Tips & Tutorials

How to Enter Recovery Mode on Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL

Looking to do a manual factory reset or want to flash an update package on your phone? Here is how to access and enter recovery mode on Google Pixel 4 to do just that and more! Recovery partition is a fundamental part of Android. Shipping on almost all devices, this special boot mode allows for various advanced functionality that is otherwise not available through the normal UI. Also, if you have a custom recovery installed, these features are further extended. We have the complete process of accessing recovery mode on Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL explained right ahead!

Pixel 4 series, similar to other Pixel phones, is quite popular with developers. Seeing how Google has developed the phone to serve as a role-model Android flagship, this popularity is rightly deserved. Further, as a result, there are lot of mods and tweaks available for the device for which you might want to flash a custom recovery like TWRP and then also know how to access it. Whether you have a stock recovery running or TWRP, this process will apply in both cases for Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.

Enter Recovery Mode, Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL

Some Android phones, like the Sony Xperia series do not come with a stock Android recovery at all, and in that case, we would have to load a custom recovery first to that phone and then enter it. However, Google Android phones do come with a stock recovery and some Android specific functions i.e. installing a software update, doing a full hard reset etc. are only performed through a Recovery Mode. Whenever you do them, the phone first takes you to the stock Android recovery and then performs that specific function.

You might be interested in these guides for Pixel 4:

What is Recovery Mode?

Recovery is something built natively into the Android source code. Almost all phones ship with the stock recovery unlocked and open to the user. Google, being an enthusiast brand, is very open to such things. You can easily access the recovery partition and there won’t be no damage to your warranty.

Functions available in this mode are primarily maintenance oriented. First function you are able to utilize is the ability to apply an update. Very handy feature indeed. Once a firmware is released by Google, it is pushed to all devices. After getting downloaded, phone boots into recovery and flashes the update. Also, if you don’t get the update straight from Google, you can download the update zip from the internet and apply that as well. This helps when you are experiencing long delays in updates.

Afterwards, you would notice wipe data or factory reset option along with wipe cache. These are used when you are short on internal space or just want to reset your device. Deleting cache only deletes temporary files while wiping data resets whole of the device leaving no user data behind. If you face some force closes or slow-downs, using these will surely help.

Alongside the benefits it’s our duty to also provide warnings. As this is a crucial partition which has advanced capabilities otherwise not available in the stock system, it can cause prolonged problems. If you are not sure what you are doing, don’t select or implement any of the options. However, measures are in place to reduce errors as much as possible. Validation checks are used before flashing any file so that fatal problems can be avoided.

Custom recoveries are built on top of the stock ones. This means the stock functions will all be there. The difference is the capabilities are enhanced. A popular Custom recovery like ClockWorkMod (CWM) or TWRP (TeamWin Recovery Project) give you the ability to create system wide backups, manually format each partition, fix permissions and much more. Even if you install a custom recovery, accessing it will remain exactly the same.

Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL Recovery Mode

You can enter Recovery Mode on the Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL using the following three methods:

  • by hardware buttons
  • by ADB on Windows
  • by ADB on Mac OS X

Let’s have a look at each method below. You can use whichever way you find the easiest.

NOTE: The following steps can be used to enter Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL Recovery Mode, applicable to all variants of the phone. The screenshots are just for illustration purposes, your phone might slightly differ.

Method 1 – Enter Recovery Mode using Hardware Buttons on Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL

Step 1 – Turn OFF your phone.

Step 2 – Now press and hold the following buttons for a few seconds, all at the same time: Power + Volume Up + Home.

Step 3 – After a few seconds, you should see the Recovery Mode screen on your Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL.

You can now navigate around the recovery mode using your volume and power buttons!

Method 2 – Enter Recovery Mode using ADB on Windows

Step 1 – Make sure USB drivers / ADB drivers for Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL have been installed and ADB is configured on your computer.

Step 2 – Connect your Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL to your PC with a USB cable and install ADB drivers (if needed).

Step 3 – Navigate to android-sdk-windows\platform-tools directory and open Command Prompt (Shift + Right-click anywhere in the folder > Open Command Prompt).

Step 4 – Type in the following command and press Enter.

adb reboot recovery

Step 5 – Your Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL will turn OFF and then boot into the Recovery Mode. Navigate up and down using the volume keys and select with the Power button.

If you need any help regarding this, feel free to drop us a comment below or read: How to Enter Recovery Mode on Any Android Device.

TWRP 3.0 Recovery

Method 3 – Enter Recovery Mode using ADB on Mac OS X

Step 1 – Make sure USB drivers / ADB drivers for Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL have been installed and ADB is configured on your computer.

Step 2 – Connect your Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL to your Mac with a USB cable.

Step 3 – Now open Terminal app on your Mac and enter the following command and press Enter:

/<PATH>/android-sdk-macosx/platform-tools/adb reboot recovery

NOTE: <path> should be the location where your Android SDK is stored. If android-sdk-macosx is in your main user directory, you can skip the /<PATH>/ part from the line given above.

Step 4 – Your Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL will turn OFF and then boot into the Recovery Mode. Navigate up and down using the volume keys and select with the Power button.

If you need any help regarding this, feel free to drop us a comment below or read: How to Enter Recovery Mode on Any Android Device.

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About the author

Taimur Akmal

Devoted writer, enjoys developing code. Appreciates excellent food, exceptional coffee and great company. He is also into sublime design and nicely built cars.