Some Pixel 2 devices bought from the Google Store seem to have locked-down bootloaders
Apart from the clean version of Android 8.0 Oreo, guaranteed updates for three years, and the cameras, another reason why folks might lean toward the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is for the ability to unlock their bootloaders. Unfortunately for some, it seems that some of those who bought their phones directly from Google are unable to do that.
If we go by last year’s Pixel phones, those purchased from Google usually come with bootloaders that can be unlocked through the “OEM unlocking” toggle in developer options. By comparison, Verizon models have that option blanked out.
That difference is an important one for those who like to tinker with their devices, since bootloader unlocking allows them to root their devices and install different ROMs, kernels, and everything in between. It is also why some people are angry that their Pixel 2 devices purchased from Google do not allow them to select the “OEM unlocking” toggle, even though that option should not be disabled.
This adds to the theory that Google might have accidentally sold Verizon models instead of the unlocked models, though that’s just a theory at this point. For now, enough people have reported the issue for it to have its own Google Issue Tracker page, where one of the comments states that Google’s engineering teams are “investigating this issue.”
Based on the reports, this seems to only affect the smaller Pixel 2, not the Pixel 2 XL. The only option that people seem to have for now is to report the problem and contact customer support.
If you purchased a Pixel 2 from Google, let us known in the comments if you are able to unlock the bootloader. We’ll be sure to provide an update if we hear anything more from Google.