How to install TWRP Recovery on your Pixel 3a

TWRP is a name that many are familiar with, as it allows your Android device to install any custom file of your choice. You can back up NANDroid to keep your data safe, or even use Magisk to get full root access. In fact, TWRP is often seen as a gateway for modifying your system to create a unique user experience.
With the power of TWRP compared to standard recovery, you can control your phone’s software much better. This is what all experienced users should know when dealing with system mods associated with the root. Installing TWRP will override the restoration of the original state, but the benefits of using custom recovery are so great that in the end, it’s worth it.


  • Computer running Windows, Mac or Linux
  • USB data cable

How to install TWRP Recovery on your Pixel 3a

Step 1: Unlock the bootloader

Before you can start installing unofficial image files on your system, such as TWRP, your bootloader must be unlocked. You will find that this applies to all Android phones when you first dive into the routing and modding scene. Any changes to the system are required, so if you need to, follow the link below to take care of this.

  • Read more: How to unlock the bootloader on your pixel 3a

Step 2: Download the unofficial TWRP image

After the bootloader is unlocked, you need to download the TWRP image for your particular Pixel 3a model. Work on TWRP for Pixel 3a is still underway, so, for now, you will be using these unofficial images from the developer XDA ZVNexus.

  • Download TWRP 3.3.1-2 for Pixel 3a (.img) | Pixel 3a XL (.img)

Download the TWRP image file on top for your Pixel 3a or 3a XL, and then rename it to “twrp” (or “twrp.img” if file extensions are installed on your computer) to simplify the installation process.
Please note that TWRP support for Android Q is currently unavailable, so if you plan to use TWRP on Pixel 3a, you will need to use Android 9 Pie. We should expect official support for Android Q sometime in August 2019.

Step 3: boot in fast boot mode

Now you have the base image file needed to load your Pixel 3a into TWRP, but your phone is not ready to accept the Fastboot command needed to start the game. Before you begin with this, you need to switch your phone to Fastboot mode so that it can receive commands from your computer.
To do this, press and hold the power button to open the power menu, then tap “Turn Off” to turn off the phone completely. After turning off, hold down the power button and the volume down button at the same time until the quick boot screen appears. Now connect the phone to the computer with a USB cable, and then leave it for the following.

install TWRP Pixel 3a

Step 4: Install ADB Fastboot on your computer

Now it’s time to install the framework on your computer, which will allow you to send this TWRP image file to your phone. You will need the stand-alone Google SDK Platform-Tools package, which contains the necessary ADB and Fastboot commands. Everything is included in one neat folder, which simplifies the work – do not confuse the drivers for installation:

  • More information: How to install ADB Fastboot on Mac, Linux Windows
install TWRP Pixel 3a

Step 5: Open a command window in Platform-Tools

Now your phone and computer are ready to accept any Fastboot commands needed to install your own files, such as the TWRP image. At this time, your phone should still be on the main Fastboot menu screen, which means that you now need to open the command window in the platform-tools folder on your computer. Click the link below to set it up, then you are almost done.

  • Additional Information: Open the ADB or Fastboot commands in the desired directory
install TWRP Pixel 3a

Step 6: Download TWRP

Finally, it’s time to take the TWRP image file (twrp.img) that you downloaded earlier and transfer it to the platform-tools folder on your computer. Once the file is in the platform-tools folder, you can run the fastboot command, which allows you to boot into TWRP.

install TWRP Pixel 3a

Open a command prompt in the platform-tools folder, type the following command, and then press enter.
fastboot boot twrp.img
Note: Mac and Linux users will most likely have to add a period and a slash before entering any of the commands listed here (for example, ./fastboot boot twrp.img).
As soon as you press the enter key, your phone will immediately respond by temporarily booting into the TWRP main menu. From here you can dive into the process of installing other mod files on your systems, such as Magisk or any other kernels you can try. You will need to use this method each time until more progress is achieved in TWRP for Pixel 3a.

Final note

In the case of devices with A / B partitions, such as Pixel 3a, you usually temporarily download TWRP and then install the permanent version. However, now with Pixel 3a, you will not be able to install it on your phone forever. This means that you need to connect your computer and phone every time to download TWRP when you need it at the moment.

The progress of TWRP for Pixel 3a is still ongoing, so I will update the tutorial here when it becomes possible to permanently install TWRP on the system partition. The good news is that you still have full access to all functions, and this is fantastic, but for now, you just can’t flash files on the go. However, nothing to worry about!

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