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[Guide] How to root the Pixel 3a with or without twrp & take OTA updates once rooted

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By pbanj, Senior Member on 10th May 2019, 08:54 PM
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THIS IS A DRAMA FREE THREAD, I'M NOT GOING TO BASH OTHERS THREADS, NOR AM I GOING TO GO AROUND TO THOSE THREADS AND BASH THEM IN IT BECAUSE I SOMEHOW FEEL SUPERIOR TO THEM.

Standard you do this at your own risk and I'm not responsible for anything warning.


There are a few ways you can go about rooting. You can either use twrp, manually patch the stock boot image and flash it, or just flash a pre-patched boot image. I'll be going over all three, but keep in mind i have depreciated the pre-patched method now that we have twrp.

Do these first if you haven't already:

Update your fastboot and adb
I just toss these 4 highlighted files into the windows folder, but you may have a different set up(I put them in the windows folder so I don't have to add them to PATH.)
adb


Googles USB driver if you need it
right click the start menu icon, click device manager, then locate your phone(should have a yellow symbol on it, right click it, then click update driver, then click browse my computer, click the browse button and then navigate to where you extracted the drivers, click the main folder(usb_driver) and then click ok, then click next and ok through any prompts.


CMD = Command Prompt

Unlocking your bootloader:
This wipes your phone
  1. Run through the initial setup if you haven't already, if you haven't don't bother logging into your google account.
  2. Enable dev options(settings>about phone>build number>tap it 7 times).
  3. Go into settings>system>advanced>dev options>oem unlocking, click the toggle.
  4. While still in dev options scroll down a little and enable usb debugging.
  5. Plug your phone into your pc.
    if/when the phone asks you to trust the computer make sure to check the "always allow this computer" check box.
  6. Open up command prompt(powershell works to but i always use command prompt) type into the cmd window
  7. Code:
    adb reboot bootloader
    The phone will reboot into fastboot mode.
  8. Now type into the cmd window
    Code:
    fastboot devices
    See if it lists a device, if not you need to install the drivers I linked to. If you had to install the drivers try the fastboot devices command again after installing them, it should list the device now.
  9. type in
    Code:
    fastboot flashing unlock
    You will then have to use the phone to select yes to the unlock. you use the volume keys to select and the power button to confirm.

    Your bootloader is now unlocked and you follow one of the below root methods.


Onto the root methods:
these are for stock phones, not ones using a custom kernel

IF ON Q YOU MUST USE MAGISK 19.4+
Magisk Manager for pre-patched Q boot.img
Pre patched boot.img for Q this was made by realjohnGalt on telegram only use this if you are unable to get one you patched to boot

If flashing magisk leaves you in a bootloop on 10 use this to fix it. first create a file named
Code:
.disable_magisk
in
Code:
/persist/cache/
then boot into fastboot and use
Code:
fastboot boot
to boot the patched image and then disable any mods you have installed. you can then reboot and install magisk if it currently isn't already installed. big thanks goes to @reyqn for making the patched image.



Method 1 using twrp to install magisk:
This is the best method. keep in mind this only boots twrp as the stock kernel lacks the needed feature to allow twrp to be installed. You should also boot your phone and run through the initial setup before doing this if you haven't already. This only works on PIE. If you're on 10(Q) or for some reason can't or don't want to use twrp follow root method 2.
  • Download the Magisk version you prefer stable or canary and put it on your phone. You want the zip file
  • Go here and download the newest twrp image file. You don't want the zip file
  • Open up a command prompt window and type in
    Code:
    adb reboot bootloader
    if/when the phone asks you to trust the computer make sure to check the "always allow this computer" check box.

    Now to Boot twrp.

    - If the cmd window location does not match the location of the twrp image you'll have to enter that too.
    - If you're on windows 10(this only works on English as far as i know) you can use my Tools Menu it'll give you some handy options in your right click context menu. It makes things a lot easier as you can just right click in the location of the image and open a cmd window there.

    - If you opened your cmd window in the same location as the twrp image you can just do(don't include the ")
    Code:
    fastboot boot "whatever the twrp image is named"
    - If your cmd window wasn't opened in the same location as the twrp image you'll need to do one of these.
    - cd to the location of the file. example:
    Code:
    cd C:\Users\pbanj\Desktop\android
    the cd command changes the current directory to where you tell it. Then you can just do
    Code:
    fastboot boot "whatever the twrp image is named"
    - Or you can type out the location to the twrp image or just drag the image file onto the cmd window. example:
    Code:
    fastboot boot C:\Users\pbanj\Desktop\twrp.img
  • Once inside twrp click install and navigate to where you stored the download of magisk, install it
  • Reboot and enjoy.
MAKE SURE YOU GO INTO DEV OPTIONS AND TURN OFF AUTO UPDATES.



Method 2 patching and flashing the stock boot.img:
This takes a little more time, but is the normal way you would install magisk without twrp
  1. Reboot your phone.
  2. Run through the initial setup again, this time you can log into your google account and set the phone up how you want. Re-enable dev options, enable adb, and turn off auto updates.
  3. Grab the stock boot.img for your matching build(I'll provide them in this post at the bottom to save you time).
  4. Put the boot.img on your phone, location doesn't really matter, as long as you know where you put it.
  5. Download and install Magisk Manager.
  6. Open up magisk manager and click install, then select the "Select and Patch a File" option, let it do its thing.
  7. Move the patched image from your phone to your pc(magisk stores the patched image in your downloads folder).
  8. Open up a cmd window and type in
    Code:
    adb reboot bootloader
    if/when the phone asks you to trust the computer make sure to check the "always allow this computer" check box.
  9. Once you are in the bootloader(fastboot) type in
    Code:
    fastboot getvar current-slot
    This will tell you the currently active slot of your phone, remember it.
  10. Now to flash your patched boot.img.

    - If the cmd window location does not match the location of the boot.img you will have to enter that too.
    - If you're on windows 10(this only works on English as far as i know) you can use my Tools Menu it will give you some handy options in your right click context menu. It makes things a lot easier as you can just right click in the location of the boot.img and open a cmd window there.

    - If your cmd window is opened in the same location as the boot image you can just do(don't include the ")
    Code:
    fastboot flash boot_"slot "whatever the boot.img is named"
    - If your cmd window was not opened in the same location as the boot image you will need to do one of these.
    Code:
    cd C:\Users\pbanj\Desktop\android
    the cd command changes the current directory to where you tell it. then you can just do
    Code:
    fastboot flash boot_"slot" "whatever the boot.img is named"
    - Or you can type out the location to the boot.img or just drag the boot.img file onto the cmd window. example:
    Code:
    fastboot flash boot_"slot" C:\Users\pbanj\Desktop\boot.img
  11. Once that is done flashing just type in
    Code:
    fastboot reboot
    MAKE SURE YOU GO INTO DEV OPTIONS AND TURN OFF AUTO UPDATES.


You should use the twrp method over this next one. I'll no longer be adding updated pre-patched boot images as they're completely pointless now that we have twrp.
Method 3 booting a prepatched boot.img and direct installing Magisk:
This gets you rooted a bit faster. thanks to @Uzephi for reminding me about this.
  1. Grab the boot.img that matches your build number in about phone. These were made using the newest canary build of magisk at the time of adding them to the post. If I update them I'll mark them as updated. I used the canary builds for these as it's what I personally use
    - PD2A.190115.029
    - PD2A.190115.032 Updated to newest canary build as of May-28-2019
    - PQ3B.190605.006 This is the June update Updated to the 19.4-c1602d25(19301) canary build
    - PQ3B.190705.003 this is the July update

    Save it somewhere and rename it if you want.
  2. If not already in fastboot mode open up a command prompt window and type in
    Code:
    adb reboot bootloader
    if/when the phone asks you to trust the computer make sure to check the "always allow this computer" check box.
  3. Once you are in the bootloader(fastboot) type in
    Code:
    fastboot boot "whatever the boot.img is named".img
    - If the cmd window location does not match the location of the boot.img you will have to enter that too.
    - If you're on windows 10(this only works on English as far as i know) you can use my Tools Menu it will give you some handy options in your right click context menu. It makes things a lot easier as you can just right click in the location of the boot.img and open a cmd window there.

    - If your cmd window is opened in the same location as the boot img you can just do(don't include the ")
    Code:
    fastboot boot "whatever the boot.img is named".img
    - If your cmd window was not opened in the same location as the boot image you will need to do one of these.
    Code:
    cd C:\Users\pbanj\Desktop\android
    the cd command changes the current directory to where you tell it. then you can just do
    Code:
    fastboot boot "whatever the boot.img is named".img
    - Or you can type out the location to the boot.img or just drag the boot.img file onto the cmd window. example:
    Code:
    fastboot boot C:\Users\pbanj\Desktop\android\boot.img
  4. Once booted run through the initial setup again(if you haven't already after unlocking the bootloader), this time you can log into your google account and set the phone up how you want.
    MAKE SURE YOU GO INTO DEV OPTIONS AND TURN OFF AUTO UPDATES.
  5. After you've run through the initial setup(if you had to) open up Magisk Manager(it will most likely say the manager needs to be installed as it is currently only a stub) and then click on the top install option, then click install in the popup that comes up, then click the direct install option.



  6. After it finishes click reboot and you're good to go



UPDATING
There are a couple methods of updating.

Uninstall the edge sense plus mod before you update or you won't be able to root again/you'll end up in a bootloop until you use twrp and one of the recovery based magisk managers to remove the edge sense mod.
I'll leave the old fix for edge sense here just for history sake.
FIX FOR THOSE WHO UPDATED WITHOUT UNINSTALLING THE EDGE SENSE PLUS MOD
  1. Boot into fastboot.
  2. Boot this file with
    Code:
    fastboot boot "the boot image"
    Wait for your phone to boot.
  3. Once booted go into Magisk Manager and uninstall the edge sense plus mod and reboot.
  4. Now you can root your phone again using one of the above methods.
Credit for the core only boot image goes to @ApeironTsuka. it's based on the June update. also a big thank you to @Fentadroid for bringing this to my attention and asking Apeiron for permission to share the file.


If you're using any custom kernel you'll have to flash the stock boot.img first before updating for the sideload method. The magisk method it might not matter but I'm not 100% sure on that. I'd think it'd be fine if you had magisk backup the stock image before you flashed the custom kernel, I don't use one so I cant be 100% sure though.


If you followed root methods 1 or 2 you can just follow this: OTA Updates with Magisk.
You have to do this with each ota and only when there is one *glares at GinGear*


If you used a pre-patched boot.img you can follow one of these:

Update method 1:
you will only have to do this method one time, after you can just follow the normal magisk ota update method.
  1. Grab the stock boot.img from this thread that matches your current build and put it on your phone.
  2. Open Magisk Manager and select the install option next to the "magisk is up to date" area.
  3. Click install on the popup and then click the "Select and Patch a File" option. Select the stock image and let it patch it.
  4. Now you can just follow OTA Updates with Magisk. for each OTA update.


Update method 2:
You'll have to do this with every OTA.
  1. Grab the OTA update from here.
  2. Reboot the phone into recovery, you can just use
    Code:
    adb reboot recovery
  3. Once in recovery press power and up and you should see the options.
  4. Go down to apply update from adb(use the volume keys to change options and the power button to select).
  5. Open a cmd window if you haven't already and type in
    Code:
    adb sideload "ota update file"
    Location matters just like it did during the initial flashing, if you didn't open the cmd window in the same location as the update file andyou don't remember what to do, just take a look at one of the root methods as they tell you how to go about fixing that. Or just type in "adb sideload" and then drag the update file onto the cmd window.
  6. After the ota is done select the "reboot to bootloader option".
  7. Once in the bootloader(fastboot) just flash the pre-patched boot.img like you did before. remember the slot changes with each update so make sure you get the current slot, or if you remember what slot it was using before the update just switch input the other one. so if it was on slot a you would flash the patched image to b and vise versa.


STOCK BOOT IMAGES:
These are zip files, you must unzip them to use them.
- March PD2A.190115.032 boot.img
- June PQ3B.190605.006 boot.img
- July PQ3B.190705.003 boot.img
- August PQ3B.190801.002 boot.img
These are Android 10(Q) boot images
- September QP1A.190711.019 boot.img
- September QP1A.190711.020 boot.img

Ways to get pay to work
Completely automated way:
  • Install this Magisk mod, it can also be found in the Magisk Manager by searching "sql" it is named "SQLite for ARM aarch64 devices"
  • Reboot. This step might not be needed, but it's how I did it when figuring everything out.
  • Grab this file
  • Use your favorite root explorer and place it in /data/adb/service.d/
  • Set the perms for the gpay file to rwxr-xr-x(755) owner and group should be "root" if they're not already.
  • Reboot
That's it, you never have to worry about it again. service.d is where Magisk loads scripts from, so magisk will handle everything for you. Thanks to the people who helped me figure the script out, I forgot their names.

- SEMI-AUTO/AUTO METHOD
- MANUAL METHOD.

How to use Netflix
  1. Grab the newest apk from here.
  2. Install the apk.
  3. Add the apk to your Magisk Hide list.

if you need help you can ask here in the thread or in the Telegram group
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10th May 2019, 09:58 PM |#2  
jmtjr278's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbanj

So I figured I would make a single thread out of the posts I've made. I made prepatched boot.img files to save everyone time.

I assume everyone here knows you need an unlocked bootloader and how to flash them.

Standard you do this at your own risk and I'm not responsible for anything warning.



Update your fastboot and adb

Googles USB driver if you need it



Grab the boot.img that matches your build number in about phone. These were made using the newest canary build of magisk at the time of this thread.



pd2a.190115.029

pd2a.190115.032



Save them somewhere and rename it if you want. then flash



To get google pay to work you may have to do some tinkering(I had to). To get it working go into magisk hide, enable show system apps then make google play services, the play store and pay look like this



mhide




Now comes the fun part.



- Plug your phone into your pc

- Grab your root app of choice that allows you to freeze apps

- Freeze google play services this will make your phone pissed and you will get a bunch of notifications, ignore them for now

- Open your favorite command line utility and do
Code:
adb shell
then
Code:
su
grant it root on your phone.

- Then while still in adb shell enter
Code:
rm -rf /data/data/com.google.android.gms
- Go into settings, then apps

- Clear the data of pay, and the play store

- Click disable on the playstore and then yes to restoring the factory version, reenable it

- Reboot your phone. It will bitch about lack of play services again, still ignore it.

- Reenable google play services

- Wait a min so it can do its thing

- Now you can add your cards to pay.

Dang, mine worked after I hid Google pay with magisk! That's an intensive process. I clicked hide them rebooted and added my amex without issue. Had to cock system apps to hide play store so I could download Netflix too.

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

---------- Post added at 04:58 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:57 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmtjr278

Dang, mine worked after I hid Google pay with magisk! That's an intensive process. I clicked hide them rebooted and added my amex without issue. Had to click system apps to hide play store so I could download Netflix too.

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

Almost forgot to mention, thanks for the patched image. Saved me some time

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
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10th May 2019, 10:05 PM |#3  
pbanj's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmtjr278

Dang, mine worked after I hid Google pay with magisk! That's an intensive process. I clicked hide them rebooted and added my amex without issue. Had to cock system apps to hide play store so I could download Netflix too.

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

---------- Post added at 04:58 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:57 PM ----------

Almost forgot to mention, thanks for the patched image. Saved me some time

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

Ya I had them hid and it wouldn't let me add my cards. so I went oh it must have triggered before I hid them. So I did the old "clear all their data" trick and it still wouldn't let me do it. I was talking in my discord server and was told about how the play services remembers. They told me to do all the stuff I posted and then run that command from twrp. Well we dont have twrp yet so I was like **** am I screwed until then. then another one was like if you freeze the play services and then try the command it might work. So I did and it worked. wasted about an hour of my time lol.
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10th May 2019, 10:15 PM |#4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbanj

Ya I had them hid and it wouldn't let me add my cards. so I went oh it must have triggered before I hid them. So I did the old "clear all their data" trick and it still wouldn't let me do it. I was talking in my discord server and was told about how the play services remembers. They told me to do all the stuff I posted and then run that command from twrp. Well we dont have twrp yet so I was like **** am I screwed until then. then another one was like if you freeze the play services and then try the command it might work. So I did and it worked. wasted about an hour of my time lol.

The things we do to have fun! That's what I love though, seeing a problem and figuring out the solution. Android is the best. Teaches me things every day

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
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11th May 2019, 06:46 PM |#5  
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Does this work with US carrier Pixel 3a's? (TMobile, Version, AT&T, etc.)
11th May 2019, 07:29 PM |#6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovelockdown

Does this work with US carrier Pixel 3a's? (TMobile, Version, AT&T, etc.)

If they will allow you to unlock the bootloader yes. Otherwise no
12th May 2019, 01:42 AM |#7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbanj

If they will allow you to unlock the bootloader yes. Otherwise no

I was surprised to find the oem unlock greyed out on T-Mobile.

It does come with the Unlock app for unlocking carrier restrictions but if i remember that didn't effect the bootloader.

Work around will hopefully be found. I will say that i found a audio mod and ad block without root have been good so far
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12th May 2019, 01:45 AM |#8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razrlover

I was surprised to find the oem unlock greyed out on T-Mobile.

It does come with the Unlock app for unlocking carrier restrictions but if i remember that didn't effect the bootloader.

Work around will hopefully be found. I will say that i found a audio mod and ad block without root have been good so far

man that sucks. i would just return it and buy it from google. or hell even bestbuy will give you an unlocked one and let you add it to your tmobile account.
12th May 2019, 01:49 AM |#9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbanj

man that sucks. i would just return it and buy it from google. or hell even bestbuy will give you an unlocked one and let you add it to your tmobile account.

Yeah i had already downloaded your boot.imgs. thanks for doing that for everyone.

I've been on a S9 for a while so I'm used to finding work arounds for no root. I will try to make it work for a while and see.
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13th May 2019, 08:06 PM |#10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razrlover

I was surprised to find the oem unlock greyed out on T-Mobile.

It does come with the Unlock app for unlocking carrier restrictions but if i remember that didn't effect the bootloader.

Work around will hopefully be found. I will say that i found a audio mod and ad block without root have been good so far

I powered it on without a SIM card inserted (out of the box) and connected it to wifi and was able to enable OEM unlock.

If you do a factory reset and do the same (set it up without the SIM inserted) you should be able to as well.
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14th May 2019, 02:01 AM |#11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havens1515

I powered it on without a SIM card inserted (out of the box) and connected it to wifi and was able to enable OEM unlock.

If you do a factory reset and do the same (set it up without the SIM inserted) you should be able to as well.

That's awesome!

A work around indeed! Appreciate it
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