Download & Install Android N Preview Through Android Beta Program
Google surprised everyone today with an unexpectedly early announcement a developer preview of its latest variant of Android. Labeled Android N, possibly for the duration of its early testing stages, the new version comes with a sleuth of new features and improvements to older ones.
These include picture-in-picture for video playback and split-screen multitasking for apps, a new Direct Reply feature that allows users to reply to alerts without leaving the notification shade, an improvement to the Doze feature that allows it to save power whenever the device’s screen is powered off, reduction of memory usage with efficient backgrounding, f.lux-like screen temperature control called Night Mode, small tweaks to the UI and support for Java 8.
The announcement was accompanied by the release of Android N factory images for recent Nexus devices and the launch of a brand new OTA-based way to access current preview builds called the Android Beta Program. In what follows, we’ll explain how to download and install the latest preview version of Google’s mobile OS through the new program.
Caution: Android Beta Program, much like the Apple Software Beta Program for iOS, aims to make the whole installation and update process easier for developers and power-users with the introduction of OTA downloads, eliminating the need to flash images and the risks that accompany said process. However, the firmware said program will install to your device is still a preview, and preview builds mostly come with a fair amount of bugs. You can revert to the current stable build of Android if things get rough, but doing so will reset (wipe all data and apps from) your device.
Now that you’re aware of the risks, let’s walk you through the process.
The Android Beta Program is meant for the more recent additions to Google’s line of Nexus devices. You need to have one of the following:
- Nexus 5X
- Nexus 6P
- Nexus 6
- Pixel C tablet
- Nexus 9
- Nexus Player
Enrolling, Download & Installation
1. First up, point your browser to the Android Beta Program website and sign in with the Google account you use on your Android device.
2. The page will list all the Nexus devices linked to said account. Click the Enroll Device button below a device to register it with the program.
3. Confirm that you’ve read through and agree with the Terms and Conditions, click Join Beta and then hit Ok.
3. Wait for your Nexus device to receive an OTA update notification or manually check for an update by heading to Settings > About phone > System updates.
Note: Our own experience with the process as well as feedback from around the web suggests this shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes, though Google says it may take up to 24 hours.
4. Once you’ve received said notification on your Nexus, simply tap the Download option it offers to begin the simple installation process.
After your device is done downloading the update, it will need to restart to install it. Installing the update will not delete any of your data or apps, but ensure that you have sufficient battery life before you ask the device to restart. Any future beta updates, and the final release itself, will automatically be pushed to the device over the air.
As mentioned earlier, you can have your device roll back to the latest public/stable build of Android if need be. To do so, return to the Android Beta Program website (linked above) and click the Unenroll Device button below the Nexus you want to have downgraded, and another OTA update notification, this time, for the latest stable build, will be pushed to your device.
Downloading and installing this update will perform a factory reset on your device (it will wipe all your data and apps), so be sure to have your device backed up before you go through with the installation.