Google Pixel 6 in Stormy Black, held by an upraised hand

The very first custom kernel is now available for the recently released Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro for tinkerers wanting a little extra control over their new purchase.

For those wondering or confused as to what a “kernel” is, essentially the kernel is the important piece of software that bridges the gap between the operating system and any on-device apps to the actual hardware in the device. Effectively anything and everything you could or would want to do will involve accessing or using the kernel. It’s almost like a translator that works between the software and hardware on your smartphone.

That’s an incredibly basic explanation of a “kernel,” so why is a custom kernel for the Pixel 6 series even relevant? After Google released factory images, device tree and kernel source code, XDA Developers contributor and forum user Freak07 has dropped the very first custom kernel for the flagship smartphone duo. If you like to mod and tweak your Pixel, then this is great news as you’ve got yet another way to make changes and tinker with your device.

The only downside is that Freak07’s Kirisakura kernel has been released as a “preview build” with “minimal features” but it will develop over time. As XDA notes, because of some other changes made to the Generic Kernel Image or GKI, you’ll need to flash this custom kernel as a set of images rather than the simpler TWRP-flashable ZIP file. That said, flashing a custom kernel on your Pixel 6 is something best left to those who know what they are doing — with counts out this author.

Main Features:
– Based on latest kernel sources from Google, Kernel is made for Android 12
 Linux-Stable-Upstream included to 5.10.45 (stock is 5.10.43)
– use bbr as default TCP congestion algorithm (fasted algo according to this excellent research from @kdrag0n found here )
– Enable support for TTL spoofing
– Include LRNG, see here and here for more info (thanks @arter97 for the work on his op9 kernel)
– important patches from kernel/common for 5.10 (here are more details)

Powerhint Module:
– restrict little cluster to 1,4ghz, mid cluster to 1,49ghz and big cluster to 1,58ghz
– available as a separate flashable magisk in the downloads section

Although we’re not recommending running a custom kernel on your brand-new Pixel 6 or 6 Pro, as the project develops you’ll likely gain even greater control over your device with the ability to adjust things like CPU frequency and voltage — not something we’d actively suggest but an option nonetheless. An unlocked bootloader is also a prerequisite and many common apps requiring a SafetyNet pass will cease to work. However, it is fairly easy to return back to a factory image.

Should you not be put off, you can find the necessary files and a guide on how to flash the custom Kirisakura kernel on your Pixel 6 or 6 Pro here.

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Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email:

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