How To Guide [GUIDE] Pixel 5a "barbet": Unlock Bootloader, Update, Root, Pass SafetyNet

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V0latyle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
As mentioned earlier, after flashing a factory image to get to 12 and installing Magisk all was well. But the OTA didn't complete the install for the January update, and even restoring images in Magisk didn't help. So now I need to update in another way. This recipe is clear but IIUC the data will be wiped (factory images have the -w switch in the shell script). Is it possible to do this but delete "-w" so as to not wipe my data? Or perhaps I should just flash the OTA? Thanks for the help.
You literally just quoted the instructions you need to follow.
 

CarinaPDX

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2013
277
92
Google Pixel 5a
You literally just quoted the instructions you need to follow.
My question was about preserving data. Your instructions would seem to wipe my data, IIUC. Is that correct? And if it is how to do it without wiping data? Of course I can flash the factory image at every update but the effort to replace my data would be huge. And right now, for reasons I do not understand, Titanium Backup never finishes: it gets stuck in the 60%-70% range. Without Ti working replacing the data is a massive PITA.
 

V0latyle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
My question was about preserving data. Your instructions would seem to wipe my data, IIUC. Is that correct? And if it is how to do it without wiping data? Of course I can flash the factory image at every update but the effort to replace my data would be huge. And right now, for reasons I do not understand, Titanium Backup never finishes: it gets stuck in the 60%-70% range. Without Ti working replacing the data is a massive PITA.
My instructions do not include wiping data. Please go back to the OP and read again. Flashing the factory update does not wipe data in of itself. Follow the instructions to update and root using the factory image.
 

userwaldo

Senior Member
Aug 21, 2011
68
27
My question was about preserving data. Your instructions would seem to wipe my data, IIUC. Is that correct? And if it is how to do it without wiping data? Of course I can flash the factory image at every update but the effort to replace my data would be huge. And right now, for reasons I do not understand, Titanium Backup never finishes: it gets stuck in the 60%-70% range. Without Ti working replacing the data is a massive PITA.
I changed the Battery Optimization to Unrestricted for Titanium Backup and it has been working fine for me.
 

userwaldo

Senior Member
Aug 21, 2011
68
27
Thanks @V0latyle.

I had the same issue as others on the thread and I wasn't able to install the 220105 Update. It kept failing. I even tried making sure that it wasn't a safteynet issue first, but eventually I just went with the adb sideload method and was able to get that to work.

NOTE: I did run into the issue where booting to recovery got stuck at the green android, but I was able to get past that using the below link, and use the recovery to install the update via
 

CarinaPDX

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2013
277
92
Google Pixel 5a
Is a step left out of your instructions? The factory image zip file I downloaded doesn't work with "fastboot update" because it could not find android-info.txt file. Should I extract and use the image zip file inside (there is an android-info.txt file inside)?
 

V0latyle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Thanks @V0latyle.

I had the same issue as others on the thread and I wasn't able to install the 220105 Update. It kept failing. I even tried making sure that it wasn't a safteynet issue first, but eventually I just went with the adb sideload method and was able to get that to work.

NOTE: I did run into the issue where booting to recovery got stuck at the green android, but I was able to get past that using the below link, and use the recovery to install the update via
The "green android" isn't an error or a problem - that's how stock recovery works. Simply hold Power and click Volume Up.

Is a step left out of your instructions? The factory image zip file I downloaded doesn't work with "fastboot update" because it could not find android-info.txt file. Should I extract and use the image zip file inside (there is an android-info.txt file inside)?
You didn't follow the instructions. First step:
1. Download the factory zip and extract the contents.
 

V0latyle

Forum Moderator
Staff member

V0latyle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
93618068_3705919662816648_5328266307781525504_n.png


Magisk Canary has been updated to 23017. Installing to inactive slot now supported.

Download it here or update through the Magisk app.

Note: If you have the Magisk app hidden, MAKE SURE you only update through the app! Multiple instances of Magisk will break root.
 
Last edited:

V0latyle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Magisk Canary updated to 23019
Changes:
- [Zygisk] Skip loading modules into the Magisk app to prevent conflicts
- [MagiskBoot] Change `zopfli` to a more reasonable config so it doesn't take forever
- [General] Several `BusyBox` changes

Preferred method of update is from within Magisk app.

If installing for the first time, here is the APK Download
 

V0latyle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Magisk Stable is now at version 24.1, so I will no longer be providing any Magisk updates.

You can use any version of Magisk now - Stable, Beta, or Canary. as long as it is 23016 or newer.

Once again, if you want to switch versions of Maagisk, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you "Complete Uninstall" within Magisk before installing the new version. Multiple instances of Magisk can break root.

If you simply want to update Magisk, the best way to do so is from within the app.


Once the February update is out, I will perform some testing with installing to inactive slot, and if it works, I will update this guide.

Given the low activity on this thread, I will probably close it if everything goes well with the next update.

Thank you all for your testing and contributions.
 

Oxika95

Member
Mar 15, 2017
26
5
Magisk Stable is now at version 24.1, so I will no longer be providing any Magisk updates.

You can use any version of Magisk now - Stable, Beta, or Canary. as long as it is 23016 or newer.

Once again, if you want to switch versions of Maagisk, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you "Complete Uninstall" within Magisk before installing the new version. Multiple instances of Magisk can break root.

If you simply want to update Magisk, the best way to do so is from within the app.


Once the February update is out, I will perform some testing with installing to inactive slot, and if it works, I will update this guide.

Given the low activity on this thread, I will probably close it if everything goes well with the next update.

Thank you all for your testing and contributions.
Hey I appreciate the effort you have put in. I got my pixel 5a and installed lineage then flashed magisk but didn't do a boot.img patch is that a needed step still to get root working? I seem to have root running according to magisk but I fail safety net
 

V0latyle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Hey I appreciate the effort you have put in. I got my pixel 5a and installed lineage then flashed magisk but didn't do a boot.img patch is that a needed step still to get root working? I seem to have root running according to magisk but I fail safety net
This guide is only for the stock firmware, you'd have to talk to the LineageOS team for support.
 

ssdd28561

Member
Aug 7, 2012
16
9
Google Pixel 5a
Android Flash Tool (updating via website) seems to not have "skip reboot" option anymore, and device tries to reboot after update. I managed to stop it rebooting (the warning screen allows you to pause), and force rebooted with volume down pressed into fastboot to continue the rooting progress. Everything is fine now, but do I miss something? I remember the "skip reboot option", but I couldn't find it
 

V0latyle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Android Flash Tool (updating via website) seems to not have "skip reboot" option anymore, and device tries to reboot after update. I managed to stop it rebooting (the warning screen allows you to pause), and force rebooted with volume down pressed into fastboot to continue the rooting progress. Everything is fine now, but do I miss something? I remember the "skip reboot option", but I couldn't find it
The Android Flash Tool does not have a "skip reboot" option.
 

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  • 19
    If you are looking for my guide on a different Pixel, find it here:
    Update 4-28-22: While Magisk 24.0 has been updated for use with Android 12, many users are still having problems with patching the out of band OTA, so Canary 24306 is recommended.
    Discussion thread for migration to 24.0.

    DO NOT use any version of Magisk lower than Canary 23016 as it does not yet incorporate the necessary fixes for Android 12 and your device.


    WARNING: YOU AND YOU ALONE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS TO YOUR DEVICE. THIS GUIDE IS WRITTEN WITH THE EXPRESS ASSUMPTION THAT YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH ADB, MAGISK, ANDROID, AND ROOT. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

    Prerequisites:


    Android Source - Setting up a device for development


    1. Follow these instructions to enable Developer Options and USB Debugging.
    2. Enable OEM Unlocking. If this option is grayed out, unlocking the bootloader is not possible.
    3. Connect your device to your PC, and open a command window in your Platform Tools folder.
    4. Ensure ADB sees your device:
      Code:
      adb devices
      If you don't see a device, make sure USB Debugging is enabled, reconnect the USB cable, or try a different USB cable.
      If you see "unauthorized", you need to authorize the connection on your device.
      If you see the device without "unauthorized", you're good to go.
    5. Reboot to bootloader:
      Code:
      adb reboot bootloader
    6. Unlock bootloader: THIS WILL WIPE YOUR DEVICE!
      Code:
      fastboot flashing unlock
      Select Continue on the device screen.

    1. Install Magisk on your device.
    2. Download the factory zip for your build.
    3. Inside the factory zip is the update zip: "device-image-buildnumber.zip". Open this, and extract boot.img
    4. Copy boot.img to your device.
    5. Patch boot.img with Magisk: "Install" > "Select and Patch a File"
    6. Copy the patched image back to your PC. It will be named "magisk_patched-23xxx_xxxxx.img". Rename this to "master root.img" and retain it for future updates.
    7. Reboot your device to bootloader.
    8. Flash the patched image:
      Code:
      fastboot flash boot <drag and drop master root.img here>
    9. Reboot to Android. Open Magisk to confirm root - under Magisk at the top, you should see "Installed: <Magisk build number>

    1. Before you download the OTA, open Magisk, tap Uninstall, then Restore Images. If you have any Magisk modules that modify system, uninstall them now.
    2. Take the OTA update when prompted. To check for updates manually, go to Settings > System > System Update > Check for Update
    3. Allow the update to download and install. DO NOT REBOOT WHEN PROMPTED. Open Magisk, tap Install at the top, then Install to inactive slot. Magisk will then reboot your device.
    4. You should now be updated with root.

    1. Download the OTA.
    2. Reboot to recovery and sideload the OTA:
      Code:
      adb reboot sideload
      Once in recovery:
      Code:
      adb sideload ota.zip
    3. When the OTA completes, you will be in recovery mode. Select "Reboot to system now".
    4. Allow system to boot and wait for the update to complete. You must let the system do this before proceeding.
    5. Reboot to bootloader.
    6. Boot the master root image (See note 1):
      Code:
      fastboot boot <drag and drop master root.img here>
      Note: If you prefer, you can download the factory zip and manually patch the new boot image, then flash it after the update. Do not flash an older boot image after updating.
    7. Your device should boot with root. Open Magisk, tap Install, and select Direct Install.
    8. Reboot your device. You should now be updated with root.
    Note: You can use Payload Dumper to extract the contents of the OTA if you want to manually patch the new boot image. However, I will not cover that in this guide.

    Please note that the factory update process expects an updated bootloader and radio. If these are not up to date, the update will fail.
    1. Download the factory zip and extract the contents.
    2. Reboot to bootloader.
    3. Compare bootloader versions between phone screen and bootloader.img build number
      Code:
      fastboot flash bootloader <drag and drop new bootloader.img here>
      If bootloader is updated, reboot to bootloader.
    4. Compare baseband versions between phone screen and radio.img build number
      Code:
      fastboot flash radio <drag and drop radio.img here>
      If radio is updated, reboot to bootloader.
    5. Apply update:
      Code:
      fastboot update --skip-reboot image-codename-buildnumber.zip
      When the update completes, the device will be in fastbootd. Reboot to bootloader.
    6. Boot the master root image (See note 1):
      Code:
      fastboot boot <drag and drop master root.img here>
      Note: If you prefer, you can manually patch the new boot image, then flash it after the update. Do not flash an older boot image after updating.
    7. Your device should boot with root. Open Magisk, tap Install, and select Direct Install.
    8. Reboot your device. You should now be updated with root.
    Note: If you prefer, you can update using the flash-all script included in the factory zip. You will have to copy the script, bootloader image, radio image, and update zip into the Platform Tools folder; you will then have to edit the script to remove the -w option so it doesn't wipe your device.
    The scripted commands should look like this:
    Code:
    fastboot update bootloader <bootloader image name>
    fastboot reboot bootloader
    ping -n 5 127.0.0.1 > nul
    fastboot update radio <radio image name>
    fastboot reboot bootloader
    ping -n 5 127.0.0.1 > nul
    fastboot update  --skip-reboot --slot=all <image-device-buildnumber.zip>
    Once this completes, you can reboot to bootloader and either boot your master patched image, or if you patched the new image, flash it at this time.

    1. Follow the instructions on the Android Flash Tool to update your device. Make sure Lock Bootloader and Wipe Device are UNCHECKED.
    2. When the update completes, the device will be in fastbootd. Reboot to bootloader.
    3. Boot the master root image (See note 1):
      Code:
      fastboot boot <drag and drop master root.img here>
      Note: If you prefer, you can download the factory zip and manually patch the new boot image, then flash it after the update. Do not flash an older boot image after updating.
    4. Your device should boot with root. Open Magisk, tap Install, and select Direct Install.
    5. Reboot your device. You should now be updated with root.

    This is my configuration that is passing Safety Net. I will not provide instructions on how to accomplish this. Attempt at your own risk.

    Zygisk + DenyList enabled
    All subcomponents of these apps hidden under DenyList:
    • Google Play Store
    • GPay
    • Any banking/financial apps
    • Any DRM media apps
    Modules:
    To check SafetyNet status:
    I do not provide support for Magisk or modules. If you need help with Magisk, here is the Magisk General Support thread. For support specifically with Magisk v24+, see this thread.

    Points of note:
    • The boot image is NOT the bootloader image. Do not confuse the two - YOU are expected to know the difference. Flashing the wrong image to bootloader could brick your device.
    • While the Magisk app is used for patching the boot image, the app and the patch are separate. This is what you should see in Magisk for functioning root:
      screenshot_20211218-194517-png.5486339
    • "Installed" shows the version of patch in the boot image. If this says N/A, you do not have root access - the boot image is not patched, or you have a problem with Magisk.
    • "App" simply shows the version of the app itself.
    • If you do not have a patched master boot image, you will need to download the factory zip if you haven't already, extract the system update inside it, then patch boot.img.
    • If you prefer updating with the factory image, you can also extract and manually patch the boot image if desired.
    • Some Magisk modules, especially those that modify read only partitions like /system, may cause a boot loop after updating. As a general rule, disable these modules before updating. You are responsible for knowing what you have installed, and what modules to disable.


    Credits:
    Thanks to @ipdev , @kdrag0n , @Didgeridoohan , and last but not least, @topjohnwu for all their hard work!
    3
    Absolutely fantastic! Thanks for this thread and guide!

    As an aside, how is it I didn't know you can drag and drop to the command window? (This tip gets the hero of the day award in my book!)
    Makes things a whole lot easier, don't it?

    I try to stick with the KISS method. Keep It Simple, Stupid!

    Or...Keep it stupidly simple, whatever. :D
    2
    This is extremely old information from September 2020. Install to inactive slot has been re-implemented as of Magisk Canary 23017 {January 20, 2022).

    Please, check your information to ensure it's up to date before you post.
    2
    I'm currently using Magisk Canary build?
    May I Install Magisk Beta and also Magisk Stable build to the latest November 2021 build?
    I honestly don't know. I've used Magisk 22.1, 23.0, Canary 23001 through 23011, all have worked for me.

    The caveat is that Magisk 23010+ is Zygisk, which means that some legacy modules won't work anymore until they're updated - Universal SafetyNet Fix for example.
    Coming from the Pixel 3XL, which bricked out of the blue. I did every update on that phone, but never got to do 12 before the magical brick. I want to update this phone (5a, which I just realized is different than the 5?), but this seems to be missing quite a few steps. Shouldn't there be 4 different files added to your SDK folder and flashed, or has it completely changed, and I need to do more digging? Thanks.
    You don't have to add any files to your SDK folder, you can always drag and drop them into the command line window. We are only working with two files here: vbmeta.img and boot.img.
    Is there any way to do this after already updating? Or do I have to wait for the next update (I prefer flashing factory images).
    You can do this as many times as you want. The critical point to remember is that if you allow Android to boot after not disabling verity/verification, you will have to wipe the next time you disable it.
    I flashed the Nov factory image but forgot to disable the verified boot. Is there any way I can disable it so i can flash the magisk patched boot?
    Yes...but you're going to have to wipe data. Extract vbmeta.img, and reflash it:
    Code:
    fastboot flash vbmeta --disable-verity --disable-verification <drag and drop vbmeta.img here>
    Then, reboot your device. You will end up in Rescue Party, with the option to "Try again" or "Factory data reset". Choose the factory reset.

    The best way to make sure you don't have to wipe your data is to always use --disable-verity --disable-verification when updating via the factory image.
    2
    Followed directions for recommended Android Flash Tool and everything worked flawlessly. If you've already rooted your phone once then you have somewhat of an idea of what you're doing. Just read everything twice and follow the directions. Thank you OP for such a clear path to update and root!