How to Root the Google Pixel & Pixel XL (Video)

The Pixel and Pixel XL are not the easiest to root. Google has added a lot of security to the system files and, long story short, developers have had to cleverly come up with a systemless root method (which is way harder than it sounds). On top of this, Google removed the recovery partition which was used heavily in most rooting methods as well as being used for flashing custom ROMs etc. Chainfire, recognized master of all things root (might be his official title?), though has developed a version of SuperSU (the program used to control what apps get root permissions etc.) that works with this new partition/security structure. For those that want a more detailed explanation of the situation, this post on XDA does a good job of explaining it.

Regardless of how they managed to do it, it works! I managed to do it relatively easily (but not without some hiccups that I explain further below) and put together this tutorial and video for you. Let me know how it goes for you in the comments below.

Here’s how to root the Pixel or Pixel XL.

Before You Begin

  1. This could void the warranty of your device. We won’t be held responsible for anything that happens from doing this tutorial so please proceed at your own risk.
  2. This procedure has been written keeping the Windows version of ADB in mind. If you use a Mac or a Linux computer, the steps will slightly vary.
  3. Please head over to our how to set up ADB procedure to install the ADB suite on your PC.
  4. This should erase all the data stored on your device. So please backup everything that you don’t want to lose.
  5. This should also flash a custom recovery on your device.
  6. You should only do this procedure on a Google Pixel or a Google Pixel XL device.
  7. You will also need a USB drive and the USB OTG to USB-C adapter that came with your Pixel. This is because of how the phone is encrypted, we need to load the files from a different storage device. If you don’t have either you can get a great, very inexpensive USB 3.0 Drive here and an inexpensive OTG Adapter here.

How to Root the Google Pixel & Pixel XL

Root Google Pixel & Pixel XL

To root the device, you’ll first unlock the bootloader, boot into a custom recovery to actually install the custom recovery, use the custom recovery to flash SuperSu to then finally gain root. Here’s how to do that all.

Downloading Required Files

Regardless of having a Verizon or non-Verizon model, download all of these:

download-files

  1. Download SuperSU and save it to your desktop.
    SuperSU (Download link’s given in the first post)
  2. Download TWRP Recovery in both .img and .zip formats and save to your desktop.
    TWRP .zip and .img for Pixel
    TWRP .zip and .img for Pixel XL

Only if you have Verizon do you need to download these:

download-depixel

  1. Download dePixel8 and save it to your desktop.
    dePixel8

Regardless of whether you have Verizon or another version, enable USB debugging on the phone and plug it in using the steps below.

  1. Head to Menu > Settings > About phone on your device and tap on Build number for 7 times and it’ll say you’re a developer.
    build-number
  2. Head to Menu > Settings > Developer options and turn on USB debugging.
    usb-debugging
  3. Plug in your device to your PC using a USB cable.
    plug-in

If you’re on Verizon, please use the below section to unlock the bootloader on your device. Otherwise, skip to the next section.

Unlocking the Bootloader on the Verizon Google Pixel & Pixel XL (Only for Verizon Users)

  1. Copy dePixel 8 from your desktop over to the ADB folder located in the C:/ drive of your PC.
    depixel
  2. Open the ADB folder and hold down Shift on your keyboard and right-click anywhere on the screen and select Open command window here.
    cmd
  3. When the command prompt window opens, type in the following commands hitting Enter after each:
    adb push dePixel8 /data/local/tmp
    adb shell chmod 755 /data/local/tmp/dePixel8
    adb shell /data/local/tmp/dePixel8
    verizon-commands
  4. Your device should reboot into the bootloader mode.
    bootloader-mode
  5. Once your device enters the bootloader mode, type in the following command into the command prompt window and hit Enter:
    fastboot oem unlock
    oem-unlock
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions for unlocking the bootloader on your Verizon Google Pixel or Pixel XL.
    IMAGE

So, that was how you could unlock the bootloader on a Verizon Google Pixel or Pixel XL phone.

If you have a variant of Pixel or Pixel XL other than Verizon, then please use the following section to unlock the bootloader on your device:

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  • Austin Baker

    for some reason the dePixel8 file will not download it redirects me to a weird ass encryption page. is this file still downloadable
    please help

  • Peyton whtford

    at the last step when i pressed reboot it doesn’t reboot normally

    • Peyton whtford

      nvm

  • Michael Young

    Does this work with 7.1.1?

    • That’s what my phone was on when I did the video. If you have Verizon though check with the developer of depixel to make sure that part works though.

      • Michael Young

        Yes I’ve gotten Verizon. I’ve been told it’s impossible if you are on 7.1.1 but please tell me there is a way.

        • Sorry but you’ll have to check with the developer of depixel for more info on that.

          • Stovall

            dePixel has stated that they are not looking to update the program and that we’re basically sol unless someone else figures it out

  • Josemi

    So this is the systemless method or the normal one?

    • Systemless. Sort of the only method I know of thanks to the new partition layout, unless you know a newer method that doesn’t use systemless?

      • Josemi

        I dont. But do you know if I can uninstall system apps that come with the pixel or I cant modify anything in the system folder?

        • Not sure since I’ve never tried to remove any of the apps since there isn’t much bloatware in my opinion. You’ll have to check with the developer of the systemless root (chainfire) and see.

          • Josemi

            Could you try and see for me, please? I say that because if it doesnt work I will not take the risk and root my device for nothing. I would be really glad. Thanks

          • Sorry but I can’t do the research for you. Good luck though.

          • Josemi

            I mean if you tried on your rooted pixel

  • Dino Zambaftis

    I followed all the steps, which were really easy to follow by the way, thank you, and when the phone rebooted supersu was not in my app drawer. The version I used was the newest one they had which is SuperSU-v2.79-201612051815. Does that one not work properly with this phone for some reason or did I do something else wrong? Thanks again for the tutorial and the help.

    • If you did the steps and it worked it should be fine. Did you use the same version of SuperSU I linked here in the video? Ended up using a USB stick etc etc?

      • Dino Zambaftis

        That was exactly the problem. The correct file is SR3-SuperSU-v2.79-SR3-20170114223742. Just in case someone has the same problem I had and is searching for a solution. Thanks for the help

  • Stovall

    This information is outof date for Verizon Pixel phones as of Nougat 7.1.1

  • Piyush Hansda

    i got root access successfully. Running android 7.1.1 with 5th march security patch update. Though unlocking the bootloader factory resetted the device. everything else worked out fine.

    • Yeah it does that. Mentioned it in the Before You Begin Section. But glad it worked for you!

      • Piyush Hansda

        Thanks for the great tutorial man.

  • Keegan Kuhn

    Is it possible to “un-root” this to “un-void” your warranty?