Here’s how to install the Android 12 Beta on your phone right now

Here’s how to install the Android 12 Beta on your phone right now

September 9, 2021 0 By Daniel Bader

The newest version of Android is here, and you can install it right now.

After long months of testing, the Android 12 beta is here, which means that the build is now more stable and ready for use as a daily driver.

Along with a major change to the look called Material You, Android 12 comes with a bunch of new privacy features that may or may not be useful.

The public Android 12 beta is available for Pixel phones along with the best Android phones from the likes of Xiaomi, ASUS, OPPO, TCL, OnePlus, and more (full list below). The latest version is Android 12 beta 5, and here’s how you can install it on your phone, whether you’re using a Pixel or any of the 15 third-party phones that have joined the beta.

Jump to:

Eligible devices
Android Beta program
Android Flash Tool
Android Factory Images

Which phones can download the Android 12 Beta?

There are ten phones from Google that are eligible for the Android 12 beta:

Pixel 3
Pixel 3 XL
Pixel 3a
Pixel 3a XL
Pixel 4
Pixel 4 XL
Pixel 4a
Pixel 4a 5G
Pixel 5
Pixel 5a

There are also 15 other devices from various manufacturers that require their own distinct way of installing the beta:

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Xiaomi Mi 11
Xiaomi Mi 11i (Mi 11X/Redmi K40 Pro)
Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro (China-only)
OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9
OPPO Find X3 Pro
Vivo iQOO 7 Legend
Realme GT
Nokia X20
ASUS ZenFone 8
Sharp
Tecno Camon 17
TCL 20 Pro 5G
ZTE Axon 30 5G Ultra

We have a detailed page on installing the Android 12 beta on non-Google devices if you want to install it on any of the devices listed above.

Install Android 12 Beta using the Android Beta Program

The easiest and simplest way to get the Android 12 beta is to enroll in the Android Beta Program.

Simply visit the Android Beta portal and opt-in to the beta, which will then prompt Google to send your phone or tablet an over-the-air update. Depending on the timing, your phone will get the latest beta and then an OTA for the final version, or it will just receive the final version of Android 12.

Head to Android Beta program portal on your Pixel phone.
Sign in to the Google account associated with that phone.
Scroll down to Your eligible devices.
Find the device you want to enroll in the Beta program and tap Opt-in.
Follow the prompts on your phone to accept the over-the-air download.

What if I want to leave the beta program?

You can easily opt-out of the beta program by going to the same Android Beta portal as you did to enroll, scroll down to your device, and tap Opt-out.

But be warned; doing so will get rid of all the data on your phone:

You may opt out of the program at any time to return to the stable, public version of Android. If you opt-out when your device is running a beta version of Android, all user data on the device will be wiped. If you choose to stay enrolled until the end of the program, you will graduate from the program and receive an update to the stable public release of Android 11. Your device will not be wiped.

Install Android 12 using the Android Flash Tool

You can also use the Android Flash Tool, a web-based version of the ADB developer tool, to install the Android 12 beta onto your phone.

Head to the Android Flash Tool site.
Allow the site to access ADB in your browser.
Enable Developer Mode on your phone.
Enable USB Debugging in the Developer Settings.
Enable OEM Unlocking on your device.
Plug-in your phone to a USB port on your computer.
Select the device from the pop-up and follow the instructions to install the beta.

Install Android 12 beta by flashing an OTA through the bootloader

If you really want to, you can flash the Android 12 beta onto a Pixel using an OTA factory image. This means that you’ll need to have a version of Android 11 already on your Pixel phone that supports the OTA update. The Android 12 beta is not installable as a standalone full factory image.

<!–

Before we go through the steps of sideloading Android updates, it is strongly recommended that you have previous knowledge of [working with the Android SDK](/installing-android-sdk-windows-mac-and-linux-tutorial) (software development kit) and the Terminal (OS X or Linux) or Command Prompt (Windows), as it is possible to harm your device if something were to go wrong in the following process.

If you need to download the [Android SDK](/tag/sdk), you can grab it from the [Android Development website](https://developer.android.com/studio) and follow their instructions on how to install it correctly. For the following process, all you will need is the adb and fastboot files, which are located in the **Platform Tools** folder, so make sure to read the description at the dev site and grab the right download.

Additionally, all the following commands are written as they would be in Terminal on a Linux or OS X platform. So, if you follow this guide and use a Windows machine, you will not need to use the "**./**" seen in the guide. Instead, just type the rest of the command line by line in the order they are listed, and you'll be good.

###Enable developer settings and USB debugging {#debugging}

1. Go to your phone's **Settings**
2. Scroll down to **About Phone/Tablet**.
3. Tap on the **Build number** seven times until the dialog box says you are now a developer.
4. Go back to the Settings menu and tap on **System**.
5. Tap on **Advanced**.
6. Tap into the **Developer options.**
7. Enable **OEM Unlocking**.
– Enter your **Pin or Passcode** to proceed.
8. Enable **OEM Debugging**.

If done correctly, this will be everything you will need to do on your phone or tablet for the moment.

###Unlocking your bootloader

Pixel phones bought from Google directly have a bootloader you can unlock. If you want to manually flash software, you'll need to do this.

To do this, you must first boot into your bootloader. You can either manually turn off your phone or tablet and hold down the **power button** and the **volume down button** to enter your device's Bootloader Menu, or you can enter the following commands into your terminal or command prompt.

Run the following command to make sure your device is properly connected to your computer. If it returns a string of characters, it means that you are all set to start updating your device.

./adb devices

Now to enter into the **Bootloader menu**, just run the following command.

./adb reboot bootloader

There will be several things listed at the bottom of the screen, including the **lock state** of the device. This should say locked unless you have unlocked your bootloader in the past and never went back and locked it again.

To unlock your bootloader, which is required only when flashing a stock firmware image (not sideloading an update), you must enter the following commands. Remember that when unlocking your phone’s bootloader, it will **factory reset** your device so that you will lose everything stored on it. If you have not yet backed up anything important on your device, you can hit the **power button** while **Start** is highlighted in the Bootloader menu, and this will boot you back into your device like normal. Now back to unlocking your bootloader.

Now type:

`./fastboot flashing unlock`

A dialog will appear on the device asking if you are sure about unlocking. Again this will **factory reset your device**, so if you want to back out of the process, you just need to select no with the power button. If you are ready to unlock your bootloader, press the **volume up button** and then the **power button** to confirm that you wish to unlock your bootloader.

./fastboot reboot-bootloader

It is recommended to reboot the bootloader just to give itself a check to make sure everything is working correctly before moving on to the next step.

### Flashing the Android 12 Factory Image to your phone

Now that your bootloader is unlocked, it’s time to flash the new firmware. To find the images, head on over to the [Android 12 Factory Images page](https://developer.android.com/about/versions/12/download), find your device, and download the latest image. It is easiest to then uncompress the file in the **Platform Tools** folder you downloaded (where the adb and fastboot files are) so that you don’t have to type the path to the different files when flashing the firmware. (Or if you know that you can drag a file into a terminal window to copy the path, just do that.)

To begin, make sure you are still in the bootloader menu on your device and double-check that your bootloader is, in fact, unlocked.

First, make sure that your computer is communicating correctly with your phone or tablet. Then, as long as your device’s serial number comes back as a connected device, you can begin updating your device.

./fastboot devices

Once you’ve verified that the phone and the computer can communicate the way they need to, you can get to flashing.

The easiest way to install any Android factory image through the bootloader is by using the **flash-all** script. You’ll find a .bat file for Windows and a .sh file for Mac and Linux inside the image you downloaded, and they can automate the entire process for you. To get started, make sure your phone is plugged in, and **leave it plugged in through the entire process**. Then enter the following command.

./flash-all

This process shouldn’t be interrupted once it’s started, and by default, it wipes all of your user data. So just let it do its thing, and when done, you’ll reboot to Android 12.

You can flash each file individually, too. The steps are a little more complicated but follow the same general idea — enter a command to flash a file and don’t touch anything until your terminal window says it is finished.

First, you’ll need to flash the updated bootloader with the following command.

./fastboot flash bootloader [bootloader file].img

You will not see anything on your device’s screen, but there should be a dialog in your terminal or command prompt. When it is done flashing the bootloader, you should reboot back into the bootloader to make sure everything is still working correctly.

./fastboot reboot-bootloader

Next, you flash the updated radios. This step is only necessary if you update the firmware of a **phone or tablet that has cellular radios** built into it.

./fastboot flash radio [radio file].img

./fastboot reboot-bootloader

Finally, it’s time to flash the actual system image to your phone or tablet.

**Warning:** The following line of code will wipe your device. Normally, you can remove the “-w” from the command, but it’s not guaranteed to work when moving to a beta version of Android. {.update}

./fastboot -w update [image file].zip

When this is done, your phone will restart itself and boot up normally. As this process clears all data from your device, it will take slightly longer for your device to boot up for the first time. Once you have been greeted with the device setup walkthrough process, you know you have successfully flashed a new firmware version.

–>

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 data, the best option is to sideload the full OTA image. Doing so will install Android 12 over the currently-running Android 11 build but ensure that your data remains intact. Before you start doing this, make sure that no OTA updates are yet to be installed on your Pixel. Go to Settings > About phone > System updates and see no pending updates. Also, ensure that you have USB debugging enabled on your phone.

To get started, head to the Android 12 OTA images page, and download the relevant build for your Pixel. To sideload the build onto your Pixel, you’ll need to use ADB — I’m a fan of Universal ADB Drivers. Once installed on your Windows machine and the OTA image has been downloaded, you can start sideloading the build.

You’ll first need to put your phone in recovery mode. You can power off and then hold the Power button along with the Volume Down button for a few seconds to enter the bootloader menu and select the recovery option using the Volume Down button.

Here, you should see the Android mascot face down with an exclamation mark over it. Hold down the Power button and press Volume Up once to enter recovery mode. Next, navigate to the option that says Apply update from ADB by using the Volume Up button and confirm the selection by pressing the Power button once.

Now you are ready to sideload the OTA image. Confirm that your phone can connect to your computer and is detectable. For this, plug your Pixel into your computer and run the command:

adb devices

You should see your phone’s serial number and sideload next to it. Now we can get to flashing the OTA build; just run the following in CMD:

adb sideload ota_file.zip

Here, you will need to switch out 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 the following: adb sideload crosshatch-ota-spp1.210122.020.a3-d0b7a955.zip into CMD. For this to work, make sure that the OTA file is in the same directory as the CMD path.

Once the OTA file is transferred to your phone, it should go back to the recovery menu. Navigate to Reboot system now and confirm with the 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 comes next with Android 12?

As of September 8, 2021, we are on Android 12 beta 5, which means the software has reached Release Candidate status and the APIs are now final. Google promises to release the final version of Android 12 for Pixel phones in late September or early October, so we’re approaching that timeline now.

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