SIM Unlock hack for any Google Pixel phone (no root)

This hack will SIM unlock the physical SIM slot in Google Pixel phones. If your Pixel is locked to a cellular carrier, this hack will circumvent the network lock and allow you to use your phone with the carrier of your choice.

Note: I do not take any credit for this hack. It was discovered over at XDA, but the information is a bit discombobulated and spread across dozens of pages, so here it is in a concise and easy to follow process.

How to do it

1. Download the latest Netguard APK from github and copy the apk onto a USB flash drive:
2. Remove the SIM card from your phone. Factory Reset your pixel to erase everything.
3. When setting up the Pixel once it reboots, DO NOT connect to WiFi or insert any SIM card. Skip through the setup wizard so you can start using your Pixel; you can set up everything you need to later.
4. Use the included QuickConnect USB-C adapter in your Pixel box to connect your USB drive to the Pixel.
5. Navigate to the Files app, and locate your USB drive. Install the Netguard apk (you will need to allow permissions for the Files app to install).
6. Launch the Netguard app. Turn ON Netguard by toggling the switch next to the NetGuard logo on the app’s homescreen (top-left). Then, in the app’s Settings > Advanced Settings, turn ON Manage System Apps
7. Return to the Netguard Homescreen. Locate the following apps and tap the Wifi and Cellular icon next to each, to DISABLE them (will appear Red once disabled):

Carrier Setup (there are 2 of these)
Device Setup

8. Disable battery optimization for Netguard. Open the Pixel Settings > Apps > See all Apps > Netguard > App battery usage. Select Unrestricted.
9. Further restrict system apps from the Internet: Open the Pixel Settings > Apps > See all Apps. Select the Kabob menu (3 dots) and select Show System.

Find the following apps and under Mobile data & Wifi for each of them, deselect (turn off) Background Data:

Carrier Setup (x2)
Device Setup

9. You can now connect to your Wifi network and insert any SIM card. Note: the eSIM will still be locked to the original carrier only. After a few minutes of being connected to Wifi, the Pixel Setup wizard will prompt you to set up your new Pixel, and you can then restore from another device or cloud backup.

Some notes:

The unlock will continue to work after reboots and monthly security and Android system updates (I’m using the latest Android 14 now). But if you ever do a Factory Reset, you will lose the unlock and have to repeat the process.

I’ve used this method on several locked pixels and all are still using other carriers than they were locked to. Also, it only has works on Pixels.

Also, I would recommend NOT updating Netguard once it is up and running and successfully blocking network requests from the aforementioned system apps. I haven’t, and it continues to work just fine. The reason is I didn’t want to risk Netguard lapsing during an update and letting the system apps through and locking the phone.

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  1. Quick question… Will this un-grey the “OEM Unlock bootloader switch in the developer options. I don’t care about being sim unlocked to be honest. But we can not unlock the bootloader of a pixel 8 pro unless it is sim unlocked. And a temporary SIM unlock does not give access to the OEM Unlock bootloader switch in developer options. Trying to find a clever work around to get this option switchable.

    1. No it won’t. There’s no known method to unlock the bootloader. Let me guess, the pixel is from Verizon?

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