Question Enable Desktop Mode (HDMI Alt Mode) in kernel / bootloader or with custom ROM?

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Stormflies

Member
Feb 5, 2022
6
8
Hi,

Google disabled the HDMI alt mode in the bootloader/kernel on the Google Pixel 6 Pro, which means that you cannot share your device screen by mirroring to an external screen using HDMI. You cannot either use the built in desktop mode in Android and use the Samsung DEX like desktop experience.

How can this be solved?

1) Is it possible to unlock the bootloader / root the phone, and change the kernel to allow desktop mode / HDMI out from the phone?

2) Is it possible to unlock HDMI out by flashing a custom ROM, such as Lineage OS?

3) Is it possible to force the Google Pixel to use the desktop mode even without HDMI, and use the desktop mode by sharing the screen to a Chromecast?

4) Is it possible to use a Displaylink external GPU to not only mirror, but also force the Pixel to start desktop mode and share this through Displaylink to an external display? (Displaylink disables Netflix etc)

5) I also tried Sentio Desktop / Taskbar, but it wouldn't allow me to open several windows in freeform mode. Only one at a time, and the application would never by default open in freeform mode by using the launcher, they had to be manually converted to freeform. Sentio Desktop could also not be open in the background while a freeform application was open in the foreground, which sorta makes it useless.

X) i tried this command through adb to force the phone into desktop mode, but it wouldn't work. Anyone tried it? adb shell am start -n “com.android.launcher3/com.android.launcher3.SecondaryDisplayLauncher”


I understand that we can share and mirror the screen to an external screen by using Chromecast, but this requires it to be setup to Wifi, and doesn't really work that good on a hotel. It is also possible to mirror the screen with a Displaylink adapter, but this disables any streaming services to the external tv, and does not allow desktop mode.

I would think that some of you awesome developers have looked into this either on the Google Pixel 6, or the 4 or the 5, which all have hardware support for HDMI out.

Thanks!
 

Stormflies

Member
Feb 5, 2022
6
8
This video shows a Google Pixel 4 running a desktop mode Interface through a custom rom. Should be possible with the Google Pixel 6 right?



The extended desktop requires Android OS changes to handle mouse and launching applications to different displays.
These changes are available to phone manufacturers who would like to make their device a productivity one. As some products start to appear in the market, then we can hope the interest will increase... We've just been ready early.

As far as I am aware, Android natively only does one device in clone at a max resolution of 1080p.
There's a presenter mode on some applications like PowerPoint to display something different without user interaction possible on that external display as there's no way with stock Android to handle mouse across displays or select which screen the app should be launched on.
We've done it to show it's possible, creating a specific ROM for that. The OS can be modified to do extended desktop with mouse support.

The Android device needs to support being a USB host (USB On The Go).
DisplayLink DL-1x5, DL-3000, DL-5000 and DL-6900 series all work.
 
Last edited:

Morgrain

Senior Member
Aug 4, 2015
951
1,084
There is also option

7) create a feedback form to Google / talk to a Google Rep, asking them if they are aware of this "issue" and ask them to fix it

It's a shame that Tensor lost a lot of basic abilities (just think about the people that have problems with DACs or hearing aid tools). Hopefully Google can bring these features back with future software updates, but of course they won't if people don't directly tell them "We want this, go fix it!".
 
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Stormflies

Member
Feb 5, 2022
6
8
There is also option

7) create a feedback form to Google / talk to a Google Rep, asking them if they are aware of this "issue" and ask them to fix it

It's a shame that Tensor lost a lot of basic abilities (just think about the people that have problems with DACs or hearing aid tools). Hopefully Google can bring these features back with future software updates, but of course they won't if people don't directly tell them "We want this, go fix it!".

Yeah, that's an option. I can definitely look into that. It's just that I sorta don't expect them to do anything about it. (Sadly)

Google have purposely disabled this feature, so they must have a reason for it. I'm hoping it's because they want the desktop mode to be perfect before it's released, so that noone can say that Samsung did it better. Some people believe it is because they want everyone to buy a Chromecast. (Already have 2 and it doesn't help me, so I'm hoping that's not it.)

I don't know, but when a company manually disables a feature which is by default enabled, then I believe hacking the **** out of the device, and enabling it yourself is the only option.
 
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Alekos

Senior Member
Feb 18, 2008
570
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Google Pixel 3 XL
Yeah, that's an option. I can definitely look into that. It's just that I sorta don't expect them to do anything about it. (Sadly)

Google have purposely disabled this feature, so they must have a reason for it. I'm hoping it's because they want the desktop mode to be perfect before it's released, so that noone can say that Samsung did it better. Some people believe it is because they want everyone to buy a Chromecast. (Already have 2 and it doesn't help me, so I'm hoping that's not it.)

I don't know, but when a company manually disables a feature which is by default enabled, then I believe hacking the **** out of the device, and enabling it yourself is the only option.
Pixels have never had support for HDMI out (not talking about modifications). They support DisplayLink using a $200 Dock (Google support documentation verifies this for previous pixels).

Sure make your voice heard. I'm all for that. But be realistic. 99% of the featureset is locked 18 months before release of the product. If they didn't have a huge stake in Chromecast, I think things might be different.
 

96carboard

Senior Member
Jul 17, 2018
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4) Is it possible to use a Displaylink external GPU to not only mirror, but also force the Pixel to start desktop mode and share this through Displaylink to an external display? (Displaylink disables Netflix etc)

Well no, because display link uses non-public protocols and has no open source implementation, however, Linux supports GUD (generic USB display) for which you can use something like a $5 raspberry pi zero as the adapter. I doubt that GUD is compiled into the p6p's kernel, but it would be easy to add.
 
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Stormflies

Member
Feb 5, 2022
6
8
Well no, because display link uses non-public protocols and has no open source implementation, however, Linux supports GUD (generic USB display) for which you can use something like a $5 raspberry pi zero as the adapter. I doubt that GUD is compiled into the p6p's kernel, but it would be easy to add.

That sounds very interesting, and actually sounds like an option that may work! I would love to give that a try. Just need one of our kernel developers to add the code. :)


 

fonix232

Senior Member
Jun 20, 2009
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London
HDMI Alt Mode is unlikely to happen as it's a very exotic (and not officially supported by the USB-C spec). DisplayPort Alt Mode (which is used by nearly ALL the USB-C to HDMI cables) on the other hand, should be possible as long as the USB-C controller can receive video signal from the SoC.

DisplayLink kinda goes around this, and although the available documentation is quite limited, my main guess would be that it employs something similar to the aforementioned GUD drivers, providing display out purely over USB protocol (instead of switching the USB-C port into alt modes).
 
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NippleSauce

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Jun 23, 2013
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HDMI Alt Mode is unlikely to happen as it's a very exotic (and not officially supported by the USB-C spec). DisplayPort Alt Mode (which is used by nearly ALL the USB-C to HDMI cables) on the other hand, should be possible as long as the USB-C controller can receive video signal from the SoC.
Thanks for this response. I think this is how it works on all of the Samsung phones. When I still had my S21U, I just used a USB-C to HDMI adapter and could connect my phone to any display - it was great!

Now, of course, I understand the desire for Google to follow Apple's decisions and force their users to grab a Chromecast, however, the Chromecast just doesn't work as well for me when compared to wired connections. I'm hoping that they allow for this in the future as the current audio/video desync is pretty rough when I'm streaming content to my Chromecast =/.
 
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fonix232

Senior Member
Jun 20, 2009
1,202
720
London
Thanks for this response. I think this is how it works on all of the Samsung phones. When I still had my S21U, I just used a USB-C to HDMI adapter and could connect my phone to any display - it was great!

Now, of course, I understand the desire for Google to follow Apple's decisions and force their users to grab a Chromecast, however, the Chromecast just doesn't work as well for me when compared to wired connections. I'm hoping that they allow for this in the future as the current audio/video desync is pretty rough when I'm streaming content to my Chromecast =/.
That's the funny thing here - anyone can implement AirPlay, there's even software that allows using Chromecast devices as AirPlay targets! Apple is really cool about it, and I'm surprised no Android app implements it as of now.

Google is really stuck on their ChromeCast ecosystem, which, to be frank, works quite well for most purposes - the app deep linking it achieves with e.g. YouTube is pretty dope. But Google shouldn't be ignoring the other protocols that work better for certain scenarios. It's like Google actively wants to reduce the experience on Pixel devices.
 

Lughnasadh

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Mar 23, 2015
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Does the google pixel 6 pro come bootloader unlocked?
No it doesn't. However, you may be able to unlock the bootloader depending on what model/variant you get. If you get a Verizon model/variant you will not be able to unlock your bootloader.

This is really the wrong thread to ask this question though. This topic has been discussed many times in several other threads.
 
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Etienne_

New member
Nov 30, 2022
3
0
Hi, On the GrapheneOS website this is stated

"Display Port

The Qualcomm chipsets in Pixel phones supports Display Port which outputs HDMI. This is however not enabled on Pixel phones. It is somewhat likely to be trivial to enable this though "

Wonder if it is possible to tweak the kernel and enable it?
 

Etienne_

New member
Nov 30, 2022
3
0
Maybe, maybe not. I don't know much about how these are wired up or what their capabilities are.
Difficult what to do.. I run Graphene OS and it works great.. But the p6p has much more to offer, like a desktop mode.. The hardware is there but it is blocked (by kernel) Too bad.. (for now). Hope there will be a solution soonish... Thanks for the reply..
 

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  • 4
    Hi,

    Google disabled the HDMI alt mode in the bootloader/kernel on the Google Pixel 6 Pro, which means that you cannot share your device screen by mirroring to an external screen using HDMI. You cannot either use the built in desktop mode in Android and use the Samsung DEX like desktop experience.

    How can this be solved?

    1) Is it possible to unlock the bootloader / root the phone, and change the kernel to allow desktop mode / HDMI out from the phone?

    2) Is it possible to unlock HDMI out by flashing a custom ROM, such as Lineage OS?

    3) Is it possible to force the Google Pixel to use the desktop mode even without HDMI, and use the desktop mode by sharing the screen to a Chromecast?

    4) Is it possible to use a Displaylink external GPU to not only mirror, but also force the Pixel to start desktop mode and share this through Displaylink to an external display? (Displaylink disables Netflix etc)

    5) I also tried Sentio Desktop / Taskbar, but it wouldn't allow me to open several windows in freeform mode. Only one at a time, and the application would never by default open in freeform mode by using the launcher, they had to be manually converted to freeform. Sentio Desktop could also not be open in the background while a freeform application was open in the foreground, which sorta makes it useless.

    X) i tried this command through adb to force the phone into desktop mode, but it wouldn't work. Anyone tried it? adb shell am start -n “com.android.launcher3/com.android.launcher3.SecondaryDisplayLauncher”


    I understand that we can share and mirror the screen to an external screen by using Chromecast, but this requires it to be setup to Wifi, and doesn't really work that good on a hotel. It is also possible to mirror the screen with a Displaylink adapter, but this disables any streaming services to the external tv, and does not allow desktop mode.

    I would think that some of you awesome developers have looked into this either on the Google Pixel 6, or the 4 or the 5, which all have hardware support for HDMI out.

    Thanks!
    3
    This video shows a Google Pixel 4 running a desktop mode Interface through a custom rom. Should be possible with the Google Pixel 6 right?



    The extended desktop requires Android OS changes to handle mouse and launching applications to different displays.
    These changes are available to phone manufacturers who would like to make their device a productivity one. As some products start to appear in the market, then we can hope the interest will increase... We've just been ready early.

    As far as I am aware, Android natively only does one device in clone at a max resolution of 1080p.
    There's a presenter mode on some applications like PowerPoint to display something different without user interaction possible on that external display as there's no way with stock Android to handle mouse across displays or select which screen the app should be launched on.
    We've done it to show it's possible, creating a specific ROM for that. The OS can be modified to do extended desktop with mouse support.

    The Android device needs to support being a USB host (USB On The Go).
    DisplayLink DL-1x5, DL-3000, DL-5000 and DL-6900 series all work.
    2
    Yeah, that's an option. I can definitely look into that. It's just that I sorta don't expect them to do anything about it. (Sadly)

    Google have purposely disabled this feature, so they must have a reason for it. I'm hoping it's because they want the desktop mode to be perfect before it's released, so that noone can say that Samsung did it better. Some people believe it is because they want everyone to buy a Chromecast. (Already have 2 and it doesn't help me, so I'm hoping that's not it.)

    I don't know, but when a company manually disables a feature which is by default enabled, then I believe hacking the **** out of the device, and enabling it yourself is the only option.
    Pixels have never had support for HDMI out (not talking about modifications). They support DisplayLink using a $200 Dock (Google support documentation verifies this for previous pixels).

    Sure make your voice heard. I'm all for that. But be realistic. 99% of the featureset is locked 18 months before release of the product. If they didn't have a huge stake in Chromecast, I think things might be different.
    2
    Thanks for this response. I think this is how it works on all of the Samsung phones. When I still had my S21U, I just used a USB-C to HDMI adapter and could connect my phone to any display - it was great!

    Now, of course, I understand the desire for Google to follow Apple's decisions and force their users to grab a Chromecast, however, the Chromecast just doesn't work as well for me when compared to wired connections. I'm hoping that they allow for this in the future as the current audio/video desync is pretty rough when I'm streaming content to my Chromecast =/.
    That's the funny thing here - anyone can implement AirPlay, there's even software that allows using Chromecast devices as AirPlay targets! Apple is really cool about it, and I'm surprised no Android app implements it as of now.

    Google is really stuck on their ChromeCast ecosystem, which, to be frank, works quite well for most purposes - the app deep linking it achieves with e.g. YouTube is pretty dope. But Google shouldn't be ignoring the other protocols that work better for certain scenarios. It's like Google actively wants to reduce the experience on Pixel devices.
    1
    Does the google pixel 6 pro come bootloader unlocked?
    No it doesn't. However, you may be able to unlock the bootloader depending on what model/variant you get. If you get a Verizon model/variant you will not be able to unlock your bootloader.

    This is really the wrong thread to ask this question though. This topic has been discussed many times in several other threads.