The Android 11 Beta is now official, and the era of Developer Previews are over. While Android 11 isn’t “done,” the switch to betas is a sort of milestone for stability as we approach a final release. There are still risks, but Google’s transition to a beta branding means you probably shouldn’t run into any serious deal-breaking bugs — though there’s still some risk. Part of this change also means you don’t need to manually install Android 11 via ADB, like you had to with prior Developer Preview releases. In fact, getting it on your Pixel phone is a snap, and here’s how to do it.
Before we dive in, though, there are a few prerequisites you’ll need to fill, and some details to keep in mind. For now, the Android 11 Betas are only for late-model Pixel phones. That’s the Pixel 2, 3, 3a, and 4 series only. Original Pixels have long since been left behind when it comes to software, and so far, Google doesn’t have any other manufacturers on board for these Beta releases.
If you were previously enrolled in the Android 10 Beta Program, that doesn’t carry over to Android 11, and you’ll need to re-register. However, phones flashed with the Developer Previews seem to be automatically registered into the Beta Program.
Also note that Google is very explicit when it comes to customer support: there are no official support channels for Android 11. This is an adventure, and you’re on your own if things go wrong — Pixel support chat probably can’t help you.
You’ll also need to remember that leaving the Beta Program isn’t a simple process. While you can migrate to the beta releases quickly and easily, if you need to revert back to stable Android 10, you’ll have to wipe your phone. The only migration back to stable Android that preserves your data is the eventual update to Android 11 this fall.
Installing Android 11
The steps to install Android 11 aren’t too difficult, and Google has made the process astoundingly simple.
1. Visit the Android Beta Program site and scroll down to “Your eligible devices,” where you’ll see a list of all your compatible phones. (Note that right now the site seems to up and down, switching between the old page that claims the beta program is complete, and the new page that actually lets you register. It may take a few tries, or you may have to wait a bit for that issue to resolve.)
2. Select the phone you’d like to get Android 11 on with the big “Opt in” button.
3. You’ll need to accept the terms of service, which include a large warning that stuff may be unstable or break at any time. You can also sign up for Beta Program alerts. At a minimum, though, you need to agree to the Beta Program’s terms.
4. Once you agree to the terms of the program, click/tap “Join beta.”
You should see this if your enrollment was successful.
That’s it. Your device is now enrolled in the Android 11 Beta Program. You should see an update to Android 11 available on your phone over the next minutes or hours. Google claims it can take up to 24 hours to arrive, but in our experience it’s almost always much faster.
The Android 11 Beta 1 update being delivered to a Pixel 2 XL.
Keep in mind, this is a large update if you weren’t on previous Developer Previews, so you’ll want to be on Wi-Fi when you pull it down, or risk blowing through well over a gigabyte of data on your mobile plan.
For more information on what to expect from Android 11, check out our detailed feature-level series coverage.