Google has also added some new privacy features, allowing Android users to control how they are tracked across sites.
If you ask to get the latest software from Google on your phone now, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that this is the very first developer preview. That means it is full of bugs, issues and poor battery performance. For those reasons, Google has specifically made it difficult for the average user to install.
The good news is, if you are tech-savvy enough and don’t mind living with some bugs, you can install it today as long as you have a compatible phone.
The developer beta is for developers
I can’t stress this enough: the first beta is for developers to update their apps for the new software. Google recommends installing the update on a test device and not on your daily phone, as there is no guarantee that the preview will be stable enough for everyday use.
Rather than offering the first sample via a wireless update, you need to download and install the system image using the Android Flash Tool, or sideload an OTA update using ADB commands. If all of that doesn’t make sense to you then you should definitely stay away from installing the beta. Right now, the beta is only available for the Pixel 3, 3a, 4, 4a and Pixel 5.
In addition to using command line tools to install it, the process will reset your phone to factory settings, requiring you to set it up as if it were new. Then if you decide you want to go back to Android 11, guess what? Yes, you have to do a factory reset.
It is a lot of work to get an early look at software that is sure to cause you problems.
That said, if you still want to install Android 12, you can find the correct files and instructions on Google’s Android 12 site.
Yes, Android 12 public beta is coming
Google typically launches a public beta of the next Android update around May, or when it holds the Google I / O developer conference. But we can go one step further and limit the time when Google plans to release a more refined version of Android 12 to the public. This is the release schedule that Google plans to use:
Based on that, we know the first public beta should launch sometime in May.
With the launch of Android 11 last year, Google has expanded the public beta to more than just its own Pixel line of smartphones. It seemed to be successful for Google and its hardware partners, so we expect a similar launch this year. However, we cannot promise owners of Samsung phones. The smartphone maker never participated in Google’s early beta program.
In addition to supporting more devices, the public beta traditionally has fewer bugs and problems. It’s not completely free of them, but it’s better off than the early developer betas.
The latest release of Android 12 won’t happen until later this year
Google typically releases the completed build of a major Android update late in the third quarter, around August or September. This gives the company and the developers plenty of time to prepare for the launch.
If you find yourself wanting to participate in the Android 12 beta, I recommend that you wait as long as possible to install. The later you get into the development cycle, the more refined the update will be and the less problems you are likely to encounter.
We will have a lot more Android 12 coverage in the coming days, weeks and months. Until then, read all about Android 12.