Google ended support for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in 2020. But independent developers are keeping the phones alive by providing unofficial firmware updates.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were released in the fall of 2017, when Google was only promising to deliver three years of software updates. They initially shipped with Android 8, and by the time Google shipped its final official update, the phones were running Android 11 software.
But the phones are still perfectly usable (if you can find one with a battery that still holds a charge in 2023). With Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processors, 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage, they’re more powerful than a newer budget phone. And they have excellent cameras.
There’s some risk involved in continuing to use older phones after they no longer receive security updates though. So not only does a custom ROM like LineageOS 20 bring support for the latest Android privacy features and the latest APIs used by some newer apps, but it also brings the latest Android security patches to these aging phones.
That said, you will need to unlock your phone’s bootloader to install LineageOS (or any other custom ROM), and you’ll need to wipe all data from your phone, so make sure to back up anything important first. There’s also always a chance you could break something in the process, which is why the descriptions for LineageOS 20 for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL start out with a message that “Your warranty is now void. You have been warned. Use at your own risk.”
The message is a little tongue-in-cheek when talking about older phones like the Pixel 2, because your warranty is probably already voided anyway. Just keep in mind that you won’t get the same kind of support from the volunteers who develop unofficial firmware like LineageOS that you would from a company like Google or Samsung.
Still, it’s always nice to see community members stepping up to keep old devices alive after they’ve been abandoned by their makers.