phone being bricked, with the former affecting the warranty of the device. Phones that are bricked are able to be restored -- also known as "unbricking" -- with the help of third-party tools or software programs.

Bricked Phone Via Hacking

Hacking or altering your mobile operating system will result in a bricked phone if not carefully done with the assistance of an individual familiar with the code behind the mobile OS or accomplished by software designed by mobile OS experts, whether from a third party developer or from your wireless carrier. You also might brick your phone by updating your hacked mobile device with official software from the mobile OS creator.

Bricked Phone Via Update

You might brick your phone by receiving an official update, especially one that has not been thoroughly tested, from the mobile OS creator on your phone, even if it has not been hacked using third-party tools or updated with official software from the carrier.

Warranty Of Bricked Phones

Replacing or repairing a bricked phone under the provisions of your warranty is only possible if your device was bricked as a result of an official update, whether from the wireless carrier or mobile OS creator. Phones that are bricked as a result of the mobile OS being hacked are not covered under the warranty of your mobile device.

Unbricking A Bricked Phone

Fixing or "unbricking" your bricked phone, whether from hacking or via an official update from your wireless carrier or mobile OS creator, is accomplished by reverting your mobile device back to the original factory settings by using official software or third-party tools from developers. Reverting the phone back to the original settings will erase your custom alterations upon the phone as well as remove the harmful changes made to the mobile OS.