How to Downgrade from Android 13 to 12 on Google Pixel 6 Series

Android 13 He’s been abroad for a while now. As a major release update, it’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon – especially for Google Pixel users. But what if you just updated to Android 13 but you don’t like it very much? The big question is, can you downgrade your Pixel smartphone, including the latest Pixel 6 lineup, from Android 13 to 12?

Unlike many Android device manufacturers, Google maintains a dedicated portal for downloading firmware for its smartphones. If you have a non-carrier (also referred to as “unlocked”) variant of any Pixel phone, you should be able to unlock its bootloader and Flash manually for older Android 12 To return. However, the situation is a little different for the Pixel 6 family of devices running Google Tensor.

Android 13 Firmware Update for Google Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Proand the Pixel 6a phone It brought with it new bootloader updates. Once you upgrade, you Older bootloader cannot be flashed Because of the protection against rollback. As a result, the regular process of downgrading to Android 12 will not work on these devices. However, Android 12 can still run on the upgraded bootloader. If you are looking to downgrade from Android 13 to Android 12 on your Pixel 6/6 Pro/6a phone, we are here to help you.

  • The Google Pixel 6 lineup has picked up new bootloader updates with the stable Android 13 OTA.
  • Once you upgrade, you cannot flash an older bootloader.
  • However, you can still run Android 12 on the new bootloader.

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Google Pixel 6a comes in handy with blur background.

What’s inside the Android 13 bootloader update for Google Pixel 6/6 Pro/6a?

The Android bootloader is a very complex piece of software. It is responsible for starting the boot chain after each new boot of a power failure condition. There are many low-level components in the bootloader image, which are tightly integrated with the SoC of the target device. In short, fiddling with the bootloader on a modern consumer device is a very difficult task.

If you’re interested, here’s what you can find inside the bootloader image of your Google Pixel 6a:

Google Pixel 6 Series Bootloader Contents

Although you were able to decode and patch the rollback protections in the new bootloader update for Google Pixel 6, 6 Pro, or 6a, there is no known way to flash it without crashing your phone. This is because we do not have access to the OEM signed programmers and the encryption keys needed to perform such operations.


How can I downgrade to Android 12 from Android 13 on Google Pixel 6/6 Pro/6a?

We have to emphasize that you should only do this if you don’t really like Android 13 or it doesn’t work well with some particular apps. Android 13 has some great new features – especially privacy and security – that make it superior to previous Android versions in many ways. It will also be the latest when it comes to security patches.

If you know all this and still want to go back to Android 12, the steps are relatively simple. But first, what you need to do is backup your apps, photos, videos, etc., because Downgrading will completely wipe your phone. Also make sure you have the latest ADB and Fastboot binaries installed on your computer.

By skipping flashing the bootloader

  1. Once the backup is completely sorted, you will need to check the bootloader version of your Google Pixel 6/6 Pro/6a. To avoid a difficult scenario, make sure that both slots of the target device have the same Android 13 bootloader version. If you need help, take a look at Our tutorial for determining the bootloader version of Google Pixel 6 series devices To protect against rollback.
  2. On PC/Mac/Chromebook, Download Factory Image Corresponding to the Android 12 version you choose for the target device.
  3. Extract the contents of the factory image ZIP file and locate the bootloader image in the extracted files. It should be called “bootloader-[device codename]-[platform codename]-[major version]-[minor version].img. “
    • For the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, the platform codename is “slider”, while for the Pixel 6a, it is “bluejay”.
      Google Pixel 6 Series Factory Firmware Download Tool Image
  4. Delete the bootloader image from the extracted folder.
  5. Modify the blinking script as follows:
  6. Now that we have modified the script, we can proceed with the blinking task. It should be noted that you need an unlocked bootloader to flash via Fastboot, so unlock the bootloader if you haven’t already.
  7. Reboot Pixel 6/6 Pro/6a into bootloader mode and connect to PC/Mac/Chromebook using USB cable.
  8. Open a terminal window on your computer, navigate to the location where you extracted the Android 12 factory image, and run the flashing script.
    • for windows:
      .flash-all.bat
    • For macOS and Linux:
      ./flash-all.sh
  9. Wait for the flash to happen, reboot the device, and start Android 12. The first boot may take a long time, so be patient.


Google Pixel 6a running Android 12 on Android 13

Google Pixel 6a running Android 12 on Android 13

Keep in mind that this is not a real downgrade, as we cannot replace the new bootloader with an old one. However, we can run Android 12 on Google Pixel 6/6 Pro/6a on top of the upgraded bootloader, as it does not impose any restrictions on the Android version. Simply put, the new bootloader is compatible with both Android 13 and Android 12, making it possible to run an older version of Android 12 on these devices even after increasing the rollback index count.

Using official developer support images

For developers, Google offers modded images for Android 12 for the Pixel 6 family that are based on public and stable versions of Android 12 and Android 12L. these “Developer Support PicturesAn updated version of the bootloader includes new security fixes and an increased anti-rollback counter.

Download Android 12 / 12L Developer Support Images for Google Pixel 6 Series

When it comes to installation, developer support images must be flashed via Fastboot. to know more, Take a look at our guide.

For reference, developer support images are shipped with the following bootloader versions:

Keep in mind that these developer-focused builds are not suitable for general use. They will not receive OTA security updates like their consumer counterparts. Also, versions are not CTS-certified, so developers who require CTS-certified builds or use SafetyNet APIs may encounter problems.


Is there any downside to staying in Android 12?

Whichever method you choose, the end result will essentially be a hybrid of the 6th generation Google Pixel’s bootloader and firmware. It might work at the moment, but there’s no official support for this integration – except for developer support images, but it’s not intended for regular users. There are no more monthly security updates on Android 12 anymore, which means you have to upgrade to Android 13 anyway to continue receiving fixes.

Moreover, the bootloader contains a number of low-level firmware images for various hardware components. By staying on Android 12, you will cause many incompatibility issues which may affect the real world performance of your Pixel 6, 6 Pro or 6a phone. Consider this a proof of concept, but you are doing more harm than good by downgrading to Android 12. If you choose to downgrade from one Android version to another, you do so at your own risk.