Android 11, the latest iteration of Google’s smartphone OS, is still a few months away from its stable release. Unfortunately, Google also had to postpone the Android 11 Beta Launch Show on June 4, which is when the first public beta of Android 11 was originally set to be released.
But if you can’t wait any longer, you can try the Android 11 Developer Preview on your compatible phone. And thankfully, Google’s new Android Flash Tool makes it super easy to flash an Android 11 Developer Preview on a compatible device. So, let’s get started:
Is my phone compatible?
You can flash the latest Android 11 Developer Preview on the following phones:
If you have any of the aforementioned Pixel phones, you’re good to go. Now, all you need is a machine on a compatible platform (Linux, Chrome OS, macOS, and Windows) and a browser that supports WebUSB running on it, which includes both Chrome and Edge 79 or a later version.[In case you have a Windows machine, you need to download the OEM USB drivers which you can find here alongside the installation instructions. On my system, I already had the latest drivers installed, so I directly proceeded to the online flashing tool.]
Time to get your phone ready
In order to flash an Android 11 Developer Preview build on your Pixel smartphone, you’ll first have to enable the Developer Options and USB debugging on it. Here’s how you can do it:
|Enable Developer Options||Enable USB Debugging|
|1. Open the Settings app on your phone||1. Go to the Settings app on your phone|
|2. Locate About phone and Build Number||2. Go to System > Advanced > Developer Options|
|3. Tap on the build number 7 times||3. In Developer Options, enable the USB debugging mode|
|4. You’ve now enabled Developer Options on your phone|
Flashing Android 11 on your phone
Now that everything is ready, let’s start the process of flashing Android 11 Developer Preview on your phone using the Android Flash Tool. Here’s how to proceed:
(NOTE: There are two more methods of installing Android 11 Developer Preview on your phone – Sideload via recovery and ADB, and flashing full factory images via Fastboot – but they are pretty complex to execute. In case you want to experiment, check this guide.)
- Connect the phone to your computer with a USB cable directly.
Avoid using a hub, adapter, or an extender. Once connected, open the Android Flash Tool Page on a compatible WebUSB browser.
- Once there, tap on the blue Get Started button.
At this stage, you’ll be asked to download the Android USB Driver (mentioned above). If you’ve already downloaded it on your computer, tap on the Already installed button.
- In the next step, you’ll see a dialog box that says Select a device to flash.
At the bottom, you’ll see an Add new device box. Tap on it.
- Doing so will open a small window where you’ll see the name of your device.
Tap on it and then press Connect. Doing so will close this small window and take you back to the original page.
- At this point, you’ll receive a prompt on your phone asking Allow USB Debugging?
Tap on the Allow button, and if you want, also check the Always allow from this computer box for ease in the future.
- Now, the status of your device will show as Connected with a green highlight on your computer.
- In the next step, you’ll be asked to enter a build ID of the Android 11 build compatible with your phone.
To find the right build ID, go to the official Android Developers Releases page and copy the build number corresponding to the model number of your phone.
- Once you’ve found the right build number, enter it in the field.
Once you’ve done that, the build type will be automatically pulled in the adjacent box.
- Now, click the blue Install button at the bottom.
- On the next page, hit the Confirm button.
It is advised to back up all phone data before you start the flashing process. Also, depending on whether you’ve flashed an Android build before, you may be asked to unlock the bootloader.
- You’ll now see an option to re-select your phone for confirmation.
Tap on your phone’s name in the small window that appears on the screen and then click on the Connect button.
- Now, the download process will start and after that, the Android 11 Developer Preview will be installed on your phone.
While this happens, don’t do anything on your phone and make sure that it is not disconnected from the computer either.
Once it is over, you’ll see the Software Successfully updated message on your computer screen. That’s it. You’re now running the latest Developer Preview of Android 11 on your phone. Go ahead and set it up as you would a new device.
Once you’ve flashed an Android 11 Developer Preview on your phone, you will automatically receive an OTA update for future Developer Preview and open beta builds of Android 11 on your phone.
Google has already released the Android 11 Developer Preview 4 for compatible phones, and the next update in line is the first Android 11 public beta, which might be released later this month. A second beta will follow in July, while the third and final public beta will be out in August. If things go according to plan, Google will roll out the stable build of Android 11 in 2020’s third quarter.