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Google Pixel 3 noobie queries

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jstoner

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2014
119
5
Hi!

I come from the Galaxy S series (S4, S5, S7) phones and I m considering of buying a Google Pixel 3
I can find many decent options, all of which are carrier unlocked
My concern with the Pixel 3 is whether I ll be able to install Android vanilla (without any carrier-related bloatware)

For all of my Samsung's so far, I could easily pick the retail ROM (well not exactly 'vanilla'!) from sammobile and load it with Odin (without breaking the knox)
Can I do something similar in the Pixel 3 or are there any security mechanisms to prevent me? (I m talking about installing original ROM - not custom..)

Bonus question - does any of you know if the Pixel 3 from Verizon and US Cellular have branding [carrier logo(s)] on the device?

Thank you in advance!
 

jstoner

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2014
119
5
Well, you will certainly avoid the Samsung bloatwear. I have a P3 from Google and got my son's P3 through T-mobile. It did not have any additional T-mobile bloat on it, but I don't know about the big V.
I can find it via Verizon and US Cellular - hopefully none of which have put logos on it..

I have one more - rather embarassing question: do you have to use a Google account in order to use the Pixel 3? For several other Android phones that I know of - it's optional. You can still skip this step and use the phone without having to tie the phone with Google. But can you do that on the P3?

Any more hints on that and my ROM-related queries would be really helpful! Thanks
 

dcarvil

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2016
464
246
I can find it via Verizon and US Cellular - hopefully none of which have put logos on it..

I have one more - rather embarassing question: do you have to use a Google account in order to use the Pixel 3? For several other Android phones that I know of - it's optional. You can still skip this step and use the phone without having to tie the phone with Google. But can you do that on the P3?

Any more hints on that and my ROM-related queries would be really helpful! Thanks

Verizon branded Pixel 3s have locked bootloaders, which prevent rooting or custom ROMs (vanilla AOSP would be a custom ROM). According to the flashing instructions at https://developers.google.com/android/images, you also need to unlock the bootloader to flash a google factory image.

I'm not sure if you can skip the google account. If you really want to avoid google services, my recommendation would be to install LineageOS, with no gapps.
 
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jstoner

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2014
119
5
Verizon branded Pixel 3s have locked bootloaders, which prevent rooting or custom ROMs (vanilla AOSP would be a custom ROM). According to the flashing instructions at https://developers.google.com/android/images, you also need to unlock the bootloader to flash a google factory image.

I'm not sure if you can skip the google account. If you really want to avoid google services, my recommendation would be to install LineageOS, with no gapps.
Hmm...if the 3s has that, then the 3 will also have it :/

But I m confused...would I be able to unlock the bootloader?
I can see from this page: https://developers.google.com/android/images#blueline that 'blueline' is that vanilla AOSP version that corresponds to the P3 (right?)

The G account issue is less important. I just don't like 'syncing' stuff (accounts, photos etc). Worse case scenario, I ll create an empty profile, just for the logon
 

dcarvil

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2016
464
246
Hmm...if the 3s has that, then the 3 will also have it :/

But I m confused...would I be able to unlock the bootloader?
I can see from this page: https://developers.google.com/android/images#blueline that 'blueline' is that vanilla AOSP version that corresponds to the P3 (right?)

The G account issue is less important. I just don't like 'syncing' stuff (accounts, photos etc). Worse case scenario, I ll create an empty profile, just for the logon
3s is not a model, it is the plural of 3. A Verizon Pixel 3 usually cannot be boot loader unlocked, but if you search this forum, you will find a few special cases where it has been done. One such case is at https://forum.xda-developers.com/t/...branded-pixel-3-how-is-this-possible.4267273/

Vanilla AOSP generall refers to a ROM without any google services. See https://android.stackexchange.com/questions/53171/what-exactly-is-in-aosp for more info. Blueline is the Pixel 3 factory image, which has all the google services. It does not have any added carrier bloatware, but I wouldn't call it a vanilla AOSP.

You can turn off all the syncing stuff, and you may be able to skip the google account part. I just can't definitely say you can skip the google account because I have not tried it.

Another consideration with a locked bootloader is the end support date. Google support for the Pixel 3 ends in October, 4 months from now. There will be no security updates from Google after October. If you have an unlocked bootloader, you can switch to LineageOS and continue to receive security updates. That is what I plan to do.
 
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jstoner

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2014
119
5
3s is not a model, it is the plural of 3. A Verizon Pixel 3 usually cannot be boot loader unlocked, but if you search this forum, you will find a few special cases where it has been done. One such case is at https://forum.xda-developers.com/t/...branded-pixel-3-how-is-this-possible.4267273/

Vanilla AOSP generall refers to a ROM without any google services. See https://android.stackexchange.com/questions/53171/what-exactly-is-in-aosp for more info. Blueline is the Pixel 3 factory image, which has all the google services. It does not have any added carrier bloatware, but I wouldn't call it a vanilla AOSP.

You can turn off all the syncing stuff, and you may be able to skip the google account part. I just can't definitely say you can skip the google account because I have not tried it.

Another consideration with a locked bootloader is the end support date. Google support for the Pixel 3 ends in October, 4 months from now. There will be no security updates from Google after October. If you have an unlocked bootloader, you can switch to LineageOS and continue to receive security updates. That is what I plan to do.

Clear!

I ll check on the resources you ve listed here

If the V-branded P3 is troublesome as it sounds, perhaps I should just go for the US Cellular carrier option. Bootloader may also be locked (but we know for sure that the V is..)
Interestingly, the US Cellular P3 is unlocked to all GSM carriers except Verizon, Boost, Virgin Mobile and Sprint
Is the carrier lock specified in the bootloader?

Btw, thanks for all the help!
 

dcarvil

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2016
464
246
Clear!

I ll check on the resources you ve listed here

If the V-branded P3 is troublesome as it sounds, perhaps I should just go for the US Cellular carrier option. Bootloader may also be locked (but we know for sure that the V is..)
Interestingly, the US Cellular P3 is unlocked to all GSM carriers except Verizon, Boost, Virgin Mobile and Sprint
Is the carrier lock specified in the bootloader?

Btw, thanks for all the help!

SIM (carrier) unlock and bootloader unlock are separate, and not related. I have no idea if US Cellular is bootloader unlocked. Google sold a global model, which is the bootloader unlocked version, and the one I have. The IMEI/MEID number of the global variant begins with 990012 (don't know how many digits are significant). If I was buying it, I'd ask the seller to confirm it was bootloader unlocked.

Glad I could help.
 
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jstoner

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2014
119
5
SIM (carrier) unlock and bootloader unlock are separate, and not related. I have no idea if US Cellular is bootloader unlocked. Google sold a global model, which is the bootloader unlocked version, and the one I have. The IMEI/MEID number of the global variant begins with 990012 (don't know how many digits are significant). If I was buying it, I'd ask the seller to confirm it was bootloader unlocked.

Glad I could help.
The two P3 options I m considering (Verizon + US Cellular), both are sealed in their original box. According to that post, if the P3 hasn't ever being turned on, which is probably then when bootloader becomes locked

So I wonder if there is a SIM that comes with the phone already and that I have to remove that prior booting the phone. Not sure what he means with "VZW SIM". Is it a different type of SIM e.g. an eSIM??
I know for fact that these phones are CDMA-locked and only GSM is unlocked (but that's what I need anyways)

Does anyone here have any experience from an US Cellular P3 - is the bootloader locked? (the retailer of the phone doesn't seem to know much on such details..)
 

dcarvil

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2016
464
246
The two P3 options I m considering (Verizon + US Cellular), both are sealed in their original box. According to that post, if the P3 hasn't ever being turned on, which is probably then when bootloader becomes locked

So I wonder if there is a SIM that comes with the phone already and that I have to remove that prior booting the phone. Not sure what he means with "VZW SIM". Is it a different type of SIM e.g. an eSIM??
I know for fact that these phones are CDMA-locked and only GSM is unlocked (but that's what I need anyways)

Does anyone here have any experience from an US Cellular P3 - is the bootloader locked? (the retailer of the phone doesn't seem to know much on such details..)

VZW SIM is just a Verizon SIM. It is probably the standard SIM card, not an eSIM. I would remove the SIM prior to booting, just to be safe. According to one of those posts, WiFi had to be connected before they could unlock the bootloader.
 
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jstoner

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2014
119
5
VZW SIM is just a Verizon SIM. It is probably the standard SIM card, not an eSIM. I would remove the SIM prior to booting, just to be safe. According to one of those posts, WiFi had to be connected before they could unlock the bootloader.

I ll find out soon, I ve ordered the P3 (US cellular stock)

Seller claims that it is sealed in original box. If that's really the case, then the carrier can't have put a SIM into it, right? But what about an eSIM? If they have the eSIM pre-programmed, then I can't possibly avoid booting the phone with it..
 

AsItLies

Senior Member
Nov 4, 2009
1,191
474
tucson
Google Pixel 3
I ll find out soon, I ve ordered the P3 (US cellular stock)

Seller claims that it is sealed in original box. If that's really the case, then the carrier can't have put a SIM into it, right? But what about an eSIM? If they have the eSIM pre-programmed, then I can't possibly avoid booting the phone with it..

Hmmm I think the way it works is that when the phone is produced, for a specific carrier, and the carrier wants it to have a sim, it's put in at the factory. So, I think, sealed with a sim in it, possible.

I don't think us cellular uses e-sims. Double check that but it doesn't look like one of the carriers that's capable of e-sims.

cheers, good luck. I have a vzw coming today, hoping it's new and can unlock as others have... we'll know soon.
 

jstoner

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2014
119
5
Good news! Just got the phone and ... I ve managed to unlock the bootloader!
Exactly same case as described here. No SIM inserted, connected to WIFI, and in Dev Options, turned OEM unlocking to ON!
Then, on the instructions (link by opensense), I ve used adb and the bootloader is now unlocked! I m really chuffed about it :)
(btw the US Cellular supplied SIM was attached on the box (outside) with a sticker. Box was sealed.

Now, all is left is for me to pick that 'cleaner' Android option I always wanted!

But which one should it be? It's currently running blueline MP1.0(ROW)
Is there any clearer (official) Android ROM that I should switch to instead?
From G services, I would like to keep the Playstore and Maps...
 

dcarvil

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2016
464
246
Good news! Just got the phone and ... I ve managed to unlock the bootloader!
Exactly same case as described here. No SIM inserted, connected to WIFI, and in Dev Options, turned OEM unlocking to ON!
Then, on the instructions (link by opensense), I ve used adb and the bootloader is now unlocked! I m really chuffed about it :)
(btw the US Cellular supplied SIM was attached on the box (outside) with a sticker. Box was sealed.

Now, all is left is for me to pick that 'cleaner' Android option I always wanted!

But which one should it be? It's currently running blueline MP1.0(ROW)
Is there any clearer (official) Android ROM that I should switch to instead?
From G services, I would like to keep the Playstore and Maps...

Congratulations. You'll have to define what you mean by the term "cleaner (official)" ROM. Blueline is the only official Google ROM for the Pixel 3. Anything else will be a custom ROM. I have no experience with any of the Pixel custom ROMs, so can't offer any advice on those.

You can disable most of the unwanted Google services in the blueline ROM. I'd recommend keeping the backup service, though.

Blueline MP1.0(ROW) is not a version listed at https://developers.google.com/android/images#blueline Go to Settings, About Phone, and tap Android Version. Check the "Android security update" date. Latest is June 5, 2021. I suspect yours is quite old.

If you want to update to the current blueline version, you have 2 options, OTA or flash a new factory image.

For OTA, go to Settings, System, System update, and follow instructions.

To flash a new factory image, follow the instructions at the link above. To prevent wiping your data when flashing, edit the flash-all.bat or flash-all.sh file, and remove the "-w" from the last line.

I you intend to change ROM's, I wouldn't bother updating.

Good luck.
 
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jstoner

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2014
119
5
Congratulations. You'll have to define what you mean by the term "cleaner (official)" ROM. Blueline is the only official Google ROM for the Pixel 3. Anything else will be a custom ROM. I have no experience with any of the Pixel custom ROMs, so can't offer any advice on those.

You can disable most of the unwanted Google services in the blueline ROM. I'd recommend keeping the backup service, though.

Blueline MP1.0(ROW) is not a version listed at https://developers.google.com/android/images#blueline Go to Settings, About Phone, and tap Android Version. Check the "Android security update" date. Latest is June 5, 2021. I suspect yours is quite old.

If you want to update to the current blueline version, you have 2 options, OTA or flash a new factory image.

For OTA, go to Settings, System, System update, and follow instructions.

To flash a new factory image, follow the instructions at the link above. To prevent wiping your data when flashing, edit the flash-all.bat or flash-all.sh file, and remove the "-w" from the last line.

I you intend to change ROM's, I wouldn't bother updating.

Good luck.
I think I ll probably stick with the official one then. My current is PQ1A.181105.017.A1 (which is very old as you guessed)

Which means I can jump to Android 10 or 11. From my experience, latest isn't always the best so I might have to keep reading, see if I should jump to a latest build of 10 instead. My emphasis is on stability/security - not new features...
And I want to ensure that the camera is at its best
 

dcarvil

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2016
464
246
I think I ll probably stick with the official one then. My current is PQ1A.181105.017.A1 (which is very old as you guessed)

Which means I can jump to Android 10 or 11. From my experience, latest isn't always the best so I might have to keep reading, see if I should jump to a latest build of 10 instead. My emphasis is on stability/security - not new features...
And I want to ensure that the camera is at its best

If security is a concern, you'll want to go to Android 11. 10 has not been updated since August 2020, when Android 11 came out. Also, I believe there have been camera improvements since August 2020, which would not be in the latest Android 10 build.

I have not seen any reports of stability problems with the June 2021 Android 11 update, which has the latest security patches.

I don't know if you can do an OTA update to Android 11 from Android 9. You might have to go from 9 to 10 to 11. You can flash the Android 11 image without going to 10 first.
 
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  • 1
    Well, you will certainly avoid the Samsung bloatwear. I have a P3 from Google and got my son's P3 through T-mobile. It did not have any additional T-mobile bloat on it, but I don't know about the big V.
    1
    I can find it via Verizon and US Cellular - hopefully none of which have put logos on it..

    I have one more - rather embarassing question: do you have to use a Google account in order to use the Pixel 3? For several other Android phones that I know of - it's optional. You can still skip this step and use the phone without having to tie the phone with Google. But can you do that on the P3?

    Any more hints on that and my ROM-related queries would be really helpful! Thanks

    Verizon branded Pixel 3s have locked bootloaders, which prevent rooting or custom ROMs (vanilla AOSP would be a custom ROM). According to the flashing instructions at https://developers.google.com/android/images, you also need to unlock the bootloader to flash a google factory image.

    I'm not sure if you can skip the google account. If you really want to avoid google services, my recommendation would be to install LineageOS, with no gapps.
    1
    Hmm...if the 3s has that, then the 3 will also have it :/

    But I m confused...would I be able to unlock the bootloader?
    I can see from this page: https://developers.google.com/android/images#blueline that 'blueline' is that vanilla AOSP version that corresponds to the P3 (right?)

    The G account issue is less important. I just don't like 'syncing' stuff (accounts, photos etc). Worse case scenario, I ll create an empty profile, just for the logon
    3s is not a model, it is the plural of 3. A Verizon Pixel 3 usually cannot be boot loader unlocked, but if you search this forum, you will find a few special cases where it has been done. One such case is at https://forum.xda-developers.com/t/...branded-pixel-3-how-is-this-possible.4267273/

    Vanilla AOSP generall refers to a ROM without any google services. See https://android.stackexchange.com/questions/53171/what-exactly-is-in-aosp for more info. Blueline is the Pixel 3 factory image, which has all the google services. It does not have any added carrier bloatware, but I wouldn't call it a vanilla AOSP.

    You can turn off all the syncing stuff, and you may be able to skip the google account part. I just can't definitely say you can skip the google account because I have not tried it.

    Another consideration with a locked bootloader is the end support date. Google support for the Pixel 3 ends in October, 4 months from now. There will be no security updates from Google after October. If you have an unlocked bootloader, you can switch to LineageOS and continue to receive security updates. That is what I plan to do.
    1
    Clear!

    I ll check on the resources you ve listed here

    If the V-branded P3 is troublesome as it sounds, perhaps I should just go for the US Cellular carrier option. Bootloader may also be locked (but we know for sure that the V is..)
    Interestingly, the US Cellular P3 is unlocked to all GSM carriers except Verizon, Boost, Virgin Mobile and Sprint
    Is the carrier lock specified in the bootloader?

    Btw, thanks for all the help!

    SIM (carrier) unlock and bootloader unlock are separate, and not related. I have no idea if US Cellular is bootloader unlocked. Google sold a global model, which is the bootloader unlocked version, and the one I have. The IMEI/MEID number of the global variant begins with 990012 (don't know how many digits are significant). If I was buying it, I'd ask the seller to confirm it was bootloader unlocked.

    Glad I could help.
    1
    The two P3 options I m considering (Verizon + US Cellular), both are sealed in their original box. According to that post, if the P3 hasn't ever being turned on, which is probably then when bootloader becomes locked

    So I wonder if there is a SIM that comes with the phone already and that I have to remove that prior booting the phone. Not sure what he means with "VZW SIM". Is it a different type of SIM e.g. an eSIM??
    I know for fact that these phones are CDMA-locked and only GSM is unlocked (but that's what I need anyways)

    Does anyone here have any experience from an US Cellular P3 - is the bootloader locked? (the retailer of the phone doesn't seem to know much on such details..)

    VZW SIM is just a Verizon SIM. It is probably the standard SIM card, not an eSIM. I would remove the SIM prior to booting, just to be safe. According to one of those posts, WiFi had to be connected before they could unlock the bootloader.