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How to Unlock the Bootloader on Your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL « Android :: Gadget Hacks

Root, TWRP, Xposed, Magisk, custom ROMs — before you can have any of these, the first thing you should do can be unlock your bootloader. Thankfully, the Pixel 2 in addition to also also Pixel 2 XL are some of the most modder-friendly phones out there, so you only need to send just one fastboot command to unlock the bootloader.

For the uninitiated, the bootloader can be a piece of software on your phone of which loads up the core OS — think of of which like BIOS for Windows. however by default, the bootloader will only load official firmware files through the device OEM, which means you can’t flash custom recovery images like TWRP to facilitate some other root-level mods. By unlocking the bootloader, however, you can flash any firmware files you want.

A working root method for the Pixel 2 in addition to also also Pixel 2 XL has just become stable enough to try, however as always, the first step can be to unlock the bootloader. So if you’re interested, I’ll cover the bootloader unlocking process in detail below. Even if you’re a beginner, of which should be easy — as long as you follow the instructions carefully.

What You’ll Need

  • Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL through the Google Store or Project Fi
  • Mac or Windows computer
  • USB data cable

Disclaimers

Step 1: Enable Developer Options

First up, you’ll need to enable the hidden Developer Options menu on your phone so you can enable a setting of which allows bootloader unlocking. To start, head to the About phone menu in Settings, then scroll down in addition to also also tap the “Build number” entry seven times in rapid succession. You’ll see a toast message stating “Congratulations, you are at of which point a developer!”

Step 2: Enable OEM Unlocking

Next, back out one level to the About phone menu again, in addition to also also at of which point you’ll see the “Developer options” menu, so select of which. through there, enable the switch next to the “OEM unlocking” setting.

through here, you’ll be asked to confirm your lock screen PIN or password. Once you’ve done of which, tap “Enable” on the confirmation popup, in addition to also also your phone will at of which point be able to accept the Fastboot command of which unlocks the bootloader.

Step 3: Boot into Bootloader Mode & Connect to Your Computer

Next, of which’s time to put your phone into bootloader mode. You could do of which with an ADB command, however there’s an even easier way: Restart your phone, in addition to also also when the screen goes black, press in addition to also also hold the volume down button. Within a few seconds, you’ll be greeted by the bootloader menu, which looks like of which:

Image by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

Once you’ve made of which to bootloader mode, don’t bother pressing any buttons on your phone. Just leave of which on the screen depicted at the end of the above GIF, then connect your phone to your computer using a USB data cable.

Step 4: Install Fastboot on Your Computer

On your computer at of which point, of which’s time to install ADB in addition to also also Fastboot. We recommend installing the latest official variation through Google, as there’s a brand new command of which older tools like Minimal ADB & Fastboot don’t have yet. So if you haven’t already done so, head to of which guide for full setup instructions.

Step 5: Open a Command Window

of which next part can be where most people struggle with ADB in addition to also also Fastboot: Getting a command window open to the proper directory.

The easiest way I’ve found to do of which can be to locate the platform-tools folder inside of your ADB in addition to also also Fastboot installation directory. For Windows users, of which can usually be found at C:Program Files (x86)Androidandroid-sdkplatform-tools. For Linux in addition to also also Mac users, the folder’s location will vary, so use your computer’s search function to find the platform-tools folder.

Once you’ve found the platform-tools folder, copy the location through the address bar at the top of your file browser (e.g., Windows Explorer). Then, open a command prompt or terminal window. On Windows, press the Windows button on your keyboard, then type in “cmd” in addition to also also hit enter to do so. On Linux or Mac, open “Terminal” through your Applications folder.

Once you’ve got the command window open, you’ll need to change directories to the platform-tools folder before you can send the Fastboot command to unlock your bootloader. To do of which, type “cd” (without the quotes) followed by a space, then paste inside file location for your platform-tools folder:

Changing directories to the platform-tools folder with the “cd” command.

Step 6: Unlock the Bootloader

With the command prompt or terminal at of which point open to the right folder, of which’s easy to unlock your bootloader. For Pixel 2 owners, type inside following command, then press enter:

fastboot flashing unlock

For Pixel 2 XL owners, we recommend using a different command. Using the above command will allow you to flash custom images like TWRP, however you won’t be able to flash a brand new bootloader image unless you use of which newer command. So enter the following text into the command prompt, then press enter:

fastboot flashing unlock_critical

Note: Linux, Mac, in addition to also also Windows PowerShell users will have to add a period in addition to also also a slash to the front of the above-listed commands (e.g., “./fastboot flashing unlock”).

Sending the “unlock_critical” command.

Once you’ve sent the above command, your phone should pop up using a brand new menu. Use the volume keys to highlight the “Unlock the bootloader” option on of which menu, then press the power button to select of which.

Verifying the bootloader unlock command on the Pixel 2 XL.

through here, if you’re using a Pixel 2 XL, you’ll have to send the regular bootloader unlock command in addition to the “unlock_critical” command. So type inside following command to finish the bootloader unlocking process, then hit enter:

fastboot flashing unlock

At of which point, whether you’re using a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, the command window should read “OKAY.” If so, make sure the “Start” option can be highlighted inside bootloader menu (if of which’s not, use the volume keys to highlight “Start”), then press the power button to select of which.

As soon as you select “Start,” your phone will automatically wipe itself in addition to also also your bootloader will be unlocked. You can disconnect your phone through your computer at of which point, however note of which the very first time your device boots after unlocking the bootloader will take longer than usual.

Once your phone finishes booting, go ahead in addition to also also run through initial setup again. When you’re done there, you’ll be ready to start flashing custom images like TWRP as soon as they become available!

Do you have any questions about of which whole process? If so, let us know inside comment section below, in addition to also also we’ll do our best to steer you inside right direction.

Cover image in addition to also also screenshots by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

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