How to root your Pixel 3a/3a XL WITHOUT TWRP

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seniorstew

Senior Member
Feb 23, 2006
1,025
145
San Diego CA
**Your Bootloader MUST be unlocked**

**does not work on Android Q**

1) Download Magisk APK from https://forum.xda-developers.com/apps/magisk/official-magisk-v7-universal-systemless-t3473445 and install the APK

2) download your system image from https://developers.google.com/android/images Make sure you check settings-->about phone to get your current software version to your PC

3) extract the boot.img and copy it to your Pixel

4) open Magisk and select install then write to a file. Select boot.img

5) wait for it to finish then copy the patched boot image back to your PC

6) open a powershell window from the folder you copied the patched boot image to and either ADB reboot bootloader or turn off your phone and hold the volume down and power key until your in fastboot mode, plug it in and run "fastboot getvar current-slot"

7) take note which boot letter pops up either A or B

8) run "fastboot flash boot_<Letter> <patched_image_name>.img

9)"fastboot reboot"

PROFIT

This also appears to break Google Pay even though Magisk Hide is enabled. If anyone has a work around please share!

Link to the newest Google USB drivers:
https://developer.android.com/studio/run/win-usb
 
Last edited:

Archangel

Inactive Recognized Themer
Jul 14, 2010
6,639
14,174
Reno, NV
In case anyone wants to put the old style nav bar on their new phone this still works

How to disable Android Pie gestures on the Google Pixel 3
1. Install any 3rd-party launcher of your choice. This is a must because otherwise, you won’t have a launcher app left once we’re done with this tutorial!
2. Set up ADB on your PC. Here’s a tutorial we previously wrote that you should you through the process.
3. Connect your Pixel 3 to your PC and open up a command prompt/terminal in the directory where you downloaded the ADB binary. Enter the following command depending on your OS:
Windows Command Prompt
adb shell
Windows Power Shell
.\adb shell
macOS/Linux Terminal
./adb shell
4. Now, enter the following command to uninstall the Pixel Launcher from the current user.
pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.apps.nexuslauncher
5. Now, enter this command to re-enable the stock navigation bar after reboot. This is the setting you’ll be changing by issuing the below command.
settings put secure system_navigation_keys_enabled 1
6. Reboot your Pixel 3.
7. Once you’re booted back up, you should see the original 3 button navigation bar layout and the original vertical stacked card recent apps overview.
 

clipcarl

Senior Member
Nov 20, 2009
241
87
Does not work for me on my Pixel 3a XL with Android Q Beta 3.

All the steps appear to succeed but when the phone is rebooted and Magisk Manager run it says "Magisk is not installed."

I also notice that the Magisk patched boot.img is _much_ smaller than the original. 31 MB vs. 64 MB. Doesn't seem to have kept the phone from booting though so I don't know if this is normal.

Code:
[[email protected] bonito-qpp3.190404.015]$ fastboot getvar current-slot
current-slot: b
Finished. Total time: 0.022s

[[email protected] bonito-qpp3.190404.015]$ fastboot flash boot_b magisk_patched.img 
Sending 'boot_b' (30756 KB)                        OKAY [  1.160s]
Writing 'boot_b'                                   OKAY [  0.496s]
Finished. Total time: 1.734s

[[email protected] bonito-qpp3.190404.015]$ fastboot reboot
Rebooting                                          
Finished. Total time: 0.068s

[[email protected] bonito-qpp3.190404.015]$ ls -lh boot.img boot_magisk_patched.img
-rw-r--r-- 1 carl users 64M Jan  1  2009 boot.img
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root  31M May 10 10:48 magisk_patched.img
 

seniorstew

Senior Member
Feb 23, 2006
1,025
145
San Diego CA
Does not work for me on my Pixel 3a XL with Android Q Beta 3.

All the steps appear to succeed but when the phone is rebooted and Magisk Manager run it says "Magisk is not installed."

I also notice that the Magisk patched boot.img is _much_ smaller than the original. 31 MB vs. 64 MB. Doesn't seem to have kept the phone from booting though so I don't know if this is normal.
Doesn't work on Q Beta 3
 

krabman

Senior Member
Sep 22, 2008
2,983
927
Anyone here about the progress on the Q magisk? Haven't wandered over to pixel land in a while; seems like I recall him saying he was onto something last time I did.
 

Archangel

Inactive Recognized Themer
Jul 14, 2010
6,639
14,174
Reno, NV
Last I heard Magisk works for the Pixel 1 and 2 running Android Q but due to different software on the Pixel 3 it still isnt working but the dev has said he is working on it. I am sure with time he will get it fixed since he has a Pixel 3.

Anyone here about the progress on the Q magisk? Haven't wandered over to pixel land in a while; seems like I recall him saying he was onto something last time I did.
 

krabman

Senior Member
Sep 22, 2008
2,983
927
It's totally wrong but I flash both A and B and call it a day. Makes it easier to remember the commands. o_O As a point of interest for those on Fi using the eSim remember to go through the setup using it again after you unlock or you're going to get a toast asking you to connect to Fi every ten minutes. I had assumed it would just remember the sim information, not a good assumption, I had to factory reset and go through the setup again.
 

xFierce

Member
Aug 7, 2012
22
6
Thanks for this thread! I just want to inform folks who just bought their Pixel 3a/Pixel 3a XL from T-Mobile, that root is not possible as of now since the bootloader is locked. I was misinformed thinking the bootloader would be unlocked. However, the bootloader came locked and is dependent upon factory unlocking your device. In which, T-Mobile only offers after 45 days being on their service and paying the device off in full
 
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shadyshadow

Member
Nov 30, 2013
45
8
Thanks for this thread! I just want to inform folks who just bought their Pixel 3a/Pixel 3a XL from T-Mobile, that root is not possible as of now since the bootloader is locked. I was misinformed thinking the bootloader would be unlocked. However, the bootloader came locked and is dependent upon factory unlocking your device. In which, T-Mobile only offers after 45 days being on their service and paying the device off in full
You sure not confusing their carrier unlock policy with unlocking bootloader. The phone's all have locked bootloaders they are just easily unlocked using fastboot.

Sent from my [device_name] using XDA-Developers Legacy app
 

xFierce

Member
Aug 7, 2012
22
6
You sure not confusing their carrier unlock policy with unlocking bootloader. The phone's all have locked bootloaders they are just easily unlocked using fastboot.
I tried to unlock the bootloader through fastboot but received an error. On tmobile pixel 3a devices the bootloader is linked to OEM unlocking of the device unfortunately. OEM unlocking is grayed out on tmobile sim locked devices until they're permanently unlocked by tmobile.
 

shadyshadow

Member
Nov 30, 2013
45
8
I tried to unlock the bootloader through fastboot but received an error. On tmobile pixel 3a devices the bootloader is linked to OEM unlocking of the device unfortunately. OEM unlocking is grayed out on tmobile sim locked devices until they're permanently unlocked by tmobile.
Wow..ok 45 days long time to be adding data, installing apps etc. be good to play safe and buy from Google store

Sent from my [device_name] using XDA-Developers Legacy app
 

PhoenixPath

Senior Member
Jul 27, 2010
1,024
296
New Prague, MN
Wow..ok 45 days long time to be adding data, installing apps etc. be good to play safe and buy from Google store

Nah, just a few days. All they need to do is hop on Twitter and ask for SIM unlock. They'll generally do it without too much hassle so long as it's not a brand-new account and it's in good standing.

Got my 6T unlocked by them long before it was paid off, and my 3aXL SIM unlocked by them before the first payment was even made.
 
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jcrompton

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2004
4,254
751
60
Hurricane, WV
Google Pixel 5
Not exactly a root question,
But I rooted and then tried to install the Magisk viper. I keep getting prompted to install drivers and then after a wait, a confirmation to reboot
Then all over again.

Any body found a way to get viper working without TWRP?
 
Dec 30, 2016
6
1
ok, so maybe someone here can help me out, I don't get it, why I cant unlock the bootloader on my 3a xl.
I could enable OEM unlock and USB debugging in developer settings.
"adb reboot bootloader" sets it into fastboot mode. But the command "fastboot flashing unlock" does in fact nothing.
I dont even get an error message?!
fastboot.jpg


I exit out with "fastboot reboot". That does work. Could it be that Google has blocked it somehow until the 15 days return window? (Bought the 3a xl in the german google online store)
 

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  • 22
    **Your Bootloader MUST be unlocked**

    **does not work on Android Q**

    1) Download Magisk APK from https://forum.xda-developers.com/apps/magisk/official-magisk-v7-universal-systemless-t3473445 and install the APK

    2) download your system image from https://developers.google.com/android/images Make sure you check settings-->about phone to get your current software version to your PC

    3) extract the boot.img and copy it to your Pixel

    4) open Magisk and select install then write to a file. Select boot.img

    5) wait for it to finish then copy the patched boot image back to your PC

    6) open a powershell window from the folder you copied the patched boot image to and either ADB reboot bootloader or turn off your phone and hold the volume down and power key until your in fastboot mode, plug it in and run "fastboot getvar current-slot"

    7) take note which boot letter pops up either A or B

    8) run "fastboot flash boot_<Letter> <patched_image_name>.img

    9)"fastboot reboot"

    PROFIT

    This also appears to break Google Pay even though Magisk Hide is enabled. If anyone has a work around please share!

    Link to the newest Google USB drivers:
    https://developer.android.com/studio/run/win-usb
    7
    In case anyone wants to put the old style nav bar on their new phone this still works

    How to disable Android Pie gestures on the Google Pixel 3
    1. Install any 3rd-party launcher of your choice. This is a must because otherwise, you won’t have a launcher app left once we’re done with this tutorial!
    2. Set up ADB on your PC. Here’s a tutorial we previously wrote that you should you through the process.
    3. Connect your Pixel 3 to your PC and open up a command prompt/terminal in the directory where you downloaded the ADB binary. Enter the following command depending on your OS:
    Windows Command Prompt
    adb shell
    Windows Power Shell
    .\adb shell
    macOS/Linux Terminal
    ./adb shell
    4. Now, enter the following command to uninstall the Pixel Launcher from the current user.
    pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.apps.nexuslauncher
    5. Now, enter this command to re-enable the stock navigation bar after reboot. This is the setting you’ll be changing by issuing the below command.
    settings put secure system_navigation_keys_enabled 1
    6. Reboot your Pixel 3.
    7. Once you’re booted back up, you should see the original 3 button navigation bar layout and the original vertical stacked card recent apps overview.
    3
    Nice post. As I posted in another thread. I would test the patched image with the following command.

    "fastboot boot <patch_image_name>.img"

    If it works then flash it permanently.
    2
    Does not work for me on my Pixel 3a XL with Android Q Beta 3.

    All the steps appear to succeed but when the phone is rebooted and Magisk Manager run it says "Magisk is not installed."

    I also notice that the Magisk patched boot.img is _much_ smaller than the original. 31 MB vs. 64 MB. Doesn't seem to have kept the phone from booting though so I don't know if this is normal.

    Code:
    [[email protected] bonito-qpp3.190404.015]$ fastboot getvar current-slot
    current-slot: b
    Finished. Total time: 0.022s
    
    [[email protected] bonito-qpp3.190404.015]$ fastboot flash boot_b magisk_patched.img 
    Sending 'boot_b' (30756 KB)                        OKAY [  1.160s]
    Writing 'boot_b'                                   OKAY [  0.496s]
    Finished. Total time: 1.734s
    
    [[email protected] bonito-qpp3.190404.015]$ fastboot reboot
    Rebooting                                          
    Finished. Total time: 0.068s
    
    [[email protected] bonito-qpp3.190404.015]$ ls -lh boot.img boot_magisk_patched.img
    -rw-r--r-- 1 carl users 64M Jan  1  2009 boot.img
    -rw-r--r-- 1 root root  31M May 10 10:48 magisk_patched.img
    2
    If you are trying to root using one of the modified boot image files that are being shared on this forum, please keep in mind that the June update patched image file is different from the original patched file that was for the original March dated OEM software. Are you sure you are flashing the correct file?

    That being said, I would recommend that you install Magisk using the standard method (as described in the first post of this thread) and not by using the modified file method. Installing Magisk via the standard method will make taking future OTA updates much easier.
    - pull stock boot.img file from the applicable download (whichever OS version/update you are on).
    - put that stock boot.img file at the root of the SD card location
    - use the Magisk manager app to patch the stock boot.img
    - move the magisk_patched boot.img file to your computer
    - boot your phone into the recover
    - flash the magisk_patched file to the boot partition
    - reboot and enjoy Magisk

    I did that off memory, but I think all the steps are correct. Here is the official installation method. https://topjohnwu.github.io/Magisk/install.html
    So.. Exactly like my guide in the first post..
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