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

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myk.robinson

Senior Member
Jan 15, 2011
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www.wheremothandrustdestroy.com
I'm not trying to deter you in any way but I've been running DNS66 for ad blocking for a while now and I'm quite impressed. Doesn't require root and it's super light on resources. It runs a vpn (i know, I know, that's total ****e and untrustworthy, except open source and it's really just routing back into your device) which blocks ads by DNS versus host files. It meddles with attachments in apps (like gmail and some others) so you have to pause it when you're wanting to do that but it's a minor inconvenience if you either don't want to (or can't!) root.

Anyways, you're getting Google versions now but it's really an interesting project that is really good at its job. :good:

I got my new phones in today. Reading the root instructions a few times before taking the plunge. I am definitely pleased with the phone as is, but the internet is painful to look at without a proper ad blocker. Wish me luck.

On a side note, Big Red corporate store gave me no crap whatsoever to return the others :)
 

Az Biker

Senior Moderator / RC- RT Committee / Semper Salty
Staff member
I got my new phones in today. Reading the root instructions a few times before taking the plunge. I am definitely pleased with the phone as is, but the internet is painful to look at without a proper ad blocker. Wish me luck.

On a side note, Big Red corporate store gave me no crap whatsoever to return the others :)

Here's an all-in-one post with links and detailed instructions if you'd like.

Enjoy!
 

cstrife999

Senior Member
Jun 18, 2010
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Hey for all those who has the problem flashing twrp I may have a solution... If you are running a Ryzen based rig it is the drivers they use for both USB 2.0 and 3.0 (also including 3.1 gens 1 and 2) so use an older AMD or Intel based USB port.
 

myk.robinson

Senior Member
Jan 15, 2011
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www.wheremothandrustdestroy.com
Here's an all-in-one post with links and detailed instructions if you'd like.

Enjoy!

Thanks. I am probably gonna get flamed for asking this, but you only live once, and if you don't ask (or search) you don't know and end up bricking a rather expensive toy on day one...

Your guide says to have Magisk on the SD card. I have none, so is the user portion of this phone considered SD, and is not wiped when performing other steps?
All I have done so far is download platform tools and the factory image, plus make sure the platform tools respond to version queries.

Being a little cautious, i suppose.
 

Badger50

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Feb 27, 2011
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Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
Thanks. I am probably gonna get flamed for asking this, but you only live once, and if you don't ask (or search) you don't know and end up bricking a rather expensive toy on day one...

Your guide says to have Magisk on the SD card. I have none, so is the user portion of this phone considered SD, and is not wiped when performing other steps?
All I have done so far is download platform tools and the factory image, plus make sure the platform tools respond to version queries.

Being a little cautious, i suppose.

By sd card, he means internal storage on the phone. See, you didn't die! ??
 
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Az Biker

Senior Moderator / RC- RT Committee / Semper Salty
Staff member
Thanks. I am probably gonna get flamed for asking this, but you only live once, and if you don't ask (or search) you don't know and end up bricking a rather expensive toy on day one...

Your guide says to have Magisk on the SD card. I have none, so is the user portion of this phone considered SD, and is not wiped when performing other steps?
All I have done so far is download platform tools and the factory image, plus make sure the platform tools respond to version queries.

Being a little cautious, i suppose.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?

What in the monkey licking blazes are you talking about?

There. Feel better. It almost sounded as if you were hoping to get flamed. Didn't want you to go away disappointed and all :p

I also created a "TO BE FLASHED" folder on my internal sdcard, and place all my regular files to be flashed there for easy access.

No doubt there are 1,000 ways to get the job done, but do whatever works best and most natural for you.

EDIT: looks like a glitch in the matrix got me... Someone get a Mod quick, duplicate posts up in this place!
 
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Badger50

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Mod Edit: removed ridiculous, sarcastic, fear-inducing comment

Oh please dude! That was good stuff right thar! ????

---------- Post added at 11:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:57 PM ----------

Thanks to @Badger50 and @Az Biker

Rooted, booted, and happily running stock with AdAway.

This has got to be the easiest phone I have ever rooted. I think the simplicity is what made me think I was missing something....

That'll teach ya to think too much son! I gave it years ago, been happy ever since! Glad your up and running though ????
 
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nathanchance

Senior Recognized Developer / Recognized Contribut
Jul 22, 2015
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I wondered because @nathanchance mentioned in the OP:



Not that I want to go back to the December release or anything, but being able to test a new one, and go back to a stable one is a must.


No idea what he means there, but you most certainly can flash backwards. I would do it and post pics but dont want to endure the wipe.

It is totally stable for me, not seeing any reports of issues. I did have a few minor odd issues, widgets disappeared, Google now cards were freezing. All fixed with a wipe, which I didn't do when I first installed it. So that is probably on me.

Turns out I didn't read Google's documentation well enough. For devices with an unlocked bootloader, the roll back index is not updated. I'll remove that note when I get a chance.

https://android.googlesource.com/platform/external/avb/#rollback-protection

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using XDA Labs
 
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chevycam94

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Turns out I didn't read Google's documentation well enough. For devices with an unlocked bootloader, the roll back index is not updated. I'll remove that note when I get a chance.

https://android.googlesource.com/platform/external/avb/#rollback-protection

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using XDA Labs

Perfect. I had to read that a couple times before I understood what it was saying. I know it makes sense to have an unlocked bootloader be free to flash anything (isn't that the idea anyway?), but I wanted to be sure before I got stuck in something I couldn't get out of.

I literally went back to my Nexus 6P for today, because I'm itching to get my Pixel 2 XL.......TOMORROW! Ughhhhhhh, this is killing me! I went to the 6P because I wanted to relive the front facing speakers, the larger screen size, and the 128GB of storage that I will likely never have on a phone again (too expensive.....)

I'm also passing up on the Pixel 3 series. Rumors of a notch, and only mild hardware improvements are not enough to sway me to get them later this year. My 2XL will be just fine for a few years.
 
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Badger50

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Perfect. I had to read that a couple times before I understood what it was saying. I know it makes sense to have an unlocked bootloader be free to flash anything (isn't that the idea anyway?), but I wanted to be sure before I got stuck in something I couldn't get out of.

I literally went back to my Nexus 6P for today, because I'm itching to get my Pixel 2 XL.......TOMORROW! Ughhhhhhh, this is killing me! I went to the 6P because I wanted to relive the front facing speakers, the larger screen size, and the 128GB of storage that I will likely never have on a phone again (too expensive.....)

I'm also passing up on the Pixel 3 series. Rumors of a notch, and only mild hardware improvements are not enough to sway me to get them later this year. My 2XL will be just fine for a few years.

Agreed! "The Notch" must DIE!!!!??

BTW....for the life of me, I can't remember what rom of yours I ran on my 6p. Enlighten me my friend ?
 

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  • 1
    Will this work on any carrier brand of pixel 2 xl?
    All except Verizon issued phones.
  • 203
    Introduction

    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.


    Windows:

    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:
      Code:
      adb --version
      fastboot --version
      You should see some information appear. If that is the case, you were successful!

    Mac/Linux:

    1. Unzip the folder somewhere on your hard drive.
    2. Navigate to that folder with your terminal.
    3. Run the following commands:
      Code:
      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:
      Code:
      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:
      Code:
      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:
      Code:
      fastboot flashing unlock
      (OPTIONAL)
      Code:
      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:
      Code:
      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:
      Windows:
      Code:
      flash-all
      Mac/Linux:
      Code:
      ./flash-all.sh
    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:
      Code:
      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:
      Code:
      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:
      Code:
      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:
      Windows:
      Code:
      flash-all
      Mac/Linux:
      Code:
      ./flash-all.sh
    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:
      Code:
      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:
      Code:
      adb pull /sdcard/MagiskManager/patched_boot.img
    7. Reboot into the bootloader:
      Code:
      adb reboot bootloader
    8. Flash the boot image and reboot.
      Code:
      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.
      Code:
      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.
    43
    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
    TWRP 3.2.1.0

    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
    profit!

    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
    15
    The two most tiring discussions to me are:

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

    and

    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.

    And

    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.
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