How to OTA Update Rooted Pixel Phones Without Computer!

In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to apply OTA(Over-The-Air) update on rooted Pixel Phones(such as Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, and Pixel 3 XL) without a computer by using Google’s very own OTA files, which you can actually flash with TWRP recovery.  You can also keep root and TWRP after doing the OTA by simply flashing Magisk again and TWRP again.  And you can do this ALL without a computer, which makes it simple and you can do it from anywhere in the world.

Using this tutorial WILL NOT ERASE YOUR DATA if you are currently on stock firmware.  However, if you are coming from a custom ROM, you will have to do a factory reset in TWRP(which will erase all your apps/settings but won’t erase your personal files in internal storage).

This tutorial works on:

  • Pixel, Pixel XL
  • Pixel 2, Pixel 2XL
  • Pixel 3, Pixel 3XL

Note: This tutorial assumes you already have rooted Pixel phone with TWRP recovery installed.  If you lost TWRP recovery somehow, you can use Flashify app to reinstall TWRP recovery.

Step 1. Go to Google’s Pixel OTA Download page and download the OTA zip file you want to install.  In this example, I am installing Android 9.0 Pie on my Pixel XL.

Step 2. Applying OTA will overwrite your current TWRP recovery with stock recovery.  If you want to be able to access your TWRP, you will want to also download latest TWRP installer zip file from TWRP.me.

Also, if you want to keep root, you will also have to download Magisk zip file.

Before you begin, you should have THREE FILES, the OTA, TWRP installer, and Magisk!!!  Also turn off any security such as your fingerprint during the process as sometimes newer TWRP versions have problems with older Android firmware!

Step 3. Power off your Pixel.  Then hold down Volume Down and Power buttons together until you enter the bootloader menu.

Step 4. Use volume keys to select, “Recovery mode” then hit the Power key to enter TWRP recovery.

Step 5. (Custom ROM users ONLY) If you are using non-stock firmware but a custom ROM such as Resurrection Remix, you will have to do a factory reset.  If you have stock firmware, skip this step.

Step 6. Use Install menu to install the OTA you downloaded earlier.

Step 7. When that’s done, you can also use the Install menu to install Magisk zip file.

Step 8. When Magisk is done installing, also install TWRP installer so you don’t lose TWRP recovery.   If you don’t do this step then next time you want to use TWRP, you will have to use your computer to flash TWRP.

Step 9. Reboot and your Pixel should be now updated to the Android version of the OTA!

Step 10. You should also have a fully-working root with Magisk.  If you don’t see Magisk Manager app for some reason, install the Magisk Manager APK manually using a file explorer.  If you don’t have full root(which happened to me in the video), simply reboot to TWRP and reflash Magisk ZIP file.

Q&A

Q: My TWRP recovery is encrypted!
A: Turn off your security before following this tutorial such as your fingerprint security, set it to just regular swipe.  You can turn it back on after the update.  Sometimes newer TWRP recovery do not work with older Android versions.

Q: I am in a bootloop after upgrading my stock firmware!
A: Sometimes Magisk can cause this if it is not compatible newer firmware, flash the Magisk Uninstaller in TWRP recovery for fix.

Q: I lost my TWRP but my phone is rooted!
A: You can use Flashify app to re-flash TWRP if your Pixel is still rooted.

Need help with this post? Leave a comment at forum.highonandroid.com

Join the HighOnAndroid VIP Fans List for free help from Max and discounts on Android accessories.

Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.