I am attempting to take a recovery/backup of a Pixel 3 using TWRP. I do not need to flash TWRP, just boot from it to perform the backup. Meaning, I don't care if TWRP is installed permanently.

The problem I am running into is that I need to unlock the bootloader before I can boot TWRP. And if I unlock the bootloader, the data on the device will be erased.

My question is: If I unlock the bootloader, will I be able to boot back into fastboot mode, and thus boot into TWRP, before the erasure occurs? And if to, how do I perform this? (I presume that if I hold the volume down button it will before rebooting it will go back into fastboot mode.)

I am trying to obtain a backup of the phone before the erase script is activated.

I have searched around and have not been able to resolve this question as of yet.

Thanks in advance for any assistance provided.

  • 1
    Does this answer your question? FBE encryption bootloader state in keys
    – alecxs
    Commented May 15, 2022 at 5:46
  • Not quite, but in part yes. Thank you @alecxs
    – Mikolaj
    Commented May 15, 2022 at 16:41
  • 1
    in other words, even if you could unlock without erasing userdata, still it's impossible to decrypt because of bootloader state is involved in encryption
    – alecxs
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 8:01
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Is there some way to move apps and settings from an Android phone to another?
    – alecxs
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 8:12
  • 1
    Thanks @alecxs, appreciated. Really what I am trying to do is get a full nandroid backup of the phone. If erasure is unavoidable, I'll go with that. But I am trying to first get the nandroid backup before erasure occurs.
    – Mikolaj
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


This appears to be the answer to my question:

Pixel 3 (blueline) immediately wipes the data partition upon unlocking the bootloader. It appears there is no way to boot it back into fastboot before erasure occurs.

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