Just like the Nexus series, Google Pixel bootloader can also be unlocked for your customization needs. However, the steps have slightly changed this time as Verizon has locked the bootloader by default, unlike the Google Store version of Pixel and Pixel XL. Developers and users choose to have a unlocked bootloader as it allows them to flash third-party packages and factory images. As for third party packages, custom recoveries, custom ROMs and other tweaks do require you to have an unlocked bootloader. The process is quite simple and once you do unlock it, it wont void your warranty. However, unlike previous Nexus phones, this time around, the process to unlock the Pixel / Pixel XL bootloader is somewhat different. However, we have explained each step in good detail so there shouldn’t be any issue. You can now unlock bootloader of Pixel and Pixel XL using the complete guide given below.
As you continue reading below, we will guide you on how to unlock Pixel / Pixel XL bootloader for doing a lot of things with your phone. You may ask, why do we even need to unlock it in the first place? Well, unlocking allows you to install a custom recovery, flash custom ROMs, install latest Android updates with a factory image and do other nasty stuff with your phone — most of all, you will be able to root Pixel / Pixel XL on Android 6.0 and enjoy the various root apps. Just to be clear, unlocking bootloader will wipe ALL your data from the phone. So make sure you backup everything or unlock bootloader on a new device with nothing to lose.
Disclaimer: All the tools, mods or ROMs mentioned below belong to their respective owners/developers. We (TeamAndroid.com) or the developers are not to be held responsible if you damage or brick your device. We don’t have you on gun point to try out this tutorial 😉
There are tons of useful articles and how-to guides on Team Android for the Google Pixel / Pixel XL, but we think you might be interested in the following posts:
- Root Google Pixel : How to Root Google Pixel on Android 7.1 Nougat – Tutorial.
- Try Nougat on Computer: How to Try and Install Android 7.0 Nougat on Computer – Complete Guide.
- Custom ROMs: For a complete collection of custom ROMs on Team Android, visit our Custom ROM section!
If you plan on rooting this phone or are still confused for why to root Pixel / Pixel XL, read: Benefits of Rooting Your Android Device.
Google Pixel / Pixel XL USB Drivers
You will need to connect your Android phone with the computer. For that, please make sure you have installed the USB drivers for Google Pixel / Pixel XL properly. If not, you can download the latest official drivers from our Android USB Drivers section here:
Backup and Other Important Tips
Done with the USB drivers? Perfect. The tutorial is on the next page, but first, please take a look at the following tips and important points you need to take care of. These are important, as we don’t want anyone losing their personal data or apps:
Always backup your important data that you might need after you install a new custom ROM, an official software update or anything else. Make a backup for just in case, you never know when anything might go wrong. See below for some tips on how to backup data:
- Backup your Apps. How? –> How to Backup Android Apps.
- Backup your SMS messages. How? –> How to Backup/Restore SMS Messages.
- Backup Contacts, Gmail and Google Data. How? –> Sync with Google Sync.
- Backup Call History. How? –> How to Backup Call History.
- Backup WhatsApp Messages. How? –> How to Backup/Restore WhatsApp Messages.
- Backup APN Settings: GPRS, 3G, MMS Settings. How? Note down everything from: Settings > Wireless & Networks (More…) > Mobile networks > Access Point Names.
If you already have a custom recovery (ClockworkMod, TWRP etc.) installed on your phone, we strongly recommend a backup using that as it creates a complete image of your existing phone / phone set up.
A few more optional tips that you should remember:
1. Having problems connecting your Android phone to the computer? You need to enable USB debugging mode. See here: How to Enable USB Debugging — for Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Marshmallow and Nougat.
2. Make sure your Android device is charged up to 80-85% battery level. This might help you: How to Check Battery Percentage. Why? Because, if your phone goes off suddenly while installing a custom ROM, flashing an official firmware update or installing mods etc. — your phone might get bricked or go dead permanently. No one wants that, right?
4. Most of the tutorials and how-to guides on Team Android are for factory unlocked Android phones and phones. We recommend not to try our guides if your phone is locked to a carrier, unless we have specified the carrier name or device model.
5. [IMPORTANT] Copy all the backup files from your SD card to your computer as internal memory will be wiped clean while unlocking the bootloader.
If you find the above tips useful and they were helpful to you, please consider giving us a +1 or LIKE to thank us!
If you are a developer and would want to unlock the bootloader, we recommend doing that before you set up the Google Play Store, install apps or anything because the security feature in Android clears out everything from your phone when unlocking bootloader of the phone.
Now, let’s proceed with the tutorial below to unlock Pixel / Pixel XL bootloader.
How to Unlock Pixel / Pixel XL Bootloader
We have put together a detailed step-by-step instructions guide on how to unlock bootloader on Pixel / Pixel XL. If you are used to unlocking bootloaders on any previous Nexus devices, then this should not be any different for you.
Please read every line carefully and make sure you read the tutorial once before actually performing it on your Android device.
- This unlocking bootloader tutorial is only for Google Pixel / Pixel XL. Please don’t try this on any other variants of the phone.
- This tutorial has been performed on Windows, but anyone familiar with Fastboot on Mac or Linux can perform this as well with the same commands.
- Make sure you backup all your data in your phone before proceeding as it will erase all data.
- You will void your warranty by unlocking the bootloader.
- Pixel / Pixel XL
- USB cable
- Android SDK with drivers (How to set up? Tutorial link given below)
NOTE: A new checkbox has been added in the Developer options in Settings that you have to enable before proceeding below with unlocking your bootloader. First, enable Developer options. Then check the box that says “Enable OEM unlock”. That’s it. Now you can proceed below to the Step 1.
Step 1 – Download the following files:
- Android SDK / Fastboot and install all the USB drivers. How to set up? Read detailed instructions here: How to Set Up ADB / Fastboot with Android SDK.
Step 2 – Enable USB Debugging mode on your Pixel / Pixel XL.
Step 3 – If you already have Android SDK, then you can just download Fastboot and extract it in android-sdk-windows\platform-tools directory. Create directory if not already there.
Step 4 – Make sure you have backup your data as it will be erased. Then switch OFF your Pixel / Pixel XL phone.
Step 5 – Navigate to android-sdk-windows\platform-tools directory and open Command Prompt (Shift + Right-click > Open Command Prompt). You should also make sure you have the dePixel8 in the same folder where you open Command Prompt.
Step 6 – Type in the following commands, one by one, and press Enter.
adb push dePixel8 /data/local/tmp adb shell chmod 755 /data/local/tmp/dePixel8
Step 7 – The previous step basically copies the instruction files. You have to execute it now by entering the following command:
adb shell /data/local/tmp/dePixel8
Step 8 – You now have to wait for the phone to reboot to bootloader. If it doesn’t, you can try running any apps. If it still persists, please redo the previous steps.
Step – Once it does, execute the following command.
fastboot oem unlocking
Step 9 – Your phone will now open the unlocking screen. Type the following command afterwards:
fastboot oem unlock
Step 10 – If your Pixel / Pixel XL doesn’t reboot automatically, issue the following command.
That’s it! Your Pixel / Pixel XL bootloader is now unlocked! You can now install a custom recovery, a custom ROM or any system tweak you like. Just be careful with what you do! 😉