Google Pixel 3 XL is here to offer the best Android experience for those who appreciate the pure UI without dealing with custom skins and different bloatware. Of course, like any other Android based device the Pixel 3 XL is not only a mix between pure Android OS, high-end performance and innovative design; it also offers customization and optimization possibilities, especially if you are ready to experiment some unofficial operations too. Well, in that respect, if you’re ready to tweak your phone, you should start by following the steps explained below – there we will see how the Google Pixel 3 XL bootloader can be successfully unlocked.
You have to know that the bootloader is essential for the Android system. Shortly, your smartphone cannot run without this small program, a script which is there to make sure that everything is running properly. The bootloader functionality is simple as this program is initiated each time you boot, reboot or power on/off your Google Pixel XL with the purpose of loading the Android OS and essential start-up programs and built-in features from the ROM partition into the RAM memory. Unfortunately, the script is also running on different factory restrictions which will limit your overall Android access.
So, it’s your job to remove these restrictions for gaining further control over your Google Pixel XL 3 and for being able to apply other tweaks, customizations and optimizations. And, of course, that’s why you now need to unlock the bootloader. Once you do it you can apply various other custom operations including: flashing root exploits for rooting the Android OS; installing a custom recovery image such as WTRP or CWM recovery; getting rid of pre-loaded apps and processes; setting up features that cannot be used on the stock Android UI; flashing custom MODs and kernels; installing custom ROMs like Lineage OS, AOKP or Paranoid Android; overclocking or undervolting CPU frequencies; upgrading battery life; bumping speeds and much more.
You are able to unlock your Google Pixel XL 3 bootloader thanks to xda senior member topjohnwu. This method is not supported by Google and it should be associated with your OEM in any manner. Shortly, you are on your own as you are about to complete an unofficial procedure – if something bad happens you must fix the problems manually and by yourself (don’t panic, if you stick to the steps explained below everything will be fine). Anyhow, the warranty flag will be void since you are about to remove built-in restrictions from your Google branded device – the warranty can be restored only if you reinstall the stock Android OS, situation during which you will manage to restore your handset back to its default state – then, the bootloader will be relocked.
Save your data before doing anything else – yes, a general backup is recommended at this point as during the unlocking process your files might get corrupted or wiped out. It will be important to secure everything that wasn’t there from day one – we’re talking about stuffs like contacts, call logs, texts, images, videos, audio files, EFS folder, internet settings, calendar info, saved passwords or IMEI / NVRAM data. Such files can be easily saved on your Google Pixel XL 3 – all you need to do is to use built-in cloud storage apps and services or to sync files directly to your Google Account (another way in which a backup can be applied is by using dedicated and already tested backup and restore apps from Google Play).
You will also have to prepare a few other things before starting to unlock the Google Pixel XL 3 bootloader:
- A computer will be required since this is going to be a manual process. Of course, on your PC the Google Pixel XL 3 drivers must be installed.
- Android SDK must be set up on your computer. Thus, if you don’t know how to do it, first check: learn how to install Android SDK on Windows or how to set up ADB on MAC OS X / Linux.
- On your smartphone Developer Options must be enabled; if it isn’t, go to About Phone and tap repeatedly on Built Number until the ‘you are a developer’ message shows up (it does after 7 or 10 repeated taps).
- On your phone, from Developer Options (under general Settings) you have to check the USB Debugging field.
- Before starting to unlock the bootloader verify the power that’s left on your Pixel XL 3. If that power is lower than 50%, plug in the charger before doing anything else.
- Hint: don’t skip the charging process as if your phone gets turned off during the unlock procedure you can end up in damaging the Android software – malfunctions can be caused and you can experience severe issues.
- Of course, follow the steps explained below only if you own the Google Pixel XL 3 – this tutorial is compatible only with this particular Android based device.
How to Unlock Google Pixel 3 XL Bootloader
- On your computer go ahead and access the Android SDK folder.
- In the meantime use your phone’s USB cable and connect your device with your computer.
- Return to the Android SDK folder and from there open a command prompt window: press and hold the Shift keyboard hotkey and while doing that right-click on any blank space; afterwards, from the list that is displayed choose ‘open command prompt here’.
- Make sure that your Google Pixel XL 3 is recognized by your PC – in the cmd window execute ‘adb devices’. If your device’s IMEI isn’t returned reinstall your Pixel XL drivers on your computer before retrying the step from above.
- Good; now, reboot your device into fastboot mode: in cmd type ‘adb reboot bootloader’ and press Enter.
- Then, in the same cmd window execute this command: ‘fastboot flashing unlock’.
- On your Pixel XL 3 a warning message will be displayed; agree with the alert and choose to resume the unlocking procedure – press Volume Up to scroll up and down and Power to select.
- Now the bootloader will be automatically unlocked.
- When done, close cmd, unplug the USB cable and reboot your Google Pixel XL.
Congratulations, you are now using your Google Pixel XL 3 on an unlocked bootloader. Therefore you can start tweaking your device in order to further customize and optimize its Android OS and its general performance. Stay close as we will soon show you how to successfully gain root access on your device. Also if you want to learn other dedicated custom operations that are compatible with your Google branded smartphone don’t hesitate and check out our ‘how to’ page. For sharing your experience with us and with our readers use the comments field available below.