The software that Google ships with the Pixel 6A are good enough for most users, but some serious Android folks prefer to customize their phone by rooting, installing third-party custom ROMs, changing kernels, and a lot of other stuff. To make such modifications, you need to unlock the phone’s bootloader. While some smartphone manufacturers do not allow it, Google has no problem with users making changes to the phone. One can easily unlock the bootloader on any Google Pixel phone, but Pixel 6A owners have reported that the OEM Unlocking option is not available to them. According to them, the OEM Unlocking, found under the Developer settings, is grayed out and not clickable.
The list of issues Pixel 6 and 6 Pro owners faced is too long, and something similar is playing out with the recently-launched Pixel 6A. Soon after it was released, users reported that the device was unlocked with any fingerprint. Whether or not the fingerprint was registered on the device, they were able to unlock the device easily. This was a serious issue which was fixed in Android 13 Beta 4.1. Now, the Pixel 6A owners looking to customize their phones are dealing with the OEM unlocking problem. In this article, we’ll see the possible fixes to Pixel 6A cannot unlock bootloader or OEM Unlock grayed out problems.
Google Pixel 6a Device Overview:
The Google Pixel 6a features a 6.1 inches OLED panel with a 60 Hz refresh rate. It is an FHD+ panel with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels and an aspect ratio of 20:9. Under the hood, we get the Google Tensor processor built on a 5nm manufacturing process. It is an octa-core processor with two Cortex-X1 cores clocked at 2.8 GHz, two Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2.25GHz, and four Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.80 GHz. For handling graphics-intensive tasks, we have the Mali-G78 MP20. The smartphone comes with stock Android 12 out of the box.
In optics, we get a dual camera setup at the rear and a single selfie camera at the front. The dual camera setup consists of a 12.2 MP primary sensor paired with an f/1.7 lens and a 12 MP ultrawide sensor paired with an f/2.2 lens. The selfie camera at the front is an 8 MP primary sensor paired with an f/2.0 lens. The front and back camera systems are limited to 1080p video recording.
The smartphone comes in a single storage variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. We also do not get a hybrid microSD slot for storage expansion. In terms of communications, we get Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, NFC, and USB Type-C 3.1. And for sensors, we get an under-display optical fingerprint sensor, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, and barometer. Powering it all is a 4410 mAh battery that can be topped up quickly using an 18W power adapter. The smartphone has three color options: Chalk, Charcoal, and Sage.
How to Fix Cannot Unlock Bootloader, OEM Unlock Grayed Out on Pixel 6A
There are a couple of workarounds you can try to fix the problem with OEM unlocking on your Pixel 6A.
Solution 1: Update Your Pixel 6A
A Google representative to Android Police has confirmed that the first software update which started rolling out in the last week of July addresses the issue. The update has started to roll out on Verizon, Verizon MVNOs, and Japanese carriers. We can expect it to roll out widely in the coming weeks. In case you have not received an update notification on your Pixel 6A, wait until it hits your phone. Or, go to Settings -> System -> System update to check if the update is already available for your Pixel 6A unit.
After installing the update, if the OEM unlocking option remains grayed out, you need to factory reset your Pixel 6A.
Solution 2: Perform a Factory Reset
Factory reset can be helpful in fixing the issue with bootloader unlocking. If the problem is caused by a minor bug or system glitches, doing the factory reset on your Pixel 6A can fix it. Before I take you to the steps, it’s important to understand that factory reset involves data loss. Hence, take a full backup of your phone before doing this.
How to factory reset Pixel 6A:
- Open the Settings app on your Pixel 6A.
- Go to System and select Reset options.
- Tap on Erase all data (factory reset).
- Click Erase all data. If asked, enter the lock screen pin/password and tap Erase all data.
- Your device will reboot automatically. Do not press any button during the process.
Solution 3: Manually Install Android 12 Build
Some users were able to fix the grayed out OEM unlocking option on Pixel 6A after manually installing the Android 12 build. First, they installed the Android 13 Beta 4.1 build on the phone and then downgraded it to the latest Android 12 build. This process involves data loss. Hence, you should backup important data first before upgrading/downgrading your Pixel 6A.
Solution 4: Sideload Verizon Build
Pixel 6A units on the Verizon carrier haven’t had the grayed out OEM unlocking problem. So, you can sideload the Verizon update SD2A.220601.004 on your Pixel 6A to check if it can spell out success for you. To instal this Verizon build, here are the steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Install Android SDK
If you are into Android rooting, customizations, etc, you already know what it is and how beneficial it is. In short, it is used to connect the phone with the computer to perform ADB commands. Instal the Android SDK on your computer and move to the next step.
Step 2: Download Verizon Pixel 6A Firmware
Download the Verizon’s Pixel 6A SD2A.220601.004 update on your computer and move it to the platform-tools folder.
Verizon Pixel 6A – 6A SD2A.220601.004
For our convenience, rename the file to “pixel6a”. The filename would become pixel6a.zip.
Step 3: Enable USB Debugging
You need to enable the USB Debugging option on your phone for it to get recognized by the computer. You can find this option under the Settings > System > Developer options. If you can’t find Developer options, go to Settings > About phone and tap 7 times on the built version. Now, you can find the Developer options and on that page you’ll get the option to enable USB Debugging.
Step 4: Boot Pixel 6A to Stock Recovery
After you’ve enabled USB Debugging, connect your phone to the PC via a USB cable. You’ll be asked to verify the USB connection, if you are doing this for the first time on your computer. Tap Verify on your phone.
Now, open the platform-tools folder on your PC, and type CMD in the address bar and press Enter to open the Command Prompt. Alternatively, inside the platform-tools folder, press Shift and right-click area and select Open Windows powershell here to open the Command Prompt.
Type in the following command and press Enter to boot your Pixel 5A to stock recovery.
adb reboot recovery
You’ll see a No command screen on your phone. Now, press and hold the power button. Press and release the volume up key, while holding the power button key. Now, release the power key and your device should boot to stock recovery.
Step 5: Sideload Verizon Pixel 6A Firmware
This is the last step, where we’ll be installing the Verizon Pixel 6A firmware. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Navigate to Apply update from ADB option using the power button and press the power key to select.
- Go to the command window on your computer and run the following command to verify the connection.
- If your computer shows you the text “sideload” next to a random string of numbers and letters, you are good to go.
- Run the following command to install the Verizon Pixel 6A firmware.
adb sideload pixel6a.zip
It may take a couple of minutes for the process to complete. Once done, navigate to Wipe data/factory reset option using the volume keys and press the power button to select. You device will reset and hopefully, the OEM unlocking option should not be grayed out.
Although Google has not confirmed the reason behind grayed out OEM unlocking problem on Pixel 6A, it has assured that a fix has been released in the form of a software update. I would highly recommend installing the latest update. In case it is currently not available on your phone, wait for a few days, or use the solutions mentioned in this article. If you have tried the solutions, let us know which one worked for you in the comments below?