How To Unlock Bootloader on Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

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Last updated on August 5th, 2019 at 05:05 pm

Google Pixel smartphones are one of the best cameras phones available on the market. Other OEMs are making some changes and trying to compete with the camera quality of the Pixel devices for so long but, have failed to come even closer. Yes, there are some flaws in the Pixel devices as well but, the main USP of the device is the camera and it makes a home run in that department. Moreover, being a Google device, the owner of Pixel smartphone gets the latest updates more frequently and quicker than any other OEMs smartphones in the market. This is the reason why many people prefer the Google Pixel device. I have personally used the device and whenever I use the Pixel 3 XL smartphone, I am blown away by the quality of the images it captures.

However, if you are into customizing your smartphone and love to change the device settings or install custom mods on your device then, you need to have an unlocked bootloader. And, in this post, we will share with you how to unlock bootloader on Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. Moreover, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphones are the recently launched mid-range smartphones from Google. You get pretty decent specs but, you also get the camera from their older brother’s the Pixel 3a and 3a XL.

So, without any further ado, let us get straight into the article itself;

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Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL Specifications Overview

The Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor which is a 64-bit Octa-Core processor that is paired with 4GB of RAM. The GPU of both the devices is Adreno 615 and it runs on the Android 9.0 Pie OS. In the display department, the Pixel 3a sports a 5.6-inch FHD+ (2220 x 1080 resolution) OLED which has a 441 PPI. Whereas, the Pixel 3a Xl sports a 6.0-inch display with an FHD+ OLED(2160 x 1080 resolution) at 402 PPI with an aspect ratio of 18:9.  There is also a different in the aspect ratio of the display on the Pixel 3a is 18.5:9. Now, talking about the main USP of the device, the camera.

The Rear camera of the Pixel 3a has a single 12.2 MP dual-pixel sensor that has auto-focus with dual-pixel phase detection, optical + electronic image stabilization with ƒ/1.8 aperture and 76° field of view. In the front, the device has a single 8MP shooter with ƒ/2.0 aperture with 84° field of view. Moreover, these specs are also the same for the Pixel 3a XL. The device has a storage capacity of 64 GB storage. The different sensors on the Pixel 3a and 3a XL are Active Edge, Proximity/Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer/Gyrometer, Magnetometer, Pixel Imprint, etc. Both the devices have a back-mounted fingerprint sensor for fast unlocking.

The Pixel 3a XL is more or less the same in terms of software but is a bit bigger. The other difference between the Pixel 3a and 3a XL is the battery capacity. You get a 3700 mAh battery on the Pixel 3a XL and a 3000 mAh battery on the Pixel 3, while both the device support 18W fast charging.

What is Bootloader?

The bootloader is something that starts up whenever you start your device. The bootloader is responsible for sending the instructions to the operating system for booting up the device. The Android device packs all the system files in one place and all the other application file on the other storage space. And, this is the reason why bootloader is locked on any smartphone. If you by accident or deliberately messed up the bootloader file then, you might permanently damage your device. Moreover, unlocking the bootloader will void your warranty and also wipes out your internal memory. So, if you are considering unlocking the bootloader of your device then, always make sure to make a back up of your device memory.

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Pre-Requisites

Once you are equipped with all the information regarding bootloader, you need to have the below-mentioned files and tools ready before heading to unlocking the bootloader;

  • Make Sure your device is charged at least 70%.
  • We would recommend you to use the original USB cable that came in the box with the device.
  • Download ADB and Fastboot tools.
  • Make sure you have proper USB drivers installed for the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL.

How To Unlock Bootloader on Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

How to enter Fastboot Mode on Pixel devices

There are two methods via which you can enter the Fastboot mode on your Pixel 3a or 3a XL. Both the methods are mentioned below;

1. Key Combination

  • Press and hold the power button to turn your phone off.
  • Once the phone is turned off, press and hold the Power + Volume down keys at the same time.
  • Keep the buttons pressed and release them when the phone goes into Fastboot mode.

2. ADB Commands

  • Firstly, make sure that you have installed the proper USB and ADB drivers installed on your PC.
  • Now, switch ON your device.
  • Then, connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable.
  • Open the ADB tool on your PC and execute the below command:
    adb reboot bootloader
  • The phone will turn off and boot into Fastboot mode.
  • Now this will take you to Fastboot mode, and now you can press the volume up and down keys to go through different modes.

Steps to Unlock the Bootloader on the Pixel 3a and 3a XL

Warning

NOTE: Before we begin with the unlocking of bootloader, I would strongly recommend you to create a backup of your device storage and all your files stored on your device. Unlocking of bootloader will wipe off the entire data on your device. Moreover, it is advised to follow the steps mentioned in this post very carefully to avoid permanent damage or bricking of your device. If anything goes wrong, the author or GetDroidTips will not be responsible for it.

Below are the steps to unlock the bootloader on the Pixel 3a and 3a XL;

  • Firstly, turn OFF your device and boot into the Fastboot mode by following any of the above-mentioned methods.
  • Now, connect the device to your PC/laptop with the USB Cable. We would suggest you use the original USB cable that came in with the device.
  • Open the ADB tool on your computer and execute the following code:
    fastboot flashing unlock
  • Now, the process of unlocking the bootloader on the Pixel 3a/3a XL will start.
  • Your phone will automatically reboot once, the bootloader has been unlocked.
  • Voila! You have successfully unlocked the bootloader of your Pixel device.

Once the bootloader is unlocked, you will be able to flash custom ROMs and modify the firmware of your Pixel 3a and 3a XL.

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Conclusion

There you have it from my side in this post. You have now successfully unlocked the bootloader of your Pixel 3a and 3a XL. Though it is a long procedure, it is advised that you must follow each of the steps very carefully because if you skipped any of the steps above, you might brick or permanently damage your device. Also, as previously mentioned, please make a backup of all the data of your device because this procedure will wipe of your device storage.

Let us know in the comments how was the experience of unlocking the bootloader of your Pixel device, and also mention if I have missed any of the steps which will benefit the users who are trying to unlock their bootloader. Until the next post…Cheers!

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