[Update : SuperSU now works] TWRP now available for the Pixel and Pixel XL

Ethan Yonker (Dees Troy), the lead developer of TWRP recovery yesterday posted on his Google+ account that the recovery shouldn’t take much time now to arrive for Pixel and Pixel XL as decrypt was finally working on his test builds. We have since seen root access arrive for the Pixel siblings but due to the complexity of the new File Based Encryption the Pixels use the development of the recovery has been very difficult.

And come today, TWRP recovery for Pixel and Pixel XL have already made it to the official repository at TeamWin’s website but it can only be described as a very alpha build of TWRP.


The developer states that it can cause data loss and that it breaks Chainfire’s SuperSU root (if installed on your phone). If you’ve ever manually installed TWRP onto your device, then you might be familiar with the fastboot commands needed to flash the TWRP image to the recovery partition. But installing TWRP recovery on Pixel and Pixel XL is slightly different than that of Nexus devices because of the new partitions layout on Pixel phones.

On another note, in the near future, TWRP can decide which of the 2 “slots” to use and boot into. Google use the second slot for seamless updates but if you are running a custom ROM etc then updates from Google are useless to you. Changing the boot slot in TWRP tells the bootloader which slot to boot into. Instead you MAY be able to dual boot different ROMs and setups — eg. one non-rooted ROM for Android Pay etc and one for everyday fun.


Before you do proceed to flash the recovery though, let me warn you again, it will definitely break your root, definitely wipe everything on your phone and this is an alpha build at best. So, there’s all the reasons to wait and not flash this build.

But if you’re just too adventurous, here’s how you can flash TWRP on your Pixel or Pixel XL:

Download Pixel and Pixel XL TWRP recovery installer zip and Fastboot images

Google Pixel (sailfish):

Google Pixel XL (marlin):


To get started, you’ll need to unlock bootloader on your Pixel phone and have ADB and Fastboot setup on your PC.

How to Install TWRP recovery on Pixel and Pixel XL

  1. Make sure you’ve unlocked the bootloader on your Pixel phone and have ADB and Fastboot setup on your PC before proceeding.
  2. Download the TWRP recovery .img file for your Pixel variant from the downloads section above and save it to a separate folder on your PC.
  3. Download and transfer the TWRP installer zip file for Pixel variant to your Pixel phone.
  4. Enable USB debugging from Developer options.
  5. Connect your Pixel phone to the PC.
  6. Open a command window inside the folder where you saved TWRP recovery .img file on your PC in Step 2 above. To do that “Shift + Right click” on any empty white space inside the folder and then select “Open command window here” from the context menu.
  7. On the command window issue the following commands to temporarily boot (not flash) TWRP recovery image on your Pixel phone.
    adb reboot bootloader

    This will reboot your phone into bootloader mode.

    For Pixel (sailfish):
    fastboot boot twrp-3.0.2-0-alpha1-fastboot-sailfish.img
    For Pixel XL (marlin):
    fastboot boot twrp-3.0.2-0-alpha1-fastboot-marlin.img
  8. Your Pixel phone will now boot into TWRP recovery.
    If you had a lockscreen password and your phone didn’t ask for it. Then repeat the whole Step 7 again.
  9. From TWRP recovery main menu: Select Install » select the TWRP installer zip file that we transferred to your phone in Step 3 above » and then do a Swipe at the bottom bar to confirm flashing the file.
    This will install TWRP recovery to both slots on your Pixel phone.

For more information regarding this, check out the relevant XDA threads ( Pixel TWRP, Pixel XL TWRP). The procedure for both the Pixel and Pixel XL is same but the TWRP images are not.

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