Google surprised us all with an earlier than expected release of the first Android 11 Developer Preview late last night. However, the preview image is meant only for Pixel smartphones, excluding the original Pixel and Pixel XL. So, if you can’t wait to try out all the new features Google is working on, here is how to install Android 11 on your phone.
Note: This is a developer preview and will most likely have bugs. The software could crash, and your data may be lost. It’s not recommended (by Google, or by us) to install this software on your daily driver. Proceed with caution, and at your own risk.
Android 11 Developer Preview Supported Devices
The Android 11 DP1 supports the following smartphones:
- Pixel 2 (OTA download)
- Pixel 2 XL (OTA download)
- Pixel 3 (OTA download)
- Pixel 3 XL (OTA download)
- Pixel 3a (OTA download)
- Pixel 3a XL (OTA download)
- Pixel 4 (OTA download)
- Pixel 4 XL (OTA download)
How to Install Android 11 on Your Phone Right Away
There are two ways you can go about installing Android 11 on your compatible Pixel smartphone. You can use the first method if you haven’t unlocked the bootloader on your phone, and if you have a Pixel with an unlocked bootloader, you should use the second method.
Note: Installing Android 11 will delete all your data, so make sure you have backed up any important files you have on your phone before proceeding.
Install Android 11 using ADB and Sideload
If your supported Pixel smartphone doesn’t have an unlocked bootloader, you can easily sideload the update file on your phone to update it to Android 11 DP1. Here’s how:
- Download the OTA file for your phone from the links above, and extract it to the folder where you have ADB installed.
- Connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable. Make sure USB Debugging is enabled inside Developer Options on your phone, and you have tapped ‘Yes’ on the prompt on your phone that asks you to authorise the connection.
- Open the command prompt (or Terminal on Mac) and type the following commandadb reboot recovery
- Your phone will enter recovery mode. Select ‘Apply update from ADB’ on your phone, and then type the following commandadb sideload <file>.zip
The update will be installed on your phone. Once the process has completed (it took around 10 minutes to install on our Pixel 2 XL), just select ‘Reboot system now’ on your phone and it will boot up with Android 11 Developer Preview 1 running on it.
Install Android 11 using Fastboot (for Unlocked Bootloaders)
If your phone has an unlocked bootloader, like our Pixel 4 unit, you will have to flash a factory image on your phone to update it to Android 11. Here’s how you can do that.
Note: While this method should work on macOS as well, in our testing the fastboot command was failing on Mac. We would recommend flashing the image using a Windows machine.
- Download the factory image for your phone from this link and extract the ZIP file to the location where ADB and Fastboot files are located on your computer.
- Connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable ensuring that USB Debugging is enabled.
- Launch the command prompt and type the following commandadb reboot bootloader
- This will reboot your phone into its bootloader. Now, just double-click on the ‘flash-all.bat’ file on your Windows computer to run it. On Mac, you will have to run the “flash-all.sh” command inside Terminal.
The process will take some time, but once it has completed, your phone will boot into Android 11.
Flash Android 11 on Your Pixel Right Now
Once again, let me warn you that these are developer previews, and can cause your phone to crash, or brick, and can cause data loss as well. If that’s a risk you’re prepared to take, you can follow the steps mentioned above and install Android 11 Developer Preview 1 on your smartphone.
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