We will be explaining in detail the complete process on how to enter, access as well as boot to fastboot mode on Google Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL. Essential for developers, enthusiasts and power users, fastboot mode is a versatile boot-mode that lets users flash system files to the phone. Also utilized to install official Google factory images, this mode serves as a base for numerous third-party modifications as well. Before we begin explaining the steps, it is important to mention that for accessing fastboot mode, you don’t need to install or modify anything on your device.
Pixel devices are generally quite popular with app developers as well as third-party mod-ers. Due to this, there are various utilities available for the device. However, most of these such as custom ROMs, custom recoveries and others rely on fastboot mode for installation. This makes knowing how-to access fastboot mode pretty essential. If you have previously accessed fastboot mode on an older Pixel or any other Android phone, this should be similar. Lastly, simply accessing fastboot mode would not void warranty but flashing third-party mods through it, however, will.
What is Fastboot Mode?
In simpler words, Android has this maintenance mode (Fastboot) natively built into it for diagnostic and upgrading purposes. If we look into details, this is a mode designed for re-partitioning the phone, accessing vital system data and manually flashing firmwares. Usually, this mode is meant for developers but if you find yourself okay with experimenting than there is no such danger in accessing Fastboot.
With Fastboot, you can easily flash certain parts of or a full system. There are key parts to Android OS, the modem, bootloader and system. These parts can be upgraded or changed manually via a computer that recognizes the phone and has the Fastboot software.
Other than installing firmwares, there is nothing else you can do yourself. Except, there is a neat trick only specific to Google devices. To access other system modes, you first have to access Fastboot. Meaning, if you are aiming for the recovery mode, you still need to access Fastboot first.
Booting into this mode is totally verified by Google and there is no risk of losing warranty. But, if you try flashing different firmwares or firmwares which aren’t authorized by Google, you could end up with a useless phone and total warranty loss. This is exactly why we will advise if you are not good with computers or the protocols laid by Android, you shouldn’t connect your phone to your PC while in Fastboot mode.
NOTE: Screenshots below may be of a different Google device, but should have similar screen on your phone as well. The following steps can be used to enter Fastboot mode on the Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL – all variants.
Method 1: How to Enter Fastboot Mode on Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL
Here is a quick step-by-step instruction on how to enter Fastboot Mode on your Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL phone. If this is your first time with a Google Android phone, follow the following carefully:
Step 1 – Turn OFF your Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL.
Step 2 – Now press and hold the Volume Down and Power button for 5-6 seconds then release.
Step 3 – The phone will now boot into fastboot mode. This is your Fastboot screen, you can now connect your phone to your PC and access it via the Fastboot tool.
Method 2: How to Enter Fastboot / Bootloader Mode on Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL using Android SDK
Step 1.1 – Download Android SDK from the Android Developers website and install. Also set it up with downloading platform-tools and USB drivers package in SDK. See: How to Set up ADB and Fastboot on Windows.
Step 1.2 – Download ADB / Fastboot – Android SDK Platform Tools separate package and install on your computer. Download from the following links depending on your OS and extract it anywhere in your computer.
- Windows: Download platform-tools-windows-latest.zip
- MacOS: Download platform-tools-darwin-latest.zip
- Linux: Download platform-tools-linux-latest.zip
Step 2 – Enable USB Debugging mode in your Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL and connect it to your PC.
Step 3 – Go to Fastboot/Bootloader mode now. How? If you did Step 1.1 then Navigate to android-sdk-windows\platform-tools directory and open Command Prompt (Shift + Right-click > Open Command Prompt). And if you did Step 1.2 then simply go to where you downloaded/extracted the package. Open the folder and open Command Prompt (Shift + Right-click > Open Command Prompt).
Step 4 – Type in the following command and press Enter.
adb reboot bootloader
Step 6 – Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL will switch off and then boot into the fastboot mode.
That’s it. You are now in the Fastboot Mode. If you wish to return to the normal boot, just select the first option. Keep in mind, Volume Down and Volume Up acts as scrolling while Power button acts as the Click/Select button in this mode.