How to Update Your Pixel to Android 10

Sep 3, 2019
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Android 10 is out for all Pixel devices, and it brings forth a host of exciting changes, the most notable being a system-wide Dark Theme. Have a Pixel and can't wait to get your hands on Android 10? Here are three ways you can get it on your device right now.

Manually check for update

This process is a fairly simple one and involves forcing your device to download any available update. To get started, head over to your Settings, scroll down to the bottom to tap System, tap Advanced, tap on System update and then on Check for Update. If there is one available for download, you'll be prompted accordingly. Once the OTA is downloaded and installed successfully, you'll be asked to reboot your device, and upon reboot, you'll be running Android 10.

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Sideload Factory Image

If the above method failed and you're willing to get your hands dirty, here's how you can sideload the update for your device. Before you get started, download the Android SDK from the Android Development website and follow their instructions on how to install it correctly. For the following process, all you will need is the ADB and Fastboot files which are located in the Platform Tools folder. Once that's done, you'll need to enable Developer Settings on your device.

  1. Navigate to Settings and scroll down to System and tap About Phone.
  2. Tap on the Build number seven times until the dialog box says, "you are now a developer." You will be asked to enter your PIN/Password/Pattern here.
  3. Head back to the System menu, and at the bottom, you should find a new option called Developer options.
  4. Navigate into the Developer Options. At the top, you'll see a toggle that switches them on. Do that and then scroll down to USB debugging and toggle it on.
  5. Navigate to OEM unlocking and toggle it on.
  6. Plug your device into your computer and click "OK" on the dialog box asking you to Allow USB debugging while connected to the computer.
  7. Open a Command Prompt/Terminal window on your computer and type in "adb devices" Proceed only if you can see your device listed below. If not, repeat steps 1-6 by using a different cable, USB Port, etc.
  8. Navigate to the devices' Bootloader using the "adb reboot bootloader" command.
  9. Before unlocking your Pixel's bootloader do note that it will factory reset your device causing you to lose everything stored on it. To unlock your bootloader, you must enter the following commands. "fastboot flashing unlock" and then press the volume up button and then the power button to confirm that you wish to unlock your bootloader. Now, type in "fastboot reboot-bootloader."
  10. Now that your bootloader is unlocked, it's time to flash the new firmware. To find the system images, head on over to the Factory Images page, find your device, and download the latest factory image available. All the files will be compressed, and you should unpack them in the same folder as your ADB and Fastboot tools. Make sure you are still in the bootloader menu on your device and ensure that your bootloader is unlocked.
  11. Look for a 'flash-all' script in the system image folder that you downloaded. Run it, and it will automatically flash the bootloader, system image and any other required files on to your device. The process can take a few minutes, and once it's complete, your device should reboot.
  12. Once the reboot is complete, you should be running a brand new install of Android Q

Flash an OTA update image

Flashing an OTA image is much less of a hassle compared to doing the same with a factory image. It doesn't involve unlocking your Bootloader and is a lot easier overall. For starters, head over to this page and grab the appropriate one for your device. Put the OTA file in the same folder as your ADB and Fastboot for convenience. Connect your phone to your computer via a USB cable and open a Command Prompt/Terminal window on your computer and type in "adb devices" Proceed only if you can see your device listed below. Navigate to the devices' Bootloader using the "adb reboot bootloader" command.

Now use the volume down button twice until you have scrolled to Recovery mode, and press the power button to select it. Hold down the power button and press the volume up button, and you will be in recovery mode. Now that you are in the Android system recovery use the volume down button to apply update from ADB and press the power button to select it. The text on your Pixel's screen will now say that you can send the OTA to the device using ADB. Now, type in "adb sideload [OTA file name].zip" and wait for the process to finish. Once the process is done your phone will restart itself and boot normally.

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