Mi A1 - Android 9 Pie - Unlock Bootloader, Root with Magisk and Install Pixel 3 Camera with Night Sight [Complete Guide]

Hey guys, Gautam here and the time has come. Today I will show you all the steps from unlocking boot loader to installing Pixel 3 camera app. Before we begin please make sure you back up all important data on your phone. So, let’s get straight into it.

Step 1. Unlocking the boot loader without wiping data

So, first of all, we need to unlock the phones boot loader. For that, go to settings > system > about phone and then tap on build number 7 times to enable developer options. You might need to enter pin if you have it enabled. Now go back and click advanced. Select developer options and in developer options enable OEM unlocking. Again you will have to enter pin if you have it enabled. Now scroll down and enable USB debugging as well.

Now go to fast boot by pressing and holding the volume down and power buttons together. Keep holding the buttons until you see fast boot screen. Once in fast boot, connect your phone to your computer.

Move over to your computer and download latest platform tools if you do not have it already on your computer. I will provide the link in the video description. Extract platform tools folder and you should see a folder with the files as shown on your screen.

Once in the platform tools folder, type cmd in the address bar and press enter to open command prompt. In command prompt, type fastboot space devices and press enter to make sure the phone is detected fine. You should get a serial number along with fastboot text. This confirms that phone is detected fine by the computer.

Now type, fastboot space oem space unlock but before pressing enter you need to press and hold the volume down key on your phone. While holding the volume down key, press enter to run the command in command prompt. Once you hit enter, your phone will reboot back into fast boot mode and thereby it will avoid the data wipe. But keep this in mind that if in future, you boot into twrp recovery, then all your data will be wiped.

Now in command prompt, type fast boot space reboot and press enter to reboot the phone. If you did everything correctly then you should see a warning screen confirming that the bootloader is unlocked. And all data on your phone should be intact.

Step 2. Root phone with Magisk

In order to enable camera 2 api, we need root access. So, to root your phone, first download the Magisk Manager app. Download link should be there in the video description. So, download and install the latest Magisk Manager app.

We know need to go back to fast boot mode. So, press and hold the volume down and power buttons together until you see the fastboot screen. Now connect the phone to your computer if not already connected.

On your computer, download the patched boot image for December. Again, link will be there in the video description. Once downloaded move the patched boot image to the platform tools folder.

Now in command prompt, type fast boot space devices and press enter to again confirm that your phone is detected in fast boot mode. Now, type fast boot space boot space then type pie and press tab key to automatically fill the name of the patched boot image file. Now press enter to boot the phone using patched boot image.

Once the phone is booted, open Magisk manager app. Magisk manager app might ask for additional setup multiple times, do it. Once the setup is complete, click install, again install and then select the direct install method. Wait for installation to complete. Once complete, click reboot.

Once the phone is booted, install any root checker app to confirm root access. I used root checker basic app to check the same.

Step 3: Enable camera2api and eis.

Once the phone is rooted, we can enable camera2api and eis. Assuming your phone is still connected to your computer (if not please connect phone to computer), in command prompt type adb space devices and press enter. Now USB debugging pop-up should show up on your screen. Click ok to allow usb debugging.

Now again type adb space devices in command prompt and press enter. Now your phone should up fine under adb devices. 

Now type adb space shell and press enter. Now type su and press enter. You will now see Superuser request on your phone. Grant it. In case you miss the popup then you can go to Magisk manager and from the menu select Super User and enable superuser for shell.

Now in command prompt, type setprop space persist.camera.HAL.enabled space 1 and press enter. This enables camera2api on your phone. Now type setprop space persist.camera.eis.enable space 1 and press enter. And yes, it’s not enabled only enable for eis.

Now reboot the phone. Once the phone is booted, check camera2api using camera2 probe app. You should see hardware support as level 3 which confirms that camera2api was enabled successfully and now you can use pixel’s camera app.

Step 4: Pixel’s Camera App

See, at the moment every Pixel 3’s camera app port has a greenish tint with front camera. And I tried the latest Pixel 3 camera port by Arnova but it has focus issues. So after trying a few versions, I installed the same pixel camera port by BSG that is currently being developed for Poco F1. And to my surprise it worked the best so far. On Poco F1 we need to flash a fix in order for this Pixel 3 camera port to work properly. The funniest thing is that there is no fix required on Mi A1. BSG’s latest version for Poco F1 works flawlessly. But the front camera is still not usable. 

For front camera, I suggest you use Arnova’s v6 which is based on Pixel 2’s camera app. I tried it and it works fine. Pictures from rear camera are better on BSG’s Pixel 3 version though.

So in short, use Arnova’s v6 for selfies and use BSG’s latest version for Poco F1 for rear camera. You can install both together without any issues. In case you face focus issue on BSG’s camera port then you can try switching to video mode and then back to camera or portrait mode. This should fix the focus issue.

I also noticed that if you allow the camera app to focus automatically rather than manually touching the screen for focus then the pictures come out sharper. EIS in video seem to be working fine too.

Night sight is also working but I am not very impressed with the output yet for very low light conditions. That’s pretty much it.

Download Links:

1. Patched boot image (December 2018) - https://goo.gl/JWgcjQ
2. Platform tools - https://developer.android.com/studio/releases/platform-tools
3. ADB drivers - https://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2588979
4. Magisk Manager - https://github.com/topjohnwu/Magisk/releases
5. Pixel 3 Camera for Mi A1 (BSG) - https://goo.gl/3JD9jN
6. Pixel 3 Camera for Mi A1 (Arnova) - https://goo.gl/R2kaC9

YouTube Videos:

Mi A1 - Unlock Bootloader (No data loss) - Magisk Root - Install Pixel 3 Camera GCAM video in English

Mi A1 - Unlock Bootloader (No data loss) - Magisk Root - Install Pixel 3 Camera GCAM video in Hindi


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