“Victory is mine! Full systemless root achieved. Boot image mods only, /system fully intact, dm-verity switchable.”
This was the proclamation from SuperSU’s Chainfire on Twitter last night. Packaging his triumph into a flashable zip file will take a few more days; once that’s released Pixel owners will be able to enjoy an ad-free Android experience, administer apps, theme their device and other wonderful things—for the price of losing Android Pay and Pokémon GO. Whether or not that price is too high is up to the individual user, but at least we now have a choice.
But wait, you say, don’t the Pixel phones sold through Verizon have locked bootloaders? They do, but some other clever XDA developers have just released a workaround, a tool called dePixel8 a tool that will forcibly enable bootloader unlocking on Pixels sold by Verizon and EE in the UK. With an unlocked bootloader you can flash a custom recovery and make backups of your entire Android system. You can also use that same custom recovery to flash Chainfire’s forthcoming SuperSU.zip.
It’s still no Nexus, but at least the Pixel is now a properly-rootable Android device, and a little less like the iPhone it aspires to be. That’s a good thing.