Being able to unlock the bootloader on your Nexus or Pixel device used to be as American as apple pie. Today things are much different. Pixel 2 models sold on Verizon have the unique distinction of having their bootloaders locked down tight, while the models purchased through the Google Store were supposedly immune from these restrictions.
After Pixel 2 mixups like some devices being shipped without the OS installed, problems with the Pixel 2 trade-in program, and even unresponsive touch screens, it now seems that (surprise, surprise) some units — those purchased directly from the Google Store — have bootloaders that can’t be unlocked.
The issues originated on XDA and after gaining some attention, has made its way to Google’s Issue Tracker where more users are already chiming in with their own experiences. While most folks will never feel the need to unlock their bootloaders, for developers or those who enjoy tinkering around with the software on their Android device, this could come as a shock. So far 39 people have starred the issue and sounds like it’s unique to the smaller HTC-made Pixel 2 — not the 2 XL.
One user talked about his experience dealing with the Google Store’s customer service, mentioning they refused to RMA device. Although they said they’d refund the unit, stock is currently sold out and he’d have to wait weeks before another is shipped. And while Pixel 2 XLs don’t appear to be affected, one person reported receiving an RMA’d 2 XL from Verizon and being able to unlock the bootloader on that model. Weird.
It’s clear there’s some kind of a mix up going on, but we’ll have to wait and see exactly how Google plans on addressing. By bringing attention to it, hopefully Google can update their CSRs and avoid the headache that comes from dealing with yet another snafu. In the meantime, if you plan on ever rooting your Google Store-bought Pixel 2, first thing you should do is make sure unlocking the bootloader is even possible. You know, just in case.