This guide will explain how to easily install Google’s update to Android O for Nexus and Pixel devices. Now that it is available on the Android Beta Program trying Android O is easier than ever before.
Simply enroll in the beta program and Google will automatically send the Android O beta update files to your eligible device. Devices that can install Android O today are the Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5x, Nexus 6P, Pixel C tablet, and Nexus Player.
On the original preview of Android O users had to manually flash the update. A painful process that was too risky for some. With the beta program, everything happens automatically once you sign up and enroll your device.
How to Install the Android O Beta
- Open your browser and go to Android.com/beta
- Sign into your Google Account
- Read the beta program rules and scroll down to Eligible Devices
- Find the device you want to use and click the green Enroll Device button
- Agree to all terms and tap Join Beta
You will receive a confirmation that you’ve enrolled in the beta, hit OK. Now just wait for the Android O beta update files to arrive and start downloading. We received it instantly, although it can take up to 24 hours to arrive. Users can also head into Settings > About Phone > and tap Check for updates and try to force the download.
Once you see the update, pull down the notification bar and select download. Your phone will download Android O, reboot and install the software, then restart. From here you will automatically receive future Android O betas, as well as an update to the official release later this summer.
It’s worth noting that Google has an entire list of potential bugs that you could face on Android O. The beta program will send users the second update to Android O, which is more stable than the first release. Still, here are a few reasons you should and shouldn’t try it today.
What’s New in Android O
The most noteworthy changes so far are to notifications, battery life, and picture-in-picture mode. Google added smarter bundled notifications and may introduce cross-device sync so we don’t see the same notifications often. There’s a new background restriction mode that prevents apps from draining the battery too. Furthermore, app icons are now dynamic and can display info such as badges for unread counts, or the time and date. Your calendar icon will always show the correct date, instead of a still image.
Apps support a wider color gamut, there are snooze options for notifications, better audio, and auto-fill for forms and logins inside apps. Here is more information about Android O.
In addition to the beta program, Google also offers updated files for users to manually install Android O. This process is very technical and not for average users. Join the beta above, or proceed below with caution.
How to Install ADB on Windows, Mac, Ubuntu & ChromeOS
Before you can install the Android O beta to the Nexus 5x, Pixel XL or others you will need to install ADB and Fastboot to your computer. This is a program that runs on your PC/Mac to connect to your Android device through a USB cable and flash Android software to a device.
Installing ADB and Fastboot is one of the most annoying parts of installing Android factory images, but several tools make it dead simple these days. Alternatively, Google has an entire guide on ADB and flashing the files.
How to Install ADB on Windows
Those running Windows can download a 15 second adb installer to simplify the process and get up and running in a few minutes.
Download the ADB installer for Windows. Find the file, right-click on it and choose Run as Administrator. When prompted you need to give the app access to run as an administrator. After the app launches type a Y and enter to select yes to Install ADB & Fastboot, to install ADB/Fastboot systemwide and to install Drivers. When a new window pops up follow the steps to install the drivers.
After this, you are now ready to install Android O on supported devices.
How to Install ADB on Mac, Linux & ChromeOS
Nexus Tools makes it easy to install ADB on a Mac, Linux or even ChromeOS. Simply open Terminal on the computer and past in the code from xda. Open terminal by going to search, and just type Terminal to open it. Then copy/paste that code to get started.
This will install ADB and Fastboot on Mac, Linux and Chrome OS without the need to do anything else. It’s extremely easy, and avoids all the ADB package mess that typically takes much longer to complete.
After the script finishes type ADB or Fastboot to start running either process. This is how you start flashing files or system images provided by Google. Remember to head into settings > developer options and enable USB Debugging first. Not to mention newer devices need to enable “OEM Unlock” in developer options so you can unlock the bootloader and flash the latest software.
Manually Install Android O
The first thing you need to do is download the Android O Beta System Image for your device. These aren’t in the typical location because it’s an early developer preview. They have yet to be updated to the second preview. So again, we recommend the beta program above. You’ll have to agree to the terms to continue, then click the links below to download the files for each device. Take notice of the “caution” notes.
As usual, only select devices are able to participate in the beta. Those being the newest Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel and Pixel XL, Nexus Player and the Pixel C Tablet. The older Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 are no longer supported. Click the links below to download the file you need.
- Nexus 5X Android O Dev Preview
- Nexus 6P Android O Dev Preview
- Google Pixel Android O Dev Preview
- Pixel XL Android O Dev Preview
- Pixel C Tablet Android O Dev Preview
- Nexus Player Android O Dev Preview
Next you will need to unzip these files to a folder you can access. We unzipped it to our MAC desktop. After you have the Android O system image unzipped you need to find it. Then type cmd into the address bar on Windows, or open terminal and direct it to this new folder on Mac, Linux or Chrome OS. Reminder, if you’re on a MAC you need to make sure terminal is running inside the folder you just unzipped. Right click, open Terminal at Folder.
If your Nexus/Pixel is not bootloader unlocked you should do that first. We could not install the Android O beta if the device locked. This will wipe it out completely and erase all user data, settings, pictures, etc. Repeat, this will erase everything! If you don’t want to do this, follow the instructions above for the beta program.
Open a Terminal in the adb folder and type the command below then hit enter.
adb reboot bootloader
In Fastboot type:
fastboot oem unlock
Then hit enter. Follow the on-screen instructions and choose to erase the device. Wait a minute or so for it to unlock. This removes everything on your device.
Nexus 6P or Pixel users will need to use “fastboot devices” and then “fastboot flashing unlock” to unlock the bootloader. Then proceed to reboot and follow our steps.
Flash the Image
Now open the folder containing the unzipped Android O System Image file you just downloaded from above. Type cmd in the address bar. Type the multiple commands posted below and hit enter. Or copy and paste to avoid mistakes. On a Mac you can open Terminal in the folder by enabling terminal shortcuts in settings. This is key for Mac users. Head to System Preferences and select Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services. Find “New Terminal at Folder” in the settings and click the box. Now when you’re in Finder, just right-click a folder and you’re shown the option to open Terminal. Or just do it from the desktop where you unzipped the Factory image as shown below.
Once in terminal simply copy and paste the commands below to install Android O to your Nexus or Pixel phone. First is for Windows, then Mac.
This will flash all of the needed files. If you are on a Mac or other computer you will need to type;
This will push all of the files and update your device to the just released Android O Developer Preview. Any guesses on the final name? We’re going with Android 7.2 Oreo. Or Android 8.0 Oreo. The files will start sending and installing and your device may reboot. The logo boot screen may stay for a long time. Do not unplug the device. This may last 10 minutes or longer the first time. When Android prompts you to complete setup you can unplug your Nexus or Pixel. It took less than two minutes for us.
It’s worth noting that some users may experience a “missing system.img” error and the installation will fail. This is because the way you’re trying to flash the update. Instructions on how to get around this are right here. Essentially users will need to unzip the update.zip folder and move all the images to the original folder we mentioned above. Then manually flash them one by one, vs the flash-all command we’re using here. Only do this if you run into issues with missing images. It takes a few more steps, but works all the same. It flashed just fine on my Pixel XL using a Mac.
When the process finishes you can enter your information or Gmail account and start using Android O right now.
Android O Release Date
So how will updates go for Android O? Google just released the second developer preview on May 17th. The third beta will be more stable and arrive in mid-June. We can expect the last preview in July before Android O is officially released.
According to Google the Android O release is scheduled for Q3 of 2017. Some reports suggest August or September, but we’ll have to wait and see. On stage during Google I/O one employee said it will be available “later this summer”.
Download or install the Android O beta right now and enjoy all the changes. Stay tuned for more details as the release date nears.