There are two ways to install Android P on your phone. The first one is super easy, as all you have to do is sign up for the Android Beta Program and get the update over the air (OTA). The second method is to flash the beta build of the OS to your smartphone, which is a bit more complicated.
To get started, the first thing you need is a device on the list. If you own a different handset, you’ll have to wait for the release of the final version of Android P to try it out — if it makes it to your phone at all.
Keep in mind the OTA method for getting Android P on your phone is only available for the Pixel phones. To get the software on any of the other supported models, you’ll have to flash it.
Method 1: Android Beta Program
To try out Android P on your Pixel, head over to the Android Beta Program website and click the “Devices” tab on top. This will take you to the page with the option to join the beta program, though you have to be signed into a Google account your Pixel device is associated with for it to show up. Then just select your device, opt in to the beta, and follow the instructions to complete the process. You should get the update within 24 hours.
- Visit the Android Beta Program website.
- Sign in a Google account associated with your Pixel device — if you aren’t already.
- Click the “Devices” tab on top.
- Select your device and join the beta program.
- Follow the instructions that pop up to finish the process (the update will arrive within 24 hours).
Google says you can expect between three and six updates over the course of the program, in addition to the final update to the stable public release. You will not receive monthly security updates while on a beta build.
There’s a good chance you’ll come across various bugs that can affect the normal functioning of your device, so installing Android P on your daily driver might not be the best idea.
You can leave the beta program at any time you want by choosing the “Opt-out” option on the Android Beta Program website. You’ll get an update within 24 hours that will install the latest stable public version of Android on your device. It will also wipe all the data from your phone — so make sure to back it up first.
Method 2: Flashing Android P on your device
Flashing Android P on your device takes more time and work than the first method (OTA) and is slightly different for each compatible phone. We show you how to do it for Pixel devices below, but we’ve also linked to instructions for all the other models further down.
Here’s what you need to get started:
- A compatible 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.
- Factory image for your device, which you can download 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. 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.
Flash Android P on your Pixel device
Flashing Android P 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
How to install Android P on other phones?
As already mentioned, the flashing process can be a little bit different for other compatible devices. Here are guides for the Essential Phone, Oppo R15 Pro, and the five other handsets below. Some have been prepared by Android Authority, while others are listed on manufacturers’ websites.
So that’s how to install Android P on a compatible device. Any thoughts or questions? Leave them down below in the comments section.