Another day, another Google Pixel 2 problem: Many users can't unlock their bootloaders

It seems that yet another new issue is her to mar the quality control regarding Google's newest Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL stock Android champs. 

It would seem that a number of Google Pixel 2 units purchased straight from the Play Store and not some shady reseller are arriving with bootloaders that can't be unlocked. As you might imagine, the issue first popped up on XDA's developer-centric forums, where multiple users bemoaned that they are unable to unlock the bootlaoders of their new devices though they are supposed to be able to do that by default, as Google has had a rather lax stance on bootloaders ever since early Nexus days. Roughly 40 reports on XDA and over a dozen on Google's issue tracker have claimed to have the issue, which seems to be exclusive to the  smaller Pixel 2 that HTC manufactured.

Almost all users that have reported the issue are also claiming that they are already pushing Google for an RMA.

While regular users will have zero problems with their Pixel 2 devices being locked down, tinkerers and developers alike absolutely need to have a device with an unlockable bootloader in order to obtain root access and meddle with their devices. 

We've already reported about some Pixel 2 XL units which came with no operating system out of the box, a few devices that exhibited weird screen flash when locking, an unpleasant microphone issue, and finally, peculiar problems with visualizing LED lights on video. Those add up to the already fixed, but nonetheless major OLED burn-in display issues as well as the clicking audio in the earpiece when talking on the phone. 

Overall, not a very good quality control track record for Google's latest devices.

Related phones

Pixel 2
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2700 mAh
Pixel 2 XL
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2880 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3520 mAh



1. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

You would think the launch of a successor would go better than that of the predecessor, in the case of the Google Pixel 2s, it's the exact opposite smh. To think I once looked forward to the launch of the new Pixel.

12. Smokestack

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 13, 2017

I'm really disappointed by the launch as well, I was looking forward to buying the XL, but with the phones hitting these 1k price points, I'm not willing to accept issues like I would on a cheap phone. Hope the next Pixels are better planned.

18. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Iconic , intelligent, innovative, genius >>>> Goooooooooogle LMAO

2. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

A clear failure....better for Google to focus on software.

9. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Yeah, Pixels are supposed to be dev kits. In order to flash a factory image your device should have an unlocked bootloader. How ironic.

16. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

You're thinking the Nexus line. The Pixels are meant for more of a consumer crowd. But they still allow unlockable bootloaders on the version they sell, the Verizon versions are locked.

20. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

The only difference is the name and price. In a developer's view its just another Google phone.

22. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

It's also makes a difference who they're marketing it to. Developer phones weren't normally advertised, and I can't recall seeing an ad for any Nexus device prior to the 5x/6p, and they didn't advertise very much for them. Even when Verizon had the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 6 in their lineup they didn't advertise them. But both Google and Verizon are advertising the Pixel phones, and white a bit, which means they're more geared towards average consumers.

23. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Its the only device Google has SDKs and factory images to play with. Other OEMs do that too but OEM SDKs are known to have broken implementation of sources like kernels so devs tend to do more on Nexus/Pixels.

26. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

So other OEMs do it as well, but not as well. That's not a very good argument. Now if the OEMs didn't have them I might agree with you, but things like SDKs and factory images is a part of Android, not specific to Google.

17. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Because I'm sure Apple allows you to mess with their software and change anything to your hearts content right?

3. jonathanfiuwx

Posts: 184; Member since: Mar 10, 2017

Come to essential. The only thing we have wrong is a camera issue that is getting better with software updates.

4. rebretz

Posts: 114; Member since: Dec 26, 2011

This is what happens when you have a special Verizon version that has a locked down bootloader. Somewhere along the line the Verizon variant was mislabeled as the Google variant and Google purchasers got the Verizon one.

5. lazarus_26

Posts: 39; Member since: Sep 29, 2014

I just wanna know which problems this phone doesn't have! I know probably most of them fix with the next software update but the number of problems this phone have seems endless. It’s so sad because this phone has great potential to be a excellent one.

7. BGChicago

Posts: 227; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

I got one for you - Pixel 2 or XL2 will never have an issue with heaphone jack. You don't need to worry about getting it wet, or it starting to flip out and report headphones plugged when they are not. :D

10. lazarus_26

Posts: 39; Member since: Sep 29, 2014

hahaha, good point!

13. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Try one out for yourself and you determine if there's problems with the phone.

6. lyndon420

Posts: 6876; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Give your phone a gay sounding name and you can expect lots of problems. Shouldn't have dropped the Nexus line Google...I'll never forgive you for that. You suck and so do your pixels (just typing the word makes me cringe with disappointment).

8. lmao2016

Posts: 87; Member since: Mar 17, 2016

Get your point but did you have to use gay as an insult that whole thing is getting old....bye!

14. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

That's a stupid comment to make considering Google has a number of pixel products.

19. aegislash

Posts: 1531; Member since: Jan 27, 2015 you're saying all of these issues are merely because Google gave the Pixel line a 'gay sounding name'? I think we need an explanation as to why the word 'Pixel' triggers you so much in the first place.

11. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1277; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

May be they have just thoroughly tested Camera and nothing else..

15. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Wow, didn't know this. I unlocked my 2XL without a issue... Need to go back to XDA to find out what they are doing it not doing

21. sraj49

Posts: 42; Member since: Sep 12, 2014

First, there is no need for anyone to unlock the bootloader. Secondly why is it that all small Pixel 2 so called common problems are amplified add issues.

24. tjb51681

Posts: 7; Member since: Jul 19, 2017

I called Google about this and the idiot I talked to knew less than I did. What I found out is that if you put a Verizon sim card in during the activation process it will prevent you from unlocking the bootloader. When i got my replacement i activated it with my friends T-mobile sim then i was able to enable oem unlocking...

25. joey18

Posts: 678; Member since: Jul 20, 2010

is google problem

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