Google quietly unveiled its Pixel repair tool sometime last month. It is a web browser-based (Google Chrome only for now) diagnostic tool that lets you flash Generic System Images (GSI) onto your Pixel phone. It is quite similar to solutions such as Samsung Smart Switch, which are also capable of installing software updates onto devices. The tool can also be used to sideload monthly Android security patches. Today, we'll take a look at how to use the Pixel repair tool to sideload updates onto a Pixel device.
Here's what you'll need to use the Pixel Repair Tool on your Pixel phone
For starters, you'll need to check if the Pixel Repair Tool is available in your region. It seems to be a US-only thing for now, based on what I can gather. Second, you'll need Google Chrome installed on your PC/Mac, and a USB cable. It is also worth noting that this tool will only work for Pixel 3 and newer phones. Lastly, the whole process takes place over the internet, so you'll need a stable internet connection too. If you've ticked all the checkboxes mentioned earlier, let's get right into it.
Step 1: Navigate to the Pixel Repair Tool using Google Chrome.
Step 2: Choose your service provider when prompted. This is essential as phones from different carriers have different firmware installed, and the last thing you need is incorrect firmware on your phone. If it is an unlocked phone, click “Select from additional carriers” then choose “Others” from the dropdown box.
Step 3: Press and hold both the Power and Volume Down buttons. You'll now see the bootloader screen. From there, use the volume buttons to put the phone in rescue mode. You should see an Android lying on his back with an exclamation point over it.
Step 4: Connect your phone to your computer via USB, then click the “Connect phone” button on the Pixel Repair Tool. Chrome will now ask you for permission to access the phone via a popup. Select your phone from the window and click connect.
Step 5: If your device is eligible for an update, the Pixel repair tool will show it to you now. You can take this opportunity to ensure that you've selected the right carrier and the works. If there isn't an update available, the only option presented to you will be for a factory reset.
Step 6: Once you've ensured that you've selected the right software, click on Confirm and let the Pixel Repair Tool do this thing. Based on the size of the OTA and your internet connection speed, this process could take a while. Ensure that your PC/Mac doesn't lose power as the consequences of interrupting an update halfway can be devastating.
Once the process is complete, your phone will reboot into Android and you'll be running the latest version of Android.