How To Enter Fastboot Mode and Unlock Bootloader on Pixel 3a & 3a XL

If you are a power user and have the Google Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XL, the first thing to do is to root the phone, install a custom recovery or custom ROM. Root allows you to gain complete control over the phone, a custom recovery lets you flash custom files such as ROMs, and a custom ROM is an enhanced and improved stock firmware.

Before you can root your Pixel 3a or install a custom recovery, you need to go into fastboot mode and unlock the bootloader. Before you continue with the tutorial below, it is a good idea to know what Fastboot and Bootloader are.

What are Fastboot and Bootloader

android logo

As stated by Google, Fastboot is a protocol for Android (Pixel phones) which can be used to write data to the phone’s memory. Some data that can be written include kernels, recoveries, and ROMs. The bootloader image is responsible for instructing the kernel to boot up. With a locked bootloader, you cannot root or flash custom files into the flash memory of the phone through fastboot.

How to enter Fastboot Mode on Pixel 3a and 3x XL

There are two ways to boot into Fastboot mode. The first way is through physical key combination, and the second way is through ADB commands.

Method 1: Key combination

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

Method 2: ADB commands

  1. Make sure you have the proper USB and ADB drivers installed on your computer.
  2. Make sure the phone is powered on.
  3. Connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable.
  4. Open the ADB tool on your computer and execute the following command:
    adb reboot bootloader
  5. The phone will turn off and boot into fastboot mode.

Now that you are in fastboot mode, you can press the volume up and down keys to go through different modes.

Fastboot modes:

  • Start
  • Restart bootloader
  • Download Mode
  • Recovery Mode
  • Barcodes
  • Power off

How to unlock Pixel 3a & 3a XL bootloader

Warning: The process of unlocking the bootloader of your Pixel 3a will erase all the data inside the phone’s internal memory. Please make a full backup of your data before proceeding below.

  1. Turn off your phone and go into fastboot mode using one of the methods mentioned above.
  2. Connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable.
  3. Open the ADB tool on your computer and execute the following code:
    fastboot flashing unlock
  4. The phone will automatically reboot once the bootloader has been unlocked.

That is it. When the phone boots up, the bootloader will be unlocked and you will be free to flash custom ROMs and modify the firmware of your Pixel 3a.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here