As somebody who has switched over to Android wanting to get the most out of my phone, I was rather disappointed after having figured out that Verizon wanted absolutely none of that on Google’s shiny new flagship phone, the Pixel 2. Thanks to an oversight by the very same phone carrier that disabled this option, you can unlock the bootloader on your phone right now.
There’s not much of a catch here, other than some reports on XDA-Developers of phones possibly entering endless bootloops, so as you read on, proceed with caution, and be aware that things may go wrong. I am not responsible for anything that happens to your device, but should you follow these very simple steps to unlock your bootloader, chances are things will go smoothly. Please be warned that anything is possible as this is a very new method with little testing. Make sure your phone and files are backed up before following this guide. I personally have had great success with it all, but regardless, let’s get right to it!
First, make sure that you have Android Studio installed along with the SDK tools, which you will need in order to access ADB to interface with your Google Pixel over USB.
Once you have that all downloaded and set up, make sure to run Android Studio once so that the SDK Tools install themselves into their proper directories. To access the ADB shell, follow these steps. If you already know how to do this, scroll down to the next set of steps.
- Go to your Start Menu and type %LocalAppData%, then hit ‘Enter’. This will bring up a File Explorer window.
- Double-click on the Android folder, followed by sdk and platform-tools. Once you’ve done this, click the right-most side of the address bar to highlight all of the file path text and then copy it to your clipboard.
- Go to the Start Menu again and type cmd, but right-click on it first to run as Administrator.
- Now that you are in the command prompt, type cd followed by a space, paste the file path that you copied into your clipboard by right-clicking once in the command window, then hit ‘Enter’.
- You should now be in the directory containing an executable titled adb.exe. This will allow us to communicate directly with the Pixel 2. Go ahead and grab your device and a USB-C to USB cable, then plug it into your Pixel 2 and computer.
- If you don’t have Developer options enabled on your Pixel 2 yet, navigate to
Settings > About phone, and then scroll to the bottom and tap on Build number until it brings up a prompt. Enter your password and Developer options will be enabled.
- Go back once, and click on the Developer options menu. We want to enable the option titled USB debugging, which is only a flick or two down.
- Once this is enabled, swipe down on your notifications bar and look for one called Android System, tap on it and click Transfer files. This will give your phone access to your computer’s file system so that adb.exe can access it.
These are the last steps you need to unlock the bootloader on your Verizon Pixel 2.
- In the command prompt that is open, type adb shell and then hit ‘Enter’. This will allow us to tap into the ‘command-line’ of the Android OS.
- Now type reboot bootloader. After some time, you will arrive at a screen that looks like a recovery screen, where we can now enter the final command to unlock the bootloader of your phone.
- Type fastboot flashing lock_critical and press ‘Enter’, then let the phone do it’s thing until you are prompted on the phone. Follow the on-screen instructions to successfully unlock the bootloader on your phone!
Be aware that once your bootloader is unlocked, your phone is not yet rooted. Unlocking your bootloader only gives you the ability to do so, which you can find info about on the XDA-Developer forums. I have not yet rooted my phone since it is a lengthy process that I do not want to deal with at the moment. Also, be aware that rooting your phone will void your device’s warranty, so again, proceed with caution, and enjoy your unlocked phone!