How To Guide Rooting the Google Pixel 6a

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Lughnasadh

Senior Member
Mar 23, 2015
3,893
4,158
Google Nexus 5
Huawei Nexus 6P
Thank you for telling me, luckily I'm in the return window! Would then getting unlocked model through Google be best?
You're welcome. Yes, get the unlocked model. With a few very rare exceptions, Verizon models of Pixels can't have their bootloader unlocked. You'll still be able to use Verizon as a carrier with the unlocked model and be able to unlock your bootloader though.
 
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IImanuII

Senior Member
Mar 12, 2010
104
23
I try to update .003.B1.

Already rooted. "Installation Problem" Why?


photo_2022-08-09_14-02-46.jpg
 
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ctfrommn

Senior Member
May 25, 2011
7,341
10,709
Minnesota
You cant take an update on the phone rooted....either manually download and install the OTA or more simply, reflash the stock kernel and take the update then re-root.
 
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V0latyle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
so i need dowload the full ota, patch boot img, install ota and re-root?

there is a guide?
Not the OTA, but the factory image. The process for the 6a is exactly the same as all previous Pixel devices; if you need more information check my guide on the Pixel 6.
You cant take an update on the phone rooted....either manually download and install the OTA or more simply, reflash the stock kernel and take the update then re-root.
You can, you just have to restore the boot image. OTA Updates with Magisk
 

vendo232

Member
Sep 26, 2013
26
1
Just a heads up. As already told by ctfrommn, it's always a better approach to first boot the magisk patched boot file. And if everything works well and good, you could then Direct Install it via Magisk.
Although directly flashing should also work, but its always better to be on the safer side.
how do you boot patched boot.img before flashing it?
 

EvoX2008

Member
May 9, 2009
31
3
Detroit, MI
Not the OTA, but the factory image. The process for the 6a is exactly the same as all previous Pixel devices; if you need more information check my guide on the Pixel 6.

You can, you just have to restore the boot image. OTA Updates with Magisk
Ok, first time taking OTA and dealing with root in over 8 years.
June update - rooted. Took the file uploaded in the 2nd post here in this thread.

Now, have OTA update pending, can't update.
Trying to follow your OTA update with magisk - keep getting "stock backup does not exist" when trying to Uninstall Magisk ...
What exactly do I need to do? Which factory image should I download? (June/July)
I have the boot.img from it, patch it with magisk? then boot it? that's it? I thought the security update updates more than just boot.img.. no?

Thanks!
 
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  • 1
    Thanks for instructions around unlocking the bootloader!
    My device came preinstalled with April update and OEM unlocking was greyed out. I removed google account in settings, took the SIM card out, updated to June patch, did factory reset, setup the device without Wifi and google account, after setting up I connected to Wifi and once I reinserted the SIM card I was able to toggle the OEM unlocking option in developer settings. Great stuff!
    All you really needed to do was do the system update and factory reset. Everything else was extraneous.
    1
    Pretty sure it needs to connect to Google after the reset. Not in relation to signing into an account, just as part of the normal "setting up your phone" process.
    Yes, of course. That's always been the case but removing the account, taking out the sim card, only connecting to wifi without a sim card.. that's what I meant. Reset after the update and just continue setting up as usual. Any connection to the internet will suffice.
    1
    I was using powershell so tried cmd and it worked fine this time!
  • 10
    Rooting the Pixel 6a is just about as easy as any other factory unlocked pixel, but because so many people have had issues with unlocking their bootloaders, I figured I'd post my exact personal steps I took when a Pixel 6a came into my tech shop to be rooted, and I discovered the current bug with Rooting

    What You'll Need:
    - June 2022 Firmware OTA Update Installed at least: Do this on device. Do Not download the OTA update from google's firmware website.
    - ADB/Fastboot/Google Drivers for Windows: I use this to install- ADB 15sec Installer
    - Magisk Manager APK: Github - Magisk Github Releases
    - Firmware Matching Currently Installed: Google FW page - Google Official Firmware Downloads - you need this for the boot.img file
    - A Windows Computer
    - A USB-C cable to connect to your phone to the computer

    OEM Unlock Bug
    With early units sold by Google, they're shipping with a bug where OEM Unlock stays grayed out. Here's the only way I got around this issue
    1.) Log out of any Google Account on the device
    2.) Connect to Wifi, check for updates without your sim card in the device. There is a bug where it will potentially download the update for your carrier sim
    3.) At minimum, you should get the June 2022 security patch update. Run the update and remember which update it is for when you download the firmware to get boot.img
    4.) When the update is finished, Factory Reset your device either from settings or Android recovery
    5.) Go through Android setup without sim card in, and don't connect to wifi, finish setup without logging into a google account or anything
    6.) When setup is done, connect to wifi and put your sim back in.
    7.) Pay attention in your notifications for "Preparing your Device" notification.
    8.) When that notification pops up, enable Developer options (tap build number a bunch of times)
    9.) OEM Unlock should be possible to enable now. Also enable USB Debugging

    Pre-Root Setup
    1.) Install Magisk Manager from Github
    2.) Use 7zip (or any other ZIP opening program) to extract the boot.img from your firmware download from google
    -- the boot.img is inside another zip file that's in the download from google. very easy to get
    3.) Put the Boot.img on your phones internal storage
    4.) Open Magisk Manager, and select your Boot.img from internal storage. Patch the boot.img to make it a rooted boot.img
    5.) With your phone connected to the computer, move the magisk_patched.img from sdcard/downloads to your computer
    6.) If USB debugging is properly enabled, now you can open CMD and reboot to bootloader with
    Code:
    adb reboot bootloader

    Unlocking the bootloader
    1.) With the device connected, OEM Unlock enabled, and booted to bootloader, you can unlock the bootloader with the following command
    Code:
    fastboot flashing unlock
    -- If nothing changes on your phone screen, use Device Manager to make sure the device is recognized via google drivers: vid here on that - Quick Fastboot Drivers Install Tutorial
    2.) On your phone, use the volume keys to select Unlock Bootloader, then hit the power button, device should reboot back to bootloader
    3.) flash the boot partition with the magisk patched boot.img
    Code:
    fastboot flash boot magisk_patched.img
    4.) Now you can reboot back into your device and you should be rooted!
    Code:
    fastboot reboot

    Congrats! Now you're bootloader unlocked and rooted! GrapheneOS is already available if you want a degoogled rom, haven't seen another rom pop up yet
    all done from there

    updating your device when rooted
    I do not have a pixel 6a specifically for this right now to confirm this will work, but on every other device with OTA's, this has been my process.
    1.) Download your OTA using the system update part of Settings
    2.) When it pops up and is ready to restart to finish installing the update, DO NOT CLICK RESTART IN SETTINGS/SYSTEM UPDATE
    3.) Go to Magisk Manager, and select Install next to Magisk
    4.) Select "Install to Inactive Slot (After OTA)
    5.) When its done patching the boot partition, hit restart in Magisk
    Your OTA Update is now rooted
    5
    Im starting work on my custom kernel now so hopefully MVK for Bluejay will be ready in the coming days/weeks.
    4
    To save time and effort here is the magisk patched boot.img for June 2022 patch level, Carrier Unlocked 6a from the Google Store. Make SURE you are on build SD2A.220601.003 before flashing! ;)
    3
    Guys!! English!!! Please!!! :)
    You won't like this answer, but if you don't know what you're doing, you shouldn't be doing this.
    I'm done for tonight :)

    Somehow I got to the point where the security update got installed!!! I followed the ota with magisk guide and did not restart after it, went into the magisk, installed onto the secondary partition (or whatever it's called), rebooted.. and the phone completely froze.. I thought "that's it, this pixel has had a nice long 1wk long life :D".
    Held the power button for over 30 seconds, booted up, went to magisk, patched the boot.img file, flashed it, and nothing - still no security update installed.

    I want to offload the process of updating the phone to my wife, but I kinda like permanent root for acc control, etc
    I think you misunderstand me.

    When you flash the boot image with fastboot flash boot <boot image>, you're actually writing that binary to the /boot partition. If you do this with a patched image, Magisk does not have a backup.
    When you boot the boot image, with fastboot boot <boot image>, you're sending the binary to the device to load instead of what's written to /boot. If you boot a patched image, then perform Direct Install in Magisk, Magisk then creates a backup of the original image in /boot so as to be able to restore it later.

    Just reflash the stock June bootimage, take the new update and reflash the patched boot. The kernel didnt change between these 2 releases so the patched boot works on either.
    I would not recommend doing this. While the kernel may be the same, the boot image contains other components that are updated with almost every release, such as the Android security engine. It's OK to temporarily boot an older image, but I recommend always flashing the boot image that corresponds to the update.

    how reflash stock boot image if i dont have a backup? I need to flash it in bootloader mode?
    Download the factory update package (not the OTA) and extract boot.img from within it, then flash in bootloader: fastboot flash boot <boot image>
    Let me explain worse 😂: I download the boot.img directly from google, but then if I flash it in bootloader mode, I don't lose all the magisk modules on reboot? Don't risk the bootloop?
    Magisk operates via a kernel patch to grant root access. If you flash an unpatched boot image, you lose root, meaning Magisk is unable to load any modules. The only time this would cause a boot loop is if you updated via OTA, then flashed an older boot image; the system would see the mismatch and assume the update failed.
    2
    To save time and effort here is the magisk patched boot.img for June 2022 patch level, Carrier Unlocked 6a from the Google Store. Make SURE you are on build SD2A.220601.003 before flashing! ;)
    As this thread ages, not everyone will have the June 2022 update. That's why I suggested/put the steps in to do it themselves with matching firmware to what their device is on.

    To get the `OEM Unlock` option in Developer Options to work, it's simpler to just manually flash 12.1.0 (SD2A.220601.004, Jun 2022, Verizon, Verizon MVNOs) and then wipe.

    Even though it's label as Verizon, it should work for all carriers.
    This DID NOT work for me. That's why I wrote this up the way I did.

    Hello, if we have already unlocked the bootloader, we just have to do this: start cmd then fastboot flash boot magisk_patched.img then restart the phone?
    If you're bootloader is already unlocked, you just have to flash the patched magisk boot img, correct. I wrote this up for those having issue with not having the ability even if it is an unlocked from google device

    these instructions sound like "the usual process", but for the 6a isn’t there something to patch regarding vbmeta as well?

    (never had a phone that "needed" this, but in my understanding it "should" be necessary with the 6a? won’t have time to try out myself before the weekend, just asking ..)

    Correct, these are basically the usual steps. There's nothing regarding vbmeta flashing in this case of just rooting stock firmware. You only need to do that with ROMs (GSI's mainly)