The Google Pixel (and Pixel XL) is one of the best Android phones around, considering Android is a Google project after all. Unfortunately, some telecoms like Verizon are infamous for locking down the bootloaders of their versions of the popular Android device.
A locked bootloader is a terrible thing for an Android phone – with a locked bootloader, you’re unable to install any sort of custom recovery like TWRP, which makes it easier to root the device, and you’re also unable to install custom ROMs.
In this guide, we will be showing you how to easily unlock the bootloader of a Verizon Pixel / XL device.
Warning: This guide involves factory resetting your device. Please backup all of your important user data before proceeding!
ADB Tools (See Appual’s guide “How to Install ADB on Windows”)
- First, begin by removing all Google accounts on your device, and also any kind of screen lock you have (Settings > Accounts and Settings > Security).
- Turn off your Verizon Pixel and eject the SIM card.
- Turn your Verizon Pixel back on, then perform a Factory Reset. You can do this by holding Power + Volume Down until the Bootloader menu appears, then use the Volume buttons to highlight Recovery Mode, and Power to select.
- From the Android Recovery Mode, highlight “Wipe data/factory reset” and use Power to confirm. This will reset all data on your device!
- Now when your phone is done performing its factory reset, and boots back into the Android system, it will take you to the initial Android setup wizard. Skip everything! Do not connect to WiFi or add any kind of fingerprint or screen lock patterns.
- Go to Settings > About Phone > tap “Build Number” 7 times until Developer Mode is activated. Then go to Settings > Developer Options and enable USB Debugging.
- Connect your Verizon Pixel to your PC via USB, and launch an ADB command terminal (hold Shift + Right click and choose “Open a command window here” from inside your main ADB installation folder).
- Now in the ADB command terminal, type: adb shell pm uninstall –user 0 com.android.phone
- Restart your Verizon Pixel, and connect to WiFi.
- Open the Chrome browser and go to any website.
- Go back into the Developer Options, and enable OEM Unlocking.
- Now turn off your Verizon Pixel again and boot into Bootloader Mode, and in the ADB window type: fastboot oem unlock
- Alternatively you can type: fastboot flashing unlock
This unlock method has been confirmed as working for Android Oreo and Android P Developer Preview. Some users mentioned that after the steps of opening Chrome and visiting a website, they needed to wait 3 to 5 minutes with the screen turned on for the OEM Unlocking option to become available in Developer Options.