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
- 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.
- 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.
- Please head over to our how to set up ADB procedure to install the ADB suite on your PC.
- This should erase all the data stored on your device. So please backup everything that you don’t want to lose.
- This should also flash a custom recovery on your device.
- You should only do this procedure on a Google Pixel or a Google Pixel XL device.
- 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
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 SuperSU and save it to your desktop.
SuperSU (Download link’s given in the first post)
- 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 dePixel8 and save it to your desktop.
Regardless of whether you have Verizon or another version, enable USB debugging on the phone and plug it in using the steps below.
- 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.
- Head to Menu > Settings > Developer options and turn on USB debugging.
- Plug in your device to your PC using a USB cable.
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)
- Copy dePixel 8 from your desktop over to the ADB folder located in the C:/ drive of your PC.
- Open the ADB folder and hold down Shift on your keyboard and right-click anywhere on the screen and select Open command window here.
- 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
- Your device should reboot into the bootloader mode.
- Once your device enters the bootloader mode, type in the following command into the command prompt window and hit Enter:
fastboot oem unlock
- Follow the on-screen instructions for unlocking the bootloader on your Verizon Google Pixel or Pixel XL.
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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