Google’s new Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL can now be installed with official TWRP custom recovery using this detailed guide. Released to be placed beneath the standard Pixel lineup, the 3a series is a more affordable variant. Design-wise, Pixel 3a and 3a XL resemble their expensive counterparts quite a lot. However, internally, there are various differences. If you have purchased Pixel 3a or 3a XL and are looking to play around with your phone and get the most out of it, you should definitely install TWRP custom recovery using this guide.
Similar to how Pixel 3 has been supported by TeamWin — developers behind TWRP — we were expecting an official build for Pixel 3a for quite some time and fortunately, it has finally arrived. If you are unsure about a custom recovery, it is one of the most basic mods that you can do to your phone. Replacing stock recovery, TWRP adds in a bunch of extra features and functions. Further, TWRP is mostly used for root which is a great utility in itself. Before we let you start with the steps, we recommend that you create a complete backup of your phone so that in case of data loss, you can easily revert back.
Disclaimer: All the tools, mods or ROMs mentioned below belong to their respective owners/developers. We (TeamAndroid.com) or the developers are not to be held responsible if you damage or brick your device. We don’t have you on gun point to try out this tutorial 😉
There are some other interesting posts on Team Android, We think you might like the following posts:
- Install Android Q: How to Install Android Q on Computer.
- Custom ROMs: For a complete collection of custom ROMs on Team Android, visit our Custom ROM section!
- Benefits of Rooting your phone: If you are planning to root your phone in the future, you might be interested in reading the benefits of rooting your phone.
Google Pixel 3a / Pixel 3a XL USB Drivers
You will need to connect your Android phone with the computer. For that, please make sure you have installed the USB drivers for properly. If not, you can download the latest Huawei official drivers from our Android USB Drivers section here:
HOW TO: Install TWRP Recovery on Google Pixel 3a / Pixel 3a XL
Here is the complete and easy guide to install TWRP custom recovery on your Pixel 3a / Pixel 3a XL.
- Make sure the bootloader of your phone is unlocked, if it isn’t you can unlock the bootloader easily by following this guide.
- Enable Developer Options by going to Settings>About Phone and tapping on build number multiple times.
- Enable USB Debugging in Settings>Developer Options. Make sure that the USB Debugging is checked.
- Backup all the data as installing a custom recovery might delete all of your data.
- Charge your phone up to 50% first and make sure your phone does not shut down during the procedure or it might damage your phone.
If you have fulfilled all the requirements above, then proceed to the actual tutorial.
Complete Step-By-Step Instructions:
Step 1 – Download Android SDK from the Android Developers website and install. Also set it up with downloading platform-tools and USB drivers package in SDK. Tutorial given here: How to Set up ADB and Fastboot on Windows.
Step 1 – Download ADB / Fastboot – Android SDK Platform Tools separate package and install on your computer. Download from the following links depending on your OS and extract it anywhere in your computer.
- Windows: Download platform-tools-windows-latest.zip
- MacOS: Download platform-tools-darwin-latest.zip
- Linux: Download platform-tools-linux-latest.zip
Step 2 – Connect your Pixel 3a / Pixel 3a XL to your computer using a USB cable.
Step 3 – Download TWRP installer package that’s correct to your device and copy it to your phone’s internal storage, place it at root directory.
Step 4 – Also, download TWRP image which corresponds to your phone and save it into the same directory as the extracted Fastboot/ADB package files.
Step 5 – Navigate to the same directory now as where you have Fastboot (i.e. Step 1) and on Windows: Open Command Prompt (Shift + Right-click > Open Command Prompt). For Mac OS X and Linux, use Terminal to navigate to this directory.
Step 6 – Type in the following command and press Enter.
adb reboot bootloader
Step 7 – Wait for your phone to boot into bootloader mode. You can boot your phone in bootloader mode by pressing and holding Volume Up + Power key.
Step 8 – Once your phone is in bootloader mode, type in the following command and press Enter.
For Pixel 3a XL, type:
fastboot boot recovery twrp-3.3.1-0-bonito.img
For Pixel 3a, type:
fastboot boot recovery twrp-3.3.1-1-sargo.img
Step 9 – Upon booting, use Install option to flash the ZIP file you downloaded in Step 3.
Step 10 – Now reboot!
That’s it! the TWRP recovery is now installed on your Google Pixel 3a / Pixel 3a XL. You can enter Recovery Mode (TWRP recovery) by pressing and holding the Volume Down + Power keys together.
Backup and Other Important Tips
Done with the USB drivers? Perfect. The tutorial is on the next page, but first, please take a look at the following tips and important points you need to take care of. These are important, as we don’t want anyone losing their personal data or apps.
Always backup your important data that you might need after you install a new custom ROM, an official software update or anything else. Make a backup for just in case, you never know when anything might go wrong. Read: How to Backup Android Apps, Text Messages, WhatsApp, Call History.
Google users can also back up data using Google Mi PC Suite to your computer. Mi PC Suite helps you to move data across different Android devices i.e moving Google Mi 5 backup data to Samsung Galaxy S8.
If you already have a custom recovery (ClockworkMod, TWRP etc.) installed on your phone, we strongly recommend a backup using that as it creates a complete image of your existing phone set up. [Tutorial: How to Backup Android Phone using TWRP]
A few more optional tips that you should remember:
1. Having problems connecting your Android phone to the computer? You need to enable USB debugging mode. See here: How to Enable USB Debugging — for Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow and Nougat.2. Make sure your Android device is charged up to 80-85% battery level. This might help you: How to Check Battery Percentage. Why? Because, if your phone goes off suddenly while installing a custom ROM, flashing an official firmware update or installing mods etc. — your phone might get bricked or go dead permanently. No one wants that, right?3. Most of the tutorials and how-to guides on Team Android are for factory unlocked Android phones and tablets. We recommend NOT to try our guides if your phone is locked to a carrier, unless we have specified the carrier name or device model.
If you have any queries or you are facing problems, reach us through the comments and we will get back to you.