Even as Google Pixel and Pixel XL phones have hit the market in October 2016, people have begun to ask questions like ‘how to root Google Pixel and Pixel XL’. Like iOS devices, which can be jailbroken, you can root your Android devices. But unlike iPhones and iPads owners, Android users have to follow different methods for different devices.
For your Google Pixel phones, Chainfire has found the solution to root the two phones. In this method, users need to send a Fastboot command that performs all essential root tweaks to Android’s file system.
Before you start rooting your Pixel phones, you need to have Windows, Mac or Linux computer and USB data cable in place.
Note that root may stop ‘over the air’ (OTA) updates on your devices. This rooting process will trip SafetyNet on your smartphones. SafetyNet is a security feature available in latest Android versions; this feature sends a message to all the apps when a user is rooted. This means you may not be able to use apps like Android Pay and Pokemon Go after rooting your phones.
One more thing needs to be considered: one of the steps below is about unlocking your phone’s bootloader. This procedure of unlocking bootloader will initiate a factory reset. It indicates that you should backup your device or at least all important data stored on your phone.
How to Root Google Pixel and Pixel XL Smartphone
Step #1: First off, you need to install ADB and Fastboot on your computer; this enables you to send commands that root your phones.
Step #2: Next, you should unlock your phone’s bootloader. Again we remind you to take backup of your Google Pixel phones as this action will start factory reset, which may destroy your data.
Step #3: Now you can download CF-Root file for your device. You need to save the file on your computer. Note that Pixel and Pixel XL need two different files, and therefore download the file carefully.
After the file is downloaded on your computer, you need to pull out the contents of the ZIP file. Here, you should keep in mind the boot-to-root.img file because you will be using this file to root your Google Pixel phones.
Step #4: After that, copy the extracted boot-to-root.img file and paste it in platform-tools folder; you will find this folder in ADB and Fastboot installation directory. If you are using Windows computer, you can locate this folder at: C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk.
If you are using Mac and Linux computers, you need to find your computer for the platform-tools folder.
Step #5: To run commands to root your phones, put your device into Bootloader Mode. Hence, you should shut down your Pixel phone. When the screen turns black, press and hold volume down and power buttons at the same time. Android’s Bootloader menu will appear in a few seconds.
When Bootloader menu appears, connect your Pixel phone with your computer via USB data cable. Now give your phone some rest and turn your attention to your computer.
Step #6: For Windows users, they need to hold down the shift button on keyboard and then right-click on any blank space inside the platoform-tools folder. Now select ‘Open command window here’. For Mac and Linux users, they should launch Terminal and change directories to platform-tools folder.
From now onwards, the commands listed below are for Windows users. Mac users need to add a period (full stop) and a slash (/) to the front of all commands given here; Linux users should add a slash (/) to the beginning. Check this command for example: ./fastboot devices for Mac, or /fastboot devices for Linux.
Now from the command prompt, type in the below given command to verify that everything is synced correctly.
If the command shows a sequence of letters and numbers followed by the word ‘fastboot’, you should smile because this means your phone is connected as it should be and you can move ahead.
Now is the time to root your Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. Enter ‘fastboot boot boot-to-root.img’ and then hit Enter.
A message will flash in the terminal window telling you that the process is completed. Now you can disconnect the USB cable; your phone will reboot at least two times during the automated root process. Once it is finished, your phone will automatically booted back into Android.
Once your Google Pixel phones are fully rooted, you can verify this by downloading Root Checker app; this app is developed by joeykrim. After the app is installed in your phone, launch the app and tap on ‘Verify root’ and press ‘Grant’ when you are asked for Superuser access.
If your phone is rooted properly, you will get a message: “Congratulations! Root access is properly installed on this device!”
Now that your phone is rooted, you are impatient to use your favourite apps on rooted device. But note that there is a small bug that harasses your Pixel phones. When the battery level shows 15%, a message appears telling you “Unfortunately, System UI has stopped”. You can get rid of this message by charging your smartphone above 15%.
As a better workaround, you can avoid this bug completely. You need to set Android’s Battery Saver Mode. Go to the Battery menu in Settings and tap on ‘Battery saver’ option. Now, leave the toggle button disabled and tap on ‘Turn on automatically’ and set it to ‘at 15% battery’.