With the launch of Android 11 getting closer, Google launched the third and final beta of its mobile operating system on Thursday ahead of its general availability. Android 11’s developer preview phase has been kicking around for the past few months, but now it’s in a public beta. It’s also stable, unlike the first beta. Google had previously delayed the beta program by about a month because of the coronavirus pandemic.
If you want to install Android 11 Beta on your compatible smartphone, be sure to check out our step-by-step guide. Find out what’s new with the latest update and what’s next for Android.
Which phones can download the Android 11 Beta?
The Android 11 public beta is currently only available for the following compatible smartphones:
- Pixel 2
- Pixel 2 XL
- Pixel 3
- Pixel 3 XL
- Pixel 3a
- Pixel 3a XL
- Pixel 4
- Pixel 4 XL
- OnePlus 8
- OnePlus 8 Pro
- Xiaomi Mi 10
- Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro
- Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro
- Oppo Find X2
- Oppo Find X2 Pro
The Android 11 beta will be available to more devices in the coming month.
How to Install Android 11 Public Beta Now:
Using Android Beta Program:
The easiest way to get Android 11 Beta on a Google Pixel device is to Enroll the device in Google’s Android Beta for the Pixel program. You can enroll in the beta program here.
After you have opted-in for the Beta program, Google will send your phone or tablet an over-the-air update. Your compatible device will receive the beta version and then an OTA for the final version, or Android Q straightaway.
Head to the Android Beta program portal on your compatible phone.
Sign in to your 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 OTA download.
Install Android 11 using Android Flash Tool:
This year, Google gave users the option to use Android Flash Tool, a web-based version of the ADB developer tool, to install the Android 11 beta onto their phone. Steps to follow:
- 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.
Installing Android 11 Beta by Flashing through the Bootloader:
Although it is the difficult route to accomplish the same results, you will need to flash the Factory Image if you want complete control over your Android 11 experience.
It is recommended to have knowledge of working with SDK (Software Development Kit) and Terminal (OS X or Linux) or Command Prompt (Windows). Your device can get affected if something goes wrong in following the process.
Download the Android SDK here and follow their instructions on how to install it correctly. For the upcoming steps, you will need adb and fastboot files which are located in the Platform Tools folder. Make sure you read the description clearly on the dev site and select the right files for download.
All the commands in our guide are written as they would be in Terminal on a Linux or OS X platform. If you are a Windows user, you will not need to use the “./” seen in the guide.
Enable developer settings and USB debugging:
- Go to your phone’s Settings
- Scroll down to About Phone/Tablet.
- Tap on the Build number seven times until the dialog box says you are now a developer.
- Go back to the Settings menu and tap on System.
- Tap on Advanced.
- Tap into the Developer options.
- Enable OEM Unlocking.
- Enter your Pin or Passcode to proceed.
- Enable OEM Debugging.
Unlocking your bootloader:
Pixel phones have a bootloader that you can unlock directly. If you are using any of the other compatible devices, you will have to manually flash software.
To do this, boot into your device’s bootloader. There are two ways that can be followed here:
Hold down your device’s power button to shut it down manually and continue to hold the power key and volume down button to enter your device’s Bootloader Menu.
enter the following commands into your terminal or command prompt:
./adb reboot bootloader
To unlock your bootloader, enter the following command:
./fastboot flashing unlock
Press the volume up button and then the power button to confirm Bootloader unlock when prompted.
Remember that when you unlock the bootloader, your phone’s data will be wiped off as the bootloader will factory reset your phone. So, backup your important data in advance. In case you haven’t, press the power button to exit the bootloader and backup your files.
Flashing the stock image or OTA update:
After you have successfully unlocked the bootloader, it’s time to flash the new firmware. Download the latest image from Android 11 factory image page and then uncompress the file in the Platform Tools folder you downloaded (where the adb and fastboot files are). This way you don’t have to type the path to different sources while flashing the firmware.
Make sure that your computer is communicating correctly with your phone or tablet. As long as your device’s serial number comes back as a connected device you are ready to begin updating your device. Use this command prompt to check:
Flashing a full Factory Image:
You’ll need to flash the updated bootloader with the following command:
/fastboot flash bootloader [bootloader file].img
Your screen will be blank but there should be a dialog in your terminal or command prompt. Reboot back into the bootloader to make sure everything is still working correctly after flashing is finished.
After this, follow these steps to flash the actual system image to your phone or tablet.
The following line of code will wipe your device. Generally, you can remove the “-w” from the command but when installing a beta version of Android it’s not guaranteed to work.
./fastboot -w update [image file].zip
This will complete your installation process.
What’s new with Android 11 Beta?
Earlier, Google reached a new milestone known as Platform Stability. So, there aren’t going to be too many user-facing changes in Android 11 beta 3. The next iteration of A11 is expected to be a stable launch. The most notable feature of this beta version is the whitelisting of Google and Apple’s Exposure Notifications System, the platform developed by both Google and Apple that allows official health organizations to create contact tracing applications for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to this launch, Android users could manually turn off contact tracing. With this Beta update, Google has made a notable exception to the Exposure Notification System. Google has decided to automatically switch the approval on.
Google isn’t making this exception for any other app, API, or system.
Google’s reasoning behind this change is purely pragmatic: in order for the Exposure Notifications System to do the best job and then helping to stop the spread of the virus, ENS needs to be active on as many devices as possible.
Google probably weighed the user backlash and the possibility of saving more lives outweighed their privacy concerns. Let’s see if whitelisting the API is worth it.
What comes next for Android 11?
According to Google’s latest timeline, there will be four beta releases. The public version of Android 11 may be delayed a bit. It will likely come out in late August or early September.
Google’s next launch of Android 11 should be a stable release for all major OEM smartphone brands.
Note: As a developer preview, Android 11 will likely be unstable and won’t be suitable for daily use. Beta tests are released prior to a software’s official launch, and they typically follow developers’ beta tests. Google offers developer and public betas to collect feedback from developers and everyday users, respectively. Install at your own risk.