Rooting a Pixel 3 with OTA

  1. Original Tutorials
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Rooting the Phone
    1. Unlock the Bootloader
    2. Downgrade to Android 10 (Oreo)
    3. Flashing the PixelDust ROM
    4. Sideloading Magisk
  4. Asides

EDIT 2020-01-23: Despite having Android 11 and automatic updates disabled, my phone suddenly lost the capacity for undetected root (ctsProfile: False, evalType: Hardware).
I have updated the guide to use [ROM][Pixel 3][10.0.0_r41] PixelDust CAF Android 10 for blueline [7 Aug 2020] and included step by step instructions below.

This document will outline the steps that I took to root my Google Pixel 3 phone.
It is a combination of multiple tutorials, with minor adaptations to address some issues during the root process.

Original Tutorials

Make sure to backup your device!
Unlocking the bootloader will wipe all user data from the device.
Save all important data to a remote location before proceeding.


You should have Android Debug Bridge (adb) installed.
I used the packages provided with Android Studio and configured my path accordingly.

adb --version
# Android Debug Bridge version 1.0.41
# Version 30.0.4-6686687
# Installed as /home/alexander/Android/Sdk/platform-tools/adb

fastboot --version
# fastboot version 30.0.4-6686687
# Installed as /home/alexander/Android/Sdk/platform-tools/fastboot

Rooting the Phone

Unlock the Bootloader

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to About phone.
  3. Tap on the Build number menu item until a message appears saying that you are now a developer.
  4. Go back one page and open the System > Developer options menu.
  5. Enable the OEM unlocking option.
  6. Enable the USB debugging option.
  7. Plug your phone into your computer and ensure that the device is detected with adb devices.
    $ adb devices
    # List of devices attached
    # 8A4X0LMZF device
  8. Reboot the phone to the bootloader menu.
    You can hold the power and volume down buttons while booting up your phone, or alternatively run the command:
    adb reboot bootloader
  9. In the bootloader menu, use the fastboot command to unlock the bootloader.
    fastboot flashing unlock
  10. Some text on your phone should now display potential risks of unlocking the bootloader.
    Continue unlocking the bootloader by pressing the volume up key until it says Unlock the bootloader. Press the power button to confirm.
  11. The bootloader will unlock and reboot back to the bootloader menu. A red warning icon and unlocked text will appear.
  12. Reboot the phone back to the Android operating system by running the command:
    fastboot reboot
  13. Your phone now has an unlocked bootloader!
    You will see a warning message that your phone is unlocked on every boot.
    This is something that cannot be removed or hidden.

Downgrade to Android 10 (Oreo)

You must have a recent factory image flashed prior to installing the rom.

  1. Since the device is wiped, re-enable Developer Options and USB Debugging. Ensure that the device is still recognized by the computer through adb.
  2. Reboot the phone back into the bootloader menu.
  3. Download an Android 9 factory image from the Google image repository, “blueline” for Pixel 3
    I used 10.0.0 (QQ3A.200805.001, Aug 2020) as it was the latest Android 10 image, all newer images belonging to Android 11.
    # Download the factory image archive

    # Ensure the checksum matches the google provided value.
    # 1ba5d2c20f71e46f08a0ae05bc2b478c3e4b3641ec661e9fdb0b8e7ec4df6a22
  4. Unzip the verified archive and run the script to downgrade your device.
    cd blueline-qq3a.200805.001
    # Begin the flash process
  5. Your device is now running stock Android 10. Proceed to flashing the PixelDust ROM.

Flashing the PixelDust ROM

  1. Re-enable Developer Options and USB Debugging, ensuring that the computer can recognize the device through adb.
  2. Download the PixelDust Boot Image and the PixelDust CAF Android 10 images from the XDA-Forums links section.
    • I used the boot_caf_2020_5.img and sourceforge links wihout issue.
      sha256sum boot_caf_2020_5.img
      # 8b7993a0ef6137fad626ae9057c397f6eded5f855956529422c3d007f29b2c81 boot_caf_2020_5.img
      # 5e2bcb3900640f05a50651a4022a16f788810f432e6cc560e81975829ea9378e
    • It was not necessary to download the Magisk patched boot image, as I sideloaded Magisk separately.
  3. Reboot into the bootloader and flash the boot image to enable recovery mode.
    fastboot flash boot boot_caf_2020_5.img
  4. Wipe the userdata (necessary for first PixelDust/Android 10 install).
    fastboot erase userdata
  5. Reboot into the bootloader.
    fastboot reboot fastboot
  6. Use the volume keys and power button to select Enter Recovery
  7. Select Apply Update > Apply Update from ADB.
  8. Sideload the PixelDust ROM zip archive.
    adb sideload
  9. Reboot the device. Proceed to sideloading Magisk.

Sideloading Magisk

Magisk is a suite of open source tools for in-depth Android customization that provides root access, functionality to modify read-only file systems on your device, and basic root hiding functionality and system integrity check spoofing.

  1. Download the latest stable MagiskManager release and install it on the phone.
    • I used Magisk Manager v8.0.2 with success.
      sha256sum MagiskManager-v8.0.2.apk 
      1b28f4952f994e5bff850a6586d66dbb34324f569860d91cdff03e6dfbd3a877 MagiskManager-v8.0.2.apk

      adb install MagiskManager-v8.0.2.apk
  2. Reboot the phone into recovery mode.
  3. Download the latest stable Magisk release and sideload it onto the phone.
    • I used with success.

      # See Flashing the PixelDust ROM, steps 5 through 7.
      adb sideload
    • The signature mismatch warning is expected and can be bypassed.
  4. Reboot the phone and navigate to MagiskManager.
  5. If safetyNet shows errors ctsProfile: False, evalType: BASIC, install the MagiskHide Props Config from the modules page.
  6. Within MagiskManager settings, enable the MagiskHide functionality and the Systemless hosts support.
  7. Reboot your phone. Congratulations! You now have root on your device and you should still be able to run apps like Google Pay.


I had issues with root being lost while using the stock Android ROM, even with automatic updates disabled.
The scenario was I was able to OTA upgrade to v11 successfully, but sporadically after a week of use, the phone would no longer pass SafetyNet.

I do not recommend the LineageOS blueline roms yet, because I had severe battery life issues using as well as random crashing of OpenGApps, despite using the recommended settings.

The primary motivation for rooting the device is to enable Axet’s Call Recorder as a system app.

Do not change the bootloader settings (lock/unlock), as this will wipe your device user data again or potentially brick your device.