I would like to recover message attachments from a Pixel 3 that died recently. (Yes, I should have had them saved and backed up, but I missed that option for message attachments.)

However, the phone is minimally functional. If the phone could turn on, I could sync those files and be done. It also appears that I need to turn the phone on to enable usb debugging for ADB. I can reach the fastboot menu by holding the power and volume down buttons, but if I try to go past that into "Start" or "Recovery Mode" or even "Rescue Mode," the phone powers off again.

While in the fastboot menu, I can see that a Pixel 3 device is connected by usb to my computer. I have installed Android Studio, Android SDK, and the Google USB drivers. The phone appeared as "LeMobile Android Device" at first, but after changing the driver to Google's it is now "Android Device"--"Android Bootloader Interface."

Running adb devices returns an empty list even while Device Manager shows it is attached (probably because I can't turn the phone on and enable usb debugging).

I'm out of ideas, and am looking for ADB tips to try. What can I try next? How can I get the phone to start or to get access to the phone without leaving the fastboot menu?


  • I assume your device is not rooted, correct?
    – Robert
    May 18, 2020 at 17:06
  • That's correct.
    – Gino
    May 18, 2020 at 18:14
  • Is your bootloader locked or unlocked?
    – Izzy
    May 19, 2020 at 7:44

1 Answer 1


No you can't access your phone via adb while you are in fastboot menu.

While in fastboot menu only the fastboot binary + driver can access your device.

ADB is only available when the device is booted (adb is usually already available from a certain boot stage on while the device is still booting).

Also certain recovery ROMs provide full ADB access. Simple recovery ROMS only provide limited ADB access, for adb sideload - it allows you to upload ROM images so that the recovery can install it.

  • 1
    Right. One option you could add: fastboot boot twrp.img – from within TWRP, ADB would be available as well. (When added, please ping me to remove the comment)
    – Izzy
    May 18, 2020 at 19:56
  • @Izzy but that would require an bootloader unlocked/rooted device.
    – Robert
    May 18, 2020 at 20:11
  • Yes, but 1) OP didn't say that wasn't an option (maybe the device is even unlocked already?), 2) some devices allow that directly via fastboot oem unlock (without any previous steps). Sure, 2) would in 99.9% of all cases imply a factory-reset (again, OP didn't say that would be a show-stopper). You're right to put the warning along, of course – and also of course it's up to you. In the same rights you could probably tell me to put this up as a separate answer – but it not being the "primary option", I'd rather have it complement yours ;)
    – Izzy
    May 18, 2020 at 23:31
  • 1
    @Izzy The primary aim of Gino is data recovery. After fastboot oem unluck (it is a Google device, hence we are in the 99.9% -> factory reset) data recovery becomes a little bit complicated ;)
    – Robert
    May 19, 2020 at 7:12
  • indeed Izzy's comment is my only suggestion too, even if hopeless it's the best way to make sure (nevertheless it's a wrong suggestion for locked bootloader)
    – alecxs
    May 19, 2020 at 9:29

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