Turn on real Linux virtual machines on your Google Pixel phone

If you want to run a virtual machine on your Google Pixel smartphone, then Nestbox is the way to go.

If you wish to become a power user of smartphones, you have likely come across the likes of Termux. It’s an Android Terminal emulator and Linux environment app, and some people have used it to develop Python scripts and even run Minecraft servers from their smartphones. You can now take it a step further with your rooted Pixel 6 or regular Pixel 7, thanks to the Nestbox by XDA Senior Member kdrag0n, available on their Patreon.

What is Nest Box?

Nestbox is an application that allows you to create containers and run real virtual machines on your smartphone, with this feature It should be a modern Google Pixel smartphone for work. This is because Nestbox uses pKVM (srotate Kbased on ernel FifthEarthwall Machine), which is available on newer versions of the Android Common Kernel, including the Google Pixel 6 series and the Google Pixel 7 series. Mishaal Rahman from EsperThe reason why root is required on the Pixel 6 series is because pKVM is not enabled out of the box.

The catch here is that it’s basically a much more enhanced Termux. Termux can really get in most of the way for most power user use cases, but with virtualization, you’ll be able to run the likes of Docker containers on your smartphone. It’s a little overrated, in all fairness, but it’s something some people might use. You get kernel and root access in containers created by Nestbox, which is more than what you get with Termux.

Nestbox installation and setup

If you want to use Nestbox on Google Pixel, you will need to subscribe to kdrag0n’s Patreon. We used the Google Pixel 7 Pro to install and test it, although the steps will be slightly different on the Pixel 6 series. For now, Pixel 6 devices need to be granted app root access, although kdrag0n says this may change in the future.

On the Pixel 7, most of the configuration you’ll need to do is similar to Shizuku. You connect to your phone via wireless adb, configure the maximum container size, and then choose your Linux distribution. It will download, configure, and then launch the virtual machine.

What can you do with Nestbox?

As for the things you can do, it’s basically whatever you can think of. It’s a Linux container, although I’ve found that I need to install a lot of tools before I can do anything. I needed to use the advanced package tool (apt in Ubuntu) to install wget and curl, for example, since it’s an abstract out-of-the-box setup. You can then add whatever you want next. Currently, there is no default GPU support, and kdrag0n says it doesn’t plan to support it either.

As an idea, you can host a web page or a Minecraft server from your phone. While both are currently working, you can’t do that being able to them from outside the container. I talked to kdrag0n, and it confirmed that there is currently no port forwarding in place, and it is impossible to interact with these instances outside of the container. He tells me that this will change in the future, though, when he implements port forwarding, which he expects to complete soon.

If you want to try Nestbox, you can get it from kdrag0n’s Patreon. It’s currently very limited due to network restrictions, but once those restrictions are lifted, you’ll be able to connect to your container from outside of it and host web pages, game servers, and more. What would you use for a Nestbox?

Thanks kdrag0n for sharing your Nestbox with us!

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