Pixel 4a

I got a Pixel 4a on 2021-03-01 (from MediaMarkt, 345€, free shipping) with 128G storage and 6G RAM.

Included is a USB-C charger and USB-C-to-C cable, as well as an USB-A-to-C adapter for copying the data off your old phone (didn’t work for me).

For rooting/flashing you need a USB-C-to-A cable.

Unlocking the bootloader

Quite similar to the Aquaris X and the Nexus 5X. Again, this will wipe all data (twice even!) so do I as the very first thing.

I used android-tools-30.0.5_2 on Void Linux (Android Debug Bridge version 1.0.41).

  • Settings -> About -> Tap “Build Number” seven times
  • Settings -> Developer -> OEM unlocking -> Enable
  • Settings -> Developer -> USB debugging -> Enable
  • Plug in USB -> Allow
  • Verify USB connection works:

    % sudo adb devices
    List of devices attached
    00xxxxxxxxxxxx69    device
  • Reboot phone, press Power then quickly Volume Down to enter fastboot.

    % sudo fastboot devices
    00xxxxxxxxxxxx69    fastboot
    % sudo fastboot flashing unlock
    OKAY [ 15.398s]
    finished. total time: 15.398s

    (Choose yes on display.)

  • Reboot, it now shows a spooky warning message.

Flashing TWRP

  • There is no stable version of TWRP yet.


Installing Magisk now requires some steps where you need to patch the boot.img from your official firmware releases, it’s all explained here (archived).

For some reason I fucked this up on the first try, which yielded an unbootable system that needed a full wipe, including my already configured setup. :(

How to do a full wipe

Run from the firmware release, in the last line

fastboot -w update

The -w will cause a wipe.

(Maybe try without -w first, but it didn’t work for me.)

There are also some things related to A/B images that I don’t understand yet.

Ad blocking

AdAway is broken for some reason I didn’t investigate yet.

Other changes related to Android 11

  • Re-enable the 3 buttons on the bottom at System > Gestures.

  • Aix Weather Widget is broken, use Meterogram.

  • URLImageWidget is gone? I now use Better URL Image Widget, which has fewer features…




Since the battery got quite bad and seemingly started to bulge(?), I decided on 2023-06-26 to get a Pixel 7a instead.