Some people can’t imagine using Android without root access. While the Google Pixel smartphones are among the easiest devices to unlock the bootloader, root and install aftermarket software, it may come as a surprise that the typical boot image patching technique is no longer applicable to the latest Pixel 7 series.
If you bought the Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro and want to learn how to root it, we’ll show you how in this tutorial. You must have your PC available and know your way around ADB.
Google Pixel 7 XDA Forums || Google Pixel 7 Pro XDA Forums
- You need an unlocked bootloader to root your Google Pixel 7 or 7 Pro.
- Unlocking the bootloader will wipe out the Pixel 7/7 Pro.
- Instead of the boot image, you need to patch the init_boot image with Magisk for root access.
Navigate this article:
How to Root Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro
Before we get into how to root the Pixel 7, remember to take an external backup of your device. That’s because the root process requires you to delete all the data on the phone, including the files on the internal memory.
Step 1 – Get a stock init_boot image for Pixel 7/7 Pro
For devices launching with Android 13 like the Pixel 7 series, the generic ramdisk is removed from the boot image and placed in a separate location called “init_boot.” Boot.img contains only the generic kernel image (GKI).
As a result patching boot.img for root access will not work for these devices. Rather, we need to get the image that corresponds to the init_boot partition that matches the current software build the phone is running.
Fortunately, we don’t need any special tool to rip the init_boot image from the target device. It can be easily extracted from the Google published factory image for Pixel 7/7 Pro.
To make sure you’re downloading the correct factory image, check what software version your phone is currently running. To check this, go to Settings > About the phone. Look for the bottom Building number section. Find the matching build number on the factory image download page and download that file.
Download Android 13 for Google Pixel phones
Then extract the factory image ZIP file. find the picture-[device codename]-[version].zip file (yes, it’s a ZIP within a ZIP) and extract the init_boot.img file from it. This is the file you need to transfer to your phone’s internal storage to patch.
Step 2 – Patch the stock init_boot image using Magisk
Now that we have our hands on the init_boot image, we can easily patch it with Magisk. In fact, you can patch it on another Android device other than the Pixel 7, but you’ll need to install the Magisk app on the secondary device as well.
While the current stable version of Magisk can patch the Pixel 7’s init_boot image, you may want to opt for the bleeding canary version of Magisk for further fixes.
Download Magic: Stack || The Canary Islands
After installing Magisk APK, open the app and find Install button on the top card. Select Select and patch a file under Method, and select the stock image init_boot. This will open the Android file picker. Go ahead and find the init_boot.img you transferred from your PC and select it. The Magisk app will patch the image to the Downloads folder on your phone. You need to transfer this patch file (should be named “magic_patched_[random_strings].img”) back to your PC, because next time we will unlock the bootloader which will erase all data as we warned earlier.
Especially if you browse the XDA forums for the Pixel 7 or 7 Pro, you might be lucky enough to find a pre-patched init_boot image. Therefore, we always recommend getting hold of the official firmware and patching the boot image yourself to avoid unforeseen errors due to image version discrepancies.
Step 3 – Enable OEM unlocking and unlock the bootloader
To flash third-party software on the Pixel 7, we need to unlock the bootloader. To do so, go to Settings > About the phone > Building number and press this entry 7 times to activate Developer opportunities. After enabling it, go back to the main settings page and tap Systemthen go to Developer opportunities. From there you switch off OEM unlocking option. Remember that you must enter a password/pattern/PIN to validate some of the actions.
It is important to note that some US carriers like Verizon do not allow bootloader unlocking at all, making it impossible to root your phone. However, sometimes people find unofficial workarounds and we’ll let you know if any are found.
After enabling OEM unlocking, turn off your phone. Hold both the volume down and power buttons to turn the phone back on and boot into the bootloader menu. Assuming you have the latest ADB and Fastboot binaries installed already, you can also use the following command to reboot into bootloader mode directly from Android.
span >adb reboot bootloaderspan>
Make sure to keep your phone connected to your PC/Mac/Chromebook. Then type in a terminal window:
span >fastboot flashing unlockspan>
You will see a screen telling you that you are about to start the bootloader unlocking process. Use volume button to navigate and power button to accept. Again, this will erase all the data on your phone, so make sure you have backed up your data before proceeding.
Step 4 – Flash Magisk patched init_boot image
After your Pixel 7 (or 7 Pro) bootloader is unlocked and the init_boot image is patched, you’re just one step away from root.
Once the unlocking process is complete, the phone will reboot after a few minutes. Skip the setup wizard at this stage and turn off your phone. You will now boot back into the bootloader by holding the volume down and power buttons again. Once there, connect your phone to your PC/Mac/Chromebook and run the following command:
span >fastboot flash init_boot pathspan>span >/span>span >tospan>span >/span>span >magisk_patchedspan>span >.span>span >imgspan>
As soon as you press enter, the patched init_boot image will be flashed to your phone. Then restart using
fastboot reboot and the Magisk app should appear on the home screen and/or app drawer. If it doesn’t (eg you can only see a stub icon), install the Magisk APK manually. You are now rooted!
Remember that you need to repeat steps 1, 2 and 4 every time you update your phone because the init_boot image changes with every update. To know more, check out our guide on how to install OTA updates and root your Google Pixel phone.
What will be next?
Once the Pixel 7 is rooted, it opens up the device to some interesting mods like Magisk mods and Xposed mods. Of course, there are already tons of things you can do without root on Google devices, but having root access is still an added advantage, especially if you’re considering the best root apps.
Google Pixel 7
The vanilla Google Pixel 7 is very similar to the high-end Pro model, but it’s $300 cheaper and offers more value for money.
Google Pixel 7 Pro
The advanced Pixel 7 Pro has a better screen, higher resolution and refresh rate, a bigger battery and an extra telephoto lens on the back.