Pixel 2 OTA Update Systemless Root

How to Install an OTA Update on the Pixel 2 with Systemless Root

If you have systemless root installed on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and no other system modifications, then follow these steps to install an OTA update.

Gaining root access used to make a number of changes to the Android OS and this made it difficult to install an OTA update from the OEM. Recently though, we’ve seen a trend in systemless versions of root from multiple developers and this makes it much easier to accept those OTA updates as long as you follow some important guidelines. I recently showed you how to gain systemless root access to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and today I wanted to follow this up a bit.

Now, having a systemless root access to your Pixel 2 isn’t the only important detail here. You also need to make sure that you haven’t installed any root applications (or other mods) that have made changes to the Android system. If it’s a systemless mod (such as Magisk Modules), then it’s okay that you use those. But if you install anything that makes permanent changes to the Android OS that you are unable to undo, then this process will not work.

The example I will be using below is Magisk, but the process should be similar with the systemless version of other root methods (such as SuperSU).

Install an OTA Update on Pixel 2 with Systemless Root

  1. Launch the Magisk Manager application
  2. Tap the Uninstall button
  3. Tap the Restore Stock Boot option
  4. Wait until the Restoration Done! toast message appears at the bottom
  5. Open the Settings application
  6. Tap the System option
  7. Tap the System Update option
  8. Initiate the OTA update install
  9. Wait for the OTA update to be installed
  10. Tap the Restart Now to Update option
  11. Wait for the Pixel 2 to boot back into Android
  12. Follow the guide to gain systemless root access to the Pixel 2 again (optional)

This step by step tutorial is a detailed explanation of a topic I covered on my Pixel 2 Tips and Tricks article. I recommend you read through that if you're curious about learning the ins and outs of the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL.


Explanation

So while systemless root access does make it easier to install an OTA update while you are rooted, you can’t simply just download and install the update when you receive the notification. Magisk has still made modifications to the kernel (aka the boot image) but it is incredibly easy to remove those changes. As shown in the tutorial above, and the embedded video that you can follow along with, you will first need to restore the stock boot image.

So when you receive that OTA update notification, go ahead and launch the Magisk Manager application. From here, tap on the Uninstall option at the bottom and then choose the restore Stock Boot option. You could do a complete uninstall if you’d like, but there isn’t a need and this method is much faster. It should only take a few seconds to restore the stock boot image so keep an eye out for the Toast message at the bottom that tells you it is done.

Pixel 2 OTA Update Systemless Root Magisk
You will first need to restore the stock boot image of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL before you can accept the OTA update.

The next thing to do is to initiate the OTA update process. You can do this by tapping the OTA update notification that you have received, or you can launch the Settings application, tap on the System option and then tap the System Update option to get to the update page. From here, you’ll want to initiate the OTA update process and wait for both steps to complete. When ready, you will see a Restart Now to Update option appear on the screen.

Go ahead and tap that to reboot the Pixel 2 and this will take you to a Google logo splash screen where some additional work is done. This part shouldn’t take long at all though and it will finish booting right back into the Android OS. From here, you can go back into the System Update section of the Settings application if you’d like to check and make sure the update installed properly and to see if you have any other updates that you may also need to install.

The OTA update process is done here, but if you want, you will need to follow the tutorial on how to gain systemless root access again if you want to get things back to how they were.


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