How To Guide Method to upgrade every month, without wiping data and retaining root

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gururoop

Senior Member
Dec 24, 2011
584
276
Xiaomi Mi A2
Google Pixel 4 XL
Caution: I originally wrote this guide when it was necessary to disable verity and verification before flashing patched boot.img. Now Magisk has overcome this requirement and some users have reportedly flashed updates without disabling verification and verity and did not have to wipe their phones, but request everyone, who have verification and verity disabled and using this guide, make sure you backup all the data and post your results here (I suggest backing up data anyway for everyone).

Following is a guide to update Pixel 6 Pro (perhaps all Pixel devices) every month, without wiping and retaining root. I tested it on my Pixel 6 Pro from 12.0.0 (SD1A.210817.015.A4, Oct 2021) to 12.0.0 (SD1A.210817.036, Nov 2021). There is no reason that it should not work on subsequent monthly patches, but just take the backups to be sure.

1) Download the latest factory image for your device and platform-tools from the official Google site and extract them in one folder.

2) Extract the boot.img from image-raven-xxxxxxx.zip which was extracted from the image in the above step and patch it in Magisk Manager (latest canary build from https://github.com/topjohnwu/Magisk) on your phone and copy it back to the folder where you extracted the factory image and platform-tools. Rename the copied file to magisk_patched.img

3) Open flash-all.bat in notepad, add --skip-reboot and remove -w from the fastboot update line. Also add the following lines after the fastboot update line to flash the Magisk patched boot.img automatically:

fastboot reboot-bootloader
ping -n 5 127.0.0.1 >nul
fastboot flash boot magisk_patched.img
fastboot reboot

After editing, the edited part of your flash-all.bat should look something like this:

Code:
fastboot --skip-reboot update [****image_name****]
fastboot reboot-bootloader
ping -n 5 127.0.0.1 >nul
fastboot flash boot magisk_patched.img
fastboot reboot

echo Press any key to exit...

Note: [****image_name****] is just a placeholder and needs to be the name of zip file which was originally there in flash-all.bat, do not change that. Be careful to rename the Magisk patched boot.img to magisk_patched.img or in the alternative make appropriate modifications in the flash-all.bat

4) Open command prompt and go the folder where you extracted factory image and platform-tools. Type the following commands:

adb reboot bootloader
flash-all.bat

Your device should be upgraded to the latest factory image, while retaining root, without wiping data.

Update 1: I updated from 12.0.0 (SD1A.210817.036, Nov 2021) to 12.0.0 (SD1A.210817.037, Nov 2021) successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.

Update 2: I updated from 12.0.0 (SD1A.210817.037, Nov 2021) to 12.0.0 (SQ1D.211205.016.A1, Dec 2021) successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.

Update 3: I updated from 12.0.0 (SQ1D.211205.016.A1, Dec 2021) to 12.0.0 (SQ1D.220105.007, Jan 2022) successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.

Update 4: I updated from 12.0.0 (SQ1D.220105.007, Jan 2022) to 12.0.0 (SQ1D.220205.003, Feb 2022) successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.

Update 5: I updated from 12.0.0 (SQ1D.220205.003, Feb 2022) to Android 12L DP 3 successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.

Update 6: I updated from Android 12L DP 3 to Android 13 DP successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.
 
Last edited:

Gytole

Senior Member
Aug 7, 2013
754
586
Just a word of caution, I won't be able to support this guide every month because I am returning my Pixel 6 Pro. But it did give me a chance to experiment for the benefit of community, so here it is:

Note: I was already on the November patch, rooted before I tried flashing the November factory image again without wiping data and retaining root. There is no reason that it should not work on subsequent monthly patches, but just take the backups to be sure.

1) Download the latest factory image for your device and platform-tools from the official Google sites and extract them in one folder.

2) Extract the boot.img and patch it in magisk manager on your phone and copy it back to the folder where you extracted the factory image and platform-tools.

3) Open flash-all.bat in notepad and remove -w and add --disable-verity, -- disable verification and --skip-reboot to the fastboot update line. After editing, it should read as:

fastboot --disable-verity --disable-verification update image-raven-xxxxxxxxxxxx.zip --skip-reboot

4) Open command prompt and go the folder where you extracted factory image and platform-tools. Type the following commands:

adb reboot bootloader
flash-all.bat

5) After the factory image is flashed, use the volume down button to select reboot to bootloader option and press power button to execute. Then, open the command prompt again and go the folder where you extracted factory image and platform-tools. Type the following commands:

fastboot flash boot magisk_patched-xxxxx.img
fastboot reboot

Your device should be upgraded to the latest factory image, while retaining root, without wiping data.
Why did you return it?
 
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gururoop

Senior Member
Dec 24, 2011
584
276
Xiaomi Mi A2
Google Pixel 4 XL
Why did you return it?

I've got Pixel 4 XL, which will get another OS upgrade. I don't want a big screen and I don't use camera. In 6 Pro, I was missing active edge (which I use for flashlight). Plus, I don't use my phone for gaming or any other heavy stuff, so I didn't feel as if it was a huge upgrade for me. Finally, I hate the huge camera module on the back.
 

cd993

Senior Member
May 8, 2009
3,538
1,296
London
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
I've got Pixel 4 XL, which will get another OS upgrade. I don't want a big screen and I don't use camera. In 6 Pro, I was missing active edge (which I use for flashlight). Plus, I don't use my phone for gaming or any other heavy stuff, so I didn't feel as if it was a huge upgrade for me. Finally, I hate the huge camera module on the back.

Just about to try this method now as I too am on rooted 036 but want to dirty flash the latest factory image to hopefully fix some google play services bugs.

Did you buy the phone or get through a contract? Do Google/mobile network providers allow returns if it's been bootloader unlocked/relocked?
 

Gytole

Senior Member
Aug 7, 2013
754
586
I've got Pixel 4 XL, which will get another OS upgrade. I don't want a big screen and I don't use camera. In 6 Pro, I was missing active edge (which I use for flashlight). Plus, I don't use my phone for gaming or any other heavy stuff, so I didn't feel as if it was a huge upgrade for me. Finally, I hate the huge camera module on the back.
I hear yuh, I get mine today. I am coming from a Oneplus 6T, so it might be an upgrade for me. I understand though. Haha Thanks fam.
 
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gururoop

Senior Member
Dec 24, 2011
584
276
Xiaomi Mi A2
Google Pixel 4 XL
Just about to try this method now as I too am on rooted 036 but want to dirty flash the latest factory image to hopefully fix some google play services bugs.

Did you buy the phone or get through a contract? Do Google/mobile network providers allow returns if it's been bootloader unlocked/relocked?

I got mine on a contract, but here in Canada, it is not allowed for the carriers to restrict bootloader unlocking. I will simply relock the bootloader before returning. That's what I did with Pixel 5 too.
 

cd993

Senior Member
May 8, 2009
3,538
1,296
London
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Just a word of caution, I won't be able to support this guide every month because I am returning my Pixel 6 Pro. But it did give me a chance to experiment for the benefit of community, so here it is:

Note: I was already on the November patch, rooted before I tried flashing the November factory image again without wiping data and retaining root. There is no reason that it should not work on subsequent monthly patches, but just take the backups to be sure.

1) Download the latest factory image for your device and platform-tools from the official Google sites and extract them in one folder.

2) Extract the boot.img and patch it in magisk manager on your phone and copy it back to the folder where you extracted the factory image and platform-tools.

3) Open flash-all.bat in notepad and remove -w and add --disable-verity, -- disable verification and --skip-reboot to the fastboot update line. After editing, it should read as:

fastboot --disable-verity --disable-verification update image-raven-xxxxxxxxxxxx.zip --skip-reboot

4) Open command prompt and go the folder where you extracted factory image and platform-tools. Type the following commands:

adb reboot bootloader
flash-all.bat

5) After the factory image is flashed, use the volume down button to select reboot to bootloader option and press power button to execute. Then, open the command prompt again and go the folder where you extracted factory image and platform-tools. Type the following commands:

fastboot flash boot magisk_patched-xxxxx.img
fastboot reboot

Your device should be upgraded to the latest factory image, while retaining root, without wiping data.

Followed exactly, however it returned an error after running flash-all.bat and attempting to flash the boot.img (which had been patched).......
 

cd993

Senior Member
May 8, 2009
3,538
1,296
London
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Did you replace the patched boot image in the zip file? You don't need to do that, just let flash-all.bat flash the original file and then flash the patched boot image as per the instructions.
My bad, that's exactly what I did....

But now I'm getting this system 1/4 error?

I started a fresh with the extracted factory image too..... ?

1.PNG
 
Last edited:
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Annil

Senior Member
Dec 6, 2012
51
18
In the end, flashing should happen on both boot slots. I have come across various posts (including also my tries) where partition B was active afterwards and root was gone.

Details how it works described in this thread/post
 

Cares

Senior Member
Dec 2, 2010
1,532
279
Google Pixel 4 XL
Google Pixel 4a
In the other method, when sideloading the OTA, you have to make sure to not reboot so that you can flash vbmeta before restarting in order to avoid Rescue Party and wiping your device. In this method, isn't vbmeta flashed in the batch file with verity and verfication disabled? Why do you have to prevent restart?
 

gururoop

Senior Member
Dec 24, 2011
584
276
Xiaomi Mi A2
Google Pixel 4 XL
In the end, flashing should happen on both boot slots. I have come across various posts (including also my tries) where partition B was active afterwards and root was gone.

Details how it works described in this thread/post

Well, I have used this method for several months on my Pixel 4 XL (without disabling verity and verification) and now even on Pixel 6 Pro with same results. I have never tinkered with slots, but still managed to keep data and root.
 

gururoop

Senior Member
Dec 24, 2011
584
276
Xiaomi Mi A2
Google Pixel 4 XL
In the other method, when sideloading the OTA, you have to make sure to not reboot so that you can flash vbmeta before restarting in order to avoid Rescue Party and wiping your device. In this method, isn't vbmeta flashed in the batch file with verity and verfication disabled? Why do you have to prevent restart?

Just to avoid the hassle of another reboot to flash the Magisk patched boot image for root.
 
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  • 70
    Caution: I originally wrote this guide when it was necessary to disable verity and verification before flashing patched boot.img. Now Magisk has overcome this requirement and some users have reportedly flashed updates without disabling verification and verity and did not have to wipe their phones, but request everyone, who have verification and verity disabled and using this guide, make sure you backup all the data and post your results here (I suggest backing up data anyway for everyone).

    Following is a guide to update Pixel 6 Pro (perhaps all Pixel devices) every month, without wiping and retaining root. I tested it on my Pixel 6 Pro from 12.0.0 (SD1A.210817.015.A4, Oct 2021) to 12.0.0 (SD1A.210817.036, Nov 2021). There is no reason that it should not work on subsequent monthly patches, but just take the backups to be sure.

    1) Download the latest factory image for your device and platform-tools from the official Google site and extract them in one folder.

    2) Extract the boot.img from image-raven-xxxxxxx.zip which was extracted from the image in the above step and patch it in Magisk Manager (latest canary build from https://github.com/topjohnwu/Magisk) on your phone and copy it back to the folder where you extracted the factory image and platform-tools. Rename the copied file to magisk_patched.img

    3) Open flash-all.bat in notepad, add --skip-reboot and remove -w from the fastboot update line. Also add the following lines after the fastboot update line to flash the Magisk patched boot.img automatically:

    fastboot reboot-bootloader
    ping -n 5 127.0.0.1 >nul
    fastboot flash boot magisk_patched.img
    fastboot reboot

    After editing, the edited part of your flash-all.bat should look something like this:

    Code:
    fastboot --skip-reboot update [****image_name****]
    fastboot reboot-bootloader
    ping -n 5 127.0.0.1 >nul
    fastboot flash boot magisk_patched.img
    fastboot reboot
    
    echo Press any key to exit...

    Note: [****image_name****] is just a placeholder and needs to be the name of zip file which was originally there in flash-all.bat, do not change that. Be careful to rename the Magisk patched boot.img to magisk_patched.img or in the alternative make appropriate modifications in the flash-all.bat

    4) Open command prompt and go the folder where you extracted factory image and platform-tools. Type the following commands:

    adb reboot bootloader
    flash-all.bat

    Your device should be upgraded to the latest factory image, while retaining root, without wiping data.

    Update 1: I updated from 12.0.0 (SD1A.210817.036, Nov 2021) to 12.0.0 (SD1A.210817.037, Nov 2021) successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.

    Update 2: I updated from 12.0.0 (SD1A.210817.037, Nov 2021) to 12.0.0 (SQ1D.211205.016.A1, Dec 2021) successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.

    Update 3: I updated from 12.0.0 (SQ1D.211205.016.A1, Dec 2021) to 12.0.0 (SQ1D.220105.007, Jan 2022) successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.

    Update 4: I updated from 12.0.0 (SQ1D.220105.007, Jan 2022) to 12.0.0 (SQ1D.220205.003, Feb 2022) successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.

    Update 5: I updated from 12.0.0 (SQ1D.220205.003, Feb 2022) to Android 12L DP 3 successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.

    Update 6: I updated from Android 12L DP 3 to Android 13 DP successfully using my method, without loosing data and root.
    9
    Just tried this on my P6Pro. Managed to update from .015 to .036 and retained root.
    Also still passing SafetyNet with USNF 2.2 beta
    8
    I don't know why folks continue to have issues updating when a new Android update is released. Despite Magisk having the option to install to an inactive slot for easy OTA updating, I simply avoid it and go the old-school route of updating via sideload to prevent any issues.

    In hopes of putting to rest issues some of you face, here is what I do:

    • Make a backup of all my important files in case something goes wrong
    • Disable any Magisk modules if it makes you feel any safer
    • Download the OTA image online and NOT from the system update!
    • Reboot to recovery and sideload the OTA by using:
    Code:
    adb reboot sideload
    • Then, in recovery I load up the file by using:
    Code:
    adb sideload "insert OTA file name here.zip"
    • Once it finishes, you will be in recovery mode. Select "Reboot to system now".
    • Once the system reboots, I unlock the device and let it finish completing the update before anything else.
    I then proceed to root the device as I normally would, by:
    • Getting the NEW boot.img file from the full factory image
    • Copy it to my mobile device
    • Open up Magisk and patch the boot.img file
    • Copy the patched file to my PC
    • Reboot into bootloader using:
    Code:
    adb reboot bootloader

    Then, patch the new boot.img using:

    Code:
    fastboot flash boot "patched_boot.img"

    Reboot / Done.

    I have not had it fail once using this process on stable Magisk and NO "disable" tags. The only reason I can see for anyone to use Canary versions of Magisk or "disable" tags, is if its absolutely required for some modules, ROMs, or kernels you are using. If it's not needed, just leave it alone.

    You could technically just dirty flash the entire full factory image using the Android Flash Tool or flash-all.bat script on your PC, but the script file is where I find most folks mess up because they copy and pasted instructions improperly, or there's a line of code they forgot to add or remove without proofreading before running the script. I'd rather take matters into my own hands, even if it means completing more steps to make sure things go smoothly.

    Anyway, I hope this helps someone!
    7
    So I notice there are some people, like me, that are a bit confused on how to exactly do this process. I like to be nice every once in a while, so this is my time. I will try to do a step by step process with exactly how I did after reading, and re-reading all the comments on how to do it (with pictures cuz I need pictures to learn haha).

    These are the exact steps I took when I updated from .36 to .37

    I downloaded the .37 zip, the one for your phone, mine is an unlocked version.
    LaL2hSk_0qyLp5oaPEuURPDf5vItZ4YnlNFR2UPtQMRGIvceVoBc8nGvxpmu90RonBslivQblX8-YrygqYIrtbz1B7AvAPk8lKQ4z5jctSVh97hWwkzuO2kK2Os7doqxiUK-HJrx


    Slapped the .37 zip file into a folder by itself so I can extract it inside that same folder. It should look like this once its extracted inside the same folder.

    1637794601085.png


    Then I opened another folder/window with the Platform-tools so I can easily navigate between the 2 folders.

    Then I opened the flash-all.bat from the zipped folder, to see what it contains, noticed that it flashes 3 files/images.
    “bootloader-raven-slider”
    “radio-raven”
    “Image-raven-sd1a”
    b-Lrwcu7O5sU1Yges_LPc33ynTBNbVMki5KPtndnhgTLKp05njPQO_uoik6Tw11_tDyM7jCAlm0SjBbzK6b7MOkoKSOku9uhclnTclBZPDDfHumwjqLNrtHKRJ2yUoRf1B_y8EPW

    Then close the file as we dont need it right now.

    So with this I know that I will need to add those 3 files to the platform-tools folder when I go to actually run the command.

    I actually took the .37 boot.img and copied it into my pixel with version .36 still running.
    The boot.img is inside the zipped folder and when you extracted it, it will now be viewable along with other files and the zipped folder still there.
    1637794847696.png


    copy this boot into the main folder of the pixel
    1637795054884.png


    On your Pixel, open Magisk and click install then select patch file, navigate to the boot.img file in your internal storage.
    Patch it with Magisk and then take the patched boot.img (which that file will actually be in your downloads folder in your Pixel) and copied it back to my computer.

    So as of now, it seems we are able to patch boot.img with current build without having to update then patch then flash. We can just patch on the current build then copy the patch to the computer and run the rest of the steps.

    Now that I have the patched boot.img on my computer, I will take all the highlighted files in the picture, plus the patched boot.img over to the Platforms-tools folder and just copy them in that folder.
    Here, I’m not sure how everyone else has their folder since I rarely use those tools, so I just add the files and then delete them after I’m done flashing. See picture of all copied in files. (dont forget your patched boot.img)

    -Q2fqEHQmA5DPStoBV4ht9FVinUy7MD2GF4bi38EhGlItokhERTlrJAknwjGtSGXeMTVPnQn-6FZwXFqLJljCjYmrh3rYl4XPrDdLoyBO4QSOaaact8E2FvXwxjCZRfudWUgt_3m


    Now I will open the flash-all.bat that's inside the Platform-tools using Notepad ++ (personal preference).
    Edit this file exactly like in the picture. Add the lines exactly how it shows in the picture.
    **NOTE** that you need to type the exact patched boot file in there. So, like in this picture, but with YOUR patched "magisk_patched" file as this will have your own ID after 23014.
    1637734768289.png

    once you made the edits on this file, dont forget to save it before you run the commands!

    Now plug in your phone to the computer.
    Make sure you have USB debugging turned on.
    Press shift and right click inside the Platform-tools folder and open Command Prompt.
    run these 2 commands:
    adb reboot bootloader
    flash-all.bat

    When it's all done, your phone will boot up and you will be on the new .37
    Nothing else to add here as it will literally run through everything for you and boot up and you're done.

    Hope this helps someone, as I am a visual learner myself.
    7
    couldnt we just add step 5 into the flash-all file? for example:
    fastboot reboot-bootloader
    fastboot flash boot magisk_patched-xxxxx.img
    fastboot reboot

    like in the picture? or would it not actually run that way?
    View attachment 5465521
    holy poop that worked!! i was scared to try it myself but since i have a backup phone with all my data on it, it wouldnt be so bad to wipe the pixel if i messed it up doing it this way! But hey, it actually worked!!
    here is the modified flash-all and yes you will need the "ping" line after the update line.
    1637619349812.png


    so with this, no need to type extra stuff, just add it all in the flash-all file and run the first 2 commands:
    adb reboot bootloader
    flash-all.bat

    and thats it, the only time consuming part is patching the boot, putting it in the folder with the platform-tools.