How to Sideload The Android 11 Developer Preview on Your Pixel Phone

Download and Install Android 11 Developer Preview

Google has surprised us all with an early release of the Android 11 R developer preview. The official changelog doesn't state much in the way of new features, but we should know more about it as time passes. If you happen to own a Pixel 2, Pixel 3, or Pixel 4 and want to give Android 11 R a try, here's how you sideload it on to your phone.

IMPORTANT: Read before sideloading the Android 11 R Developer Preview

Unlike custom ROMs, Android developer previews, as the name suggests, are for developers to test their apps. If you plan on sideloading the Android 11 R developer preview on your daily driver, you're going to have a hard time. A lot of apps won't work properly, and several won't work at all. The experience will be buggy and frustrating. Furthermore, the process involves a complete wipe of your device, so it's best if you back up your data before proceeding. It is imperative that you let the process complete without any hindrance. If the installation is stopped midway, you could potentially brick your device. Now that we have this out of the way let's take a look at how to sideload the Android 11 R developer preview onto your device.

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Step 1: Download the Build corresponding to your device from here. Keep it at a convenient location that is easy to type, for example, "C:\Downloads", as you'll need to type its path in its entirety later.

Step 2: Make sure you have ADB and Fastboot tools at the ready.

Step 3: Unlock the bootloader on your device. Also, make sure you have the "allow OEM unlocking toggle" switched on in the Developer Options.

Step 4: Boot your phone into recovery mode. To do that, you need to press and hold down on the Power button and the Volume down button simultaneously until you get to the Bootloader page where you'll see Android figure lying down on the screen. Using your volume buttons, scroll down to Recovery mode and select this by clicking the power button.

Step 5: Press the Power button and the Volume up button for about a second and then release the Volume up button will to get into Recovery.

Step 6: Connect your phone to your PC/Mac using a USB cable and open up a Command Prompt/Terminal in the same folder as your ADB/Fastboot tools. You may need to use commands such as 'cd' (change directory) and 'ls' (list) to get to the right path. Alternatively, use this guide to perform a one-time setup that will let you use ADB from any folder on your device. Type "adb devices" and ensure that your device is listed on the screen.

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Step 7: Scroll down to Apply update from ADB using the volume buttons and select it with the power button.

Step 8: Type, "adb sideload <path to update file> " on a Windows PC or "./adb sideload <path to update file>" on a Mac. It will look something like "adb sideload C:\Users\Anil\Downloads\".

Step 9: If everything is done right, the process should start and it will take a few minutes to complete. Once the installation is complete, reboot your phone into Android using the power button.

You should now be running Android 11 R on your Pixel. If you think that the update isn't for you and want to go back to Android 10, watch this space for a guide on how to do so.

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