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Can the Google Store Pixel 5 bootloader be unlocked?

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RBEmerson

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Jul 15, 2012
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Yes, the listing says VZW or TM, and I'm braindead for missing that. NTL, I can't positively identify if this is a VZW phone or not. Maybe TM can be talked into unlocking the bootloader, but I have no sign it's one of their phones, either. There are hints this is a Google Store bootloader, but lacking OEM Unlock argues against that.
 

bobby janow

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Jun 15, 2010
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Unfortunately, I'm square up against the wall for time. I'm moving from the S7 to the P5 to take advantage of BT 5.0 and the ASHA protocol for use with hearing aids. Having significant hearing loss, HA's are a must. While many HA's function without streaming and control apps, the newer units pretty demand it (good thing, but there are times I leave the phone behind or what happens if the phone's battery is dead).

Anyway, I have to get the P5 up and running like it happened yesterday. Exchanging phones is, at this point, a non-starter. Grrr...

Beyond that, how can I be sure that a phone, from any source, has an unlockable bootloader?
You can't until you actually see a screen shot of the OEM switch. Because even is someone bought it from Google store they could have bought the Verizon model and thus not unlockable. But you could have done worse, it's a great device and most people have forgone rooting and flashing these days. Stock is very good even though you lose some small amount of customization and some of the ad blocking software. And you never know, one day when the device has been activated for a month or so it might be unlockable. Good luck.
 

RBEmerson

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Jul 15, 2012
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Sigh... my fault for not reading the headlight for my P5. I went back to eBay and... not everybody says what carrier the phone came from. Making a "buy one, return the other" exchange a crap shoot. The only "feature" than has me thinking there's hope is "factory unlocked", but what does that really mean? Beats me.
 

RBEmerson

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Jul 15, 2012
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So much for T-Mobile unlocking the phone - if it's even a TM to begin with. They have Sprint tech centers who don't seem to grok Google. Otherwise, if there's a TM tech center with about an hour's drive from a Philadelphia suburb, nada. I found "used to be", but nothing current. Weird, but there it is.

I tried a phone repair operation I trust, and they don't have "Google software" to unlock the bootloader.
 

RBEmerson

Senior Member
Jul 15, 2012
594
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You hit my biggest worry. Get the phone running, populated with apps used on the S7 (always a PITA), and , when rooting becomes an option, have to rebuild it from scratch without, for example, FX available to save scripts, etc.

For that matter, it means going back to my audiologist to rebuild custom settings for the hearing aids.

Yes, please, I'd like cheese with my whine. ;)
 

bobby janow

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@RBEmerson Just to clarify, factory unlocked means you can use it on any carrier. All Google devices, whether they are Fi, Verizon or simply Google unbranded are carrier unlocked. However, if you buy a Verizon phone from the Google store it will come with a VZW sim already in it. You can take it out and put in any other carrier sim and it will work. But, as I stated previously, you will not be able to unlock the bootloader.

As for a carrier unlocking the bl they cannot and will never do that. All they can do is release the device from NOT allowing bl unlock. Verizon as you know will never ever do that. TM and ATT can and do if the device is fully paid off or you get some nice person on the other end of the line. On my other Verizon P5 it says, "connect to the internet or contact your carrier" on the grayed out OEM switch. The other thing you can check is the software/firmware version that was downloaded via OTA if you are still on the Feb. patch. Otherwise that won't work. I've heard of people calling TM and asking them to release the phone from any restrictions and they have. Worth a shot. Tell them your story and see if they will do it for you.
 

RBEmerson

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Jul 15, 2012
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I assume that "factory unlocked" only makes the device carrier agnostic. The question there is what state does it leave the bl in (i.e., can it be unlocked).

In a sense, it's frustrating that I could root the S7. It was 100% certain a VZW phone, but there was a work-around for a locked bl. Agreed hell will freeze over before VZW unlocks a "civilian's" device.

My greyed OEM Unlock has the same message - beats me what it really means. You're screwed until you talk to a carrier (which one?) or hope "connecting to the Internet" performs a miracle? I avoided the pending OTA, thinking it might make things worse. I'm doing the update right now. Maybe it takes pity on me, and lets me have OEM Unlock. Maybe I'll win the Powerball, too.

I'll try running down a friendly voice at TM. Maybe I'll win the Powerball twice in a row, too.
 

RBEmerson

Senior Member
Jul 15, 2012
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Bump

Two questions need answering:

1) Can I identify if the existing phone is a VZW, TM, ATT, etc.? No apps or reports or anything else I can find on the phone states its "pedigree".

2 ) Assuming this phone has zero chance of being rooted, short of buying an already rooted P5, how can I be sure I've bought a phone that a) can be rooted, and b) will be fully functional in the US? For that matter, in Europe, too?
 
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l7777

Senior Member
May 2, 2007
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Bump

Two questions need answering:

1) Can I identify if the existing phone is a VZW, TM, ATT, etc.? No apps or reports or anything else I can find on the phone states its "pedigree".

2 ) Assuming this phone has zero chance of being rooted, short of buying an already rooted P5, how can I be sure I've bought a phone that a) can be rooted, and b) will be fully functional in the US? For that matter, in Europe, too?
For #1, Call Google support and tell them you can't toggle OEM Unlock.
For #2, buy from Google/Amazon/Other reseller and don't select the Verizon version.
 

bobby janow

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Jun 15, 2010
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Bump

Two questions need answering:

1) Can I identify if the existing phone is a VZW, TM, ATT, etc.? No apps or reports or anything else I can find on the phone states its "pedigree".

2 ) Assuming this phone has zero chance of being rooted, short of buying an already rooted P5, how can I be sure I've bought a phone that a) can be rooted, and b) will be fully functional in the US? For that matter, in Europe, too?
You might be able to tell from the listings on the box. Perhaps SKU? My Google one is 1956 and the VZW one is 1986. Also my G version has the software version on the box and the V one does not. IMEI 1 and 2 are listed separately on G, together with a slash on V.

There is only one way to tell if it can be bl unlocked and that's by looking at the OEM switch. If it's active you can if not you can't. I'm assuming you are buying it 3rd party and not from a store, right? Amazon devices have been known to go either way with more of them not unlockable. Unlocked does not mean bl unlockable.
 

RBEmerson

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Jul 15, 2012
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1) Yeah, well, Google's kind of a big place. But this suggestion did nudge me into trying the Pixel phone "support community" which Google hosts. Watch this space for developments.

2) Works for paying full price... rather prefer to avoid that.
 

RBEmerson

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Jul 15, 2012
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I hoped the SKU, etc. would say VZW or whoever. That's one item I've been pushing on, figuring that if, for example, it's a number VZW uses, there I am. I have yet to see even suggestion of a carrier using any particular identifying, user-readable mark or code number. Who knows what in the BL or wherever else in the firmware.

The OEM Unlock switch is grayed out, and only altering the state of the BL will change that. Since I don't know how to unlock the BL... Well, there I am. Hoping I can nail down either unlocking the BL is never going to happen, or what do I need to know to unlock the BL. My guess is that, without OEM Unlock, I'm done with this P5.

"All" I have to do is find an unlockable one. Stored right next to the winning number for the next Powerball lottery, I'm sure... :D
 

RBEmerson

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Jul 15, 2012
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Time spent on Google's Pixel forum basically comes out with "you have an [X] carrier phone."

Can I ID who the carrier is, or can ID this as a Google Store phone? The answer is somewhere between "I dunno" and "not really". About the best I can do is figure out the phone didn't come from Best Buy. Which is bad news, because then I'd be certain this is some carrier's phone.

End result: OEM Unlock is going to stay gray. End of that story.

Until 5G becomes widely available, 5G doesn't matter a lot. What does matter is BT 5.0 and support for ASHA BT protocol - used for hearing aid streaming. This is the core reason for going to a Pixel 5. AFAIK, Android 10 has it and 11 has it for sure.

How do I lay my hands on a phone runs 11 and that will let me unlock the bootloader?
 

l7777

Senior Member
May 2, 2007
560
181
Time spent on Google's Pixel forum basically comes out with "you have an [X] carrier phone."

Can I ID who the carrier is, or can ID this as a Google Store phone? The answer is somewhere between "I dunno" and "not really". About the best I can do is figure out the phone didn't come from Best Buy. Which is bad news, because then I'd be certain this is some carrier's phone.

End result: OEM Unlock is going to stay gray. End of that story.

Until 5G becomes widely available, 5G doesn't matter a lot. What does matter is BT 5.0 and support for ASHA BT protocol - used for hearing aid streaming. This is the core reason for going to a Pixel 5. AFAIK, Android 10 has it and 11 has it for sure.

How do I lay my hands on a phone runs 11 and that will let me unlock the bootloader?
You seem to be at an impasse.

1. Pay full price from a known retailer and get the device you know can be BL unlocked
2. Continue to attempt to find a 2nd hand/discounted device that might be BL unlockable

IMO with #2 the odds are against you and , unless you have a lot of time to burn, is more expensive than you think. You have already gotten one device that is not BL unlockable, spent a number of hours researching how to unlock it/where it came from only to end up with a device you're not content with. You now will need to attempt to return/resell it and start the search over. Unless explicitly stated, I suspect that nearly all devices sold 2nd hand are going to be carrier devices that someone purchased with a carrier discount and are then attempting to profit from the discount. If someone purchased an BL unlockable device directly they would have 30 - 90 days to simply return it if they didn't like it rather than sell it at a loss.
 

RBEmerson

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Jul 15, 2012
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Buy from a retailer at full price... I walk into BestBuy, plunk $799 down and... paperweight. BB P5's BL's are unlockable. Walk into another store (name one) and say "gee, can I put you demo in Developer Mode to see if OEM Unlock is awake." My guess is the door can't open fast enough for how fast I'll be moving when they toss me out of the store. I can't think of a retailer who isn't also repping one or more carriers. See BB above for an example.

I haven't the least idea of how any P5's BL is unlockable. Obviously they exist. I've spent far, far too much time trying to find a simple "go here, buy this" answer.

It's very likely the unit I have was tied to carrier. However there's a non-zero chance it came from the Google Store. But I can't prove this either way.

I'm one step from saying **** it, and giving up on the whole d*** idea.
 

xunholyx

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Dec 3, 2012
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Buy from a retailer at full price... I walk into BestBuy, plunk $799 down and... paperweight. BB P5's BL's are unlockable. Walk into another store (name one) and say "gee, can I put you demo in Developer Mode to see if OEM Unlock is awake." My guess is the door can't open fast enough for how fast I'll be moving when they toss me out of the store. I can't think of a retailer who isn't also repping one or more carriers. See BB above for an example.

I haven't the least idea of how any P5's BL is unlockable. Obviously they exist. I've spent far, far too much time trying to find a simple "go here, buy this" answer.

It's very likely the unit I have was tied to carrier. However there's a non-zero chance it came from the Google Store. But I can't prove this either way.

I'm one step from saying **** it, and giving up on the whole d*** idea.
Best Buy's version of Pixel devices are Verizon branded. It didn't start with the 5.
 

xunholyx

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Nope - not a VZW phone, just one they like:

Yes, there's no SIM in the phone. No, there won't be until it's rooted. Or there's no way to unlock the bootloader.

This phone will replace an S7. I won't move stuff over until I know I won't be doing FDR's.
I just went to their website to check my IMEI. I got not compatible. Probably has to do with Verizon's 5G network if I had to guess.
 

RBEmerson

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Jul 15, 2012
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@xunholyx My point, exactly, about BB.

The issue of trying to unlock the P5's bootloader is moot. It's going back where it came from. I found a 4XL with working OEM Unlock. No 5G, but it's no loss, as I said.

Thank y'all for your comments, input, and help. I hope some folks learned a thing or two in the course of following this thread. I sure did. :)
 
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bobby janow

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@xunholyx BB sells unbranded and unlockable bl devices. You just need to pay full price with no carrier discount. At least they used to when the P5 first came out. Perhaps they don't any longer.
@RBEmerson Since you are returning the device this is moot but just to clarify once again for you and anyone watching this thread. I've never seen a P5 sell for anything more than $699 so I don't know where you got the 799 price tag from. You paid, according to the Ebay listing 600 so it would only have been another hundred bucks to buy it from the Google store. And I've seen some $50 off deals from them as well but not very recently.

Since the SKU and imei don't indicate whether the bl is unlockable if you don't buy directly from Google, Fi or a carrier that will guaranteed allow you to bl unlock (naturally paying full price at once with no discount or monthly payments) then you must assume the bl is not unlockable unless you see a screen shot with the OEM active. So you really didn't get screwed by the seller since they specifically said it was a carrier device. How much are they charging you for the return? Why are you so desperately wanting to bl unlock, just curious.

One last thing. I don't think you can return a device after 15 days no matter where you buy it. Well I do know Google has a 15 day window and Verizon the same but I'm not sure about BB or 3rd party. I can't imagine you can return a phone within 90 days but I could be wrong on that one too.
 

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    The box's SKU's GAO1955-US doesn't match what's listed on eBay (GAO1355-US). Google searches don't come up with a hint of an idea about the pedigree.

    Sigh... there's a possibility this is a VZW phone, or maybe TM.

    There's no sign of any branded apps, only Google apps. IIRC even an FDR doesn't make VZW apps disappear. At least not when I rooted the S7 (yea for Titanium doing the job!).

    The immediate challenge is to run down whose phone this is. I suppose I can take it to T-Mobile in hopes a) it's a TM phone and b) they'll unlock the bootloader. AFAIK, short of taking someone hostage at gunpoint, VZW doesn't want to discuss the idea, let alone do it.

    I still think there should be a way to positively identify if unlocking is a possibility.

    About the eBay listing, look for item 284112075311

    It doesn't take much thinking to find the seller's phone number. Which I called. Whoever answered the phone hasn't visited the clue store in many, many years.
    The listing specifically says Verizon - TMobile. They also have a return policy if you bought it within 30 days. You might want to take advantage of that.
    1
    I've posted the question: "Can the Google Store Pixel 5 bootloader be unlocked?" in rooting threads and gotten no reply.

    The model number is the GD1YQ
    Go to this website and enter your IMEI. It will tell you if it's a Verizon branded phone or not.
    1
    The sim has nothing to do with the ability to unlock the bootloader. If you buy a Verizon device I don't care what sim you put in or if you never put in a sim, you can't unlock the bootloader. I always buy Google devices and before I turn it on I put in my Verizon sim. OEM unlock is always active.. always! If you want flawless ability to unlock and root never buy a carrier branded device. Some make you wait until you pay off the device, some make you wait 30 or 60 days, and some like Verizon don't care what you do they'll never allow unlock.

    So if you're worried then flip the OEM unlock switch and put in your sim and enjoy the device. I'm not sure what you're waiting for.
    1
    A) My P5 isn't tied to VZW, or anyone else. B) OEM unlock isn't active (greyed out) & no response to touches - USB Debugging is active, and set to ON. Whether OEM unlocking is active hinges on the bootloader being unlocked. Bootloader locked, no OEM unlocking, no rooting.

    My current phone (Sammy S7) is rooted, and it's an ex-VZW device, with a locked bootloader. I don't remember how getting past the locked bootloader happened, but... SuperSU, RootChecker, FX, Titanium are alive and running as su. My hope is the same magic applies to the P5, but it doesn't look as though it does. Sigh...
    Your P5 is tied to something whether you know it or not. If you didn't buy it from Google, Fi, or another company as unlocked then it's tied to a carrier. Whether OEM unlocking is active has absolutely nothing to do with the bootloader being unlocked other than allowing it to be so. You've got it backwards, you're basically putting the cart before the horse. You cannot unlock the bootloader if the OEM is grayed out. If the bootloader is unlocked at some point the switch was active and the bl unlocked in fastboot. Just curious, where did you get the device from? If you bought it 3rd party someone sold you a bill of goods. If you got it from Google and the switch is not active then return it for a replacement.

    Sorry, I'm not familiar with the S7. I do believe there was/is a way to bypass the security and get into download mode or something of the sort but I just don't know.
    1
    See below for the reason why OEM Unlock has to be available before unlocking the bootloader.
    Or...
    Catch-22: Need an unlocked bootloader to get OEM unlock, need OEM Unlock to unlock the bootloader.

    That the OEM Unlock option is greyed out means no OEM Unlock, period.

    And that's what I'm trying to sort out.

    [Guide] Root Pixel 5 XL Android 11 (R)



    The same requirement appears in

    [Tutorial] Unlock Bootloader, get root and valid Safetynet

    That's not a catch-22. The first part of your statement and the guide is correct. You need to be able to toggle the OEM switch in order to perform the bootloader unlock. As far as the bootloader being unlocked first, that's false. It needs to be unlockable. The OEM toggle is the gateway to unlocking the bootloader. The carriers block access to that gateway. Verizon is permanent. Other carriers I believe can be temporary after a period of time. I don't know because I've never bought a carrier phone.