How To: Root Your Pixel 4 with Magisk — The Beginner's Guide

Root Your Pixel 4 with Magisk — The Beginner's Guide

The Pixel 4 is one of the most talked-about phones of 2019, so you know there will be lots of third-party developer support. Mods are already popping up, so you'll want to get Magisk installed as soon as possible to get root access. The current method used to gain root is a bit lengthy, but it'll be worth it.

Rooting allows you to tweak, customize, and change everything you could ever want on a system level. Using Magisk will also enable you to pass Google's SafetyNet. This means you can continue using all of your favorite financial apps without worry, such as Google Pay. Magisk went through some significant changes for Android 10 and the Pixel 4, so let's get started so you can check it out.

Requirements

  • Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL (non-Verizon models only)
  • Windows, Mac, or Linux computer
  • USB cable

Step 1: Unlock Your Bootloader

First, you'll need to unlock your phone's bootloader, which will allow you to run unofficial firmware like Magisk. Do be aware that unlocking the bootloader will auto-wipe your data, but there's no way around it. If you haven't already done so, visit the tutorial below to get your bootloader unlocked.

Step 2: Make Sure You're on the Right Android Build

The files below are only intended for use on the November 2019 build of Android for the Pixel 4 or 4 XL. To make sure your phone will be compatible, head to Settings –> About phone, then tap "Android version." If the "Android security patch level" field says November 5, 2019, you're good to go. If not, update your phone.

Step 3: Download the Patched Boot Image

Normally, you'd have to download the factory images package from Google, extract just the boot image, transfer the image to your phone, run it through the Magisk Manager app to patch it and add the root files, then send it back to your computer and flash the patched boot image in Fastboot. But not this time.

Instead, just download one of the pre-patched boot images we found. These are the official boot images from Google and the only change is they've been run through Magisk. Hit one of the links below from your computer to download the patched boot image for your device and carrier:

If you don't want to use a pre-patched image, you can do it yourself with the following steps:

  1. Download the full factory images package for your model
  2. Extract the downloaded ZIP
  3. Extract the second ZIP inside of the extracted folder
  4. Locate the "boot.img" file and move it to your phone's storage
  5. Install Magisk Manager
  6. In Magisk Manager, tap "Install" next to "Magisk is not installed"
  7. Tap "Install" on the popup
  8. Choose "Select and Patch a File"
  9. Use the file picker to select the boot.img file
  10. Tap "Done" when finished
  11. Move the patched_magisk.img file back to your computer

Step 4: Install Magisk Manager on Your Pixel

Now you'll need to grab the latest version of the Magisk manager app from the link below and install it on your phone.

After the app finishes downloading, tap the "Download complete" notification to start the install process. You might have to enable "Install Unknown Apps" for the browser you're using to download the app from, but you'll be able to tap "Install" once you take care of that. Tap "Open," then you can move onto the next step.

Step 5: Download the Platform-Tools Package

In order to flash the patched boot image and enable root, you'll need Google's SDK Platform-Tools on your computer. Click one of the links below to download the tool, then extract the ZIP and place the extracted folder on your desktop.

Step 6: Boot into Fastboot Mode

Now you'll have to put your phone into a state that it can accept the Fastboot command to push over the modified boot image file to your system. Long-press the power button, then tap "Power off" to shut your phone entirely down.

When the phone turns off, hold the power button and volume down button at the same time until the Fastboot Mode menu pops up. Make sure your phone is connected to your computer then leave the phone just like this for the next step.

Step 7: Open a Command Window in Platform-Tools

Your phone should currently be sitting in Fastboot Mode. From here, you'll need to open a command window within the platform-tools folder on your computer so your phone and computer can communicate with one another.

If you're on Windows, press the Windows button on your keyboard, then type "cmd" and hit enter to open a command prompt window. If you're on Linux or Mac, simply open the "Terminal" app.

Now, type "cd" in the prompt, then add a space, but don't hit enter yet. Instead, drag the platform-tools folder you extracted in Step 5 from your desktop, then drop it right on top of the command window. This will populate the folder's location. When it does, hit enter.

Step 8: Flash the Patched Boot Image

It's time for the fun part: using the Fastboot command that'll give your Pixel 4 full root access. Type in the following command, but don't hit enter yet.

fastboot flash boot

Note: Mac, Linux, and Windows PowerShell users will likely have to add a period and a slash before entering any Fastboot commands (e.g., ./fastboot flash boot).

Now, add a single space, then locate the magisk_patched.img file you downloaded in Step 3. Click and drag this file over to the command prompt window and let go. This should populate the file's full location path, at which point it's safe to hit enter.

Once the "magisk_patched.img" file has been installed onto your Pixel 4, you'll need to reboot your device back into Android. To do this, type in the following command then hit enter to confirm your choice.

fastboot reboot

The above command allows you to reboot your phone from Fastboot Mode without having to physically touch the device. It's a handy thing to know if you plan on using Fastboot commands in the future to install other mods or system updates.

Step 9: Verify Root

Now that your phone is back up from the reboot, head over to the Magisk Manager app, then tap the arrow next to "Tap to start SafetyNet check" to ensure you pass Google's SafetyNet check. Once the "SafetyNet Check Success" message appears, and you get two green check marks, you're all set. Now you can take your Pixel 4 to the next level with complete root access. Happy modding!

Cover image and screenshots by Stephen Perkins/Gadget Hacks

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