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Google will keep Android 11's beta program open for pre-release updates

You won't have to wait as long for improvements if you're willing to take a risk.

Published onSeptember 8, 2020

  • Google will keep the Android 11 Beta program open after release.
  • You’ll get over-the-air access to future Android 11 updates.
  • You can keep providing feedback, too.

Google normally shutters its Android Beta program once the finished software is available to the public, but it’s breaking with that tradition with Android 11. The company has announced (via 9to5Google) that the Android 11 Beta program will continue over the “next few months.”

If you stay enrolled, you’ll automatically receive over-the-air updates to upcoming pre-release versions of Android 11. You won’t have to wait as long as regular users to try out feature additions. You can keep providing feedback, as well, although you’ll likely have to use the AOSP issue tracker as the beta issue tracker and the feedback app will soon close down.

Testers reported over 25,000 issues with Android 11 before its release, Google added.

The company didn’t say what beta users could anticipate. As 9to5 explained, though, this doesn’t mean you’ll get major updates. You may only see minor improvements, bug fixes, and security patches. This is primarily for early adopters and developers curious to see what’s coming.

Read more: The best Android 11 features

Nonetheless, it’s a significant step. Testing for everyday Android users isn’t really an option for most of the year — developer previews can be particularly rough, and the official betas are usually only available for a few months. If you’re willing to take the risk, you now have the option of spending much of the year using pre-release software.

The question is simply whether or not this will continue for Android 12 and future versions. That might depend on uptake. It won’t be surprising if this becomes a recurring option, however, as it might help Google polish Android versions well after their initial releases. Don’t be surprised if upcoming software is that much more reliable and reflective of real-world experience.

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