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Home / Tips and Tricks / Android 12: Download and install the beta phone operating system from Google on Pixel, OnePlus, and more

Android 12: Download and install the beta phone operating system from Google on Pixel, OnePlus, and more

Android on Google I / O 2021

Android 12 is ready for your feedback. We’ll tell you how to get started and what you need to know.

James Martin / CNET

Google is new Android 12 phone operating system looks stunning and is arguably the biggest Android redesign in years. Introduced on Google I / O, the software giant previewed Material You’s new design and features and released the first public beta version of Android 12 that anyone with a compatible device can install and test.

For those brave enough to try this early version, the Android 12 beta will include features such as improved privacy controls and an adaptive interface that changes the color of your phone’s appearance to match your background. Android devices now also work better with other devices such as Chromebooks and Android TVs.

If you’re an early adopter and ready to help Google test the next Android operating system, here’s everything you need to know to get Android 12 on your phone right now. And here are the six top features of Android 12 we think you’ll love it.

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Android 12 Beta hands-on


Will my phone work with the beta version of Android 12?

Google is releasing the first public beta of Android 12 for its line of Pixel phones, as well as select models from OnePlus, ZTE, TCL, Oppo, RealMe, Sharp, Tecno, Vivi, Xiaomi and Asus. Google’s developer website has published a one-stop website with links to the instructions for each hardware partner participating in the beta program.

The installation process differs for each vendor, and each phone manufacturer limits which models are included in the beta. For example, OnePlus currently offers the Android 12 beta for the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, and strongly suggests that only developers install the beta for now. However, if you insist, you can install the beta. You will need to download the update package on your computer, transfer it to your phone’s storage and then go through the process of installing a “local OTA” update. OnePlus details the steps in this forum post, which also has a giant warning in red that the update could block your phone. Yikes.


There are plenty of partners this year.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

TCL has released an Android 12 preview for the TCL 20 Pro 5G and warns that the process will erase all information and data from your phone. The installation process requires you to flash (install) the update with a program TCL specially built to install the beta with a Windows computer. Here are the instructions.

If you don’t have a Pixel phone I’d proceed with caution and realistically choose to wait for the official release later this year, or at least until closer to the official launch when every company has done more time to resolve any major issues.

Google’s installation process isn’t that scary, but it doesn’t come without its own risks. Here’s a list of the specific Google Pixel models that can participate in the Android 12 beta:


Choose which device you want to install Android 12 on.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

How can I use the beta version of Android 12 on my phone?

These are the steps I followed on a Pixel phone. If you are using any of the other supported devices there may be some variation. Start by visiting the Android Beta program website. Log in to the site with the same Google account you use on your phone. Google will give you some warnings about using a beta operating system. Read and agree to the information when done.

At the bottom of the page is a list of phones associated with your account that are eligible to participate in the beta. Click on the Sign Up button for the phone you want to enroll in the program. Accept the terms and conditions and click Confirm and register when you’re done.

Then grab your phone and go to Settings > System > Advanced > System update > Check for updates. Your phone may take a few minutes to display the update so if you don’t see the pending update when you tap the update button the first time, give it a few minutes and try again. Once your phone shows the update install it the same way you would any other update. But this time when your phone reboots it will run this early test version of Android 12.

Can I get out of the Android 12 beta?

If you decide that the beta version of Android 12 has too many bugs or the battery life is not good, you can leave the beta program. But … and this is a big but … you have to factory reset your phone to get back to Android 11. You should be able to use an old backup to restore your phone to Android 11 form , but it is very possible that you will lose some data during the transition.

To exit the beta, go to the beta website again, but this time click the Opt-Out button under your device. Wait a minute or two then check if there is a software update in your phone Settings > System > Advanced > System update > Check for updates. Install the update, which will reset your phone to factory settings, and when you’re done, you’ll need to reset your phone, starting with signing in to your Google account.

My best advice? Wait until Android 12 is closer to final release before installing the beta. As Google continues to work on and fine-tune the update, it will become more stable and will improve battery life (not to mention app developers will be able to release updates that make third-party apps compatible).

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