A few days back, we covered Chainfire’s announcement that he had successfully gained root access to the Pixel. According to Chainfire, a lot has changed in the Pixel, especially with the dual boot partitions to handle the Seamless Update feature. Chainfire has released a tool called CF-Root which involves sending a fastboot command which makes all the tweaks necessary to root your device.
Keep in mind that it’s not assured to work on the Verizon variant of the Pixel as they might patch it anytime now. Devices brought directly from the Google Store or any other retailer (unlocked variants) can go ahead and use this method.
Rooting will trip SafetyNet on your device. This is a security feature on newer Android versions that lets apps know that the device is rooted. This means that apps like Android Pay and Pokemon GO will most likely cease to work once your device is rooted.
Rooting is also known to block OTA Updates and this will likely be the case will the Pixel/Pixel XL. We’re still not sure on how the dual-system partition for Seamless Updates work, so it’s safe to assume that you will not be receiving OTA updates anymore.
- A Windows PC
- USB Cable (double check for faults)
- Minimal ADB & Fastboot
- At least 60% battery remaining on your device
STEP 1: Connecting your device to the PC
On your device, go to Settings->Developer Options and make sure you’ve enabled USB Debugging. Also, enable OEM Unlocking. This will allow us to unlock the bootloader using Fastboot commands.
Note: If you do not see the Developer Options menu, it can unlocked by going to About Phone->tapping build number a few times.
Now connect the phone to your PC and open Minimal ADB & Fastboot. To check if your device has been successfully connected, type:
This should show the Android devices currently connected to your PC. Make sure you accept the confirmation on the phone too. It is advised to disconnect any other Android devices.
STEP 2: Rebooting to Bootloader
Once you’ve successfully connected the device, we need to boot to the bootloader to proceed. To do this, shut down the phone completely. Once the phone is turned off, press and hold the Power + Volume down button together for about 5 seconds. Release the buttons together and you should now be looking at the bootloader.
Alternative method: On the Minimal ADB, simply type:
adb reboot bootloader
This should immediately switch the phone off and reboot to bootloader.
STEP 3: Unlocking the bootloader
Note: Skip this step if you’ve already unlocked your bootloader
Once you’ve successfully connected your device, we can move on to unlocking the bootloader. Unlocking the bootloader allows us to modify different storage partitions of our phones which would otherwise be blocked.
First, let’s make sure the phone is successfully connected to the PC. To check this, enter:
Once confirmed, we can unlock the bootloader. To unlock the bootloader, simply enter the following:
fastboot flashing unlock
Now, you should see a message on your device asking you to confirm the same. Make sure the “Yes” option is highlighted, if not, use the volume buttons to navigate and hit the power button to confirm your selection.
Warning: This will FACTORY RESET the device. All data will be lost. Make sure you perform a backup before entering this.
We’ve successfully unlocked the Pixel.
STEP 4: Rooting your device
To continue, we will need to download the CF-Root file to actually root the device. There are two different files, one for the Pixel and the other for the Pixel XL, so make sure you download the right variant for your device.
Once the file has been downloaded, extract the contents of the file. From here, take notice of the boot-to-root.img file and move it to the folder where Minimal ADB is installed on your PC. For most people, it is usually C:\Program Files (x86)\Minimal ADB and Fastboot.
Once the file is in the folder, we can go back to Minimal ADB and type in the command:
fastboot boot boot-to-root.img
Within a while, you should see a message in the terminal window confirming the same. Your phone will reboot at least twice during this process and when it’s done, it will automatically boot to Android.
STEP 5: Verifying root
To verify root access, you can download Root Checker by joeykrim and tap “verify root”. If all goes well, you should be prompted to “grant” Superuser access and should see a message confirming the same.
Enabling Automatic Battery Saver
You should know there’s a bug affecting rooted Pixel devices. When the battery level hits 15%, you’ll see a message “Unfortunately, System UI has stopped”. This can be fixed by charging the device above 15%.
To avoid this bug entirely, we need to set Android’s Battery saver to kick in automatically at 15%. To do this, head over to Battery menu in Settings, and tap Battery Saver from the overflow menu (top-right corner). Here, toggle the switch and set Turn On Automatically at 15%.
We’ve now successfully rooted our Pixel!
Leave your queries on the comment section below.