The bootloader on Google Pixel and Pixel XL is unlockable, with the exception of models purchased from Verizon. This means you can flash custom recovery like TWRP, flash ZIPs and also root your device. Follow the guide below to unlock your Google Pixel or Pixel XL’s bootloader. Here’s how to unlock Google Pixel Bootloader.
Unlock Google Pixel Bootloader
Before you begin
You need to keep in mind that unlocking the bootloader will erase all your data. So make sure you have backed up all your important data first. Also, this will void your device’s warranty. But you can relock the bootloader again to get your warranty back. Finally, a new Android security measure called SafetyNet get triggered by unlocking bootloader which prevents apps like Android Pay and Pokémon Go from working. So, before you begin, make sure you accept these risks.
ADB and Fastboot
You will need to install ADB and Fastboot on your computer before you can begin unlocking your Pixel. You can find full guide on setting up ADB and Fastboot on Windows and Mac here.
Enable OEM Unlocking
Now you need to prepare your Pixel for unlocking. You will need to enable OEM Unlocking from Developer options. Developer options is hidden by default. To unlock Developer options, go to Settings > About phone > tap on Build number seven times rapidly. Now go back to Settings and go to Developer options. Enable OEM unlocking to enable Fastboot command to unlock bootloader.
Boot to Bootloader Mode
To run the Fastboot commands, you need to put your Pixel into Bootloader mode. To do so, power off your Pixel first. When the screen goes dark, press and hold the Volume down and Power button together till you get greeted by the Bootloader menu. You can now plug your Pixel into our computer using a USB data cable.
Run ADB Shell
Now, go to the ADB and Fastboot installation directory. The default location for Windows user is C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools. For Mac and Linux users, the path varies on where you’ve extracted the ADB folder. You’ll need to search for “platform-tools” if you forgot the path.
Windows users can hold down shift and right click on any empty space with the platfor-tools folder and then click on Open command window here. For Mac and Linux users, you will need to change the directories in the Terminal to platform-tools.
The below command will be for Windows users. Mac and Linux users will have to add “./” and “/” respectively in front of these commands to run them.
In the CMD or Terminal, type in the following command and hit enter:
If this command returns with a series of letters and numbers followed why the word “fastboot”, then you are good to go. Otherwise, setup ABD and Fastboot again properly.
Now, type the following command and hit enter to unlock the bootloader:
fastboot flashing unlock
If you get prompted with a message saying if you’re sure you’d like to unlock the bootloader, highlight “Yes” and user Power button to select it. The bootloader will now be unlocked. Reboot the device and you will need to go through initial device setup again and then you’re good to go.
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