So you want to give Beta 3 a try? This quick guide tells you how to install it on a Pixel device. Keep in mind that there are plenty of other non-Pixel devices that support Beta 3, which you can learn about here.
A word of caution: The third Beta of Android Q is much more stable than the previous two, but still not likely to be suitable as a daily driver. We don’t recommend installing on a phone that’s your main device just yet.
Method 1: Use the Android Beta
The Android Beta Program is the easiest way to get the new update. For those that haven’t signed up already, head here and then simply wait for an over-the-air (OTA) update to become available. There’s no need to unlock your bootloader or go through other hoops with this method.
Those that already signed up for the Android Q beta should see the update automatically pop up in your notification panel at some point, no need to do anything else.
Are you the impatient type? Whether you signed up to Android Beta for the first time or already had Beta 1, you can manually check for the update by going into the phone’s setting menu. Select System > System Update > Check for Update. If the over-the-air update is available, it should automatically download. Reboot your phone after the update has installed. That’s it!
Keep in mind that while the update will come relatively quickly for some, it’s not unheard of for the process to take up to 24 hours. For what it’s worth, several members of our team note it took literally seconds from the time of opt-in.
Method 2: Flashing Android Q on your Pixel device
If you don’t want to wait for the OTA, we also have instructions for you on how to install Android Pie via factory images and OTA files. However, flashing Android Pie on your device takes more time and work than the OTA method.
First, you’ll need to download the proper file for your device before you get started.
Here’s what you need to get started:
- Any Pixel device and a USB cable to connect it to your computer.
- The Android SDK installed on your machine with ADB and Fastboot command successfully working — check the tutorial here.
- 7zip or a similar program that can handle .tgz and .tar files.
- An unlocked bootloader on your phone.
Unlocking your phone’s bootloader
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. If you are using a factory image, the first thing you have to do is unlock your phone’s bootloader by following the step-by-step instructions below. It’s easy to do and does not require lots of technical knowledge. Unlocking the bootloader will wipe all the data off your device, so make sure you back it up first.
- Turn on developer options by going to “About Phone” and tapping “Build Number” seven times.
- Enable USB debugging and OEM unlock on your device in the “Developer options” section.
- Plug in the Pixel to your PC with a USB cable.
- Open the command window on your PC.
- Boot your Pixel device into bootloader mode using the following command: adb reboot bootloader (if it requests you to authorize this, say yes).
- When your device boots into bootloader mode, type in this command: fastboot flashing unlock.
- A confirmation screen will pop up. Press the volume up key to highlight yes and the power button to start the bootloader unlocking process.
- Once unlocked, your device will reboot into bootloader mode. Now you simply need to type in fastboot reboot to finish the process.
Now you’re ready to flash the Android Q Beta
Flashing Android Q on your smartphone is pretty straightforward, but you can still run into problems if you don’t carefully follow instructions listed below.
- Head into the bootloader menu to test that your device and PC are communicating by typing in fastboot devices — if it comes back with your device’s serial number, you’re good to go.
- Prepare the factory image you downloaded earlier. Use 7zip to extract the .tgz file you downloaded and then again to extract the .tar file you extracted from the .tgz. This will create a folder with several files in it.
- Copy all those files and paste them in the platform-tools folder in the Android SDK on your computer. You should find it in the Program Files (x86) folder on Windows.
- There are two flash-all files. Windows users should double-click the one that has the gear logo and says “Windows Batch File” on the right. If you’re on Linux, double-click the flash-all.sh.
- A box will pop up and you should see the installation taking place. While this is going on, do not unplug your device for any reason!
- When the installation process has finished, your device will automatically reboot. You can then disconnect your device from your computer and start playing with Android P.
What if the Flash-all method didn’t work?
For whatever reason, not everyone has luck with the Flash-all scripts. If they fail for you, there’s another way. It’s actually pretty simple. First, make sure you are still in the proper bootloader state and connected to your PC. On your PC you’ll want to type the following:
- First we flash the bootloader with the following command: fastboot flash bootloader <bootloader name>.img
- Next type: fastboot reboot-bootloader
- Now we flash the radio with the following command: fastboot flash radio <radio file name>.img
- Next type: fastboot reboot-bootloader
- Flash the image with : fastboot flash -w update <image file name>.zip
- After this your device may reboot automatically, if not type: fastboot reboot
Method 3: Sideload an OTA update
Prefer to use an OTA image? You can find them here. Instructions are pretty straightforward:
- Download an OTA device image from the link above.
- Reboot the device into Recovery mode. For more information on putting Pixel devices in this mode, see Reset your Android device to factory settings.
- On the device, select ADB sideload.
- Connect the device to a computer with the Android development environment loaded and the Android Debug Bridge (
adb) tool installed.
- Run the following command:
adb sideload <ota-package
Returning to Android Pie is easy as… pie
Decide that you aren’t quite ready to dive into Android Q Beta? The good news is going back to Android Pie is simple. Essentially follow the same flashing steps above, but this time you don’t need to unlock the bootloader and you’ll simply use a Pie factory image.
So that’s how to install Android Q Beta 2 on your Pixel. Any thoughts or questions? Leave them down below in the comments section.