The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are considered among the best Android smartphones currently available on the market, sporting high-end specs and features and a stock Android experience. The two smartphones also appeal to users who want a device with an unlocked bootloader. Despite the stock Android experience, some users still want to tweak their device, flash custom ROMs or kernels, and customize their experience. Some carrier versions of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, however, come with locked bootloaders, and that applies to the Verizon versions of the smartphones as well. Nevertheless, it seems that several users have managed to successfully unlock the bootloader of their Verizon Pixel 2.
Verizon locks its phones and while last year an exploit enabled Pixel and Pixel XL owners to unlock their phones, this year it seems that a fastboot exploit does the trick, triggering a menu that allows users to unlock the bootloader. On the downside, it appears that this option is available only for the Verizon Pixel 2, and not the larger Pixel 2 XL. The users who managed to unlock their Verizon Pixel 2’s bootloader did so in just a few steps, without taking advantage of a specific exploit. It remains unclear just why this trick works, but considering that Verizon versions of the smartphones are not supposed to have this option, it might not last for long. It also remains to be seen whether this is an isolated matter, available to just a few users by mistake, or whether it’s a valid workaround for all Google Pixel 2 handsets on Verizon. Users who unlocked the bootloader bought their Verizon Pixel 2 from different places, which might indicate that it’s not just a small batch that can be unlocked.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, a bootloader starts running as soon as an Android device is powered on, and it tells the device what software to load. Simply put, it kick starts the Android OS. Phones with locked bootloaders can only run programs that are part of the stock Android ROM that was pre-loaded on the device. Having an unlocked booloader, meanwhile, allows users to flash what they want on the device, so this should be great for Pixel 2 owners on Verizon who have wanted to move forward with loading on custom firmware.