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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to flash the Android 11 Developer Preview images on your Google Pixel – A foolproof guide «Android :: Gadget Hacks

How to flash the Android 11 Developer Preview images on your Google Pixel – A foolproof guide «Android :: Gadget Hacks



Google has just released the first version of the next major Android update. The first Android 11 build is only available as a developer preview. So you can't just sign up for the beta program and install the update as an OTA. However, you can still install the update on your Pixel quite easily.

You need an unlocked boot loader to install the Android 11 DP1 build, also known as Android R. If you have not already done so, it will be installed at the factory. Reset your phone. However, if your boot loader is already unlocked, there is a way to flash Android 11 without losing data. This is described below.

Step 1: Unlock your boot loader

Your boot loader must be unlocked before you can flash firmware images. If you haven't already done so, you can get help from one of our guides below.

Step 2: Downloading Developer Preview Images

Now you need to download the Android 11 developer images that match your Pixel phone. These files are pretty big. So wait a few minutes with a slower internet connection.

Step 3: Extracting the Images

Once the ZIP file containing the developer preview images has been downloaded to your computer, you need to extract its contents. You just have to extract the first ZIP file. The other ZIP files that appear in the extracted folder should be left alone. To extract the file, you can use the extractor built into Windows or use a third-party program such as 7-Zip.

Step 4: Download the Platform Tools Package

You now need the Google Platform Tools Package. These files allow your computer and phone to communicate in Fastboot mode. Download the latest version of platform tools from the following link for the operating system you are running on your computer.

Step 5: Extract the Platform Tools package and copy files

Now extract the ZIP Platform Tools. Open the folder that was created after extracting the platform tools, select all the content and use Ctrl + x to capture everything in it. Then open the developer thumbnails folder again and paste the content of the platform tools.

Step 6: Modifying the Flash All Script

Before you flash the update, there are a few things you need to do beforehand. The first thing to do is to prevent your phone from deleting all your data during the upgrade. While Google recommends removing all of your data as this is a developer preview and works best with a fresh install, you can always reset your device to factory settings later if you run into problems.

In order to protect your data from being deleted, you need it. How to edit the following files in the folder with the extracted developer thumbnails:

  flash-all.bat (Windows)
flash-all.sh (macOS / Linux) 

For Windows users, right-click the "flash-all.bat" file and select "Edit" from the context menu. For MacOS and Linux users, double-click the file to open the text editor. Look for the "fastboot -w" line (located below) in the editor, delete "-w" and save the change. If you upgrade to Android 11 now, your data will not be lost.

For MacOS and Linux users, you have to do two more steps to be able to flash at all. First the following lines have to be deleted:

  if! [ $($(which fastboot) --version | grep "version" | cut -c18-23 | sed 's/.//g' ) -ge 2802 ]; then
echo "fastboot too old; please download the latest version from https://developer.android.com/studio/releases/platform-tools.html"
Exit 1
fi 

Then put a "./" in front of each line of code that begins with "fastboot", change it to "./fastboot" and save the changes you have made.

Step 7: Booting in Bootloader Mode

Turn off your Pixel. After turning off, press and hold the volume button and power button until the screen turns on. You should see a screen called "Fastboot Mode". Leave your phone on this screen and connect it to your computer with a USB cable.

Step 8: Update to Android 11

If you work under Windows, now you only have to double click on the file "flash-all.bat" in the extracted folder with the thumbnails of the developers. Since it is an executable file, the command prompt opens automatically and the update process on Android 11 starts.

For MacOS and Linux users, you must first open the terminal and redirect it to the folder with the factory images by entering "cd". Press the spacebar and drag the folder with the factory images to Terminal. This will fill Terminal with the folder's full address location. Press Enter and a new line should appear. On this line, enter the following code and press Enter to start the upgrade process:

  flash-all.sh 

The process takes approximately 10 minutes and your phone will restart several times. As soon as either the command prompt or the terminal is "closed", it should be restarted, but this time in Android 11!

Cover Image by Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks

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