July 14, 2020

How to install Android 11 Beta — a step by step guide

Android 11 Beta 2 has arrived! Here's how to install it on your Pixel device.

Android 11 logo on google pixel 3 xl

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

After multiple previews, Google has finally released the second Android 11 beta build. Google Pixel devices 2 through 4 are all supported, as are a handful of third-party devices.

The latest update is much more stable than the previous builds, but don’t expect too much new as far as features and functionality. Although beta releases are usually much more reliable than the initial Android previews, we’d still caution you not to use it on your primary device unless you’re willing to accept the risk of losing data and other potential issues.

You can sign up for the beta here to receive an OTA update, or you can download factory images directly for sideloading. Google is also making the update available through the new Android Flash Tool. While using the OTA is probably the easiest, if you really want to manually install Android 11 beta we recommend using OTA images over the factory images.

Here’s what you need to get started

  • A compatible Pixel device (Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, or Pixel 4 XL) and a USB cable to connect it to your computer.
  • The Android SDK installed on your machine with ADB and Fastboot command successfully working — check the tutorial here.

Now for the actual steps.

Download the proper files

You’ll need to download the proper file for your device before you get started. Click here to grab the OTA image for your specific Pixel device. It’s also possible to use the full factory images (here), though that requires extra hoops like unlocking your bootloader and more. So if you want to keep things simple, we recommend sideloading the OTA, and our directions below are designed for this type of install.

android 11 logo

Prepare your phone

Once you’ve installed the file, you need to reboot your phone into Recovery Mode in order to apply the OTA.

  1. First shut off your phone.
  2. Next, hold down Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time.
  3. The bootloader menu will now show up. Use volume buttons to scroll down to Recovery Mode.
  4. Select Recovery Mode by clicking the power button.
  5. You’ll be presented with an Android robot with an exclamation mark on it. Now you’ll press power button and volume up button for about a second.
  6. Release the volume up button will send you fully into recovery.
  7. Next, us the volume buttons and scroll down to “Apply update from ABD�. Push the power button to select the option.
  8. Lastly, you’ll see a blank screen telling you how to sideload an OTA.

Prepare your PC

Now that you’re phone is ready, it’s time to make the magic happen.

  1. Connect your handset to your PC via USB cable. Remember, you’re PC needs to have ADB tools installed. 
  2. On Windows, enter Command Prompt. On Linux or Mac, you’ll want to use Terminal. For Windows users: make sure you navigate to wherever you’re storing the folder.
  3. Next, you’ll need to enter adb sideload for Windows, or ./adb sideload for Mac/Linux.
  4. Now you’ll want to enter the name of the .zip folder from before. Hit enter.
  5. Once completed, your phone will return to Recovery Mode and you can remove the USB cable.
  6. Go to Reboot Now with the volume keys and press the power button.

That’s it. If everything went okay, you’ll now reboot into the Android 11 Beta.

Next: Android 11 hands-on: Should you install it?