The Android O beta version is available and if you wish to download/install on your phone or tablet, you can get the first public beta, it is available as second Developer Preview.
Hang on! Not all Android device owners can download this Android O beta. This preview is compatible with below-mentioned phones and tablets:
- Pixel XL
- Pixel C
- Nexus 6P
- Nexus 5X
- Nexus Player
How to Get Android O Beta on Pixel or Nexus
On the devices mentioned above, you can easily opt-in to the beta as it will prompt Google to send your Android device an over-the-air update. This clearly bypasses the complexities unlocking bootloader or the command line as this second Android O Developer Preview is also the first public beta.
Step #1: On your Pixel or Nexus device, open Android Beta program portal.
Step #2: Sign into the Google account linked with your phone.
Step #3: Scroll down to Your eligible devices (right above Frequently asked questions).
Step #4: Search the device you want to register in Beta program and tap on Enrol device.
Step #5: Follow the instructions to accept the over-the-air download.
You can leave the beta program by pressing the button on Android Beta program page to unenroll. Your device will get an over-the-air update to go back to the stable version of Android 7.1.2 Nougat. Before doing this, you should backup your phone as the process will clean up your phone on rebooting.
Install Android Developer Preview from Command Line
Before you go ahead, you need to know the following…
You can now download Android O Developer Preview 2 from the Android Developer Portal.
Unlocking bootloader is your first step to update your phone or tablet to Android O.
Primary knowledge of Android SDK and Terminal (iOS or Linux) or Command Prompt (Windows) comes handy while you are following the steps given below. If something goes wrong during the method, your device may get damaged.
Moreover, you have to use Android developer’s tools, which should include the latest software for Android O. Thankfully, Android Development website offers you such tools; you only need to follow the instructions to download those tools properly. In the process mentioned below, you need only adb and fastboot files, which are available in Platform Tools folder.
Further, commands written below are in the style of Terminal on a Linux or OS X platform. For Windows users, who are following this guide, they are not required to use “./” mentioned here in the guide.
How to Enable Developer Settings and USB Debugging
Your Android phone (Nexus or Pixel) should be running Android 7.x Nougat.
Step #1: Launch Settings and tap on About Phone/Tablet.
Step #2: Next, keep tapping on Build number (for at least seven times) until you see a message that you are now a developer.
Step #3: Now head back to Settings menu and you will see a new option – Developer options.
Step #4: Tap on Developer options.
Step #5: You need to ensure that developer options are toggled ON and USB debugging box is ticked.
Step #6: Also ensure that you have checked the box Enable OEM unlock.
Step #7: Connect your Android phone or tablet with the computer and click ‘OK’ when a dialog box asks you to Allow USB debugging.
Once done correctly, you only need your mobile or tablet to perform a few steps.
How to Unlock Bootloader
If you own Nexus or Pixel devices from Google, there is a bootloader you can unlock. Follow the steps to manually flash software.
You need to boot into bootloader first. To enter your phone/tablet Bootloader Menu, you can turn off your device and hold down power button and volume down button simultaneously. Or you may type below-mentioned commands in terminal or command prompt.
These commands will also let you know that your device is properly connected with computer. If it shows some characters, you are good to go.
Simply run the following command to enter into the Bootloader menu.
./adb reboot bootloader
You can see a few things listed at the bottom of the screen; this includes the lock status of your device. Your device will be shown locked unless you have unlocked bootloader in the past and never locked it again.
Bootloader is required to be unlocked only while flashing a stock firmware image; and to unlock the bootloader, you have to enter the commands as follows.
Note: When you unlock Nexus’ bootloader, it will factory reset your device. This means you will lose your data stored on the device. But there is a solution: you should press the power button when Start is highlighted in Bootloader menu and this will boot your device back as normal.
./fastboot flashing unlock
On your device, you will be asked if you are sure about unlocking. This command will factory reset your device, and therefore, if you want to discontinue the process, you can select no by pressing the power button. If you want to unlock bootloader, you hit the volume up button and then power button to confirm that you are ready to unlock your bootloader.
Before you go ahead, you should reboot the bootloader to give itself a check to ensure everything is in good shape.
How to Flash Stock Firmware Image
Your bootloader is unlocked now and hence, you are ready to flash Android O image. To locate system images, go to the Factory Images page and find your device, and download the latest factory image. From there, it is quite easy to uncompress the file in Platform Tools folder, where you will find adb and fastboot files. This will save you from typing the path to the different files while flashing the firmware. Alternatively, if you have knowledge of dragging a file into a terminal window to copy the path, you can go for it.
You need to ensure that you are in the bootloader menu on your device and the bootloader is actually unlocked.
Check that your computer is properly connected with your phone or tablet. You can ensure this by checking your device’s serial number that should come back as a connected device. Now you are ready to start updating your device.
You can now flash the updated bootloader by entering below mentioned command.
./fastboot flash bootloader [bootloader file].img
You won’t find anything on your device’s screen but a dialog will surely appear in the terminal or command prompt. When the flashing of bootloader is done, you need to reboot back into the bootloader to ensure everything is working properly.
Now you can flash the updated radios. This step comes into picture only when you are updating the firmware of a phone or tablet, which has got built-in cellular radios.
./fastboot flash radio [radio file].img
At last, it’s time to flash the actual system image to your phone or tablet.
A word of caution
The code given below will wipe your device. You should delete the “-w” from the command if you don’t want to wipe your device. The update will happen smoothly and your data will remain secured.
./fastboot -w update [image file].zip
Once it is done, your phone or tablet will restart automatically and boot up normally. The process will take more time than expected as it wipes all data from your device. When you are welcome with the device set-up walkthrough, it is confirmed that you have flashed a new version of the firmware successfully.
In case you don’t want to use commands manually, you can check the scripts included in the compressed folder with system image that can do most except for the heavy lifting. Flashing of bootloader, radios, and system image can be automated by flash-all script files. However, there is a downside of the process; you need to ensure that your device is in bootloader menu and its bootloader must be unlocked before initiating the script. If you have not done this before, the script fails to respond and nothing will happen.
How to go back to Nougat from Android O Developer Preview
Not happy with this Android O Developer Preview? You can reinstall Nougat on your Android device easily. If you have installed Android O with the factory image, you can find the proper system image compatible with your device or slate and run the same procedures as above but with the Android Nougat image.
While searching for Nougat image, you need to ensure that you are downloading the correct one that is in sync with your device. For example, if you are running a Verizon or Rogers Pixel, you have to check you download the correct image.
If you have selected beta and wish to go back, simply unenroll from the beta and restart your device.