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Some Pixel 3 devices from the Google Store can't be bootloader unlocked

We'd expect this kind of tomfoolery from Verizon, but not the Google Store.

Published onNovember 21, 2018

The back of the Google Pixel 3.
  • Some Google Pixel 3 owners who bought their device from the Google Store are unable to unlock the device’s bootloader.
  • Verizon models of the Pixel 3 are unable to be unlocked, but Google Store orders should easily be unlocked.
  • It’s possible some users are receiving Verizon models by mistake, but Google has yet to issue a statement.

Android Authority readers, as well as forum posters on XDA Developers, are reporting some troubling news: it appears some Google Pixel 3 devices cannot be bootloader unlocked, even the ones purchased directly from Google.

Usually, devices purchased from the Google Store are easily unlockable, while models bought from Verizon — the exclusive U.S. carrier for all Pixel models — are not unlockable. It’s not clear what’s happening for the users facing this issue, but it might be that the Google Store is shipping some Verizon models by mistake.

We’ve reached out to Google for a statement on the matter and will update this article when we receive a response.

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Google Pixel devices are a favorite of developers and members of the custom ROM community. However, if the bootloader can’t be unlocked that part of the appeal of the device is lost, as it’s not easy to tinker with a device if you can’t access the bootloader.

There is a Google Issue Tracker post related to the issue, which so far has many comments and a handful of stars. However, Google has yet to officially chime in on the topic.

Last year, a similar issue occurred with the Google Pixel 2. Google did issue a software fix for the problem, but it unfortunately required users to perform a factory reset, which is certainly an inconvenience.

If you have a Google Pixel 3 that should have an unlockable bootloader — but doesn’t — let us know in the comments.

NEXT: OnePlus 6T vs Google Pixel 3 XL: Depends on what you value most

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