Android Guide : How To Sideload - Install Beta / New Version Of Android?
Disclaimer: In order to test out the new betas you need to own one of those devices: Nexus 5x, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel, Pixel XL
One of the biggest perks of owning a pure Android device aka. Device directly from Google (Pixel or Nexus) is to try out and test the new version of operating system before anyone else dose!
Right now this version is 7.1.2 Public beta 2!
And here is how you do it!
You Should Join Android Beta Program
This is the easiest way to get the previews up and running on your Nexus / Pixel device.
All you need to do is visit the Android Beta Program website LINK and register your device for the Beta Program.
You don’t need to be a developer, so anyone with the right hardware can get it.
Also, you don’t need to be unlocked in order to get it.
You can leave the Beta Program anytime you want!
How does the Android Beta Program work?
The Android Beta Program gives you an opportunity to try out pre-release versions of Android and provide feedback. Devices that you opt into the program will receive an over-the-air (OTA) update to the latest beta version of Android N. The updates that you’ll receive as a part of this program are pre-release versions, and may contain errors and defects that can affect normal functioning of your device (see known issues).
You may remain in the Android Beta Program beyond the N release to preview future Android N maintenance releases (MRs). If you choose to do so, you will automatically get an OTA update to pre-release versions of the MRs as they become available. At the end of the program, you will begin to receive regular public updates.
You may opt-out of the program at any time to return to the stable, public version of Android. Note: If you opt-out when your device is running a beta version of Android, all user data on the device will be wiped.
So be sure to do a full backup before you enter the Beta Program!
How many versions will I get before the official one?
Well that depends on Google, but usually there are at least 5 versions before the official release. As you can see on this timeline.
How do I register?
- You must own a recent Nexus device to take part. The complete list includes the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel and the Pixel XL.
- Visit the Android Beta Program page and sign into the Google account that you are using on your Google device.
- Once you do that, you will see a list of you devices that are eligible to get the beta!
- Click on the device you want to enroll, and click “Enroll the device”
- Accept the terms — and the stern warning about reverting back to a stable version of Android — then click “Join Beta”.
Once you’ve done that, you will get a notification for update on your phone.
As you can see, we have our Nexus 6P enrollled!
Doing it manually!
This is how we roll!
A bit harder and longer way to do things, but you learn a lot doing it so. We prefer that way just because you get the feeling of accomplishment when you’re done.
What do I need to do it?
You will need a few things;
- Device drivers
- 15s ADB Installer (This also installs the drivers!) ADB is Android Debug Bridge.
- RAR or ZIP, so you will be able to unpack the downladed .img
- Google image to flash. You can find the latest images right here: LINK
- Unlocked Bootloader
- Some free time
Disclaimer: You will need the unlocked botoloader in order to flash image!
Back up your device before unlocking it!
How to unlock the bootloader?
- DO A BACKUP
- Go to Settings > About phone > Tap 8x on the Build number, so you enable the developer options > go back to Settings > Scroll down to the Developer Options > Check Allow OEM Unlock.
- Enter the bootloader menu on your device (Press and hold together the power and volume DOWN button)
- Open the fastboot window on your PC (CMD)
- Type ADB Devices so you make sure that the PC recognised your device
- Once you confirmed that device is recognised by the PC Type fastboot flashing unlock. Do you want to unlock the bootloader message will appear, with the volume buttons select YES and than confirm it with the Power button.
Again: THIS WILL COMPLETELY WIPE YOUR DEVICE, BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!!
Congrats, your are unlocked, welcome to the dark side!
How to flash the downloaded image?
Well there are two ways to do it, the easier one is to click on the .bat file and the computer takes care of the rest for you.
Harder and waaaaay more fun is doing it manually, here are the steps:
- Unzip the .img file (Unzip all the files that are in the folder)
- Optimal step: We like to rename all the files in the folder to have only one name.
- Open the fastboot window on PC (CMD) in the folder that you extracted .img files.
- Type ADB Devices so you make sure that the device is recognised by your PC.
- Ok, Now the fun part In CMD type:
fastboot flash bootlaoder bootloader.img
fastboot flash radio radio.img
fastboot flash system system.img
fastboot userdata userdata.img
fastboot flash boot boot.img
fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
fastboot erase cache cache
fastboot flash cache
And you’re done!!
for the first timers, we do recommend to go with the first method, just so you get the “feel for it”.