• Introducing XDA Computing: Discussion zones for Hardware, Software, and more!    Check it out!
  • Fill out your device list and let everyone know which phones you have!    Edit Your Device Inventory

Is it bricked? Cannot flash stock Android to remove ArcaneOS

Search This thread

mayday175

Member
Feb 5, 2010
15
8
I recently purchased a used Pixel 4a, and I now understand why the seller was offering such good price for it and why he refused to respond to me now I have it. This phone has ArcanseOS 10 installed, which has only 3 apps installed... Setting, Clock and Calculator. There is no Play Store app, no Phone app, nothing.

The only useful reference to ArcaneOS I can find in the Googleverse is this one... https://translate.google.com.au/tra...rueck-flashen.973774.html&prev=search&pto=aue where the OP describes his troubles with a Pixel 3. Through the rough translation, I see similar issues... can't enable developer mode, can't unlock bootloader, can't sideload apps.

Some random observations about this phone/OS...
- The phone is in good condition. I used the supplied pin code to unlock it and did a factory reset. Have done basic config with my Google Account, etc.
- In Settings > About Phone - the build number is not shown. I cannot tap on the build number 7 times to enable Developer Mode. I have tried tapping everything in About Phone 7+ times, but I have not been able to enable Developer Mode.
- When the phone powers on, the first thing shown is a message like "Your device is loading a differennt operating system".
- The installed OS is ArcaneOS 10. The system updater says that ArcaneOS 11 is available for download (but I don't want to do that in case it makes this thing even harder to fix).
- I tried sideloading open_gapps and a random developer shortcut app I found, but I can't seem to get them to load.

I'm no expert at this, so I've tried various commands that I found and got some of these results...
(note: some details, esp path names, have been edit for brevity)

>adb devices List of devices attached 09241JEC228869 sideload >adb shell error: closed >adb sideload open_gapps-arm64-10.0-stock-20210518.zip adb: sideload connection failed: no devices/emulators found adb: trying pre-KitKat sideload method... adb: pre-KitKat sideload connection failed: no devices/emulators found >adb sideload "by4a.setedit22_2018.10.31-18_minAPI11(arm64-v8a,armeabi-v7a,x86,x86_64)(nodpi)_apkmirror.com.apk" serving: 'by4a.setedit22_2018.10.31-18_minAPI11(arm64-v8a,armeabi-v7a,x86,x86_64)(nodpi)_apkmirror.com.apk' (~47%) adb: failed to read command: No error >adb shell settings put global development_settings_enabled 1 error: closed >adb root adb: unable to connect for root: closed >adb shell error: closed

>fastboot --version fastboot version 31.0.2-7242960 >fastboot devices 09241JEC228869 fastboot >fastboot flash bootloader sunfish-rq2a.210505.002\bootloader-sunfish-s5-0.3-7062598.img Sending 'bootloader' (8357 KB) FAILED (remote: 'Download is not allowed on locked devices') fastboot: error: Command failed >fastboot flashing unlock FAILED (remote: 'Unrecognized command flashing unlock') fastboot: error: Command failed

Any suggestions on how to unlock this device? Then I can flash it and restore it back to stock.

Thanks

PS. Please do not say "tap build number 7 times to enable Developer Mode/options". If you believe this is the solution, please re-read this post, and the linked/German post, then describe a different way of doing that task that doesn't rely on the build number being visible.
 

Raj Pandiyan

Senior Member
Jul 25, 2018
68
15
Moto X4
Google Pixel 4a
I recently purchased a used Pixel 4a, and I now understand why the seller was offering such good price for it and why he refused to respond to me now I have it. This phone has ArcanseOS 10 installed, which has only 3 apps installed... Setting, Clock and Calculator. There is no Play Store app, no Phone app, nothing.

The only useful reference to ArcaneOS I can find in the Googleverse is this one... https://translate.google.com.au/tra...rueck-flashen.973774.html&prev=search&pto=aue where the OP describes his troubles with a Pixel 3. Through the rough translation, I see similar issues... can't enable developer mode, can't unlock bootloader, can't sideload apps.

Some random observations about this phone/OS...
- The phone is in good condition. I used the supplied pin code to unlock it and did a factory reset. Have done basic config with my Google Account, etc.
- In Settings > About Phone - the build number is not shown. I cannot tap on the build number 7 times to enable Developer Mode. I have tried tapping everything in About Phone 7+ times, but I have not been able to enable Developer Mode.
- When the phone powers on, the first thing shown is a message like "Your device is loading a differennt operating system".
- The installed OS is ArcaneOS 10. The system updater says that ArcaneOS 11 is available for download (but I don't want to do that in case it makes this thing even harder to fix).
- I tried sideloading open_gapps and a random developer shortcut app I found, but I can't seem to get them to load.

I'm no expert at this, so I've tried various commands that I found and got some of these results...
(note: some details, esp path names, have been edit for brevity)

>adb devices List of devices attached 09241JEC228869 sideload >adb shell error: closed >adb sideload open_gapps-arm64-10.0-stock-20210518.zip adb: sideload connection failed: no devices/emulators found adb: trying pre-KitKat sideload method... adb: pre-KitKat sideload connection failed: no devices/emulators found >adb sideload "by4a.setedit22_2018.10.31-18_minAPI11(arm64-v8a,armeabi-v7a,x86,x86_64)(nodpi)_apkmirror.com.apk" serving: 'by4a.setedit22_2018.10.31-18_minAPI11(arm64-v8a,armeabi-v7a,x86,x86_64)(nodpi)_apkmirror.com.apk' (~47%) adb: failed to read command: No error >adb shell settings put global development_settings_enabled 1 error: closed >adb root adb: unable to connect for root: closed >adb shell error: closed

>fastboot --version fastboot version 31.0.2-7242960 >fastboot devices 09241JEC228869 fastboot >fastboot flash bootloader sunfish-rq2a.210505.002\bootloader-sunfish-s5-0.3-7062598.img Sending 'bootloader' (8357 KB) FAILED (remote: 'Download is not allowed on locked devices') fastboot: error: Command failed >fastboot flashing unlock FAILED (remote: 'Unrecognized command flashing unlock') fastboot: error: Command failed

Any suggestions on how to unlock this device? Then I can flash it and restore it back to stock.

Thanks

PS. Please do not say "tap build number 7 times to enable Developer Mode/options". If you believe this is the solution, please re-read this post, and the linked/German post, then describe a different way of doing that task that doesn't rely on the build number being visible.
Bro try using the online flash tool to flash both partitions... Directly go to the bootloader screen and plug in the device... If the firmware not getting detected go to official firmware page of google and copy the version number and paste it.... Make sure you installed minimal adb, 15sec adb installer & Universal adb driver (if using a windows machine)....

https://androiddatahost.com/7uvfn (15 sec adb installer)

https://androiddatahost.com/uq6us (adb minimal installer)

https://github.com/koush/adb.clockworkmod.com/releases/latest/download/UniversalAdbDriverSetup.msi (Universal adb driver)

https://flash.android.com/welcome (flash tool online)

https://developers.google.com/android/images#sunfish (for checking version if device not recognizing the model)



May be I'm silly but try it...
 

g0t.milkk

Senior Member
Jan 21, 2016
53
28
Compiègne
That's strange... You have the boot screen saying that the phone has been modified, yet you seem to have a locked bootloader... Doesn't make any sense to me :/
I saw your adb/fastboot attempts, but I didn't saw "fastboot oem unlock"... I doubt it'll work, but can you give it a try ?
 

mayday175

Member
Feb 5, 2010
15
8
@g0t.milkk - thanks for the feedback... I did try that, must have missed it when I was copy/pasting different text. Basically i get:
>fastboot.exe oem unlock
FAILED (remote: 'Invalid oem command unlock')
fastboot: error: Command failed

(looks to me like someone has modified the boot loader/recovery/fastboot environment so it no longer recognises/supports various commands. I see similar with some adb commands. Looks like this ArcaneOS was not designed to be removed)

@Raj Pandiyan - thanks for that. I'll give it a go. I believe I started with the online tools first, but that was a while ago before I started digging into command based stuff. I don't think this is gunna work, cos the boot loader is lockec... but I'll follow the links you give and give it a try.
 

mayday175

Member
Feb 5, 2010
15
8
After some further testing... @Raj Pandiyan - I already have the latest platform tools from developer.android.com. I looked at the installer links you provided, however I think I already have the ADB tools I need (and from a source that I recognise). The Universal ADB Driver I have already installed. The online flash tool starts by asking for Developer mode to enable usb debugging and OEM unlock. As mentioned, developer mode is not accessible, so enabling these other options is not possible thru the GUI, and therefore flashing this device is not possible... regardless of the tool used to do it.

If anyone knows of another way to crack this one open, I'm willing to give it a go. This device is little more than a fancy paperweight that I'm about to sell for spare parts...
 

mayday175

Member
Feb 5, 2010
15
8
Some more details, if anyone is interested in looking at them... I have placed a number of photos of this phone and a text file with the output from a list of fastboot commands here

EDIT: I've removed the original Google Drive link that I used here (information/privacy leakage)... instead, I have attached some of the same photos directly on this post.

The photos show the phone starting up, the lock screen, the grand total of only 2 apps installed, the setting app, the settings > About Phone (note, thats everything shown there; there is no ability to scroll up or down), some additional details about the phone and OS, the bootloader/fastboot screen, recovery mode and recovery menu and finally the fastboot menu (selected from the recovery menu).

Does anyone know of a more advanced way to force the bootloader unlocked? I have not been able to do it with the methods/commands that I currently know of.
 

Attachments

  • adb commands.txt
    694 bytes · Views: 31
  • fastboot commands.txt
    8 KB · Views: 8
  • IMG_20210605_212739900.jpg
    IMG_20210605_212739900.jpg
    1.1 MB · Views: 184
  • IMG_20210605_213344641.jpg
    IMG_20210605_213344641.jpg
    2.8 MB · Views: 148
  • IMG_20210605_212636475.jpg
    IMG_20210605_212636475.jpg
    934.7 KB · Views: 144
  • IMG_20210605_212649120.jpg
    IMG_20210605_212649120.jpg
    1.1 MB · Views: 147
  • IMG_20210605_212809302.jpg
    IMG_20210605_212809302.jpg
    2.5 MB · Views: 142
  • IMG_20210605_213259595.jpg
    IMG_20210605_213259595.jpg
    1 MB · Views: 183
Last edited:

g0t.milkk

Senior Member
Jan 21, 2016
53
28
Compiègne
I'm tossing an idea, I don't know if it's even feasable, but can you try "fastboot boot bootloader-sunfish-s5-0.3-7062598.img" ?
Like not flashing, just one time boot with this image ?
 

mayday175

Member
Feb 5, 2010
15
8
@g0t.milkk ... nice idea, thanks for that. However, I got this:
>fastboot.exe boot bootloader-sunfish-s5-0.3-7062598.img
creating boot image...
creating boot image - 8560640 bytes
Sending 'boot.img' (8360 KB) FAILED (remote: 'Download is not allowed on locked devices')
fastboot: error: Command failed

(I've added this output to the text file in my GoogleDrive link above)

Does anyone know how to unlock a device that refuses to be unlocked? (or, more accurately, does not recognise the commands telling it to unlock)
 

a1291762

Senior Member
Nov 20, 2012
642
280
yasmar.net
Did you try reaching out to Google directly? That URL it points you to (g.co/ABH) expands to https://support.google.com/android/answer/6185381.

What I really don't understand is how you can have a custom OS on a locked device. I didn't think that was even possible? (As in, if you lock the bootloader with a custom OS installed, you get a brick, not ... what you have)

Your bootloader is the oldest released bootloader you can get from Google (eg. factory image): s5-0.2-6281315. Same for the baseband.

The recovery seems to be a bit newer (based on the third released update: 10.0.0 (QD4A.200805.003, Aug 2020) - Not the "JP or Verizon" version.

I guess you can't find anything that resembles "developer mode" (clicking on all those things in the About screen)? And I guess you'd need that to even think about unlocking the bootloader. Maybe Google's got some magic way around that? (hence the first link)

So odd that there's no mention of ArcaneOS on the internet... maybe the guy who sold you the phone was trying to make the next great custom ROM and ... failed?

Maybe this is a longshot... but the recovery lets you install an OTA. Maybe you can grab a Pixel 4a full ota (https://developers.google.com/android/ota) and load that through the recovery? You'd need to get it onto the device though... hopefully USB transfers are working, since there's no apps to let you pull it down over wifi.
 

shaitan667

Senior Member
Aug 28, 2008
73
7
I have the same thing.

A friend got a used pixel 4a and it's running arcaneos with the same issues described by the OP

Nothing works when attempting to flash.

No idea how it has some broken custom rom with a locked bootloader...
 

shaitan667

Senior Member
Aug 28, 2008
73
7
I recently purchased a used Pixel 4a, and I now understand why the seller was offering such good price for it and why he refused to respond to me now I have it. This phone has ArcanseOS 10 installed, which has only 3 apps installed... Setting, Clock and Calculator. There is no Play Store app, no Phone app, nothing.

The only useful reference to ArcaneOS I can find in the Googleverse is this one... https://translate.google.com.au/tra...rueck-flashen.973774.html&prev=search&pto=aue where the OP describes his troubles with a Pixel 3. Through the rough translation, I see similar issues... can't enable developer mode, can't unlock bootloader, can't sideload apps.

Some random observations about this phone/OS...
- The phone is in good condition. I used the supplied pin code to unlock it and did a factory reset. Have done basic config with my Google Account, etc.
- In Settings > About Phone - the build number is not shown. I cannot tap on the build number 7 times to enable Developer Mode. I have tried tapping everything in About Phone 7+ times, but I have not been able to enable Developer Mode.
- When the phone powers on, the first thing shown is a message like "Your device is loading a differennt operating system".
- The installed OS is ArcaneOS 10. The system updater says that ArcaneOS 11 is available for download (but I don't want to do that in case it makes this thing even harder to fix).
- I tried sideloading open_gapps and a random developer shortcut app I found, but I can't seem to get them to load.

I'm no expert at this, so I've tried various commands that I found and got some of these results...
(note: some details, esp path names, have been edit for brevity)

>adb devices List of devices attached 09241JEC228869 sideload >adb shell error: closed >adb sideload open_gapps-arm64-10.0-stock-20210518.zip adb: sideload connection failed: no devices/emulators found adb: trying pre-KitKat sideload method... adb: pre-KitKat sideload connection failed: no devices/emulators found >adb sideload "by4a.setedit22_2018.10.31-18_minAPI11(arm64-v8a,armeabi-v7a,x86,x86_64)(nodpi)_apkmirror.com.apk" serving: 'by4a.setedit22_2018.10.31-18_minAPI11(arm64-v8a,armeabi-v7a,x86,x86_64)(nodpi)_apkmirror.com.apk' (~47%) adb: failed to read command: No error >adb shell settings put global development_settings_enabled 1 error: closed >adb root adb: unable to connect for root: closed >adb shell error: closed

>fastboot --version fastboot version 31.0.2-7242960 >fastboot devices 09241JEC228869 fastboot >fastboot flash bootloader sunfish-rq2a.210505.002\bootloader-sunfish-s5-0.3-7062598.img Sending 'bootloader' (8357 KB) FAILED (remote: 'Download is not allowed on locked devices') fastboot: error: Command failed >fastboot flashing unlock FAILED (remote: 'Unrecognized command flashing unlock') fastboot: error: Command failed

Any suggestions on how to unlock this device? Then I can flash it and restore it back to stock.

Thanks

PS. Please do not say "tap build number 7 times to enable Developer Mode/options". If you believe this is the solution, please re-read this post, and the linked/German post, then describe a different way of doing that task that doesn't rely on the build number being visible.
I got mine working.

You'll need to use the GrapheneOS Web Installer to fix it up.


Get your device into fastboot/bootloader mode, and use the unlock bootloader option.
Then run through the rest of the installation steps up until the relock bootloader option. Don't relock the bootloader.

Then boot into the OS.

Once I did this, I was then able to boot back to bootloader and flash the factory image.

Device works just fine now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: michaelbsheldon

shaitan667

Senior Member
Aug 28, 2008
73
7
ArcaneOS must have been a short-lived custom rom - originally recovery said ArcaneOS Recovery, then after GrapheneOS flashed, recovery was called GrapheneOS recovery.
 

Kubanac

Member
Oct 19, 2007
11
0
I had a same problem but I solved it with unlocking bootloader and flashing Factory Image.

put device in bootloader mode

run fastboot flashing unlock

downloaded sunfish-rq3a.210605.005-factory-be541467.zip and unzip
run flash-all.bat

make sure you have Minimal fastboot and adb

done
 

mayday175

Member
Feb 5, 2010
15
8
Thanks for the feedback everyone... I was about to give up until this recent rush of comments. Let me respond to some of them...
@a1291762 - Yes, I saw and followed that link. However, I have not yet reached out to Google support or their forums. I will need to try that next.
@shaitan667 - thanks for that suggestion. However, the GrapheneOS instructions say to first enable OEM unlocking, which requires access to Developer options, which (as mentioned) there is no entry point within the GUI. Equivalent fastboot commands fail... see the text file located at my GoogleDrive link provided above. That said, I tried this anyway and got the message "Error: Bootloader was not unlocked, please try again!" when clickingn in the "unlock bootloader" button. I can only assume you were lucky enough to have your phone already OEM unlocked.
@Kubanac - As mentioned, unlocking commands do not work... see the text file located at my GoogleDrive link.

Further on this last point... the command and response is:
>fastboot flashing unlock
FAILED (remote: 'Unrecognized command flashing unlock')
fastboot: error: Command failed

The interesting part is the "remote" feedback... this is confirmation that the phone has received the fastboot command while in fastboot mode, and explicitly says (ie. the phone itself says) that is does not recognise the command. Similarly...
>fastboot oem unlock
FAILED (remote: 'Unknown OEM command')
fastboot: error: Command failed

I believe this is for older Google phones... here my phone is telling me it does not recognise the "oem" command and, in turn, does not recognise any of the oem sub-commands (like "unlock").

How do you unlock a phone that does not recognise the unlock command?
How do you access developer options where there is no GUI access to them?
How do you sideload an alternate app to access developer options when you can't sideload apps?

Maybe the answer to that last question might provide a possible solution... however, when I try to sideload an app, I see...
>adb.exe sideload "Developer Options Shortcut_v2.7.0_apkpure.com.apk"
serving: 'Developer Options Shortcut_v2.7.0_apkpure.com.apk' (~2%) adb: failed to read command: No error

and on the phone it says (edited for brevity)...
E: footer is wrong
E: Signature verification failed
E: error: 21

I have tried a few apps and always seem the same. Maybe I need to try another app?
I have added to my GoogleDrive some more photos and an "adb commands.txt" of this issue.

Edit: Also, what about the "Rescue" mode? I've tried many things in fastboot and recovery mode, but I don't know much about the rescue mode. Could it be useful in this situation?

Edit 2: Google Support was of no assistance. They advised to do what I have already done, then repeatedly said their "assistance is limited due to this device being rooted". (ha! pardon the pun... depending on your local language, "rooted" may have multiple meanings... in my Aussie slang, that also means its stuffed, buggered... and other translations inappropriate for this forum).
 
Last edited:

Kubanac

Member
Oct 19, 2007
11
0
Thanks for the feedback everyone... I was about to give up until this recent rush of comments. Let me respond to some of them...
@a1291762 - Yes, I saw and followed that link. However, I have not yet reached out to Google support or their forums. I will need to try that next.
@shaitan667 - thanks for that suggestion. However, the GrapheneOS instructions say to first enable OEM unlocking, which requires access to Developer options, which (as mentioned) there is no entry point within the GUI. Equivalent fastboot commands fail... see the text file located at my GoogleDrive link provided above. That said, I tried this anyway and got the message "Error: Bootloader was not unlocked, please try again!" when clickingn in the "unlock bootloader" button. I can only assume you were lucky enough to have your phone already OEM unlocked.
@Kubanac - As mentioned, unlocking commands do not work... see the text file located at my GoogleDrive link.

Further on this last point... the command and response is:
>fastboot flashing unlock
FAILED (remote: 'Unrecognized command flashing unlock')
fastboot: error: Command failed

The interesting part is the "remote" feedback... this is confirmation that the phone has received the fastboot command while in fastboot mode, and explicitly says (ie. the phone itself says) that is does not recognise the command. Similarly...
>fastboot oem unlock
FAILED (remote: 'Unknown OEM command')
fastboot: error: Command failed

I believe this is for older Google phones... here my phone is telling me it does not recognise the "oem" command and, in turn, does not recognise any of the oem sub-commands (like "unlock").

How do you unlock a phone that does not recognise the unlock command?
How do you access developer options where there is no GUI access to them?
How do you sideload an alternate app to access developer options when you can't sideload apps?

Maybe the answer to that last question might provide a possible solution... however, when I try to sideload an app, I see...
>adb.exe sideload "Developer Options Shortcut_v2.7.0_apkpure.com.apk"
serving: 'Developer Options Shortcut_v2.7.0_apkpure.com.apk' (~2%) adb: failed to read command: No error

and on the phone it says (edited for brevity)...
E: footer is wrong
E: Signature verification failed
E: error: 21

I have tried a few apps and always seem the same. Maybe I need to try another app?
I have added to my GoogleDrive some more photos and an "adb commands.txt" of this issue.

Edit: Also, what about the "Rescue" mode? I've tried many things in fastboot and recovery mode, but I don't know much about the rescue mode. Could it be useful in this situation?

Edit 2: Google Support was of no assistance. They advised to do what I have already done, then repeatedly said their "assistance is limited due to this device being rooted". (ha! pardon the pun... depending on your local language, "rooted" may have multiple meanings... in my Aussie slang, that also means its stuffed, buggered... and other translations inappropriate for this forum).

Try fastboot from this toolkit https://androiddatahost.com/hhetd
 

mayday175

Member
Feb 5, 2010
15
8
@Kubanac - I do not understand how that will help. I have already downloaded, and have been using, the latest developer tools from developer.android.com... release 31.0.2. Plus, the version of the fastboot executable on my local pc is not the issue here... reviewing the information provided, you will see that the phone itself is sending a command denied or unrecognised response to may of the commands I send to it. A different fastboot executable will not change the commands that this phone does or does not recognise.

However, is there a useful command that I have not yet tried? (see the text files in my Google Drive link for most commands that I have tried).
Is there anything I could do while in Recovery or Rescue mode? (my understanding is that Rescue mode is a relatively new feature... I don't know what access or commands are available there). Any help from anyone is greatly apreciated.
 

shaitan667

Senior Member
Aug 28, 2008
73
7
Bro I'm telling you, I was in the same situation as you. That GrapheneOS web installer *WILL* unlock the bootloader if you are unable to enable OEM unlocking .
 

mayday175

Member
Feb 5, 2010
15
8
@shaitan667 - I tried the GrapheneOS web installer again... I got the same response as last time... "Error: Bootloader was not unlocked, please try again!" while using the current version of Google Chrome, and same for the current version of MS Edge. The instructions on the web installer page clearly say "OEM unlocking needs to be enabled from within the operating system."... which I can't do from within the GUI. I can only assume you were fortunate for this to work, while I am not.
 

dadme

Senior Member
Aug 9, 2007
540
142
Try to flash stock images from linux. Someone relocked bootloaer after installing custom ROM. Also try from linux to unlock bootloader..
 

Top Liked Posts

  • There are no posts matching your filters.
  • 2
    If anyone else gets a phone running ArcaneOS, send me a message :)

    Also, you're famous, OP: https://www.vice.com/en/article/n7b4gg/anom-phone-arcaneos-fbi-backdoor

    2
    Looks like you had an "Anom Phone"


    Might now be able to sell it for triple the price due to novelty
    2
    Ok... sorry for the delay. Yes, I can confirm the speculation going around... I accidentally bought an AN0M phone. And yes, I was fortunate enough to sell it again (and got most of my money back)... to a reporter at vice.com. And, BTW, I have bought myself another Pixel 4a... this time it is working properly.

    Some background points before I finally figured out exactly what I had in my possession...
    - Being unable to unlock/reset this phone, I started looking at my firewall logs to see what activity this phone was generating. I noticed the following:
    - regular HTTPS requests to arcane.one. I couldn't find anything useful on or about that site.
    - occasional HTTPS requests to time.grapheneos.org. This leads me to believe that ArcaneOS might be forked from GrapheneOS.
    - intermittent HTTPS requests to anom.one. I couldn't find anything useful on or about that site, however the word anom led me to discover the joint FBI/AFP operation that had just hit the news a few days earlier.
    - Now suspecting I had an An0m phone, I checked the calculator app... and yes, it loaded straight into the AN0M logon screen.
    - At this point, I panicked and thought I could get into trouble if this device was being tracked... so I rang the police and described my situation. They said to take it to my local police station. I call my local station (being in a small rural town, it is usually unmanned) and was advised to contact the AFP (Australia Federal Police), since it was their operation to begin with.
    - I called the AFP, explained again what had happened. The nice lady I spoke to confirmed that their activity with Operation Ironside had just finished and that, yes, they had supplied such phones to some of their informants. I left them my contact details and the details of the Gumtree seller who I purchased this phone from. I was hoping that maybe he would be a person of interest to the AFP, and that I would get some measure of payback for him scamming me in the first place.
    - I waited a week, the AFP did not call back... so I sold the phone to vice.com, who had already contacted me about this thread.
    - It occurs to me now why "ArcaneOS" was practically unheard of in the googleverse (until a few weeks ago). This was a state sponsored development and, of course, it was in the best interest of law enforcement authorities to keep the normally open-source Android code hidden to prevent this phone being tinkered with and the true purpose of this OS and app being discovered.

    To everyone that helped and suggested ideas to restore this phone to normal... thankyou. Although nothing we tried worked in the end, I still appreciate the community assistance here.

    To everyone that has contacted me directly to ask how to fix their Pixel phone... sorry, I cannot help you.

    I suspect it would still be possible to restore this phone... you'd just need to know the right commands to do it. By that I mean, I assume the developers probably changed the normal fastboot commands to some other arbitrary words; something that would allow them to test, develop and repeatedly re-flash their phones, yet prevent us from doing likewise.

    EDIT: I've added a photo of the AN0M logon screen. I did not see this originally and the calculator app was not available when I took my original set of photos... at that time I had recently done a factory reset on the phone. However, after some time a message popped up saying that Calculator was "Updated by your admin"... which seemed strange to me at the time, as this was not supposed to be a managed device.
    1
    It would be super cool if someone with one of these phones could share the ArcaneOS image.
    1
    They're watching you... 👁️👁️
  • 3
    I recently purchased a used Pixel 4a, and I now understand why the seller was offering such good price for it and why he refused to respond to me now I have it. This phone has ArcanseOS 10 installed, which has only 3 apps installed... Setting, Clock and Calculator. There is no Play Store app, no Phone app, nothing.

    The only useful reference to ArcaneOS I can find in the Googleverse is this one... https://translate.google.com.au/tra...rueck-flashen.973774.html&prev=search&pto=aue where the OP describes his troubles with a Pixel 3. Through the rough translation, I see similar issues... can't enable developer mode, can't unlock bootloader, can't sideload apps.

    Some random observations about this phone/OS...
    - The phone is in good condition. I used the supplied pin code to unlock it and did a factory reset. Have done basic config with my Google Account, etc.
    - In Settings > About Phone - the build number is not shown. I cannot tap on the build number 7 times to enable Developer Mode. I have tried tapping everything in About Phone 7+ times, but I have not been able to enable Developer Mode.
    - When the phone powers on, the first thing shown is a message like "Your device is loading a differennt operating system".
    - The installed OS is ArcaneOS 10. The system updater says that ArcaneOS 11 is available for download (but I don't want to do that in case it makes this thing even harder to fix).
    - I tried sideloading open_gapps and a random developer shortcut app I found, but I can't seem to get them to load.

    I'm no expert at this, so I've tried various commands that I found and got some of these results...
    (note: some details, esp path names, have been edit for brevity)

    >adb devices List of devices attached 09241JEC228869 sideload >adb shell error: closed >adb sideload open_gapps-arm64-10.0-stock-20210518.zip adb: sideload connection failed: no devices/emulators found adb: trying pre-KitKat sideload method... adb: pre-KitKat sideload connection failed: no devices/emulators found >adb sideload "by4a.setedit22_2018.10.31-18_minAPI11(arm64-v8a,armeabi-v7a,x86,x86_64)(nodpi)_apkmirror.com.apk" serving: 'by4a.setedit22_2018.10.31-18_minAPI11(arm64-v8a,armeabi-v7a,x86,x86_64)(nodpi)_apkmirror.com.apk' (~47%) adb: failed to read command: No error >adb shell settings put global development_settings_enabled 1 error: closed >adb root adb: unable to connect for root: closed >adb shell error: closed

    >fastboot --version fastboot version 31.0.2-7242960 >fastboot devices 09241JEC228869 fastboot >fastboot flash bootloader sunfish-rq2a.210505.002\bootloader-sunfish-s5-0.3-7062598.img Sending 'bootloader' (8357 KB) FAILED (remote: 'Download is not allowed on locked devices') fastboot: error: Command failed >fastboot flashing unlock FAILED (remote: 'Unrecognized command flashing unlock') fastboot: error: Command failed

    Any suggestions on how to unlock this device? Then I can flash it and restore it back to stock.

    Thanks

    PS. Please do not say "tap build number 7 times to enable Developer Mode/options". If you believe this is the solution, please re-read this post, and the linked/German post, then describe a different way of doing that task that doesn't rely on the build number being visible.
    3
    Thankyou for everyone's help with the unusual phone. I am no longer in possession of it and, for the time being, am unable to provide further details. I do have an interesting update to share, however I have made a commitment to keep this quiet for the time being. Once I have approval to tell you what I have recently learnt, I will...
    2
    If anyone else gets a phone running ArcaneOS, send me a message :)

    Also, you're famous, OP: https://www.vice.com/en/article/n7b4gg/anom-phone-arcaneos-fbi-backdoor

    2
    Looks like you had an "Anom Phone"


    Might now be able to sell it for triple the price due to novelty
    2
    Ok... sorry for the delay. Yes, I can confirm the speculation going around... I accidentally bought an AN0M phone. And yes, I was fortunate enough to sell it again (and got most of my money back)... to a reporter at vice.com. And, BTW, I have bought myself another Pixel 4a... this time it is working properly.

    Some background points before I finally figured out exactly what I had in my possession...
    - Being unable to unlock/reset this phone, I started looking at my firewall logs to see what activity this phone was generating. I noticed the following:
    - regular HTTPS requests to arcane.one. I couldn't find anything useful on or about that site.
    - occasional HTTPS requests to time.grapheneos.org. This leads me to believe that ArcaneOS might be forked from GrapheneOS.
    - intermittent HTTPS requests to anom.one. I couldn't find anything useful on or about that site, however the word anom led me to discover the joint FBI/AFP operation that had just hit the news a few days earlier.
    - Now suspecting I had an An0m phone, I checked the calculator app... and yes, it loaded straight into the AN0M logon screen.
    - At this point, I panicked and thought I could get into trouble if this device was being tracked... so I rang the police and described my situation. They said to take it to my local police station. I call my local station (being in a small rural town, it is usually unmanned) and was advised to contact the AFP (Australia Federal Police), since it was their operation to begin with.
    - I called the AFP, explained again what had happened. The nice lady I spoke to confirmed that their activity with Operation Ironside had just finished and that, yes, they had supplied such phones to some of their informants. I left them my contact details and the details of the Gumtree seller who I purchased this phone from. I was hoping that maybe he would be a person of interest to the AFP, and that I would get some measure of payback for him scamming me in the first place.
    - I waited a week, the AFP did not call back... so I sold the phone to vice.com, who had already contacted me about this thread.
    - It occurs to me now why "ArcaneOS" was practically unheard of in the googleverse (until a few weeks ago). This was a state sponsored development and, of course, it was in the best interest of law enforcement authorities to keep the normally open-source Android code hidden to prevent this phone being tinkered with and the true purpose of this OS and app being discovered.

    To everyone that helped and suggested ideas to restore this phone to normal... thankyou. Although nothing we tried worked in the end, I still appreciate the community assistance here.

    To everyone that has contacted me directly to ask how to fix their Pixel phone... sorry, I cannot help you.

    I suspect it would still be possible to restore this phone... you'd just need to know the right commands to do it. By that I mean, I assume the developers probably changed the normal fastboot commands to some other arbitrary words; something that would allow them to test, develop and repeatedly re-flash their phones, yet prevent us from doing likewise.

    EDIT: I've added a photo of the AN0M logon screen. I did not see this originally and the calculator app was not available when I took my original set of photos... at that time I had recently done a factory reset on the phone. However, after some time a message popped up saying that Calculator was "Updated by your admin"... which seemed strange to me at the time, as this was not supposed to be a managed device.