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How To Guide Unlocking the Pixel 6 Pro bootloader & general central repository of relevant links

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dj24

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2018
183
52
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
BL = Bootloader. Most likely only your carrier can change whether your phone is carrier locked.
Thanks. I'm trying to furiously catch up to you guys and furiously googling around looking for definition of some of these terminologies that are being thrown around like 'safety net' etc. As a complete noob what I need is a resource like a 'BL Unlocking and rooting 101' or something like that :)
 

roirraW "edor" ehT

Recognized Contributor
Thanks. I'm trying to furiously catch up to you guys and furiously googling around looking for definition of some of these terminologies that are being thrown around like 'safety net' etc. As a complete noob what I need is a resource like a 'BL Unlocking and rooting 101' or something like that :)
You're welcome! We're all noobs sometimes. I'm aiming for this to be the "BL Unlocking and rooting 101" thread specific to the Pixel 6 Pro. I'll be improving it and supplying more complete information over time.

The general information supplied here will definitely be duplicative of other sources.
 

Highland3r

Senior Member
Sep 27, 2009
463
152
Forgive the probably stupid question - never unlocked my Pixel 3 so no doubt things have moved on a lot... Does the bootloader unlock break stuff like mobile banking apps etc - or is it pretty low risk in terms of stuff not working...

Cheers
 
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roirraW "edor" ehT

Recognized Contributor
Forgive the probably stupid question - never unlocked my Pixel 3 so no doubt things have moved on a lot... Does the bootloader unlock break stuff like mobile banking apps etc - or is it pretty low risk in terms of stuff not working...

Cheers
Hello! No problem. Just five or so minutes ago I added the caveat in red to the OP:

Also, keep in mind that unlocking the bootloader or rooting might affect your phone's capability to use banking apps such as Google Pay, or your local bank's app.

Further note that this doesn't mean you won't be able to get around the issue. I am not going to dive into that because it's complicated and the problem hasn't affected me...yet. If it does affect me, I'll consider detailing how to get around it in this thread later - it would likely be a continuously evolving method. There have been solutions before like Magisk Hide, but from my understanding is it doesn't work anymore but there are other similar solutions.
 
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Highland3r

Senior Member
Sep 27, 2009
463
152
Hello! No problem. Just five or so minutes ago I added the caveat in red to the OP:



Further note that this doesn't mean you won't be able to get around the issue. I am not going to dive into that because it's complicated and the problem hasn't affected me...yet. If it does affect me, I'll consider detailing how to get around it in this thread later - it would likely be a continuously evolving method. There have been solutions before like Magisk Hide, but from my understanding is it doesn't work anymore but there are other similar solutions.

Nice one thanks - I'll leave things alone for the moment then and see what happens over the next few weeks/months
 
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roirraW "edor" ehT

Recognized Contributor
MOD EDIT: Quote removed since post removed.

Please re-read the title of this thread. This thread is to describe how to unlock the bootloader and root the phone. Please don't add any additional messages about Google Pay or any other banking apps. If you wish to make a central repository thread to report about how banking apps are affected by bootloader unlocking or rooting, then please make your own thread.

If anyone persists on discussing banking apps in this thread, I will have the thread locked and only update the first post as new information comes in. In the past for other devices in threads like these, there has never been any need to discuss banking apps.
 
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roirraW "edor" ehT

Recognized Contributor
So I guess 2021 is having your car broken into and your credit card stolen? :eek::ROFLMAO:

Sorry @roirraW "edor" ehT -- I had no choice.
You are not helping, but I appreciate the thought. Please, everyone, restrain yourselves from talking about anything that the title of this thread is not about.

Nothing like harsh reminders about why I had become so much less active on XDA in the past several years.

The reason why banking / Google Pay will not be a subject of this thread is because they definitely will be affected without further measures, and those further measures will definitely be affected by further Android updates. It will be a constant struggle back and forth, and that is between those of you who are affected by such things, and the developers of the workarounds.
 
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Lughnasadh

Senior Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,349
1,767
Google Nexus 5
Huawei Nexus 6P
You are not helping, but I appreciate the thought. Please, everyone, restrain yourselves from talking about anything that the title of this thread is not about.

Nothing like harsh reminders about why I had become so much less active on XDA in the past several years.

The reason why banking / Google Pay will not be a subject of this thread is because they definitely will be affected without further measures, and those further measures will definitely be affected by further Android updates. It will be a constant struggle back and forth, and that is between those of you who are affected by such things, and the developers of the workarounds.
I would agree. The Magisk, MHPC & Universal Safetynet Fix threads are really the place to go to discuss Google Pay and banking apps. That's where most of the information on these subjects are anyway and having Google Pay and banking apps working or not working is not specific to the Pixel 6.

Maybe it would help to put a link to those threads in the OP?
 
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roirraW "edor" ehT

Recognized Contributor
I would agree. The Magisk, MHPC & Universal Safetynet Fix threads are really the place to go to discuss Google Pay and banking apps. That's where most of the information on these subjects are anyway and having Google Pay and banking apps working or not working is not specific to the Pixel 6.

Maybe it would help to put a link to those threads in the OP?
It's not a horrible suggestion, thanks. I already have a link to the Magisk section in general. I'm resistant to putting anything in the OP that's not pertinent to the title. I'd rather someone, such as one of these folks who want to discuss it, make their own thread about the subject, and they can put the links to any other relevant threads in their OP. If someone makes such a thread, I'd be happy to link to their single thread at the top of the OP, and if folks ask in this thread despite the notice, I'll be friendly and point them there.

I try to keep things as simple as possible, and the OP is already going to be busy enough with information. The more information there is in the OP the more likely more people won't read even the important stuff at the top.
 

Ghisy

Senior Member
Mar 27, 2010
1,535
323
So I guess we'll get the factory images from Google tomorrow? So we can finally know if patching the boot.img is the only requirement for rooting,
 
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96carboard

Senior Member
Jul 17, 2018
333
202
Tomorrow is Oct 28th, the official release day for the P6 and P6P. I guess Google will upload the factory images on their website for both.

Interesting idea, but kind of negated by the fact that google has been selling them since tuesday last week, shipping them since monday THIS week, and lots of buyers, myself included, have already received them. Consequently, I don't see anything special about tomorrow. Hopefully you're right about the factory images through. But even more hopefully... SOURCE CODE!!!! That's what we really need!

And when you use words like "released", I get this nice picture of crazed wild animals being released from cages and going nuts :ROFLMAO:
 

96carboard

Senior Member
Jul 17, 2018
333
202
Oh wow so you have to boot up without a SIM card now to do this? So once you boot up with a SIM are you basically screwed if you want to unlock down the road?

Nononono, you misunderstand. You can unlock it either way. My objective was to set the thing up entirely withOUT signing up or logging in for a google account. I don't know if you can skip the processes if you let it have network access, but the process *I* went through was to deny it network access until I got past the initial setup screens.
 

roirraW "edor" ehT

Recognized Contributor
Oh wow so you have to boot up without a SIM card now to do this? So once you boot up with a SIM are you basically screwed if you want to unlock down the road?
To expand on what @96carboard said, booting up without a SIM card was at one time a workaround for getting a Verizon Pixel 1 to be able to enable unlocking the bootloader. May have helped in other situations and on other phones/Pixels but I only had the Pixel 1 before, so... :D
 
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  • 13
    Just to let everyone know, updating to .037 and re-rooting (without wiping anything) worked with no problems. My method is to just replace -w with --disable-verity --disable-verification in the flash-all.bat file and run the flash-all command. I then let it reboot, patch the boot image, return to bootloader and flash the patched boot image.

    Canary 23014

    EDIT: Thank you @ipdev for confirming my inquiry that this method would work back on Nov. 4 👍
    7
    Updated OP with lists of other relevant How To Guides.

    Honorable mention to @Jawomo's aodNotify - Notification Light / LED for Pixel 6 Pro! (XDA link) / Notification light / LED for Pixel - aodNotify (Play Store link), which in my opinion restores useful functionality missing in most phones these days.​


    For all relevant guide threads just click the yellow "How To Guide" quick filter above the list of threads in the Pixel 6 Pro section.
    5
    No patch with the newer one 23011...then full uninstall 23011. Install older one 23001 and flash modified boot.

    Either way, I did it and it didn't work for me. He's on a P5 though so maybe there's a difference with P6.

    It sounds like a few people have a fundamental misunderstanding of how Magisk works.

    The APK is just the interface to configure Magisk with and install/uninstall it. Patching the boot.img and then flashing it is what actually installs magisk. So swapping out the APK does not change that you are still using 23011, which DOES NOT have SafetyNet features any more, nor MagiskHide. 23001 APK will show the old UI with these features, but as others have confirmed, these options don't function properly since you aren't actually running 23001 in boot.img.

    Since 23001 can't patch the boot.img there's no way to get 23001 magisk installed on a P6.
    5
    New factory images and OTA images .037 and .037.A1 are available. Pixel 6 Pro Factory Images

    Manually mashing my Check for update button results in nothing, so give it some time to OTA for those who aren't rooted (yet). Or wait to see if it makes anything worse for anyone who gets the OTA first. 😜

    Everyone, make sure your phone is charged enough for whether you'll take the OTA or flash manually.
    4
    Here there be dragons. 🐉 I am not responsible for anything at all. 😹











    Official Google Pixel Update and Software Repair
    Official Google Pixel Install fingerprint calibration software (also available at the bottom of the Update and Software Repair page above)
    Official Google Android Flash Tool

    ADB/Fastboot, Windows Drivers, and unlocking the bootloader (thanks @sidhaarthm for confirming unlocking the bootloader works as intended, be sure to thank him in his post)


    TWRP (not made for the Pixel 6 Pro yet - will update when it has)


    Things that make rooting more complicated on Android 12


    Magisk for root (reported working with the Pixel 6 Pro)


    Factory Images


    Full OTA Images
    Dude, I am so glad you have jumped on creating this GUIDE THREAD!

    Hopefully it will evolve into a detailed "step by step" as that is what many users need (new and veteran).

    It's usually something I tend to do, as creating a step by step has always helped me be better at helping others.

    But this year, and on this new device, I simply don't have the time to do a legit GUIDE, so I am extremely happy you have grabbed the bull by the horns!
  • 35

    11/22/2021: I think I have to take a mental health break. Too many folks on here are lashing out at others, and this is one of the reasons why I was hardly active on here for the last five years. I'm turning off all notifications, so I won't see if anyone quotes or mentions me unless I manually look. I'll try to be back, especially if there's something new that needs adjusting in the OP.​


    Note that this is only for the officially listed "Unlocked" Pixel 6 Pro, available directly from the Google Store.

    Some of the information here applies to other variants, but I won't necessarily update information in the OP for them. Feel free to ask about general questions, but for anything that's specific to your variant, you should use one of the other already existing threads. You'll find Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile-related threads in those respective search results.

    Here there be dragons. 🐉 I am not responsible for anything at all. 😹

    Unlocking or locking the bootloader will wipe the device every single time, so be sure to have your data backed up before doing so, or better yet, just unlock it as soon as you get the device.


    Likewise, when wanting to root you have to disable verity and verification, after which you'll need to wipe the phone, so best just to go ahead and disable these immediately after unlocking the bootloader. See the section below "A list of the other important guides".


    Keep in mind that unlocking the bootloader or rooting might affect your phone's capability to use banking apps such as Google Pay, or your local bank's app.

    If you're going to re-lock the bootloader, make sure the ROM you have on your phone is completely stock (by flashing the latest official firmware) BEFORE re-locking it.

    My experience on my Pixel 1 was that there were no negative consequences if you unlock or re-lock the bootloader other than it will wipe your phone, and while unlocked you get a brief screen when you boot the phone telling you (and anyone who sees your phone at the time) that the bootloader is unlocked. All of this should still be the case. You will also continue to receive updates. Unlike Samsung, Sony, et cetera, which have major consequences with reduced functionality even if you un-root and re-lock your bootloader. If you're actually rooted (not just bootloader unlocked), you'll have to perform extra steps to keep root/re-root.


    All posts about Google Pay or banking will be reported to be deleted. Please keep this thread on-topic. There are at least one or two other How To Guide threads in this section in which folks discuss how to get around banking app restrictions when you're rooted or just have an unlocked bootloader.
    If users persist in discussing banking apps in this thread, I will have this thread locked and only update this first post when there is new and updated information regarding the subjects of the title of the thread: Unlocking the Pixel 6 Pro bootloader, rooting, and TWRP.

    Honorable mention to @Jawomo's aodNotify - Notification Light / LED for Pixel 6 Pro! (XDA link) / Notification light / LED for Pixel - aodNotify (Play Store link), which in my opinion restores useful functionality missing in most phones these days.​


    Official Google Pixel Update and Software Repair
    Official Google Pixel Install fingerprint calibration software (also available at the bottom of the Update and Software Repair page above) - I believe this is only helpful if you've replaced the screen
    Official Google Android Flash Tool

    ADB/Fastboot, Windows Drivers, and unlocking the bootloader (thanks @sidhaarthm for confirming unlocking the bootloader works as intended, be sure to thank him in his post)
    • You'll need this if you're going to unlock the bootloader on your Pixel 6 Pro: SDK Platform Tools (download links for Windows, Mac, and Linux). Note that you can find links to download the tools elsewhere, but I wouldn't trust them - you never know if they've been modified. Even if the person providing the link didn't do anything intentionally, the tools could be modified without them being aware. Why take a chance of putting your phone security further at risk?
    • For Windows, get Google's drivers here Get the Google USB Driver (ADB will likely work while the phone is fully booted, but if you're like me, you'll need these drivers for after you "adb reboot-bootloader", to be able to use ADB and Fastboot.
    • Thanks to @96carboard for posting the details of unlocking the bootloader, be sure to thank him in his post. Unlocking or locking the bootloader will wipe the device every single time, so be sure to have your data backed up before doing so, or better yet, just unlock it as soon as you get the device. Keep in mind that unlocking the bootloader or rooting might affect your phone's capability to use banking apps such as Google Pay, or your local bank's app. If you're going to re-lock the bootloader, make sure the ROM you have on your phone is completely stock (by flashing the latest official firmware) BEFORE re-locking it. My experience on my Pixel 1 was that there were no negative consequences if you unlock or re-lock the bootloader other than it will wipe your phone, and while unlocked you get a brief screen when you boot the phone telling you (and anyone who sees your phone at the time) that the bootloader is unlocked. All of this should still be the case. You will also continue to receive updates. Unlike Samsung, Sony, et cetera, which have major consequences with reduced functionality even if you un-root and re-lock your bootloader. If you're actually rooted (not just bootloader unlocked), you'll have to perform extra steps to keep root/re-root.:


      The unlock process works like this:

      1) Take brand new fresh phone out of box. Do NOT put sim card in it, just power it on (you can put a SIM card if you want, you just don't have to).
      2) When it starts harassing you to join Google, hit "skip" and "remind me tomorrow" as applicable until you reach home screen. YOU DO NOT need to plug in a google account.
      3) Settings --> About --> Build number. Repeatedly tap it until it says you're a developer.
      4) Back --> Network --> WiFi and connect it.
      5) Back --> System --> Developer --> OEM unlocking (check), USB debugging (check), plug in USB, authorize on the phone when requested.

      Using the Platform Tools previously mentioned in command line/terminal:
      6) #
      Code:
      adb reboot-bootloader
      7) #
      Code:
      fastboot flashing unlock

      Now that you've unlocked it, it has been wiped, so repeat 1-4, then disable all the google spyware, and go ahead and start using it while waiting for aosp and root.

      Official Instructions for Locking/Unlocking the Bootloader

    Rooting-related


    Things that make rooting more complicated on Android 12
    @V0latyle posted a new thread with some very important and fascinating information about the increased difficulty to root Android 12: Read this before rooting. Be sure to thank him there.

    A list of the other important guides - be sure to thank the respective OPs
    For all relevant guide threads just click the yellow "How To Guide" quick filter above the list of threads in the Pixel 6 Pro section.

    TWRP (not made for the Pixel 6 Pro yet - will update when it has)
    I would guess that this should be the appropriate URL for official TWRP custom recovery for the Pixel 6 Pro, but who knows when/if that will actually be made available, and it may become available unofficially in these forum sections before being made official. I'll adjust this URL as needed. https://twrp.me/google/googlepixel6pro.html.

    Custom kernels for stock ROM(s)

    Factory Images
    It's also handy to have to the full official firmware available, whether it's to recovery from accidents or for actual development. Note the official link to the general Factory Images for Nexus and Pixel Devices page. The following link goes directly to the Pixel 6 Pro (Raven) section: Pixel 6 Pro Factory Images. I prefer to actually bookmark a link to the device listed immediately below the device I want the firmware for, because Google dumbly (in my opinion) puts the latest firmware at the bottom of the list for each particular device, and that ends up making you scroll a lot after a year or two of monthly updates.

    List of all Pixel monthly security bulletins

    Copy of Verizon changelogs in case they disappear
      • System Update 1​


      The details:

      Release date: 11/16/2021
      Android™ Security Patch Level: October 2021
      Software Version: SD1A.210817.037.A1

      What's changing:

      The current software update improves the performance of your device's fingerprint sensor.

      • System Update​


      The details:

      Release date: 10/28/2021
      Android Security Patch Level: October 2021
      Software Version: SD1A.210817.036.A8

      What's changing:

      The current software update provides performance improvements and the most up to date Android security patches on your device.

    Full OTA Images

    I may append this first post with further useful information or links as needed.
    13
    The unlock process works like this;

    1) Take brand new fresh phone out of box. Do NOT put sim card in it, just power it on.
    2) When it starts harassing you to join google, hit "skip" and "remind me tomorrow" as applicable until you reach home screen. YOU DO NOT need to plug in a google account.
    3) Settings --> About --> Build number. Tap it until it says you're a developer.
    4) Back --> Network --> Wifi and connect it.
    5) Back --> System --> Developer --> OEM unlocking (check), USB debugging (check), plug in USB, authorize when requested.
    6) # adb reboot-bootloader
    7) # fastboot flashing unlock

    Now that you've unlocked it, it has been wiped, so repeat 1-4, then disable all the google spyware, and go ahead and start using it while waiting for aosp and root.
    13
    Just to let everyone know, updating to .037 and re-rooting (without wiping anything) worked with no problems. My method is to just replace -w with --disable-verity --disable-verification in the flash-all.bat file and run the flash-all command. I then let it reboot, patch the boot image, return to bootloader and flash the patched boot image.

    Canary 23014

    EDIT: Thank you @ipdev for confirming my inquiry that this method would work back on Nov. 4 👍
    10
    I was able to root my Pixel 6 Pro on Project Fi. I had the Day 1 update applied. Wiping /data was required for the vbmeta thing (and was a good idea in general since I was downgrading the OS version).

    My steps:

    1. Download appropriate factory image for my device.
    2. Download magisk canary (v23 stable fails to patch the boot.img).
    3. Boot phone and run through OOB setup if needed, skip everything.
    4. Enable developer options, then OEM unlock.
    5. Reboot into bootloader.
    6. Modify flash-all script in factory image ZIP and add --skip-reboot to the image flash command (remove the pause and exit commands in the BAT as well if you're using that). You need to keep the -w flag in to wipe /data or else the phone won't boot the rooted image. Normally you don't need to reflash everything but the latest version is not available as a factory image, and doing this ensures every partition is kept the same version. Plus you need to wipe /data anyway.
    7. Connect your phone to PC via USB and run script.
    8. Extract vbmeta.img and boot.img from the image ZIP.
    9. Use fastboot to flash vbmeta.img with the flags listed above.
    10. Reboot and unlock device. Go through OOB experience, you can set up your phone properly this time.
    11. Push the boot.img and app_debug.apk (magisk) to your phone and install the APK., You can use ADB if you enable USB debugging or just find your phone in Windows Explorer and drag and drop (open APK in Files app and enable app install from Files).
    12. Run magisk and patch the boot.img.
    13. Use adb (or Explorer) to pull the patched magisk*.img down to your PC.
    14. Reboot to bootloader
    15. Use fastboot to flash the magisk'd magisk*.img to boot partition.
    16. Boot device.

    You should be rooted now. If something goes wrong go back to step 14 but flash the original boot.img on step 15 instead, that should get you back unrooted and you can see if things are working again (else go back to step 5 to start over).

    Issues/comments:
    1. Magisk Canary removes SafetyNet bypass as well as MagiskHide. Apps which check SafetyNet won't work now.
    2. Magisk won't offer modules for install, not sure if this is normal canary behavior or if the modules aren't compatible due to magisk changes.
    3. OTA updates won't install. I've had this issue with Magisk forever on other devices too. Some people say they should work but I've never seen them work.
    4. Elevation dialog works EXCEPT if you use su from an adb shell. The dialog seems to try to display but it doesn't actually display; probably the overlay is being blocked due to android security thinking it's an uninvited popup, I speculate it's a magisk bug. Terminal won't show up in the list of superuser apps either in Magisk so you can't just toggle it on in there as a workaround. EDIT: I figured out if you Hide Magisk Manager the elevation dialog will no longer work. Unhide as a workaround and grant elevation forever to any apps you need, then rehide. Automatic elevation of whitelisted apps still works (and I assume you can still toggle in the Superuser tab.)
    5. If I understand it correctly /data wipe should only have to happen once (reflashing vbmeta with the special flags still needs to happen whenever vbmeta is updated).
    6. Magisk has added a "DenyList" which sounds like MagiskHide but a) it has a different name which suggests it's different and b) SafetyNet is sitll a problem. So not sure if it is doing anything since apps just check SafetyNet anyway.
    7. I copied my /sdcard from my old phone to my new. I could not get Android to allow me to drop files in /sdcard/Android/data or /sdcard/Android/obb though. I think that is a new thing. Even with Solid Explorer getting permissions granted to write to those folders it was still denied. As said su in adb shell doesn't work so I couldn't try that.
    8. I tried to install Universal SafetyNet Fix module but it wanted Riru installed first. That rabbit hole did not seem safe to go down so I aborted at that point; someone else can give it a go.
    9. Gnirehtet and ScrCpy work fine if you like using those tools (you may need newer Android 12 compatible versions). However it's worth noting Play Store thinks you're on mobile data if Gnirehtet is active so it will pause installing apps if you do that in the OOB setup (eg apps from another device) and I couldn't get it to unpause without disabling Gnirehtet.
    10. Titanium Backup works fine for restoring app data, so I can verify root works.

    SafetyNet workaround would be appreciated if anyone has figured it out.
    8
    I wouldn't count on any particular day for them to release the factory images.
    I did a bit of research and noticed that Google first released the factory images/OTA files for the

    Pixel 2 - 4 days after launch (Oct. 23th 2020 factory image, Oct. 19th launch)
    Pixel 3 - on "official" launch day (shipout) (Oct. 18th 2018)
    Pixel 4 - on launch day (Oct. 24th 2019)
    Pixel 4a - 4 days after launch (available Oct. 16th 2020, release of the phone Oct. 20th 2020)
    Pixel 5, 4a 5G - on launch day (October 15, 2020)

    So, if Google doesn't stray too far from it's previous release schedule, we should expect the factory image today or in the next few days.