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How to Install CalyxOS ROM on Pixel Devices

In this guide, we will show you the steps to install the CalyxOS ROM on your Pixel device. Pixel devices have been known to offer a clean stock OS experience bereft of many bloatwares apps. While you’ll get a few preinstalled apps, however, most of them are required for the proper functioning of the OS. With that said, some users do have the notion that the so-called clean UI/UX tends to get saturated over time.

They instead wish to see a few changes in the system, whether it’s new functionalities, features, or just an update to the overall look and feel. In this regard, there exist a few custom ROMs for Pixel devices, unfortunately, they are few and far in between. Moreover, most of these AOSP-based ROMs are dependent on numerous Google apps, services, and frameworks for their efficient functioning.

So the users who are looking for a de-Googled experience are usually out of luck. Well, this is where CalyxOS comes into the picture with a completely different approach toward custom ROMs. So how does it stand from the crowds, what features it beholds, and what is the USP of this ROM? In this guide, we will be addressing all this and much more, including its installation steps. So without further ado, let’s get started.

What is CalyxOS ROM?

install calyxos rom

CalyxOS is not just any other custom ROM, with its top priority being the privacy and security of the users. Based heavily on the LineageOS community and code, it comes with microG instead of Play Services. As a result of this, you get an open-source re-implementation of proprietary Google Play Services without having to worry about push notifications, advertising tracking, and your constant location tracking.

Talking about downloading and installing apps, it has incorporated FDroid an installable catalogue of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) instead of the Play Store. Apart from that, it also has the Aurora Store, which is an app store that allows you to install any app in the Google Play Store. Apart from this private and user-centric design and end-to-end strong security, here are some of the noteworthy features of this ROM [Credits: CalyxOS Features Page]

Secure Networking

  • 🚦 Datura Firewall gives you fine-grained control over network access for all of your apps.
  • 🤝 Tethered network devices (USB or Wi-Fi) can use the phone’s VPN or Tor.
  • 🥸 Free and trusted VPNs from The Calyx Institute and Riseup.
  • 🌎 Cloudflare DNS is available as a Private DNS provider.

Limitless Functionality

  • ✌️ microG replaces some functions of Google Play Services while maintaining much more anonymity and privacy. Completely Optional.
  • 🗺️ Mozilla Location Services (and Dejavu) available as default location services.
  • 📍 Nominatim available as default geocoding service.

Device Security

  • 📆 Automatic monthly over-the-air security updates.
  • ⏲ Ability to turn-off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not being used.
  • 🔐 Verified Boot ensures that the operating system has not been modified.
  • 🛑 Block unknown USB devices.

Trusted Agent

  • ⚙️ Privacy settings lets you see what apps are requesting which permissions
  • 🚨 Panic button functionality lets a user uninstall apps and more.
  • 🤫 Sensitive Numbers privacy. Calls to numbers for help lines such as domestic violence, child abuse, suicide hotlines are not recorded in the call log.
  • 📇 Access these numbers in the Helplines Dialer entry.

Secure Backup

  • ⏰ Automatic backups (once configured) of your apps.
  • ☁️ Backup your files to a USB drive or Nextcloud
  • 🔐 Client-side encryption protects all of your backed-up data.

Private Dialer

📞 Directly make an encrypted call using Signal or WhatsApp from the Dialer.

Browse without Censorship

  • 🦆 Chromium based on Cromite is the default web browser and search engine, which blocks ads and trackers.
  • 🥸 Use Tor Browser to browse the internet without being tracked.

Your Favorite Apps

  • 🎁 Get free and open source apps from F-Droid.
  • 🛍 Use Aurora Store to install from the Google Play catalog anonymously.

Strong Authentication

  • ⌛ Auto-reboot device when not unlocked for a certain period requiring entering PIN/password again
  • 🙈 Scramble lockscreen PIN

Now that you are aware of all the features that CalyxOS beholds, let’s make you aware of the steps to install it onto your Pixel device. Follow along.

How to Install CalyxOS on Pixel Devices

The below process will wipe off all the data from your device, so take a complete device backup beforehand. Droidwin and its members wouldn’t be held responsible in case of a thermonuclear war, your alarm doesn’t wake you up, or if anything happens to your device and data by performing the below steps.

  1. Download and extract Android SDK Platform Tools onto your PC.
  2. Then enable USB Debugging and OEM Unlocking on your device.install calyxos rom
  3. Now connect your device to PC via USB and unlock its bootloader.
  4. Now open the Command Prompt inside the platform-tools folder.
  5. Type in the below command to boot your device to Fastboot Mode
    adb reboot bootloader

    install calyxos rom

  6. Now download device-flasher.exe and place it inside platform tools.
  7. Next, download the CalyxOS ROM and transfer it to platform tools.
  8. Finally, launch the device-flasher.exe and the flashing will now start.
  9. Once done, you’ll get a prompt asking if you want to relock the bootloader.
  10. If you do, then press the Volume key to bring up Lock the Bootloader and hit the Power key to confirm. The bootloader will be locked and your device will boot to the OS.
  11. On the other hand, if you don’t want to lock it and instead continue to use the ROM with an unlocked bootloader, then press the Volume key to bring up Unlock the Bootloader and hit the Power key to confirm.

That’s it. These were the steps to install the CalyxOS ROM on your Pixel device. What are your views about this ROM? is it in sync with your requirements or is it just another one of those drops in the ocean that fails to differentiate itself from the rest? Do share your valuable opinions with us in the comments section below. Likewise, if you have any queries concerning the aforementioned steps, do let us know in the comments. We will get back to you with a solution at the earliest.

Should I Relock the Bootloader on CalyxOS?

This is the million-dollar question that most of you might be asking- should you relock the bootloader after flashing the CalyxOS ROM on your Pixel device or not? Well, both these approaches have their fair share of perks and risks. If you relock the bootloader, then you’ll have a much more secure and safe OS and you won’t have to deal with issues like failing SafetyNet and Play Integrity [you’ll even be passing Strong Integrity] or the Widevine L3 downgrade.

lock bootloader calyxos rom pixel

However, on the flip side, if something goes wrong and your device ends up in a bricked state, then you wouldn’t be able to recover it [unless you had the OEM Unlock toggled enabled beforehand]. On the other hand, if you continue to use the ROM on an unlocked bootloader, then whatever issue might arise, you should be able to easily rectify them without any concerns whatsoever.

But having an unlocked bootloader will result in the aforementioned drawbacks, such as the failure of SafetyNet and Play Integrity, and WideVine certification being downgraded to L3, not to mention the fact that your device is more prone to security attacks. All in all, the decision is based on whether you give higher priority to device security and safety or the ease of device recovery and unbrick. Whichever side of the fence you end up going, do let us know in the comments section.