How to Return the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL Back to Stock Android

Pixel 2 Unbrick Guide

If you’ve made any modifications to the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL then you can follow this guide to revert back to stock so you can accept OTA updates again.

I recently showed you how to install TWRP on the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL so you that you can flash various mods onto the device. However, things like TWRP and other non-systemless mods will prevent you from accepting an OTA update from Google. This is typically a big deal for Pixel owners as the company pushes out a new security update every month and a lot of people buy smartphones and tablets from Google for their update policy.

Depending on what system mod you have installed, you may be able to just uninstall it through conventional means. This isn’t alway the case though as some mods will leave files and changes behind even if you proceed to uninstall them. So if for whatever reason you feel the need to revert back to stock Android on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL then you can follow this guide down below. You should be aware though that this will wipe all of the data you have stored on your device.

In order to complete the tutorial below, you're going to need some things setup ahead of time. Please follow the how to install ADB and Fastboot tools guide if you haven't done so already. You're also going to need to start the ADB service by executing the "adb devices" command (no quotes) in the Command Prompt. Lastly, you'll need to follow the how to enable Developer Mode guide, as well as the how to enable USB Debugging Mode guide, and make sure to grant USB Debugging access from the PC to your device.

 

Pixel 2 Returning to Stock Android

  1. Download the factory images for your device (Pixel 2Pixel 2 XL)
  2. Extract these individual files into the same folder as your ADB and Fastboot tools
  3. Boot the Pixel 2 into Fastboot Mode
  4. Connect the Pixel 2 to the PC with a USB cable
  5. Launch a Command Prompt in the same directory as your ADB and Fastboot tools
  6. Type the following into the Command Prompt. . .
  7. flash-all.bat
  8. . . .and then press Enter on the keyboard
  9. Wait for the script to complete and return the device to stock Android
  10. Unplug the USB cable from the Pixel 2 after it reboots on its own
  11. Activate Android like you normally would when it finishes the boot process

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


If you have ever returned any Pixel or Nexus smartphone or tablet back to stock Android with Google’s factory images then you’ll feel right at home here. This does require that you have your bootloader unlocked but this is something you would have already done if you have installed a system modification on the device. You can choose to lock the Pixel 2 bootloader after you return to stock Android though which is likely a good idea if you’re selling it or simply want to use Android Pay again.

So to start, you’ll first need to download the factory images from Google for your Pixel 2 smartphone. Google has implemented ways to prevent people from downgrading though so you’ll want to download the same version of Android that you’re currently on. With that file downloaded, go ahead and extract its contents on your PC. This ZIP file contains a folder and inside that folder are a number of files. It’s these individual files that you will want to move/copy to the same folder your ADB and Fastboot tools are in.

Pixel 2 Return Stock Android Command

The process will take a few minutes to complete so just wait until it’s finished.

With that done, we can boot the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL into Fastboot Mode and then connect it to the PC with a USB cable. We’ll then want to launch a Command Prompt within the same directory as our ADB and Fastboot tools. From here, go ahead and execute the flash-all.bat command and then we just need to be patient. You can follow along with the embedded video above if you would like, but this process will take a few minutes to complete.

Once all of the partitions have been returned back to stock Android then the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL will automatically reboot. Once you can see the phone starting to boot back up, you can then unplug the USB cable as it is no longer needed. The first boot cycle will take longer than normal but it isn’t something that will take a ton of time. You’ll be taken directly to the typical Android activation screen so you can connect your account back to it.

Once all of that is setup, you should then be able to accept OTA updates directly from Google on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

If this tutorial helped you in any way, please consider donating at Patreon or PayPal. If you can't afford to donate then sharing this on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. will also help a lot.

 

About the author

Doug

I’m working to create an organized and easy to follow central repository of Android tips, tutorials, guides and everything you need to know. With a focus on device specific tutorials now, my goal is to branch out and do more universal tips and tricks that will work on all Android devices.