Google on Wednesday released the first beta of Android Q, the next version of Android we will see released later this year. The beta program is available for anyone who wants to help test Android Q, unlike in previous years when it was limited to only developers for the first beta.

Before we go any further — we can’t recommend installing Android Q on your primary phone. There will be bugs that break things and all but ruin battery life. If you don’t have an old phone that’s compatible with the beta program, it’s a good idea to wait until later in the beta cycle before jumping in. Even Google warns users during the signup process, “Certain functionality (including core functionality, such as your ability to place and receive calls) or applications may not work properly.”

Beta testing is fun, sure. But if you need your phone to work 100 percent of the time, hold off.


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With that said, if you’re interested in providing feedback and helping Google track down bugs, here’s what you need to know:

What devices are eligible?

At launch, only Google’s Pixel phones are eligible. That means the original Pixel, Pixel XL ($280 at Amazon), Pixel 2 ($649 at Google Store), Pixel 2 XL ($849 at Google Store), Pixel 3 ($779 at Walmart) and Pixel 3 XL ($769 at Amazon Marketplace).

How do I install it?

android-q-beta-install

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

There are two options. The easiest is to wait for the beta program website, and sign in to the Google account linked to your Pixel phone. Scroll down and find your eligible devices, then click on Opt In and accept the terms. After you enroll your device, you’ll receive all Android Q beta updates over-the-air, the same way you receive software updates right now. It can take up to 24 hours before your device receives the update, so give it some time. 

The second method involves flashing the system images after downloading them from Google. This method means you will need to unlock your device’s bootloader, factory reseting it in the process, and then install the update. Also, because you flashed the first image, you won’t receive future updates over-the-air. You’ll need to manually flash each beta update — which is a hassle.

Can I leave the beta?

Yes. Regardless of how you installed the beta, you can leave at any time. For those who signed up through the beta program, you can visit the same site again and opt out. You will receive the latest official build for your device over-the-air, but it will factory-reset your phone. 

Those who flashed Android Q will need to download the latest official build and flash it via the same tools, and your device will be factory reset.

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