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How to install Android 11 on your Pixel phone

Android 11 has been making its way into devices since last year and it continues to reach new handsets. We have a comprehensive tracker that tells you if your phone has it or when it will get the update. But if you want to speed things up, you can also install Android 11 manually.

For most users, the easiest and most practical method to install Android 11 is to just wait for an OTA update, which we can confirm has already started rolling out for some users. You can check for updates by going to Settings> System> System update. Your phone will take you to a new window with a Check for updates button.


7;s probably better not to upgrade manually, but there are reasons why you’ll want to wipe everything clean, like if your phone already had software issues, or if you’re just feeling bloated with your phone and want to start over. If that sounds like you, keep reading for a guide on how to install Android 11.

Also: Android 11 review

Editor’s Note: Keep in mind that this guide is specific to Pixel devices. The process will be different (and probably much more complex) for non-Google devices.

Here’s what you need to get started

Android 11 Stock Photo with Google Colors 3

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

  • A compatible Pixel device and a USB cable to connect it to your computer.
  • The Android SDK installed on your computer with the ADB and Fastboot command successful – watch the tutorial here.

Now for the actual steps.

Download the appropriate files to install Android 11

You must download the correct file for your device before starting. We recommend using OTA images instead of factory images as the process is easier and you can keep old files if that’s something you are interested in.

Click here to grab the OTA image for your specific Pixel device. It’s also possible to use the full factory images (here), but that requires additional hoops like unlocking your bootloader and more. So if you want to keep it simple, we recommend sideloading the OTA and designed our instructions below for this installation type.

Prepare your phone

Google Pixel 5 Hand Facing Down 1

David Imel / Android Authority

After installing the file, you will need to restart your phone in recovery mode for the OTA to take effect. You are ready to install Android 11!

  1. First turn off your phone.
  2. Then hold down power and Reduce volume buttons at the same time.
  3. The boot loader menu will now appear. Use volume buttons to scroll down Recovery mode.
  4. Select Recovery mode by clicking the power button.
  5. You will be presented with an Android robot with an exclamation mark on it. Now press the power button and the volume up button for about a second.
  6. Release the Volume Up button to put you in full recovery.
  7. Then use the volume buttons and scroll down to Apply update from ABD. Press the power button to select the option.
  8. Finally, you will see a blank screen telling you how to sideload an OTA.

Prepare your PC to install Android 11

2020 MacBook Air review with screenjpg

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Now that your phone is ready, it’s time to let the magic happen.

  1. Connect your handset to your PC with a USB cable. Remember that your PC must have ADB tools installed.
  2. Enter in Windows Command Prompt. On Linux or Mac you will want Terminal. For Windows users: Make sure to navigate to where you save the folder.
  3. Then you must enter adb sideload for Windows, or ./adb sideload for Mac / Linux.
  4. Now you want to enter the name of the .zip folder from earlier. Touch enter.
  5. Once this is done your phone will return to Recovery mode and you can remove the USB cable.
  6. Go to Reboot now using the volume keys and press the power button.

That is it. If everything went well, you could install Android 11 successfully.

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