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[GUIDE] Unlock/Flash/Root for the Pixel 2 XL (taimen)

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Senior Member
Jan 11, 2012
Not sure if anyone else is still using their Pixel 2 XL, but hopefully someone is. Based on what I've read, it seems that TWRP can't be installed with Android 11. Having said that, I haven't really seen much confirmation about that *STILL* being the case.

Here's the list of Factory Images for Taimen. https://developers.google.com/android/images#taimen
Android 11 was 1st released in Sept 2020, and the final release was Dec 2020.

Here's the link to the TWRP builds for Taimen. https://dl.twrp.me/taimen/
As you'll see, version 3.5.0_9-1 and version 3.5.1_9-0 were both released in March of 2021, then 3.5.2_9-0 was released April of 2021, and finally 3.6.0_9-0 was released November of 2021.

I can't help but wonder if the information about TWRP not being installable on Android 11 is still accurate and applicable to the TWRP releases I've mentioned, given that they were released way after Android 11 was released to the Pixel 2 XL. I assume part of what they were doing would have been trying to make it more compatible with Android 11, right?

The other thing I was wondering is whether anyone has had any experience installing SHRP recovery on Android 11. The only real info I've found on it is from this thread: https://forum.xda-developers.com/t/...awk-recovery-project-v3-1-04-11-2021.4222501/ and this video: youtube.com/watch?v=rvwec9QE3hM. Both are somewhat less than confidence inspiring, so I'm curious to know whether anyone has actually used it and had success.

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    Hello everyone, this is a guide to assist you with customizing your Pixel 2 XL! I will be going over installing fastboot and adb, unlocking your bootloader, how to flash the factory images for clean flashes and upgrades, and how to root. Please feel free to ask any questions if you need clarification. Enjoy!

    This information has been distilled from Google's official factory image site and the Magisk thread.

    Installing fastboot and adb

    Thankfully, Google has provided just adb, fastboot, and systrace as a simple zip file, making this process super easy. You MUST be on at LEAST 26.0.2 for the commands in this guide to work. When in doubt, grab the latest copy and install them using the following instructions.


    1. Unzip the folder somewhere on your hard drive.
    2. Go to the folder containing the adb and fastboot files and type "cmd" in the path bar at the top.
    3. A command prompt should open with the current folder showing on the prompt.
    4. Type the following commands:
      adb --version
      fastboot --version
      You should see some information appear. If that is the case, you were successful!


    1. Unzip the folder somewhere on your hard drive.
    2. Navigate to that folder with your terminal.
    3. Run the following commands:
      sudo install adb dmtracedump e2fsdroid etc1tool fastboot hprof-conv make_f2fs mke2fs mke2fs.conf sload_f2fs sqlite3 /usr/local/bin
      sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/lib64
      sudo install lib64/libc++.so /usr/local/lib64
    4. Type the following commands:
      adb --version
      fastboot --version
      You should see the version information, along with telling you they are installed to /usr/local/bin. If so, you were successful!

    Unlocking the bootloader

    WARNING: This WILL wipe your entire phone. Please make copies or backups of any important data. This can also go wrong rendering your device inoperable. Proceed with caution.

    1. On your phone, open Settings, navigate to "System" then "About phone", and tap on the build number 7 times.
    2. Go one menu up, click on "Developer options", and turn on USB debugging and OEM unlocking.
    3. In your terminal, type the following command:
      adb reboot bootloader
    4. Next, decide if you want to do a standard unlock or critical unlock. A critical unlock allows you to directly flash bootloader files, otherwise you will get an error when you try to do so.
    5. Depending on what you decided in the previous step, run the following commands:
      fastboot flashing unlock
      fastboot flashing unlock_critical
    6. Follow the prompts on your device then reboot!

    Flashing factory images

    NOTE #1: If you have mounted /system as rw at any point (like in TWRP), you must upgrade using the factory image method. OTAs will fail because they cannot verify the integrity of the disk since its verity data has been changed.

    NOTE #2: Flashing the factory images requires an unlocked bootloader. Flashing the OTA zips does not (but if anything goes wrong, you may not be able to recover without an RMA).

    Updating to a new release (factory image):

    1. Download the latest factory image from Google's website.
    2. Reboot into the bootloader:
      adb reboot bootloader
    3. Unzip the factory image.
    4. Inside you will see a bootloader image, a radio image, an image zip file, and a couple of flash scripts.
    5. If you are on Windows, open the "flash-all.bat" file in a text editor. If you are on Mac or Linux, open the "flash-all.sh" instead.
    6. Remove the "-w" flag before the fastboot command towards the end of the file. This will prevent fastboot from formatting your device.
    7. Run the flash all script! Open a command prompt, navigate to the folder with the script, and run one of the following commands:
    8. Reboot once it is finished!
    Updating to a new release (OTA zip):

    1. Download the latest OTA zip from Google's website
    2. Reboot into recovery:
      adb reboot recovery
    3. Hold down the power button and push volume up
    4. Select "Apply update from ADB"
    5. Run the following command from the folder containing the OTA zip:
      adb sideload <zip_name>.zip
    6. Reboot once it is finished!
    Clean flashing a factory image (wipe everything):

    1. Download the latest factory image from Google's website
    2. Reboot into the bootloader:
      adb reboot bootloader
    3. Unzip the factory image.
    4. Run the flash all script! Open a command prompt, navigate to the folder with the script, and run one of the following commands:
    5. Reboot once it is finished!

    Rooting with Magisk

    NOTE #4: This section assumes you are not going to install TWRP. If you are, skip to the next section and just flash the latest Magisk zip after installing TWRP.

    1. Download the Magisk zip from the official thread and install the manager from the zip.
    2. Grab a boot image to patch (either the one from the latest factory image or a custom kernel one) and push it to your device:
      adb push <path_to_file> /sdcard/Download
    3. Open Magisk Manager and click the Install button.
    4. Click "Install" at the first prompt then choose "Patch Boot Image File". A file manager will pop up.
    5. Select the boot image you want to patch and let Magisk Manager patch it.
    6. Pull it off your device:
      adb pull /sdcard/MagiskManager/patched_boot.img
    7. Reboot into the bootloader:
      adb reboot bootloader
    8. Flash the boot image and reboot.
      fastboot flash boot patched_boot.img
      fastboot reboot
    9. Open Magisk Manager and you should be rooted!

    Installing TWRP

    NOTE #5: If you just want to temporarily boot TWRP to flash Magisk and your custom kernel, you can just skip flashing the installer zip in this process.

    NOTE #6: TWRP can be unstable at times given the way that security has been set up on this device (lack of decryption, failing to boot, etc).

    • Download both the TWRP image and zip installer from the official site.
    • Temporarily boot the TWRP image.
      fastboot boot <path_to_twrp_image>
    • Flash the TWRP installer zip.
    • Reinstall Magisk and your custom kernel if you had them.
    • Reboot and profit!

    Common issues

    • Outdated fastboot/adb: This device requires the latest fastboot and adb binaries to work properly. A lot of common quick adb/fastboot installation guides link to installers that are old. Please manually install the latest using the information at the beginning of the thread!
    • Using a USB-3.0 or USB-C port: Some newer USB ports do not work with fastboot. Issues manifest as weird errors during a flash. Use a different USB cable/port.

    Closing statements

    If there are any procedures you would like to see added (like flashing a custom kernel or booting TWRP), I am happy to add them if requested. Also, when requesting help, please be as specific as possible where you get confused. I want this guide to be clear as possible.
    Upgrade to 8.1, TWRP, Magisk, and Cust Kernel (easy steps)

    After running through a bunch of threads, this is how I just upgraded to 8.1 with no issues,and all the steps and links in one post :D Everything works.

    My Previous Setup:
    Bootloader (unlocked and critical_unlocked) (SEE OP FOR UNLOCKING BOOTLOADER INSTRUCTIONS)
    Nov 8.0 Google factory image
    Magisk 14.6

    prep work:
    -in developer option make sure OEM unlocking is ON
    -in developer options make sure USB Debugging is ON
    -have the latest SDK toolkit (download in OP)
    -have a 2.0 USB in case your 3.0 USB doesn't work properly
    -Reboot PC, change between 2.0 and 3.0 cables, and change USB ports if having trouble using fastboot
    -make sure all the files you are going to fastboot are located IN the (platform tools folder that contains the fastboot application)

    * * * until TWRP fixes the security issue, REMOVE ALL SECURITY BEFORE USING TWRP, reactivate security after rebooting * * *

    *download Latest Google Taimen factory image
    follow Updating to a new release (factory image): in OP (DON'T perform flash-all yet, do that later)
    * put TWRP 3.2.1-2 IMG file IN the (platform tools folder that contains the fastboot application), for flashing in fastboot
    * put TWRP 3.2.1-2 ZIP in sdcard, for istalling in TWRP
    * put Flash's Cust 8.1.0 kernel 8.1 ZIP in sdcard for installing in TWRP *OPTIONAL*
    * put (Magisk latest version) in sdcard for installing in TWRP... Magisk Manager is built into latest Magisk version

    ***If you're planning on wiping your entire device (leaving the -w intact), put all the "sdcard files" on your PC, after first boot with fresh, factory image, use your favorite root explorer app and add a folder within the sdcard folder (I name mine TO BE FLASHED) and move all the 'sdcard files' files from your PC to here for flashing in TWRP ***

    Verify you're connected to PC and Fastboot:

    Open a COMMAND PROMPT (type CMD in the address bar) from the same platform tools folder on your PC where the fastboot application is located, and unzipped factory image files (including flash-all.bat) are located, do the following:

    type- fastboot devices (should see a serial number, this means you're good)

    type- flash-all (this flashes Latest Google Taimen factory image), let it do its thing... (removing the -w [see "updating a new release" in PREP above] stops this from wiping your phone, be sure to SAVE the file after removing the -w... leaving the -w in flash-all.bat, wipes entire device)

    -IF TWRP is NOT already installed:
    Boot into TWRP using fastboot
    (use TWRP IMG file placed in platform tools folder)
    fastboot boot <twrp filename.img >

    Permanently install TWRP OR to update latest TWRP .ZIP: ( Or SKIP this step if you do NOT want TWRP perm installed)
    flash TWRP zip
    (from within TWRP choose INSTALL and find the TWRP.ZIP file placed on your sdcard)

    reboot to TWRP
    (deselect install TWRP app, reboot back into TWRP)

    flash Flash kernel via TWRP
    (placed in sdcard, INSTALL in TWRP, be sure to use the ZIP version, if you use the IMG version you have to reinstall TWRP zip AFTER installing the kernel)

    flash Magisk zip via TWRP
    (placed in sdcard, and it will automatically install Magisk Manager)

    NOTE: Once Magisk is installed, install new versions by clicking INSTALL within Magisk Manager, use "DIRECT" method (for latest version switch channel in manager to BETA)

    reboot system

    After reboot:

    If you get stuck at "G" screen at boot up, long press power button / hard reboot, should boot normal.

    When you see this message on boot up "The bootloader is unlocked and software integrity cannot be guaranteed..........." it is normal an has no effect on your device.

    SafetyNet PASSES
    The two most tiring discussions to me are:

    1. Which or all of the unlock commands should I use?


    2. How can I appease my ridiculous, pointless, almost hospital admittance worthy ocd of the absolutely insignificant vendor error pop-up message at boot that pops up only at reboot? because it causes me such distress that I will keep asking and discussing it ad nauseam since it's the most significant issue on our device right now. Please help

    1. Just run them all, in any order, fastboot will tell you if you need to run them in a certain order. And yes your data will be wiped, get over it and act like an adult.


    2. stay on stock, please for the love of the android gods just please. I spend 5 hours trying to fix why sepolicy for taimen causes a kernel panic when trying to boot a custom rom. I get overcome with joy when I see the pop up because I know ive booted the rom. You popup-fear mongering folks offend me.

    Just I'm mostly kinda saying this in a light hearted, jestful manner, except for number 2.

    But seriously run all the unlock commands, Just unlock, unlock the crap out of it.