Google’s mid-range Pixel 6a comes with a 6.1-inch OLED display at 60Hz, but there is a method to unlock a 90Hz mode. Twitter user TheLunarixus made a mod to unlock 90Hz mode on the Pixel 6a, and they are working on a custom ROM to make it easy for any Pixel 6a owner to unlock the improved refresh rate.
roadside Senior Editor Sean Hollister has tested the mod on his own Pixel 6a and has confirmed that it works. What we don’t know is whether the display really supports 90Hz, or if this is effectively overclocking it to achieve the faster refresh rate. We reached out to Google to say if 90Hz is just software locked, or if there are indeed limitations on the display panel.
The mod exists because many in the Android community noticed that the Samsung display in the Pixel 6a has some similarities to the larger Pixel 6 display, and curiosity followed suit. Google turns on 90Hz on its 6.4-inch Pixel 6 panel, but the two screens aren’t exactly identical.
At the moment the mod terribly involved. To unlock the 90Hz option on the Pixel 6a, you’ll need to enable debug mode and OEM unlock in settings (which you may not be able to do on a locked carrier handset), then unlock the bootloader, manually running an Android 13- beta flash with some checks disabled, and flash a modified vendor_boot image.
If all that has passed you or you’ve never heard of XDA Developers, it’s probably best to wait for a custom ROM. The result of all these hacks unlocks the Smooth Display option and the ability to force the maximum refresh rate in the developer settings to 90Hz.
Others in the Android community have also tested this mod and confirmed that it is legit. Mishal Rahman noticed a green tint on his handset after applying the mod, and we noticed the same thing (although some others don’t have the problem).
There are also some concerns about the long-term effects on the Pixel 6a display. Developer Kuba Wojciechowski warns that Samsung may not rate the Pixel 6a’s screen at 90Hz maximum, and that this is likely just overclocking. TheLunarixus says we won’t know in full until the mod runs on more than 100 phones.
“We’re not pushing the panel harder in terms of power, all this mod features is adding a new frequency mode to the driver with timings of the Pixel 6’s s6e3fc3 driver with altered height and width values,” says TheLunarixus. “No voltages etc have been adjusted here, we use our own gamma table.”
Anyway, tells TheLunarixus The edge they are “working on a custom ROM with the ROM side changes to make this completely stable and ready for the public.” We’ll be keeping an eye on our own handset to see if there are any long-term effects of unlocking the 90Hz mode, and we hope Google or Samsung Display will comment on why the 90Hz option isn’t officially available on the Pixel 6a.