Users hoping to tinker with a Verizon Google Pixel 2 are encountering a locked system. This guide is intended to help users unlock the bootloader.
Many Android power users were reportedly not too happy that the smaller second-generation Google smartphone from Verizon comes with a locked bootloader. This appears to be a big roadblock for owners who wish to root their phones or play around with ROMs.
At the start, it might have seemed that all hope is lost, but expert-level contributors in the XDA forums have shared a notably simple method to break through Verizon's digital security protocols.
Old School Tactics
The exploit apparently uses a familiar fastboot command used back in the day when Google promoted the Nexus lineup of smartphones. With some minor legwork, Nexus 5X and 6P owners could quite easily use the "fastboot flashing unlock" method.
The process requires that the smartphone is connected via USB to a compatible computer with the Fastboot and ADB tools already installed. USB debugging must be enabled on the device with the OEM unlocking toggle activated within the hidden Developer Options in settings.
Different Options Require A Workaround
Although the abovementioned process almost appears to be applicable to the Verizon Google Pixel 2, the OEM unlocking option is, unfortunately, grayed out as opposed to non-network-locked variants.
To completely unlock its bootloader, users can use a different command. Instead of "fastboot flashing unlock," it must be "fastboot flashing lock_critical." For some reason, this command apparently goes through despite the grayed out option being left unchanged.
Here is the step-by-step process to unlock the Verizon Google Pixel 2 bootloader:
1. Download and install the latest version of ADB and Fastboot binaries.
2. Enable USB Debugging under Developer Options, which can be enabled by tapping the Build Number field seven times. Users can find it under Settings>System>About Phone.
3. Open a command prompt terminal and type in: adb reboot bootloader
4. After the phone reboots, type in: fastboot flashing lock_critical
5. The bootloader unlock screen will come up. Use the volume keys to choose "UNLOCK THE BOOTLOADER" option and confirm the selection with the power button.
Precautions Prior To Unlocking
Those who wish to attempt the same process with a Verizon-locked Google Pixel 2 XL will find it impossible, however. For now, it looks like the newly discovered bootloader unlock process only works on the smaller model.
Performing the bootloader unlock exploit will completely wipe the smartphone's internal storage. Therefore, before proceeding, users should at least back up their files to avoid data loss.
Strike While The Iron Is Hot
Users should take note that the steps to unlock the bootloader of a Verizon Google Pixel 2 are not officially approved by the carrier. The developers could push a patch that totally disables this workaround in the future.
Therefore, those who want to do so must take action as soon as they can before it is patched out.