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Is it bricked? Cannot flash stock Android to remove ArcaneOS

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wireroot

Member
Jan 3, 2019
37
17
[...] follow the instructions on the Google site [...]

Google Factory Images Guide said:
[...] fastboot flashing unlock [...]

fastboot flashing unlock FAILED (remote: 'Unrecognized command flashing unlock') fastboot: error: Command failed

[...] enable OEM unlocking, which requires access to Developer options, which (as mentioned) there is no entry point within the GUI. Equivalent fastboot commands fail [...]
 

iPDiPD

New member
Jun 21, 2021
1
0
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...
PM me please?? I'm also in this unusual boat.
 

MishaalRahman

Editor in Chief
Nov 2, 2015
1,042
2,133
www.xda-developers.com

mayday175

Member
Feb 5, 2010
15
11
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.
 

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mayday175

Member
Feb 5, 2010
15
11

mayday175

Member
Feb 5, 2010
15
11
What do you mean tiwh "most of my money"? Don't you think that phone is actually worth more than a regular Pixel?
I mean, I bought it for AUD$250 and sold it for AUD$250 (plus shipping fees)... then lost a few dollars in eBay fees. I was glad to be able to recoup that money as I was fairly confident that that Pixel 4a was as good as a brick (at least to me). Yes, it might be worth more to a researcher that is keen to understand how the FBI made this phone & app work, however I was happy to end up being almost cost neutral.

i bought 4 Pixel 4a with the same Arcane OS. The guy whos sells me dont tell me that is not possible to flash the Firmware. So what can i do ?
I do not know what you can do... I was not able to do anything with mine except sell it (and I consider myself lucky that I *was* able to sell it).
 
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H0mmer

New member
Aug 8, 2008
1
0
It is possible to remove custom ArcaneOS and flash back to stock OS even if bootloader is locked.
If anyone want some info contact me PM...
 

wordros

New member
Jul 16, 2021
1
0
I got one from this phone, too. How can this be solved?

I think it's just something different that uses the same OS but I can't find ANOM in it.
 
Last edited:

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  • 1
    No way to turn on developer mode or enable OEM unlocking. Anybody got this to work?
    1
    Where are these Qualcomm tools even available?
    I think he means qpst
    1
    I think he means qpst
  • 4
    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.
    4
    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

    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
    Looks like you had an "Anom Phone"


    Might now be able to sell it for triple the price due to novelty