Unless you have been living under a rock, you may have noticed that Google I/O 2018 kicked off today. The keynote mentioned quite a few different updates, including new features coming to Android P.
These include an even-bigger focus on machine learning, along with an all-new navigation method. In addition to showing off these new features, Google actually opened the Android P beta program.
This means that you can now join the program and get it on your smartphone. In previous years, the Android beta software was only available on Pixel and Nexus devices. This is no longer the case, as a few OEM’s have partnered with Google.
- Pixel 2 / 2 XL
- Pixel / Pixel XL
- Essential Phone
- Sony Xperia XZ2
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
- Nokia 7 Plus
- Oppo R15 Pro
- Vivo X21
- OnePlus 6 (Coming soon)
How to get Android P Developer Preview
Each specific OEM has detailed instructions on you can get the Android P beta on your device now. However, the following instructions are for those who are rocking either the Pixel or Pixel 2.
The quick-and-easy method
If you have a compatible device, the easiest way to join the beta program is to head over to Google’s landing page. From here, you will need to sign into your Google account, and confirm that you are okay with using pre-release software.
Once you have registered, a notification will appear on your handset. By opening this, the Android P software will download and your device will update like normal.
The Old-fashioned method
The main method of installing the Developer Previews is to manually flash the software image to your device. Manually flashing is useful if you need more exact control over your test environment or expect to reinstall frequently. If you’re considering dabbling in various ROMs or bouncing around from one build to another, this might be the way to go.
Caution: Installing a system image on your phone removes all data from the handset. Back up your data first and proceed carefully. Worth noting, the manual route does not allow for automatic software updates.
The factory image downloaded from this page includes a script that flashes the device, typically named flash-all.sh (On Windows systems, use flash-all.bat instead).
To flash a device you also need the latest fastboot tool. You can get it from one of the following sources:
- From the Android SDK Platform-Tools package, which you can download here (get adb and fastboot only) or download from the SDK Manager
- From a compiled version of the Android Open Source Project.
Once you have the fastboot tool, add it to your PATH environment variable (the flash-all script below must be able to find it). Also be certain that you’ve set up USB access for your device.
Flash System Image
- Download the appropriate system image for your device from, then unzip it to a safe directory.
- Connect your device to your computer over USB.
- Start the device in fastboot mode with one of the following methods:
- Using the adb tool: With the device powered on, execute: adb reboot bootloader
- Using a key combo: Turn the device off, then turn it on and immediately hold down the relevant key combination for your device.
- If necessary, unlock the device’s bootloader run this command: fastboot flashing unlock
- The target device will show you a confirmation screen. (This erases all data on the target device.)
- Open a terminal and navigate to the unzipped system image directory.
- Execute the flash-all script. This script installs the necessary bootloader, baseband firmware(s), and operating system.
- Once the script finishes, your device reboots. You should now lock the bootloader for security:
- Start the device in fastboot mode again, as described above.
- Execute: fastboot flashing lock
Locking bootloader will wipe the data on some devices. After locking the bootloader, if you want to flash the device again, you must run fastboot oem unlock again, which will wipe the data.
After the software has been downloaded to your device, there’s something important to remember. This is very early software, and it should not be used with your “daily driver”.
With each beta software update, there are likely to be bugs that could affect your day-to-day usage. If you are willing to take the risk, then flash or download away and get Android P today.
If you run into any issues, be sure to sound off in the comments and let us know!