With an unlocked bootloader, it is now possible to root Pixel 3 with Magisk. The instructions in this tutorial will help you easily install TWRP recovery and root Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
This year’s Google Pixel phones are everything you’d need from a flagship standard device, be it the hardware, the design, or the software. Talking of the software, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL come with a clean AOSP software experience that offers some very interesting features. At the same time, Pixel devices are also the most developer-friendly Android devices out there. A bunch of root tweaks and you can modify a lot when it comes to the software.
But ever since the first Pixel phones were released in 2016, we have seen some difficulties when it came to the rooting scene. Things like the all-new A/B partition system and certain security features in the kernel have hindered the developers from gaining root access for a long time. Similarly, the 2018 Google flagships come with a rather small change in the kernel, that would have prevented you from rooting the phone(s) until now. But with the latest version of Magisk, you can now root Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL easily.
Boot Image Header v1 in Google Pixel 3 (XL)
The small change that we just mentioned above is the new Boot Image Header version. The Google Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL come with Boot Image Header v1. According to Google – “Versioning the boot image header allows future modifications to the header while maintaining backward compatibility.” and every smartphone that comes with Android 9 Pie must come with Boot Image Header of v1.
Earlier versions of Magisk (The popular Android root solution) followed the legacy boot image header v0. Which means rooting the Pixel 3 with previous versions of Magisk will fail rigorously. However, it didn’t take long for XDA developer topjohnwu to implement the same and push a new version that supports the new Boot Image Header version.
More for you: Quick Tip: How to Hide the Notch on Google Pixel 3 XL
To sum up, you can now easily root Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL with Magisk 18.0 by flashing the installer zip via TWRP or patching the stock boot image. But in order to achieve that, you must also first unlock the bootloader on Pixel 3, which could be done using a simple fastboot command.
- First and foremost, you must take a full backup of all your personal data stored on the phone. Everything including the internal storage, apps, and related data will be wiped when you unlock the bootloader on your Google Pixel 3 (XL). We also have a comprehensive guide on how to backup Android phones completely.
- Next, you must enable Developer Options in device settings. Once enabled, go to Settings -> System -> Developer options and enable the ‘OEM Unlocking’ toggle.
- Your Pixel 3/3 XL’s bootloader must be unlocked. If you haven’t unlocked it yet, then we suggest you follow our tutorial on how to do it.
- You must download Android platform tools (ADB and Fastboot) and extract them on the PC. Alternatively, you can also use Minimal ADB and Fastboot Tool. Once installed, you will need to open the PowerShell/Terminal window inside the extracted ‘platform-tools’ folder.
- On Windows: Go to the ‘platform-tools’ folder that you extracted earlier. Now, while holding the SHIFT key, right-click on an empty space inside this folder. Select ‘Open PowerShell window here’ from the menu.
- On Linux/macOS: Open the ‘Terminal’ and cd to the location of the ‘platform-tools’ folder. Example:
- Charge your Pixel 3 to a sufficient battery level. This shall help avoid any sudden shutdowns during the unlocking/rooting process due to low battery.
Once you have made sure that above-stated requirements are met, head down to install TWRP and root Google Pixel 3 (XL).
- Google Pixel 3 TWRP: Recovery img | Installer zip
- Google Pixel 3 XL TWRP: Recovery img | Installer zip
- Magisk 18.0 Installer zip: Link
Install TWRP Recovery on Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
- Download TWRP recovery img and installer zip for your Google Pixel 3
- Transfer the installer zip to your Pixel 3’s internal storage
- Power off the phone completely
- Hold the Volume Down and Power buttons together to enter Bootloader Mode on your Pixel
- Connect your phone to the PC while it is in Bootloader Mode.
- Next, copy the downloaded recovery img to the ‘platform-tools’ folder on your PC
- Enter the following command to temporarily boot the TWRP recovery img on Google Pixel 3:
.\fastboot boot twrp-3.2.3-0-blueline.img
On Google Pixel 3 XL:
.\fastboot boot twrp-3.2.3-3-crosshatch.img
- Your phone should now boot into TWRP recovery and you shall see the ‘Unmodified System Partition’ screen
- Simply swipe the ‘Allow Modifications’ button
- Now, tap on ‘Install’ and navigate to the location where the TWRP installer zip was transferred.
- Select the TWRP installer zip file and swipe the button on the bottom to permanently flash TWRP on Google Pixel 3 (XL)
- Once the flashing process finishes, tap on the ‘Reboot System’ button.
Your Pixel 3 device should now boot into the OS.
Bugs in current TWRP builds
At the moment, TWRP for Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL do not support MTP. Additionally, ADB is also not supported for the XL variant. Which means you will not be able to adb sideload files on it.
Now that you have succeeded to install TWRP recovery on Google Pixel 3 (XL), follow the rooting instructions below.
Instructions to Root Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
- Download the latest Magisk 18.0 installer zip
- Connect your Google Pixel 3 to the PC and enable ‘Transfer files’ mode
- Transfer the downloaded Magisk-18.0.zip file to your phone’s storage.
- Disconnect the phone and power it off completely.
- Now, hold the Volume Down and Power buttons together to enter Bootloader Mode on Pixel 3.
- Tap the volume buttons until you see ‘Recovery Mode’ on the screen and then press the Power button to boot into TWRP recovery.
- In TWRP, tap on the ‘Install’ button and select the Magisk 18.0 installer zip file.
- Finally, swipe the button on the screen to root Google Pixel 3 (XL) with Magisk.
- Once the installation is complete, press the ‘Reboot System’ button.
Your Pixel 3 should now be rooted. Once it boots back into the OS, you shall see ‘Magisk Manager’ in the app drawer.
So now that you have been able to install TWRP recovery and root your Google Pixel 3 (XL), you have a lot of different ways to customize your phone. For starters, you can use any Android app that requires root permissions such as ‘Kernel Adiutor‘ that will allow you to monitor your phone’s performance and tweak the kernel for better performance and battery life.
With Magisk, you have the ability to install modifications such as ViPER4Android without modifying the /system partition. You can also use MagiskHide to hide root from apps/games like Pokemon Go and pass SafetyNet. Overall, there are a lot of things you can do on your rooted phone, so go ahead and enjoy.
This was our tutorial on how to install TWRP recovery and root Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL using Magisk. If you have any questions, please leave them down in the comments. We will try the best to our knowledge to help you.