You can try out the Android 11 developer preview software right now if you have a Pixel 2 or later, but it’s understandable if the idea of flashing your device to install the OS is intimidating. It can be a tricky process, and the steps differ slightly depending on what phone you have and what kind of computer you’re going to use to download the software. But now that process has been streamlined by Google.
Google recently released the Android Flash Tool, a web application that handles most of the steps of flashing for you. There are a few steps that you’ll need to do yourself before the new software can be installed, which we’ll walk you through below, but Google’s tool basically eliminates most of the hassle and complexity that makes it easy to mess up.
There are a few important notes to make up here at the top. First, once you flash your phone with the developer preview, your device will get all future developer preview and beta updates over the air. In other words, you won’t need to flash your phone again when new builds of Android 11 are released. Just head to your system settings and fetch an update.
The second note is just your standard disclaimer that you do this at your own risk. This is unfinished software, and installing it could lead to malfunctions with your device or to software that you usually use. And depending on settings that you adjust in the Android Flash Tool, you might have to wipe all of the data from your phone. So, proceed with caution.
The Android 11 developer preview is compatible with the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3A, Pixel 3A XL, Pixel 4, and Pixel 4 XL. It’s possible that Google will broaden the list of devices supported by Android 11 in the upcoming beta, but for now, you’ll need one of those phones to get the software.
Google says that you can use any browser that supports the WebUSB API, which is supported by Chrome as well as Microsoft Edge version 79 and later. The Android Flash Tool works with all the major operating systems, including Linux, macOS, ChromeOS, and Windows 10, though browser compatibility may vary depending on your OS.
Once you’re all done, the phone will reboot one last time, and over on your PC you’ll be met with a celebratory screen. You’re all done! And thankfully, you won’t have to go through this process again for the next Android 11 update — easy as this was.