How to install the Android Q beta on a Google Pixel

Google just launched the first beta today for the next version of Android, Android Q. Instead of launching with a developer preview, you can immediately get in on the action for Android Q with the official beta program, open now to each and every Google Pixel device. Here’s how to enroll.

How to Enroll in Android Q Beta Program on Google Pixel

  1. Check your enrolled devices
  2. Opt-in to the Android Q Beta Program
  3. Install OTA on your device

1. Check Enrolled Devices

The first step to join the Android Q beta program is to see what devices are compatible with the program. For now, that’s just Google’s own Pixel devices, but all three generations are supported. When you head over to the site, any Pixel you’ve been using recently should appear the bottom of the page. For me, that included a Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3, and Pixel 2 XL.

If you want to download the new software, you’ll need a Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 2, or Pixel 2 XL. Surprisingly, Google is even stretching support all the way back to the original Pixels. The installation process for the new operating system is pretty easy, but if you run into issues that have you wanting to run back to a more stable version of Android 9 Pie, you’ll have to completely reformat your phone.

Back up your device

It’s super important to make sure that your data is backed up. Before you get started, open up your settings, navigate to “System,” and once you click through, hit “Backup.” This screen will tell you if your phone is set to back up its data. If the setting is on, it does a good job of informing you when you last backed up your phone’s most important stuff to your Google Drive. If this feature isn’t activated, turn it on.
The initial backup might take a while, but if things go wrong with Android Q, you’ll be happy that your data (including apps, SMS texts, photos and videos, call history, and more) is ready for you to download should you need to reinstall Android 9 Pie. Google notes that, even when you back up your data, errors can still occur when downgrading your software, so don’t be surprised if things don’t feel exactly as you left them.

2. Opt-in to the Android Q Beta Program

Once you’ve ensured you have compatible devices, you can select which ones join the program. To enroll a device, simply click Opt-In, accept the terms and conditions, and then hit Join Beta. From that point, Google will work some magic on their servers to get the update to your device.

3. Install OTA on your device

Once you click “Enroll,” you’ll eventually get an update notification on the enrolled device that a system update is ready. You may need to check for a system update in order for it to fetch the beta software, but it usually doesn’t take long for it to be ready for download. (Google says it could take 24 hours or more, but we’ve rarely had to wait that long. The beta hit one of our phones less than a half-hour after enrolling it.) As new Android Q developer previews come out, you’ll get a notification to install them, too, as you would for any regular system update.

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