After three long months, the beta for Android 12 is available, which means the build is more stable now – although it’s still not advisable to install it on a daily driver.
Along with a major change in appearance called Material You, Android 12 ships with a number of new privacy features that may or may not be useful.
Starting May 18, the Android 12 public beta will be available for Pixel phones along with a few other devices from companies like Xiaomi, TCL, OnePlus, and others (full list below). Here’s how to install it on your Pixel. We will receive device-specific instructions as soon as they are available.
The easiest and easiest way to get the Android 12 Beta is to register in the Android beta program.
Just visit the Android Beta portal and sign up for the beta. Then Google will be asked to send a wireless update to your phone or tablet. Depending on when, your phone will get the latest beta and then an OTA for the final version, or it will only get the final version of Android Q.
- Go to Android beta program portal on your Pixel phone.
- Sign in to the Google user account connected to this phone.
- Scroll down to Your Eligible Devices.
- Find the device you want to enroll in the beta program and tap Log in.
- Follow the instructions on your phone to accept the wireless download.
What if I want to leave the beta program?
You can easily turn off the beta program by going to the same Android beta portal that you used when you signed up, scrolling to your device, and tapping Optical output.
Here’s what Google says will happen when you do this:
You can deactivate the program at any time to revert to the stable public version of Android. If you sign out if your device is running a beta version of Android, All user data on the device will be deleted. If you choose to stay registered until the end of the program, you will exit the program and receive an update for the stable public version of Android 11. Your device will not be erased.
Install Android 12 using the Android Flash Tool
New this year is the ability to use the Android Flash Tool, a web-based version of the ADB developer tool, to install the Android 12 beta on your phone.
- Go to Android Flash Tool website.
- Allow the site Access to ADB in your browser.
- Activate Developer mode on your phone.
- Activate USB debugging in the developer settings.
- Activate Unlock OEM on your device.
- Connect your phone to a USB port on your computer.
- Select the device from the popup and follow the instructions to install the beta.
Install Android 12 Developer Preview by flashing an OTA through the bootloader
If you really want to, you can flash the Android 12 Beta to a Pixel using an OTA factory image. This means that your Pixel phone must already have a version of Android 11 that supports the OTA update. The Android 12 Beta cannot be installed as a standalone full factory image.
Flashing the Android 12 OTA image to your phone
If you want to try Android 12 on your Pixel but don’t want to lose any data, the best thing to do is to download the full OTA image from the page. This will install Android 12 over the currently running Android 11 build, but it will ensure that your data is still intact. Before you start, make sure that you don’t have any OTA updates installed on your Pixel yet. Go to Settings> About phone> System updates and make sure there are no updates pending. Also make sure you have USB debugging activated on your phone.
First, go to the Android 12 OTA images page and download the appropriate build for your Pixel. To get the build onto your Pixel, you’ll need to use ADB – I’m a fan of universal ADB drivers. Once you’ve installed that on your Windows computer and downloaded the OTA image, you’re ready to start sideloading the build.
You need to put your phone into recovery mode first. You can turn off and then Press and hold the power button along with Volume down Press the button for a few seconds to enter the bootloader menu and select the recovery option using the button Volume down Button.
Here the Android mascot should be hidden with an exclamation mark. Press and hold the button Power switch and press Increase volume once to get into recovery mode. Navigate to the option that says Apply update from ADB with the Increase volume Button and confirm the selection by pressing Power switch Once.
You can now load the OTA image from the page. Make sure your phone can connect to your computer and is discoverable. To do this, connect your Pixel to your computer and run the following command:
You should see your phone’s serial number and Side load Besides. Now we can flash the OTA build. In CMD just do the following:
adb sideload ota_file.zip
Here you have to switch off ota_file.zip with the filename of the OTA build for your particular device. I’m installing Android 12 on a Pixel 3 XL so I entered: adb sideload crosshatch-ota-spp1.210122.020.a3-d0b7a955.zip in CMD. For this to work, make sure the OTA file is in the same directory as the CMD path.
Once the OTA file is transferred to your phone, it should return to the recovery menu. Navigate to Reboot system now and confirm with power Button to restart your phone. The OTA update will be installed and your phone will switch to Android 12 without losing any data.
What’s next with Android 12?
Google promises to release the final version of Android 12 for Pixel phones in August 2021. So we still have a lot to do before we get there.
We’re currently on Android 12 Beta 1, which introduces Material You and a number of new privacy features for users to test out. After that, there will be three more beta releases – one in June, another in July, and the last one in August – before Google releases the final Android 12 version later in August or September.
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