Un-bricking a Nokia G10

Written August 11, 2022

Not-so-recently, a Nokia G10 phone that I brought with me on an international trip decided to spontaneously stop working. I suspect the fact that full device encryption was enabled made it more difficult to reset the device to factory.

On boot, the device would accept the most recent PIN I used, then attempt to load the home screen which would show a loading bar forever. I could access the Settings menu by swiping down from the top and using the quick access, but attempting to factory reset required a PIN, and the same one that was accepted on the login screen would be rejected. This leads me to believe that the device somehow got into a bad state, where the PIN used for device encryption somehow got decoupled from the lock screen PIN.

In order to fix this, I attempted to use all combinations of boot keys to no avail. It seems the only screen you can get into without a PC connection is fastboot. There is no obvious way to access a recovery menu to do a full disk wipe.

The solution I found was to use the fastboot utility on a PC. These can be installed on Arch Linux with the following:
> pacman -S android-tools

The first step is to then reboot into standard fastboot on the phone:

Then, run the following command to reboot the phone into the *new* fastboot mode:
> fastboot reboot fastboot

Wait for the phone to boot, and issue the following command:
> fastboot reboot recovery

You should now be at a menu where you can factory reset / erase the device. Once this is done, reboot the device and wait for the setup flow to appear.

I would expect these instructions to work for other Nokia devices, such as Nokia G10, Nokia G20, etc.